Over the course of a few years, sisters Christina and Pamela Dylag’s longtime dream of opening a bar became a reality.
The Velveteen Rabbit, 1218 S. Main St., opened May 3 .
“There was a lot we didn’t know going into it,” Christina Dylag said. “But we did know this was one of the only times we could do this.”
The property, owned by The Arts Factory founder Wes Miles, required 10 months of renovations to bring it up to code, as it suffered extensive fire damage under previous ownership.
The city also awarded the Dylags with grants as part of the Quick Start program, providing incentives for businesses to move into redevelopment-area buildings. For every $4 a business spends in renovation costs, the city will chip in $1 up to a maximum of $50,000.
The cash incentive aims to help dull the potential sticker shock associated with purchasing downtown property and bringing it up to code.
“Quick Start helped immensely,” Pamela Dylag said. “The city is so supportive of new businesses. Things are popping up constantly.”
For the sisters, the 18b Arts District was the perfect locale.
“It’s one of the oldest streets in Las Vegas,” Pamela Dylag said. “This is Main Street. It’s awesome.”
The resurgence of the district is something the sisters said they hope to capitalize on.
The Velveteen Rabbit is the latest in a series of new businesses opening in the 18b Arts District and on Main Street.
“There’s a different vibe here — a community building toward creativity,” Pamela Dylag said. “It’s authentic culture, not manufactured.”
An avid writer in her free time, Christina Dylag has infused the bar with literary aesthetics, from the cocktails the sisters serve — Crucifix in a Death Hand, one of their most popular cocktails and an homage to author Charles Bukowski — to the name of the bar .
She said the bar’s atmosphere, like its literary inspirations, fosters conversation and discussion. Standard booths were passed up for carefully arranged, Victorian-style sofas, chairs and coffee tables. The bar more closely resembles a neighbor’s living room , which Christina Dylag said is the feeling she and her sister are after.
“There’s nothing else like it downtown,” she said. “It’s comfortable You can have a conversation with someone.”