Bunkhouse Saloon to reopen by end of 2015

When the Bunkhouse Saloon temporarily ceased doing business this past July, we spoke with Mark Rowland about the closing. He told us that his group, the Downtown Project, which oversees a number of downtown area establishments, including the Gold Spike, the Market, Oak & Ivy, the Las Vegas Hostel and Container Park, among others, was planning to turn over management of the Bunkhouse, which was handled previously by Corner Bar Management, to new partners.

While Rowland didn’t offer a definitive time frame at the time, he say that new partnerships were indeed being weighed from proposals that had been submitted and that the space would eventually reopen with a revised operational plan. It took a few months, but it now appears the Bunkhouse Saloon will reopen sometime in the next few months, as a new agreement has been reached.

Jillian Tedrow, who tended bar at Artifice previously, has been tapped to take over operations at the Bunkhouse Saloon, and from the sounds of it, she’s planning to put some pieces in place that will appeal to more than just music fans. “Really, for the space, I just want to keep it locally focused,” she says. “I want people to think about going there for a drink, even when there’s not a show going on, basically. I want it to be a local bar and venue, not just a venue.”

This sounds right in line with the sentiments Rowland expressed to us when the Bunkhouse closed this past summer. “We have a business that was relying on the revenues from live music, but then when live music wasn’t there, there was no supplementary revenue,” he observed, adding, “Maybe what we needed at this moment in time was sort of a food and beverage/bar concept that also did live music.”

Music fans need not worry. Tedrow promises that live music will still be an important part of the programming at the Bunkhouse. To that end, she’s enlisted longtime local music advocate Ryan Pardey to handle the booking. “Ryan Pardey was honestly the first guy I thought of,” says Tedrow. “He’s great for the place, and really passionate about music and food, and so am I.”

Pardey, of course, has been a big part of the scene over the years, from booking shows at various venues, including Café Espresso Roma — where the Killers, whom he’s worked with extensively, first got going — to performing with his band Halloween Town. Pardey says he signed on for the relaunch when he was approached by Tedrow, whom he’s known and respected for years. “I was like, ‘You know what, I’ve got to do this,’” he recalls thinking. “This is important.

“We’re going to try to reboot this thing and make it a real comfortable and exciting place for locals who like music,” adds Pardey, who, although he’s mostly been working in restaurants for the past few years, says it won’t take much to become reaquainted; in fact, he says, he’s already been in touch with a number of local acts. “Local music will still very much be a part of it,” he proclaims. “It’s all I’ve done for my adult life. There’s been some people worried that live music’s going to not be a part of the bunkhouse, but that’s not true.”

In fact, he says, not only is the plan to showcase the homegrown talent, but Pardey’s possibly going to put together a house band that will perform periodically. “That’s one of my ideas,” he says. “I think having a house band would be kind of cool.”

Beyond the music, however, the pair plan to expand the vision of the venue, augmenting the array of audio offerings with more of a firm focus on things like film and food offerings. “I’ve been talking to some filmmakers,” says Pardey, who’s planning to set up screenings “where people in the community come and present a film on one night,” while also placing a higher premium on catering to the culinary side of things. “Another thing that Jillian are passionate about trying to pursue,” he says, “is trying to have a pop-up dinner scene there.”

There are other plans for the space, Tedrow says, but since they’re still being worked out, she doesn’t really want to get into too many specifics, aside from noting that another outfit will be brought in to run the kitchen, which will offer a standard menu, in addition to whatever periodic pop-up items are being offered.

The plan is also to make the outdoor courtyard “more approachable and fun,” as she puts it, by adding a variety variety of interactive entertainment options, including, perhaps, a horseshoe pit — although, again, those sorts of things are still being worked out. “We’re thinking about that, since it fits the place, but we’re not sure about that.”

Tedrow and company still has time to sort these sorts of things out by the time the Bunkhouse Saloon begins its next era, which, from the sounds of it, will be sometime in November with any luck.

Read more from Dave Herrera at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at dherrera@reviewjournal.com.

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