Downtown doesn’t have a last call, but it might as well. Most of the bars in the Fremont East district close around 2 or 3 a.m., forcing marathon revelers to migrate south to Artisan or Drai’s for an afterhours venue.
Georgios Alexatos experienced this firsthand while working for Commonwealth. So he and co-workers Giovanni Gilstrap and Brian “Bear” Carlton pitched an afterhours party to their employers, who balked. Undeterred, the trio scoured the area and found an interested partner just across the street at Backstage Bar & Billiards.
ADLV Afterhours, held every Friday night, cleared the six-week mark on August 16. Though the party turned over its smallest numbers—Alexatos blamed a competing underground party—attendance still hit triple digits. The party begins with hip-hop in the main room to lure those exiting Commonwealth (where the three men no longer work). Then, as the house DJs take over the front of the bar—hip-hop continues in a back room—industry types begin filing in, followed by tourists straying from Fremont Street Experience.
“The feedback I get from people is: They come down here because they feel like they’re back home, the city where they’re from,” Alexatos says.
His goal is to build up enough of a clientele to expand to Saturdays and open up the adjoining Fremont Country Club, which holds 1,200 bodies and would warrant booking big-name house DJs. He may try it on October 26, the first day of the Life Is Beautiful Festival.
“We’re feeling it out right now because it’s Downtown,” he says. “I’m enjoying clever ways to get around the challenges. I feel like we’re right there, waiting to turn the corner.”
ADLV Afterhours Fridays, 2 a.m., free. Backstage Bar & Billiards, 601 Fremont St., 382-2227.