Preservation Spotlight: Help Save Davy's Locker Neon Sign

The whimsical neon fish that has long advertised Davy's Locker bar on Desert Inn near Maryland Parkway is endanger of going dark forever and possibly being replaced by generic strip mall sign. 

Which would you prefer, a restored Davy's Locker neon fish or a generic strip mall sign?   Photo Courttesy of Las Vegas Weekly and Sam Morris

Which would you prefer, a restored Davy's Locker neon fish or a generic strip mall sign?  Photo Courttesy of Las Vegas Weekly and Sam Morris

Erin Ryan writes in Las Vegas Weekly that the concern is more than just preservationists and lovers of neon fish being hyperbolic. Ryan writes of the concerted effort by Cindy Slight and others to keep the whimsical  neon fish going.

“It’s so sad. It’s sad for me as a native; I mean my grandfather went to that bar. And it’s sad for me as the bar owner, because we don’t even look open at night,” says Cindy Slight, who started managing Davy’s in 2006 and worked her way into partnership and finally ownership. But she doesn’t own the property or the sign, a relic she says draws all kinds of people to stop and snap photos. At night, though, when bars make most of their money, the almost entirely burned-out banner has the opposite effect. “The sign kind of went the way of the economy at the time,” Slight says, “and so it’s just been an uphill battle ever since.”

There was a victory in that uphill battle, albeit brief. “Davy” has gone dark before, and in 2011 the neon was restored with the help of a generous bar patron. But when the lights started flickering again about five months later, Slight discovered that the $3,100 they’d paid didn’t cover any kind of maintenance. Davy’s Locker is ’60s-era, complete with Rat Pack lore, but Slight says the property owners aren’t local and favor replacing the classic sign with something generic. “So much of old Vegas is gone. You have to really look hard to find the little pieces that aren’t. That’s one of the things I love about Davy, and to see that go …”

Slight’s love also ties to her degree from UNLV, where Davy’s Locker founder Davey Pearl once worked in the athletic department. The story goes that he had a major hand in convincing celebrated basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian to sign on, and Pearl was a celebrated boxing ref in his own right (look him up in the World Boxing Hall of Fame). Slight tried to track down his relatives in her quest to save Davy. She sent a Facebook message to former Mayor Oscar Goodman and has been canvassing the block hoping surrounding businesses might see the benefit of helping restore a piece of history that would showcase the whole corner. She doesn’t own the sign and says the survival of the bar itself has been shaky in the recession’s wake, but she and her devoted crew are "trying all avenues" to keep the fish glowing where he has for so many decades.

In late February, they launched a GoFundMe campaign, asking for help raising $6,100 to cover an overhaul of Davy’s neon and wiring as well as the first year of that crucial maintenance contract. Over $2,100 has come in exchange for perks like bumper stickers, drinks and “undying love.” Slight jokes that for $10, you can peek under the T-shirt on the bar’s mannequin, and she marvels at the size of the dent made by shots dedicated to saving Davy—one dollar at a time. A fundraiser party in the parking lot this weekend will have the Davy's Locker staff washing cars for donations.

For more on the article: Las Vegas Weekly

So, go to the GoFundMe campaign and donate  It doesn't have to be major dollars, every little bit helps. The campaign goes until the end of this month so donate what you can. Or stop by the bar and donate and have a drink to boot.

Either way, now is the time to step up and help save the Davy's Locker neon sign.

Because a generic sign advertising that strip mall instead of the Neon Fish advertising Davy's is just wrong.