t’s that time of year again, the big 4th of July holiday weekend; a time when family and friends come back to town to celebrate and catch up on the year past’s most momentous occasions. While there’s plenty to do and see, for many visitors and locals alike, a visit to the clubs and casinos on Aultman is a tradition as important as any other.
This year will see a new addition to the many night spots on the local downtown strip, as the former Good Times (392 Aultman Street) will be re-christened the Corner Tracks Saloon and Stage, with a grand opening scheduled for Friday night.
Proprietor Tony Alfieri, aka “Tony Baggadonuts” as he’s known to those who can’t pronounce his name, is fulfilling a dream of owning a bar on the same street he used to perform on as a drummer and keyboardist back in the 1980s. Sitting on the corner of Aultman and Mill streets, the celebrated ancient, red brick building has a history that matches just about any building in this historic section of town, having formerly housed a general store, a three-lane bowling alley, a Chinese restaurant and Chinese laundry —.just to name a few.
The interior is equally mature, sporting a thick wooden bar with tall wooden bar stools, some with plush backs on them, partial wood floors reminiscent of bowling lanes, yellow stained tin ceiling tiles with patterns built in them that were imported from the old American Legion building, and hanging shade lamps that once hung from the ceiling of a gym in Los Angeles where famed boxer Jack Dempsey trained.
There’s a handful of high tables and comfortable stool sized chairs that line the eastern wall across from the bar, and against the northern wall Alfieri has set up a stage where his drum set and keyboards sit, awaiting the impromptu gathering of musicians he hopes will fill the elongated room with music.
“People can come here with their instruments,” Alfieri said. “There’s always the chance for a jam session.”
Opening a club in a small town has not been easy for Alfieri, who has waited a couple of months to have his new sign installed (and he’s still waiting). Also, he had a Vegas band booked for the grand opening but when the group picked up a gig closer to home, they canceled their appearance and Alfieri was left having to scramble, deciding instead to have karaoke all weekend, through July 4.
Despite the setbacks, Alfieri has big plans for the new venue, including cleaning up the back lot and opening a beer garden and entertainment area for patrons who enjoy the outdoors during the summer months. He also plans to get the basement up to code and start a model railroad club in the downstairs area. Big on trains, Alfieri is a student brakeman with the Nevada Northern Railroad, an addition to his resume, which also includes a 30-year career as a paramedic/firefighter; 10 years in the area of his hometown of Chicago, Ill. and 20 years in Las Vegas.
Alfieri‘s been hooked on Ely since his band days in the 1980s, when he remembers at least five clubs downtown that offered live music, Mr. G’s being the most exciting spot.
“The place was hopping in the mid-’80s,” he said about the downtown area. “It was a really good time.”
He started visiting again around 2000-2001, and realized how much live music was missed. When he started planning his retirement, Ely was his choice to live and build a local music venue, and with the opening of the Corner Tracks Saloon and Stage, his dream is becoming a reality.
The bar will be open most days at 3 p.m., but if he sees a crowded street anytime this weekend or on the 4th, the doors will part earlier.
“We have a nice, quiet place,” Alfieri said. “It’s nicely decorated and there’s no smoking or pets.”
The club will offer a Kickin’ the Caboose special this weekend, which is a shot of Fireball mixed with cranberry juice on the rocks for $7. They will also offer other shot specials, draft beers for $3, and bottles and cans for $4.
“This is a relaxed atmosphere and drinks are reasonably priced,” Alfieri said. “This will be a festive place to be this weekend.”