Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 | 11:56 p.m.
Las Vegas nightlife czar Jonathan Fine has a lifetime of understanding the importance of tourism to the city and has developed businesses that have grown in the city’s ever-changing landscape.
His portfolio boasts a variety of businesses including security companies Sting Surveillance and Sting Alarm; PBR Rock Bar & Grill, the rockin’ Strip-side eatery at Miracle Mile Shops of Planet Hollywood; and his next project at Linq.
He’s racked up an impressive list of awards. In 2005, he was the youngest person named one of the “40 Most Influential People Under 40” in Nevada. The Small Business Administration awarded him Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006. Through his company Fine Entertainment Management, he has donated to many nonprofits in the city, and his charitable contributions exceed more than $500,000 annually.
He opened the ultra-dive bar Rockhouse between the Strip and the former Imperial Palace before the hotel shuttered as part of the new project Linq. It went out in a blaze of glory and relocated to another unexpected location, the Grand Canal Shoppes that link the Venetian and Palazzo.
I asked Jonathan to discuss the closing of the old Rockhouse and its new home:
At midnight, all drinks were $4; at 1 a.m., they fell to $3; by 2 a.m., all drinks slipped to just $2; by 3 a.m., the plummeting price was only $1; and at 4 a.m., if there was anything left and you were still standing, they were free. The bar, known for its outrageous parties, had thrown its last but most epic party.
When Rockhouse closed, it left a void in Las Vegas nightlife. Tourists and partygoers had nowhere to go for early morning beer-pong tournaments, bachelorettes dancing on stripper poles, 100-ounce daiquiris and sassy bartenders swinging from the rafters.
Rockhouse was the place partygoers went for nonstop fun night and day. Tourists weren’t hassled at the door, nobody broke the bank, and everyone was sure to take away lasting memories.
However, all good things must come to an end, and Rockhouse was closed to make way for the new Caesars Entertainment project the Linq. This outdoor shopping and entertainment venue, anchored by the world’s largest observation wheel, is poised to change the landscape of the Strip forever.
Luckily, Rockhouse wouldn’t disappear for long. Grand Canal Shoppes admired the success of Rockhouse and the traffic it brought. They contacted us and invited Rockhouse to take a top-notch space overlooking the canals and the lights of the Strip.
The biggest challenge was taking the iconic party bar and nightlife venue and replicating the same vibe into a 9,000-square-foot restaurant, bar, club and lounge. I wasn’t sure how to tackle that challenge, so I decided to put my flight miles to good use and do the research needed for such a grand undertaking.
I was off to the nightclubs of Madrid, pubs of London, Meatpacking District in New York, clubs of Miami and hotspots in Los Angeles, Tampa and Kansas City. I was in search of new and inspired ideas.
I traveled, researched, became a man of the people and sacrificed my body, and most importantly my liver, to find fresh concepts and experiences to make the best party bar in Las Vegas the best party bar in the world.
Four months ago, we reopened Rockhouse in our new location. The new venue took the best of the old as a starting point and added improved features. Never forgetting its roots, as the economic alternative to pricy Strip venues, the atmosphere in Rockhouse compares to the hottest spots in town.
It’s simple: Rockhouse offers a round-the-clock, high-energy entertainment, drinking and eating environment for all types of tourists no matter their age. There are the amazing sound and lighting system, top-notch DJs and what are the best tacos on the planet.
The decor of the ultra-dive bar can keep you dizzy, from a custom pool table made by the stars of “Counting Cars” to the wallpaper designs, including an Andy Warhol-style portrait wall created by Balls Marketing. The mechanical bull makes tough guys look weak and hot girls look even sexier. Classic arcade games illuminate bottle-service tables in a fun and funky way.
More than 80 high-definition TVs show every sporting event available, and this is made better with refrigerators at all tables so beer stays cold. For those who’d rather get in on the action, foosball, the classic slap shot bubble hockey, darts and corn hole are available at all times. And if all else fails, grab your friends for a round of beer pong.
And that’s just the daytime. The night will always remain the genius that the original Rockhouse brought to the Strip.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.