Back in 1977, the UNLV men’s basketball team was riding a high, taking coach Jerry Tarkanian’s Runnin’ Rebels into the NCAA Tournament only to lose by one point to North Carolina in the Final Four. The team, nicknamed the Hardway Eight, may not have been national champions, but they turned Las Vegas into a sports town.
At its heart, a sports bar with a more laid back vibe. One wall features a series of photographs featuring athletes out of uniform, just chilling.
Hardway 8’s bar is made from reclaimed bleachers from the 1970s, the same bleachers that people sat on to watch Hardway 8, complete with gaming. A smaller bar is dubbed the Trophy Room. The front features a garage door that rolls up during nicer weather. Even the restroom signs are sports themed.
Aside from UNLV basketball, the bar pays tribute to jai alai, a popular sport in Las Vegas during the 1960s. A jai alai mural and a pennant nod to that era.
Consulting chef Johnny Church, formerly at the Golden Gaming and Aureole, to name a few, created the menu that includes a corned buffalo Reuben, porchetta sandwich, grilled vegetable panini, and a hero with prosciutto, mortadella, and hot copa. Buffalo fried oysters, a charcuterie board, and deep-fried mozzarella make the starters menu, while fish and chips, rabbit sausage bangers and mash, pappardelle pasta, 24-hour braised porchetta, and Tenaya Creek Bonanza Brown beer can chicken make the entrees.
Hardway 8, 46 S. Water St., Henderson. Open daily from 11 a.m. to late.