New Fremont East District bar gets $25,000 city grant

A new bar that is expected to further boost the energy in downtown Las Vegas got its own boost from the city Wednesday in the form of approval for a $25,000 grant.

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of a visual improvement grant for Commonwealth bar.

The bar, under construction in a formerly empty building at Fremont Street and Sixth Avenue, is expected to open in August, Michael Parks, one of 16 investors in the project, told the council.

"With the approval of this money from the (redevelopment agency), it will definitely help us get this project up and running," Parks said.

Commonwealth will include a pub on the patio level, a cocktail lounge and a rooftop garden bar.

Other investors include Vegas Seven magazine publishers Ryan Doherty and Justin Weniger.

The city money for Commonwealth, which expects to spend as much as $1.3 million renovating a former lingerie store, comes through the city's visual improvement program, which issues grants of up to $25,000 to businesses to help pay for facade upgrades.

The bar is operating under a tavern limited license, a special, fee-free license available to bars that offer live music without gambling in the Fremont East District.

The district is a formerly rundown area east of the Fremont Street Experience canopy starting at Las Vegas Boulevard and stretching toward the El Cortez. Since its designation as an entertainment district with special incentives for bars and clubs, it has attracted several new taverns and has become a favorite haunt for younger residents.

According to a background report on the project by the city, new Fremont East bars must have signage that is at least 75 percent neon or animated, an added expense that can be offset by the grant.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at or 702-224-5512.