With the Las Vegas tourism and gaming economy starting to rebound there has been an increase in news of forthcoming development. While the construction boom of the early 2000’s and the countless mega-resorts, condos and shopping areas that fueled it may not be returning there are some interesting—if smaller scale—projects on the horizon including Caesar’s Entertainment’s ‘Linq’ project and a bizarre bumper crop of big ferris wheels. The most recently announced project on the drawing board could be one of the most entertaining—the KISS Coffeehouse, completely themed to reflect the iconic rock group, will open in early 2012 in an as of yet undetermined location on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Las Vegas KISS Coffeehouse will be the second location in the United States and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more locations pop up in the next few years. The original KISS Coffeehouse is located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in a development called ‘Broadway at the Beach’ that has much the same feel of a Las Vegas strip without the gaming component. The South Carolina location has been a resounding success and recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.
Obviously when you’re dealing with KISS you’re not going to get a Starbucks atmosphere in their eponymous named coffee bar. The entrance is flanked by 20 foot tall replicas of the ‘Demon boots’ worn by bass player and marketing genius Gene Simmons—and this being KISS the boots smoke for good measure. The drinks are served in big guitar replica mugs and blaring KISS music will complete the experience. The Myrtle Beach location is popular with tourists and locals alike and has twice been named ‘best coffee shop’ in the area.
Celebrity tie ins are nothing new for Las Vegas as anyone who has walked through a casino slot machine area can attest. In addition to the myriad of celebrity themed slots there’s no shortage of other celebrity endorsed businesses—one of the biggest and most successful is Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Margaritaville’ restaurant chain. Buffett has already expanded into the lodging and gaming business in Mississippi and will soon have a ‘mini casino’ presence in the Flamingo Las Vegas. KISS is usually at the forefront of rock music marketing but they’re way behind the curve in Las Vegas. Former Montrose and Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar has a branch of his Cabo Wabo Cantina in the Magnificent Mile Shops on the strip. Motley Crue’s Vince Neil has his name on two Las Vegas tattoo parlors as well as the Tres Rios Cantina at the Las Vegas Hilton.
According to the appropriately named Johnny Rock, owner of the Myrtle Beach KISS Coffeehouse and one of the developers of the Las Vegas location, the unholy union of the band and ‘Sin City’ is a natural:
“We’re coming to take over Vegas. Locations in New York City, Orlando, Hollywood, they’re all on our radar. Las Vegas was the destination we decided to go with first. It’s where the party is.”
The KISS invasion of Southern Nevada won’t stop with the coffeehouse—the band will lend their name to a themed indoor, glow in the dark miniature golf course slated to open at the intersection of Harmon and Paradise this fall.
KISS has never been shy about marketing their band in non-traditional ways. As the band’s business mastermind Gene Simmons explained it:
“It doesn’t matter what it is: Whether it has music, whether it’s a religious symbol, a political symbol, or a politician — everything should be a brand.”
In a city built on that mantra, the presence of KISS is long overdue.
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