Updated March 24, 2021 - 4:18 pm
The colors pop like fireworks in this beehive of beer and rock ’n’ roll.
The old is meeting the new on a Friday night in Las Vegas.
A vintage photo of Robert Plant mid-yowl glowers upon fresh digs at the grand opening of the Rockstar Bar at the Las Vegas Golf Center on the tail end of the Strip, the first new music venue to open since the coronavirus began canceling concerts a year ago.
The place is bustling, the mood as bright the orange and red decor.
Onstage, singer-songwriter Vinny Berry performs acoustically, his voice as full of yearning as the Bud Light bottles are of suds.
Later, INXS tribute act INXSIVE will turn up the volume and drown out the ping of golf balls being hit on the driving range outside.
Mohawked rockers in their 20s party next to decidedly older Stevie Nicks look-alikes, as a group of ladies in the back of the room let loose with some Ric Flair-worthy “woos!” for no apparent reason other than it probably feels good — and, hey, maybe that’s reason enough.
With the Las Vegas live entertainment scene gradually getting back in action, the christening of the Rockstar Bar marks more than just the addition of a promising new music venue and restaurant: It’s a tangible sign of the city moving on from the pandemic.
For owner John Boreta — a nightlife veteran who launched the Pompeii nightclub in Palms Springs, California, in the ’90s, was an investor in Pure at Caesars Palace and owns a stake in Crush bar and restaurant at the MGM Grand — it’s all been a long time coming.
“I’m passionate about golf,” explains Boreta, who opened the Las Vegas Golf Center in 1997. “But I just thought that golf and rock is just really a good mesh.”
Boreta is flanked in a booth at his club by Steve Johns, a fellow nightclub lifer whom he’s worked with since the Pompeii days and whom Boreta enlisted to design the room and book the venue.
“I called him up and said, ‘I’ve got an idea. Can you drive down?’ And he was down the next day,” Boreta says of Johns, whose home base is Palm Springs. “He did a big layout of a phenomenal design, and I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ ”
About that layout: The Rockstar Bar boasts a pro-grade lighting and sound system installed by past Aerosmith tech Tim “Bones” Munson and such flourishes as a catwalk in the middle of the room, a “Stairway to Heaven” mural featuring pictures of deceased stars such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and a rock ’n’ roll-themed menu housed inside vintage LP sleeves.
The clubs is currently hosting shows on Friday and Saturday nights, and its early focus will be on classic rock cover acts and original bands before expanding to encompass a variety of sounds and events on more days of the week.
“We’re going to do all types of genres,” Johns explains. “Eventually, we’ll do a little bit of country, a little bit of Latin, but concentrating on the classic rock.
“We’ll probably add Thursday and Sunday, maybe after Easter, to see where it goes.” he continues. “When the (allowable) percentage of occupancy goes to 100 percent, then we’ll really get into some great stuff.”
In the meantime, the show must go on.
And that’s music to everybody’s ears — literally — on this night.
“Music appeals to everybody, no matter what you’re going through,” Johns says of a community that’s gone through a lot in the past 12 months. “We’re all here for the same reason: to enjoy some great music.”