Inspire Nightclub Closes Abruptly on Fremont East, Downtown Drama Abounds

Inspire has expired.

The venue, at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Fremont Street in the Fremont East Entertainment District, was operated by DTP Companies (Downtown Project) and shut down with zero notice or fanfare.

The plug has been pulled on the Inspire Web site. Feel free to follow the link if you have a 404 fetish.

We would miss Inspire more if we understood what it was.

The closure follows on the heels of the acquisition of the property by Boston Omaha Asset Management and its co-managing partner, Brendan Keating.

Boston Omaha also owns the former John E. Carson Building, now called Tony @ Carson. Tony @ Carson is the home of the popular Carson Kitchen. Parts of the building are for lease.

The murals caused a kerfuffle, we’ll get to it.

Boston Omaha also owns the space where Nacho Daddy used to sit. Nacho Daddy has since moved next door and a tiki bar is opening in the former Nacho Daddy space soonish.

It looks like two buildings, but it’s all connected inside. The tiki bar, Glitter Gulch, will take up the entire space.

You’re right. We have a lot of Las Vegas things in our head. Every time we learn something new, there’s a reasonable chance it will push something else out, like how the mirror used by blackjack dealers to view their hole card is called a “peeker” or “peeper”; or how the gold nugget at Golden Nugget is a replica; or who pays million-dollar Wheel of Fortune jackpots (it’s IGT, the manufacturer); or how much Fontainebleau is losing every day ($400,000); or the story about how we once witnessed the owner of Circa, Derek Stevens, give someone 2-to-1 odds on a coin toss; or how Wynn Las Vegas uses trained hawks to keep pigeons away; or which downtown bars don’t carry Captain Morgan (Atomic and Carson Kitchen, for starters); or which Strip magician is rumored t o dip his penis in hydrogen peroxide before and after sex. You know, important stuff.

Inspire was one of several businesses in the buildings acquired by Boston Omaha from the Tony Hsieh estate in October 2023. The others are Flippin’ Good Chicken, Griffin, Corduroy, Downtown Cocktail Room and the closed Smashed Pig.

The aforementioned Brendan Keating is also chairman and co-founder of a brokerage firm, Logic Commercial Real Estate.

Logic was hired by the Tony Hsieh estate to sell 15 of Hsieh’s real estate assets. (Hsieh owned nearly 100 properties downtown, some claim in the shape of a llama. Long story.)

So far, Boston Omaha has been the only buyer of Hsieh’s properties.

There was reportedly an offer on the John E. Carson building for $200,000 more than the price Boston Omaha paid ($14.6 million), but Boston Omaha clinched the sale, anyway.

Yes, the guy hired to shop these properties is the same guy who ended up acquiring them. It’s all a little weird, but we’ve been assured there’s nothing to see here.

Unrelated, but another recent (Sep. 2023) real estate deal involving Fremont East was for buildings housing Le Thai, Commonwealth, We All Scream and Cheap Shot. The owners of Plaza, Tamares Group, sold the properties to The Siegel Group. Siegel reportedly paid $11 million for the real estate, or rather overpaid, according to our sources. The next best offer was in the $10 million range. Siegel can afford it, as their Pinkbox Doughnut shop is printing money at Plaza. Thankfully, this is a long-term investment for Siegel, and no changes for the line-up of tenants is planned.

Boston Omaha bumped heads with locals about some murals on the Tony @ Carson building (a mural of Chef Kerry Simon was accidentally painted over, but it’s being redone by the original artist), but our overall impression is they’re invested in being a contributing member of the Fremont East community.

There was a minor freak-out when downtown denizens saw a mural had been painted over on the Carson building, but it was just being prepped for a refresh.

Refreshing the mural cost about $70,000, so Boston Omaha is putting its money where its mouth is.

The entire building has gotten a facelift by the new ownership.

We’d wager Inspire never actually made money, but was subsidized by Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, as were many of the businesses in the area when Hsieh was alive.

The three-story Inspire Nightclub was always a little odd. It had nightclub elements, but was also a lounge at various times, and also had a 150-seat theater for panel discussions. According to Downtown Project, the space was “an ideal setting for meetings, lectures, workshops, or entertaining a small to medium group.”

Inspire got some attention from USA Today in 2020. The publication described Inspire this way: “Situated on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street, Inspire is part of the burgeoning (and very trendy) Fremont East District. Housed in a building that once was a convenience store, Inspire today offers three levels, including a rooftop bar and club. The first level has a theater with 150 seats, the second floor offers a lounge with an outdoor balcony and the third level is the rooftop, where you can have drinks along with great views. Friday and Saturday the roof turns into a nightclub, complete with DJs. Bottle and table service is available (you can book online) and you’ll find a total of four bars throughout the three clubs.”

Without Tony Hsieh’s vision (and deep pockets) the fabric of his legacy is unraveling downtown.

The once tight-knit community enlisted and inspired by Tony Hsieh doesn’t seem to know what to do with itself at the moment. Hsieh’s family seems primarily interested in selling off his real estate and cashing out, despite lots of lip service about continuing what Tony Hsieh started. There was a symbolic gesture related to Inspire, however. Hsieh’s family insisted when the Inspire deal was done that a mural of Tony Hsieh not be touched by Boston Omaha for 10 years.

A longtime friend told us Tony Hsieh would’ve hated this mural.

A quick shout-out: We first got wind of the Inspire closure from @VegasStarfish on Twitter.

Boston Omaha says they’ll tell us first when they have a new tenant for the Inspire space. Maybe something quiet and understated. Just kidding, it’s Fremont.