Downtown’s Cycle Pub Vegas lets you booze and cruise
Wed, Nov 21, 2012 (midnight)
- Cycle Pub Vegas
- Sun-Fri; 6, 8:30 & 11 p.m.
- Sat; 3, 6, 8:30 & 11 p.m.
- $420 for groups of 8-14 (book in advance)
- Meets in front of Mob Bar, 201 N. 3rd St.
- Beyond the Weekly
“Okay, everyone, wallets in your front pockets. Cell phones on the table in front of you.” It might sound like my 11 new friends and I are going into some high-security situation. In fact, it’s just another night at Russell Davis’ Downtown Las Vegas pub, and this is standard procedure.
You see, Davis’ “pub” is actually on wheels. And it’s powered by us.
The latest addition to the increasingly eclectic Downtown bar scene, Cycle Pub Vegas looks like something out of a Warner Bros. cartoon or a Tim Burton movie, a 12-patron bar on wheels, where the stools are actually padded bicycle seats, complete with pedals. With a full load, Cycle Pub can drive as many miles in a night as its tipsy patrons can power. Talk about renewable energy.
“Jerri, are you pedaling?” Mike screams across the bar. “It doesn’t look like you’re pedaling!” (Names have been changed to protect the guilty.)
“F*ck yeah, I’m pedaling,” Jerri shouts. “I gotta stay warm somehow.”
Truth be told, it’s a little brisk to be riding the streets en plein air. Happily, each of our destinations offers a different dram or two to keep things toasty. Cycle Pub itself, I should explain, does not actually serve drinks during the journey (there are still laws about that kind of thing). Instead, it rides between some of the hippest casino and Arts District bars, emphasizing the diversity of watering holes, from the speakeasy-like Mob Bar to avant-elegant Artifice to the gritty, good-time Bunkhouse.
“The point is to show off what we have Downtown,” Davis says. The longtime Clark County Public Works employee and family man wasn’t necessarily looking to start a moonlighting business back in June, when a friend told him about a similar Cycle Pub coming to Reno. (It turns out there are 30 of them—made to order in Bend, Oregon—throughout the U.S. Who knew?) But, Davis says, “It looked like fun, and that’s what we do in Vegas—provide fun. With all the growth Downtown, [I thought] this would be a nice fit.”
Davis rounded up $36,000 from his in-laws and Fifth Street Gaming, among others, for the custom-built contraption and lobbied the city council for all necessary permissions (he’s still trying to get them to loosen up on some things). Then he went to work on his favorite drinking spots, including Bar + Bistro and Downtown Cocktail Room, to partner on the tours. Davis charges a flat fee of $420 to book the Cycle Pub for roughly two hours for 8-14 people (the cycle is equipped with two jump seats beyond the 12 with pedals), and the bars provide special drinks at happy-hour prices. In his first three weeks, he has hosted groups of teachers, fraternity brothers, a 30th birthday party and even BMX pro Ricardo Laguna and his friends on a late-night tour. He’s also been contacted by the Travel Channel’s Trip Flip series about doing a special stunt on the Strip.
As we pump our way east on Hoover Avenue toward the Lady Silvia—ringing small cowbells and singing along to LMFAO under the Cycle Pub’s pulsing rope lights—it strikes me that the pedaling has a somewhat sobering effect, helping to pace a night of carousing and even make it, dare I suggest, healthy.
Davis’ business plan is also oddly altruistic. Although he would like to have a fleet of six Vegas Cycle Pubs eventually, handling special events and even drive-through weddings, for the moment he claims, “There’s no rush to make a million dollars. Let’s make it a good thing for the community.”