Cornish Pasty backroom Las Vegas’ least likely DIY music spot

In front, it’s date night.

In back, it’s date-with-doom night.

It’s a Wednesday evening at Cornish Pasty, the hip downtown eatery where you can score a salmon-filled pastry loaded with sauteed asparagus and happiness.

In the restaurant area, diners feast beneath brick walls and a high-vaulted ceiling, seated in wooden pews at the Church of Gourmet Meat Pockets.

To pass through the glass door behind the bar, though, is to enter a realm where ear holes are massaged in place of taste buds — and by massaged, we mean kicked down a flight of stairs, metaphorically speaking, on this night.

This modestly lit backroom has quickly become one of Vegas’ most promising — and unlikely — DIY music spots, with an increasingly bustling calendar of well-curated up-and-coming touring acts and local bands from across the musical spectrum, from metal to punk to indie rock to rockabilly.

Next to a large, busy mural of gigantic combat boots and creatures with taco-shaped heads stands a well-appointed stage with a flashing lighting rig.

It’s currently being commanded by Vegas hardcore punk trio Life’s Torment, who generally favor short tunes posited on even shorter tempers.

Later in the evening, Oakland, California’s Badr Vogu will test the mettle of the free earplugs available at the door with rasping, pointedly disagreeable doom metal whose sound is neatly encapsulated by a song title such as “Soliloquy of Belligerence.”

House show upgrade

In the past, if a well-apprised underground act such as Badr Vogu came to Vegas, it would normally perform at a house show or some other DIY spot, because it’s not yet able to fill a bigger club.

Sure, Vegas has a fairly robust house show circuit, and warehouse venues and art gallery-type spaces have hosted bands.

But those places tend to come and go for a number of reasons: it’s hard to spread the word to anyone outside scene die-hards when you’re running an off-the-grid venue; the sound and setup can be less than desired; it’s not a terribly lucrative endeavor.

But Cornish Pasty has taken that underground vibe and given it much nicer digs — there are no craft brew taps at a basement show like there are here at the Pasty bar.

For one of Cornish Pasty’s four partners, John Bender, this is all a labor of love.

“The music that we have playing back here is just the stuff that we like to listen to,” the bearded, bespectacled Bender says as he works on adding a large black curtain to the room before the show.

Talent incubator

Cornish Pasty started putting on gigs about a year ago but has become much more active in the past five or six months. Four shows took place there the week of the Badr Vogu gig, including the venue’s biggest act yet, Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom.

Bender says he wants to further develop this mix of name acts and DIY artists, a view shared by Danielle O’Hara of Nevermore Productions, one of three women who book the room.

O’Hara, who also puts on shows at the 400-capacity Backstage Bar & Billiards, sees Cornish Pasty as a potential incubator for talent.

“I love developing bands, I love developing artists in this market, and you have to have to the smaller rooms to do it,” she says. “We can build here and then move up.”

It helps having a venue that doesn’t have to focus solely on the bottom line: The food and beverage offerings can subsidize the music.

“For us to put on a show at night, it’s very low cost for us,” Bender says. “The bands make a little bit of money. We make money off food and drink sales. Everyone leaves happy without having to deal with a whole lot of money invested.”

Speaking of which, O’Hara says Cornish Pasty is thinking of comping diners to shows, potentially setting up a novel way of burning off those pasty calories.

“You can get full,” she says, “and then get in the pit.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

Entertainment Videos
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of theatre talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibit
The new exhibit features original and recreated props and plenty of interactive features. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ice cream shop offers everything in the kitchen sink
Have you ever wanted to eat an ice cream sundae out of a kitchen sink? Who hasn't, right? At Sloan's, located inside the Venetian, you can do just that. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Maxie’s in Las Vegas puts eggs Benedict in a box
Chef David Mangual at Maxie’s in The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas makes his eggs Benedict in a brioche “box” layered with spinach, bacon and tomatoes and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caviar Twinkie Served at Stripsteak in Las Vegas
Stripsteak Executive Pastry Chef Vivian Chang and Chef Gerald Chin create a novel savory food item that looks like a familiar sweet treat at the restaurant in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
NAB attendees battle to qualify for Fortnite event
NAB is sponsoring an online video game event with Epic Games’ Fortnite allowing attendees to qualify to go head to head with top players. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Arctic Shrimp Sandwich at Saga near Las Vegas
Chef Gert Kvalsund, a native of Norway, founded Saga Pastry + Sandwich in Henderson to give Scandinavians a taste of home. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk UNLVino
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk about the upcoming UNLVino vent. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christie Brinkley at Smith & Wollensky
Christie Brinkley, in town for her run in “Chicago” at the Venetian Theatre, paid a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes’ still-under-construction Smith Wollensky on Monday for a ceremonial first toast at the bar. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas
2 artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside Kaos nightclub and dayclub
A look at new club at Palms.
CinemaCon Brings Theater Professionals To Caesars
CinemaCon is not just celebs, it's also a place where theater owners can browse the latest in seats, projectors and concessions. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas restaurants provide a taste of ballpark food
The Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the Las Vegas Aviators, will serve food from Giada De Laurentiis and a team of favorite local restaurants. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Taste of the Town: Bobby Flay Opens Shark at the Palms - VIDEO
Bobby Flay opens Shark at the Palms; his first high-end restaurant in 15 years.
Chef Marc Marrone at T-Mobile Arena
Chef Marc Marrone has opened a bao cart at T-Mobile Arena. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio fountains celebrate 'Game of Thrones'
A medley of the theme for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the song “Winter Is Here” from the show premiered at the Bellagio Fountains water show on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The new number will run in rotation through April 13. The series premieres its eighth and final series on April 14. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan Aunt Chippy talks about being on Jimmy Kimmel's show
Concetta Potenza, Aunt “Chippy” to Jimmy Kimmel, talks about her first time being featured on her nephew’s show. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro at Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro At Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cotton candy crowns pancakes in Las Vegas
At Maxie’s at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, executive chef David Mangual fills pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and piles on pastel cotton candy, which is melted in a stream of chocolate syrup. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Bananas Foster Pancakes go up in flames at The Stove near Las Vegas
Chef Antonio Nunez at The Stove in Henderson, near Las Vegas, flames the pancakes tableside for a fiery presentation. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
El Loco Rollercoaster at Circus Circus' Adventuredome
The El Loco rollercoaster opened at the Circus Circus' Adventuredome in February 2014. It features a 90-foot ascent, followed by a drop that produces a negative 1.5 "verticle G," a 180-degree turn, and reverse 240-degree roll that turns into an inverted drop. The coaster reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and is the only indoor coaster of it's kind in the U.S., and is the second indoor El Loco coaster in the world, according to MGM Resorts.
Bartending flair competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show
Highlights from the ten contestants who competed for the Shake It Up Flair and Classic Competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Justin Kingsley Hall shares details on his next gig
Chef Justin Kinglsey hall shares some details about the newArts District restaurant he's developing with Kim Owens. (Al Mancini/Las Vegs Review-Journal)
Film prompted Carrie Hogan to found 2 farmers markets in Las Vegas
Carrie Hogan founded Fresh 52 Farmers and Artisan Market in Las Vegas after realizing she had to do something about the influence of factory farms on the food supply. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seafood dishes being made at Pasta Shop near Las Vegas
Executive chef Edwin Martinez incorporates fresh pasta into Lobster Salmon and Saffron Shrimp Sauté at Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson, near Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Andrew Carmean will be the only local participant in upcoming demolition derby
Andrew Carmean, a demolition driver, will be the only local participant in upcoming derby at the Plaza Hotel. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing