Opening an LGBTQ+ business is never easy — especially in the middle of a health crisis.
However, Eduardo Cordova (pictured) managed to do just that. His new gay “ultralounge” and restaurant, The Garden Las Vegas, opened in the Arts District this month amid a slew of red tape and restrictions.
While the establishment still launched, plans had to be amended to accomodate ever-changing health codes. For example, finishing the kitchen had to be prioritized as Nevada rules regarding restaurants and bars differed. Brunch is coming soon.
Below, Cordova, a longtime veteran of LGBTQ+ events and nightlife, discusses the challenges of opening The Garden and some of its distinguishing features in the Vegas scene. He also shared with The Advocate photos of The Garden, a mid-century-style gem with a garden patio, fountains, chandeliers, and a fireplace that also doubles as a DJ booth. Learn more on The Garden's Facebook page.
Note: Masks are now required in Vegas, a rule that was imposed after these photos were taken.
The Garden Las Vegas was inspired by the need to have a dedicated space for the LGBTQ community to get together to enjoy and socialize in a beautiful environment and feel elevated. I've always wanted to create an indoor /outdoor venue with lots of flowers, plants, french bistro chairs, marble tables, earth tones of green, greys and a bit of shine of gold, of course!
All our signature cocktails are so different and amazing, but my top favorite would have to be our Garden G&T or our PV Margarita. They are delicious and so pretty. The Garden G&T comes with a custom-made ice sphere with an orchid inside. Such an Instagrammable cocktail!
We were supposed to open the week of the shutdown in Nevada. It was really hard to put so much effort and money into the project and not be able to know when or if we would open one day. The initial plan was to open as a bar and launch the kitchen later because of the costs associated with building and running a kitchen, but we had to do it backward and spend more money to get the kitchen ready to be able to open as a restaurant when the governor announced Phase 1. I had a pile of bills, no ability to open, and had zero revenues. I feel so grateful every day we are open now and so happy to see people loving the space.
Everyone is dealing with this difficult time in a different way. Some people are not ready and it's ok. Most of the people we had the first two weeks, it was the first time they came out. I would say, if you feel comfortable and ready, go out and be safe. You can only protect you the best. If you are not ready or have anxiety, stay home or take baby steps. Go at early hours, or go to a coffee shop or for a walk before you go to a large restaurant or bar. We are taking all the measures necessary for our team and customers to feel safe.