New owners lean into Hard Hat’s history
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Hard Hat Lounge may be under new ownership, but Robby Cunningham and Frank Sidoris are looking to the storied bar’s past for inspiration.
“This is such a gem that needed a little love to preserve its historical value and show what it can be as a bar, all while maintaining that it’s still a dive,” Frank says.
Robby knows Hard Hat’s potential all too well. He set up his Guerrilla Pizza Company inside the bar two years ago. “I’ve been sitting in the back, watching. I’ve had a lot of time to critique it,” he says.
Frank, a Vegas native and musician who’s toured with Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen for the last 10 years, is a friend of Robby’s and Guerrilla Pizza’s “biggest cheerleader,” bringing pizzas for his famous friends when they’re in town (it’s Slash’s favorite, Frank says).
When the opportunity to buy the Hard Hat came up earlier this year—suggested by a new property owner who purchased the building last October—it was a no brainer. “I said, ‘Oh hell yeah! Let’s do this, this and this,’” Robby says.
The pair took over on August 30, scrambling to submit gaming applications (machines will return soon) and spending countless hours getting it up to snuff, removing “decades of grime” and fixing shoddy wiring. Don’t worry, the original mural behind the bar is intact.
They retrofitted the branding, tapping artist Blaze Brooks to design a vintage hard hat logo, vintage signage and paint the building dark red, similar to its original look. Despite previous signage saying the bar was established in 1958, all records indicated 1962 and is reflected in the logo.
There’s a lot more in store including live entertainment and parking lot parties, starting with a grand opening celebration on October 15 with live wresting, carnival games, food and more.
“I really fell in love with the place having my pizza shop here. It’s the home of my baby. It feels really cool to be total control of the space,” Robby says. “We just want to be a bar that people love to go to and have great food, play into the history and have fun with it.”
Hard Hat Lounge is located at 1675 S. Industrial Road and open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily (later on Friday and Saturday). Swing by for a slice of pizza served from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. daily.