Photo Credit: Patrick Gray/Kabik Photo Group
The Hard Rock Hotel bid farewell to the original and infamous Center Bar in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion on Sunday, June 28. The commemorative event signaled the end of an era for the property, but plans for a new bar concept were officially announced to open this fall as part of a larger casino remodel.
Locals and visitors alike came together to say goodbye to Center Bar as the “Final Toast” party kicked off at 7 p.m. Day one employees were behind the bar serving guests 1995-themed cocktails including “Surfer on Acid,” “Purple Hooter,” “Scooby Snack,” “Red Headed Slut” and “Cosmopolitan Shot” in honor of the year it opened. Throughout the evening, attendees were encouraged to leave their mark on the original Center Bar by signing the walls, floors and stairs. Stories were told all over the interior and exterior of the venue from people who had met celebrities such as Guns N’ Roses’ frontman Axl Rose and guitarist DJ Ashba there, how they met their husbands and wives there, how they learned life lessons there and so much more. Mötley Crüe’s lead singer Vince Neil also showed up to the event to say goodbye to a piece of Las Vegas history and leave his own mark on the side of the bar.
Shortly before 10 p.m., Hard Rock Hotel’s Assistant General Manager Gary Scott welcomed celebrity columnist Robin Leach on stage to give the final toast. Leach discussed the impact Center Bar had on casino floors throughout the city, told his own Center Bar story and encouraged everyone to raise their glasses for last time at trendsetting hub. He then led the crowd with a countdown and flipped the Center Bar power switch off, signaling the official close of a Las Vegas icon.
Center Bar became known for its panoramic views of Hard Rock Hotel’s casino floor, nonstop parties and as the trailblazer for center bars all around Las Vegas when it opened in 1995. It truly redefined the way gaming executives viewed their casino floors – nestled in the heart of tables and slot machines, the trendsetting bar created an infectious energy that other gaming companies adopted. Through its success, Center Bar was inducted into Vegas Seven’s Las Vegas Bar Hall of Fame in 2014, was voted “Best Place to People Watch” in the Best Dining & Nightlife Awards by the readers of Casino Player magazine in 2013, among many other recognitions.