It wasn't quite David meets Goliath, but a small business owner on Fremont Street has tangled with the big boy casinos over plans to create a new Downtown bar with a "bakery," and sneakily circumnavigate strict restrictions on how to sell booze.
Back in August, Eater Vegas was the first to warn that 322 Bar & Bakery's plans could set an alcohol selling precedent, allowing store owners to stop selling booze by the bottle and turn themselves into a miniature bar. And it seemed like the whole of Fremont Street finally woke up to that fear.
Hours before 322 Bar was first scheduled to appear before the Planning Commission, three phone conversations they had with Jeff Victor, president of the Fremont Street Experience, moved them to delay their hearing until this week. Back in front of the commissioners, Victor this time turned up in person to express his opposition, alongside representatives of Boyd Gaming, The D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate. All objected to brother and sister operators Aliza Elazar-Higuchi and professional poker player Eli Elezra's boozy plans and were not swayed by the bar's bonus menu of pizza, pita sandwiches and bakery goods, created on site.
Boyd Gaming called the plan "opening the flood gates," to permit other small businesses to create bars on Fremont and then head down a slippery slope to offering limited video gaming.
Plans for the 2,467-square-foot existing Piccadilly Circus Pizza joint place include a complete remodel with stools at the bar, TVs mounted overhead and four tables for dining. "Gourmet baked goods" and craft and imported beers would be served. While 322 Bar repeatedly assured they would not be selling packaged liquor or offering any gaming in the future, the Fremont Street naysayers remained unconvinced.
Although the bar plans technically fall within the current regulations, enough to garner approval from the planning department staff, the commissioners realized the conundrum of spending a year carefully restricting the amount of alcohol consumed on Fremont and now green-lighting yet another bar.
Pushing the two opposing sides into negotiation, a commission decision was delayed for 60 days to allow 322, objectors and commission staff to work out a possible middle ground.