You can cry in your beer if you want, but you’ll have to find someplace else to do it. As promised, Larry’s Hideaway has shut its doors for good in response to a sharp rise in its water bill.
“No reprieve,” said Brent Howard, trustee for the watering hole near Rancho Drive and Cheyenne Avenue. “We’re officially closed.”
About 50 people turned out Friday night to see the place off. Howard said his wife and bar manager, Lisa, kicked out the last few patrons about 1 a.m. Saturday and locked the doors.
“Most of the people had already left. The pool guy had already taken the pool tables,” he said. “She didn’t want to stay all night. What’s the point?”
The Hideaway’s few windows are now boarded up, and a fence with no trespassing signs is slated to go up today .
Howard announced the pending closure in early June after the struggling business was hit with a new $400 monthly fee by the Southern Nevada Water Authority.
He said the infrastructure surcharge was the “final straw” for Larry’s Hideaway, which has been a fixture at the western edge of North Las Vegas for decades.
Larry Lapenta opened a gourmet restaurant called Larry’s Old Ranch House on the property in 1962. He converted it to a dance hall and bar in 1998.
Lapenta was also the man behind another long-lived local haunt. In 1972, he opened a topless club called Larry’s Villa at Rancho and Bonanza Road.
Howard was named as trustee of the businesses after Lapenta died in 2006 at age 84.
Howard said his wife and two or three of the Hideway’s 15 employees will transfer to Larry’s Villa. The rest will have to find work somewhere else.
The water authority started collecting the infrastructure surcharge in May to help pay down roughly $2.5 billion in construction debt and finish building an $800 million intake at Lake Mead to keep water flowing to the valley even if the reservoir continues to shrink.
Officials for the valley’s wholesale water agency have acknowledged that businesses are bearing the brunt of the new fee, which has been especially painful to companies with large but little-used water lines feeding their fire sprinklers and hydrants.
The surcharge is slated to remain in place for three years, but water authority board members are talking about revisiting it in response to the barrage of complaints they have received from angry customers.
Howard had hoped to sell the Hideaway before the end of June, but no one seemed interested. He thinks people may be waiting in hopes of snapping up the business for a cheaper price, but he said the Internal Revenue Service probably will get the first crack at acquiring it.
As for the water authority, Howard said Larry’s Hideaway has almost $1,200 in outstanding charges that will now go unpaid – and the balance continues to grow.
“I’ve tried to call the water district to cancel the account and shut the water off,” he said. “I can’t get through. Nobody’s answering the phone.”
Contact reporter Henry Brean at email@example.com or 702-383-0350.