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New downtown Vegas restaurant celebrates crashing and burning

Crash N Burn in downtown Las Vegas didn’t start out as a bar and restaurant. It started out as a place for skydiving in a wind tunnel on the roof of the Neonopolis building high above the Fremont Street Experience.

The skydiving is still planned to debut this summer, but in the meantime, the bar and restaurant (with dancing late) recently opened. And if skydiving could be said to present an occasion for potential crashing and burning, well, the theme works just as well for the bar and restaurant.

Hence, spray paint murals from local artist Bobby Alvarado depicting “a lot of crash-and-burn moments,” as assistant general manager Kellie Burch put it: from “Con Air” and “Top Gun,” from “Thelma &Louise” and “Talladega Nights,” and from Evel Knievel’s famed jump on an Indian Scout motorcycle.

The third-floor restaurant represents phase one of the project. Phase two features Aero Vegas, the skydiving. The final phase encompasses an events space. In all, Crash N Burn (crashnburn.com) occupies 20,000 square feet, including a terrace that curves more than 100 feet, in the former Telemundo television studio.

Life in plastic

The menu features elevated American bar and comfort food.

Wings are rendered as meaty lollipops, in mild and spicy, with an Asian-inspired sauce for dredging. A Jetsetter’s smashburger unites two patties, smoked pastrami, Swiss, coleslaw and pickles on a potato bun, all skewered with a thick steak knife. A seared 16-ounce New York steak is accompanied by herb roasted potatoes.

Crash N Burn has a 55-foot bar that seats 60. The bar, Burch said, is too long to make involved craft cocktails practical, but specialty pours still take pride of place.

Consider a Paratrooper mingling gin and ginger liqueur garnished with an old-school plastic paratrooper. Or a Purple Rain with gin and crème de violet. Tackle The Burn, a 151 Rum flaming shot, and you keep the shot glass. More plastic accoutrements? Absolutely: a Sharknado bowl, a Fireball-tequila-margarita slushy, includes plastic sharks.

‘Keep going’

During the day and early evening, Crash N Burn is family friendly, with sports viewing, duckpin bowling, vintage video games and lawn games. Later in the evening, the restaurant shifts into a club with a DJ and dancing.

An LED screen showing a comet crashing and other significant wipeouts is planned for the exterior of the building. And if the crash-and-burn theme seems, well, a bit gloomy, it’s also meant to incorporate a sense of hope, Burch said.

“Life is full of ups and downs. If you crash and burn, you pick yourself up and keep going. Put a Purple Rain in your hand, play some duckpin bowling and get on the dance floor.”

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @JLWTaste on Instagram and @ItsJLW on X.

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