Two icons of rock have joined forces to create a new rock bar and performance space in Las Vegas. Alice in Chains guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell and Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian plan to launch the venue, Dead Man’s Hand, in November.
The bar will feature none of the trendy décor, snobby attitude and outlandish prices so prevalent in Vegas. Instead, Dead Man’s Hand will favor grit over glitz, providing customers great music, cool atmosphere and affordable drinks all year long.
“We want this to be a place that we would want to hang out in,” Ian says. “There’s a huge segment of the music audience that likes to go out but doesn’t want to go to places that only play Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga and charge $750 for a bottle of vodka. We want to be the opposite of that.”
“I always wanted to have a cool joint with some friends that would be a great place to go at night,” adds Cantrell. “It’s close to Los Angeles, and a lot of cool bands and people hit Vegas. We wanted to make a fun place for everybody to hang.”
Cantrell came up with the name Dead Man’s Hand, and as soon as he mentioned it to Ian, the guitarist was sold. The two logos for the club -- a skeleton's hand holding the dead man's poker hand atop a flaming Ace of Spades, and a skull-embossed Ace of Spades atop the dead man's hand -- were designed by award-winning artist Shepard Fairey from Obey. “Scott and I are both into poker, and the dead man’s hand -- two aces and two eights -- was the hand Wild Bill Hickok was supposedly holding when he was shot,” Cantrell says. “And we both really like the show Deadwood, so it seemed like a cool name.”
Dead Man’s Hand will feature a long, semicircle-shaped bar that seats 30, a stage, and a raised back area featuring booths directly across from the stage. Total capacity is about 200. The bar will showcase DJs and live music, with a top-notch PA, state-of-the art lighting system and a backline donated by Ian and Cantrell’s respective gear companies.
“We’d like to have a couple of house bands, maybe once or twice a month,” Cantrell says. “And we’ll have some cool bands come in and play. “We’re planning to leave a bunch of gear on the stage so it’s functional for anybody that wants to just get up and go for it.”
“We’re also putting together the Dead Man’s Band, which will be Jerry and I and probably some other sub-partners who are also in well-known bands,” adds Ian. “Obviously, we won’t play once a week or anything because of our schedules, but when we’re all around we’ll get up and jam out a bunch of covers.”
The sub-partners for Dead Man’s Hand will be announced in the weeks ahead. The third equal partner in Dead Man’s Hand is Michael Politz, owner of Food and Beverage magazine. “Jerry and I have talked for years about having a bar, and Michael really helped make it possible,” Ian says. “He’s very tied into the Vegas scene and was very excited about pitching this idea around. It just feels like all the planets finally aligned.”
The bar will offer several signature drinks, including the Dead Man’s Hand (whisky and spicy ginger ale) and, of course the Black Tooth Grin (Crown Royal with a splash of Coca-Cola), the late-guitar legend Dimebag Darrell’s beverage of choice.
"We want to tie that into a drink special," Ian says. "So, every night at midnight or something, we’ll crank 'Ace of Spades' by Motorhead and everyone HAS to do a shot.”
The venue’s first event will be a November 7th party for Bluff Magazine. The party coincides with the World Series of Poker final table on November 9th.
Dead Man’s Hand will be located at 3525 W. Russell Road Las Vegas NV (I-15 exit Russell Road, one block west) right next to the Vegas Alliance strip club Crazy Horse III in a complex called The Playground. For more info: 702-673-1700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.