El Paso’s newest entertainment venue – The Reagan – opens its doors to the public on Friday, June 18.
Co-owners and newlyweds Kassi Foster-Nava and Alejandro Nava announced the grand opening of The Reagan, located at 313 East Mills Avenue, Friday morning.
For well over a year, the spot has intrigued hotel guests to business professionals in the downtown area.
“It feels great to be a part of the ongoing revitalization of downtown El Paso. We found a home for our business model and created a venue where we can share our love of music and eclectic style with the community,” says Foster-Nava, who previously owned Golden Bones, a retail boutique in Austin.
“The Reagan really picks up where Kassi left off with Golden Bones, but this is truly an El Paso thing,” adds Nava. “Combining the forces of ‘never before seen in El Paso’ entertainment, incredible cocktails, and a mouth-watering menu has resulted in what we call a cabinet of curiosity.”
Venue officials share that the Reagan encompasses 6300 square feet, which includes an upstairs lounge and a basement which serves as an extension of the back of house services.
Conceptual design, refurbishment of the original ceilings and wall treatments, a complete overhaul of the space underground, and new construction took over two years.
“Worth noting is a hidden tunnel discovered during the construction process which was diverted and repurposed into a wine cellar,” venue officials add.
The Nava’s were proud to hire a completely local team of subcontractors and they currently have 40 employees on staff.
The visual oddities at The Reagan are vast, but not limited to, a Zoltar machine from the movie “Big” starring Tom Hanks, a retrofitted jukebox full of selections from the 70’s and 80’s, and neon signage designed by Foster-Nava. Andy Warhol is found on the walls of the men’s restroom and attention-grabbing Gucci cats adorn the ladies’ room. Yolanda
Baker, the famed disco ball maker for Studio 54, was commissioned to design a signature piece for The Reagan. Skulls, snakes, angels, and animal prints are woven into the scene wherever possible.
Upstairs is referred to as “Tarot”, meant for those seeking to get away from the crowd or enjoy a VIP gathering. It has an underground feel, but it sits atop The Reagan and affords patrons a view of the entertainment spectacle on ground level.
The Reagan is a bit of chameleon, in that the experience one will have varies depending on the day of the week. They plan to host theme parties, such as 80’s Goth Rock Night and Taco Tuesdays, to cater all different types of music lovers and crowds. Wine dinners and Sunday Brunch will eventually be offered to feature the culinary expertise of the staff.
“Red carpet-style events with a mix of guests from punk rockers to Elvira look-alikes are definitely a possibility,” says Nava. “And of course, we hope the DJ booth will host guest talent such as Justin Strauss, Eli Escobar, and Peanut Butter Wolf.”
Supporting the Nava’s on their leadership team at The Reagan are longtime friends Chef Hector Saenz, Food and Beverage Director, and mixologist Cesar Perez, Cocktail Director.
Saenz will oversee a solid gastro pub menu, all of which is served on branded collection edition tableware ranging from small plates to wooden planks.
As more and more people return to their offices downtown, Saenz looks forward to offering an extended lunchtime menu to those hoping to “escape” during the workday. “The food that comes out of the kitchen will complement the high presentation concept found at the bar with mixologists pouring and creating cocktails,” says Saenz.
Perez comes to The Reagan from the Velvet Elvis and holds multiple titles within the competitive world circuit of bartending. He is listed as one of the Top 50 within the World Class of the United States Bartender’s Guild.
At The Reagan, he manages over 250 notable bottles of rare and curated spirits, as well as premium aged and a “hard to find” beer selection. His focus is on preparation and he applies the “crust program” which closes the loop between the kitchen and the bar, creating very little waste.
“We apply culinary concentration in our mixology lab. Centrifuged oil infusion is a common practice. Syrups are injected with local flavor and we often use clay aged water in our batches for the bar. Spirits are put on a pedestal at The Reagan,” says Perez.
“From designing the space to cultivating the spirits, this is more fun than work to us,” Nava says of the couple’s effort to bring The Reagan to life. “It’s pure and punk and romantic all at the same time.”
Throughout the rest of June, The Reagan’s operating hours are Thursday through Saturday from 5:00pm until 2:00am, with gastropub offerings from the kitchen until 10:00pm. An online store for The Reagan merchandise will be launched soon.