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Tommy Rocker’s warned to mask up, spread out and watch the wristbands

Updated September 24, 2020 - 9:45 am

Fake wristbands gave Tommy Rocker real problems this week.

Rocker’s bar and restaurant on Dean Martin Drive ushered in the Las Vegas Raiders’ first home game by hosting the team’s Homies fan club. Thus, it has become a Raiders bar, even as it has been a Miami Dolphins habitat for about 30 years. Parrot Heads, the Jimmy Buffett devotees, also convene at the place.

So Rocker is nothing if not versatile.

On Sunday and Monday, Rocker welcomed both Dolphins and Raiders fans. The Monday night event was the most prominent event, and also the biggest challenge. Rocker is required to cap attendance at 150, or just under half of his 300 fire-code capacity. More than 150, probably up to 170, were at the club for the Raiders game.

As it happens, someone in the crowd had noticed the wristbands being issued could be purchased at any party store. The originals were blue, but soon those in the crowd were being allowed in with green, yellow or whatever color.

“We had a really difficult time keeping track of who was coming in and who was leaving,” Rocker said Wednesday. “People were just sneaking in to see the game.”

That issue, combined with the general emotion of the event, created a scene that often reflected happy chaos. The Homies were dressed in Raiders costumes. They hugged, high-fived, and shouted the lines from “The Autumn Wind.”

“Asking people not to cheer during that game would be like asking someone not to scream on a roller coaster,” said Donna Rocker, Tommy’s wife, business partner and a new Raiders fan. “Everybody was on fire, jumping up and down. When they were in their seats, they were fine. But when they started jumping around in the costumes, they took up a lot of space.”

The capper was the photo of the revelry on the front page of Tuesday’s RJ. That led to visits from a Clark County licensing official Tuesday and a member of the state Gaming Control Board on Wednesday.

The Rockers submitted video and photos of the event, where it was evident that their original seating map and outdoor staging was in line with safety protocols. Rocker said he promised to enforce the social distancing and mask-wearing measures required to run the bar. He’s also issuing branded wristbands to prevent a repeat of Monday’s capacity violations.

“Nobody knew what kinds of problems we were having until it was late,” Rocker said. “We couldn’t shut it down until everybody left. But we will do what we’re supposed to do, which is how we’ve operated for 30 years. We get it.”

Vegas rocks, cont.

Two of the five bands nominated for Top Rock Artist in the Billboard Music Awards are from Las Vegas: Imagine Dragons and Panic! At The Disco. The show airs Oct. 14 on NBC.

This is a good moment to recall Brendon Urie waxing nostalgic during a PATD show at T-Mobile Arena in August 2018.

“I worked at the Tropical Smoothie over by the Port of Subs on Charleston. You should check it out. I worked there, full-time, on a part-time permit. That’s why Vegas is great! Break-a-the law!”


Nimble Neonopolis nightspot Notoriety is opening anew at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Expect no-cover, no-ticket, and no-promotion entertainment as you nosh on the club’s vaunted pizza options. Proprietor Ken Henderson has added sausage to the previously reported cheese and pepperoni varieties.

The informally titled “Ambient Music Hang” runs until, well, there is just a “?” on the flyer so you know it’s going to be a party. A pizza party, but a party just the same. There’s also a cocktail menu, places to sit and socialize from social distance, a pool table and a portrait of Robin Leach that is just large enough.

We’ll be there, FizzyWater in hand, humming along to the music. Wherever it might be.

Get with Michelle

Column fave and Las Vegas’ First Lady of Jazz Michelle Johnson is singing at The Vegas Room supper club Thursday through Saturday. “Being Alive” is the show’s title, with enlivened Dan Ellis on piano. Ambience starts at 6:30 p.m., with Chef David Robinson’s five-course selections at 8 p.m.

Soul to soul

Soul of Motown co-stars Brandon Godfrey and Sean Stewart are gettin’ their ambience on at Westgate’s International Bar from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For this show, they are called NPerson, a great name for a lounge act, and Godfrey and Stewart display a certain chemistry onstage. This is because they are engaged to be married in November.

No flight for Bird

Vegas showman and a man who needs no “h,” Jonny Bird has received word back from state COVID compliance officials that he is not allowed to advertise any entertainment in his “Taste of Vegas — A Unique Mediterranean Cuisine Dinner Experience” at Red Palms Mediterranean Cuisine on the Strip.

Other venues are pushing entertainment across social media, but Bird is taking no chances. He says he’s been told it would be “safe” not to go spread his wings by explaining there might be some live entertainment along with the entrees. As he says, “It’s gonna be a hard ship to sail without being able to use the wind.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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