Historic Las Vegas Bar Approved for Gaming via FaceTime

Posted on: January 31, 2024, 11:14h. 

Last updated on: February 3, 2024, 12:32h.

One of Las Vegas’ longest-operating bars has made history for another reason. Last week, the Hard Hat Lounge received what is believed to be the only gaming license ever approved via a video call.

The Hard Hat Lounge
The Hard Hat Lounge is either the second or third-oldest bar still operating in Las Vegas. (Image: Google)

Frankie Sidoris, the new owner of the old dive bar, couldn’t attend the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) hearing because he was in Bogota, Columbia. That’s because he was touring South America with Slash of Guns N’ Roses as part of the famous lead guitarist’s solo band. Sidoris called into the hearing from a car.

I hope you’re a passenger,” said Commission chair Jennifer Togliatti, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

He was. Otherwise, the vote may not have been unanimously in the bar’s favor. The commissioners approved a restricted license good for 15 slot machines.

The Top Hat with the Hard Hat. Sidoris, right, shreds on tour with Slash. (Image: Instagram/@franksidoris)

Between Rock and Hard Hat

Sidoris, the son of original “Crazy Girls” cast member Angela Stabile and Resorts World pit boss Frank Sidoris, did appear before a Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) hearing earlier this month, where he received the board’s recommendation for a license.

And while the unusual request to call into a hearing could have been perceived as evidence that Sidoris prioritized rock n’ roll over gaming, the commissioners seemed like music fans themselves.

“I love that you have surprise shows at no cover charge for people to come and enjoy music,” Commissioner Ogonna Brown said, according to the R-J’s coverage. “It sounds like a wonderful, wonderful new addition to Las Vegas. I know this location is not new, but you’re infusing new energy into it. So good luck, and I’m excited to see what you do here in Las Vegas.”

Actually, the gaming license prohibits cover charges since licensees are required to provide public access to their gaming devices.

Old Hat

The Hard Hat, at 1675 S. Industrial Road downtown, is either the second or third-oldest Las Vegas bar still operating.  It was established in 1962, the same year as the Huntridge Tavern, but 10 years after Atomic Liquors. The Hard Hat took over a building that opened as a diner in 1958.

For a hot second, the Hard Hat was home to Guerrilla Pizza, a Detroit-style pizza company founded by Robby Cunningham, who began leasing the Hard Hat’s cramped kitchen from its former owner in 2020.

It was Cunningham who alerted Sidoris that the bar was for sale and who was able to interest him in forming a partnership to purchase it in 2022. Their partnership lasted until last May. That’s when Sidoris bought out Cunningham, who had outgrown the space, and moved local chef Bobby Meader’s Stay Tuned Burgers into the kitchen.

Sidoris was able to stir some buzz for the bar’s second reopening under his ownership in December by recruiting Slash and some of his friends to perform there.

No, not Axl.