A new arrival to the Las Vegas craft beer scene is Red Dwarf. The tiki/craft beer/pizza bar situated at 1305 Vegas Valley Dr. just east of Maryland Pkwy. opened in late December and is owned and operated by Russell Gardner.
A Las Vegas native, Russell’s been in the beer biz his whole adult life, working as a professional brewer, in distributing, running bars and most recently bartending at Astronomy Aleworks. Many will also remember him for his big beard and trademark handlebar moustache.
Russell says he chose the name because he’s always liked two-word bar names and it’s also a nod to a Detroit legendary devil and annual parade by the same name that is held to drive out the devil and bad omens. As for the design of the bar, Russell said, “If I was a bar, this is how I would look—punk, rock and roll, divey, but nice.”
He added that he wanted a true neighborhood bar that’s not a chain where people can hang out and feel comfortable. Red Dwarf has no gaming or smoking (except on the outdoor patio) and the décor features hanging tiki lamps, album jackets from all music eras and styles sealed in the bar top and a music history wall filled with posters from concerts held in Las Vegas from the 50s to present day. Adding to the tiki feel are nautical touches like the draft system in the shape of ship steam pipes hanging from the ceiling, which Russell designed himself.
Tiki drinks are currently half of the beverage sales, with the likes of Halekulani with bourbon, lemon, pineapple, grenadine and orange bitters. The other half of the sales are craft beers, and if you know Russell at all you won’t be surprised to learn the craft beer list is top notch, with about 50% local representation. During my visit locals pouring included Big Dog’s/Juxta Nomad Hot Dog Water Triple IPA, HUDL Honey I Berried the Showgirl Honey Ale and Tenaya Creek El Charro Mexican Lager. There’s also Dwarf Piss, an all-malt light, clean lager made by Astronomy Aleworks that can only be found at the bar. Prices are quite reasonable with the Dwarf Piss only $4 a pint, others $5-$7 and tiki drinks $10-$14.
In addition to the drinks, there’s a scratch kitchen specializing in Detroit style pizza, which features a 24-hour fermented light, fluffy, crispy crust with toppings under the cheese and sauce on top. After tasting it, I can see why many of the faithful customers come just for the pizza! The wings are also exceptional, and come in varieties of mild, hot, hot BBQ and spicy garlic honey.
Music is a definite part of the vibe, with a wide range of genres playing and live bands performing about once a week. Thus far there have been garage, blues, rockabilly and heavy metal bands and an old-time burlesque show.
Red Dwarf is open daily 11 a.m.-1 a.m. For the tiki and food menu visit https://m.facebook.com/reddwarflv/