The ongoing evolution of Gipsy and the Fruit Loop

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<p>PHOTO: NIKKI VILLORIA</p>

The relocation of Krave from the Strip to downtown begs the question: So what’s happening with Gipsy?

The veteran LGBT club, which opened in the late 1970s and has welcomed everyone from international gay tourists to straight locals to celebrities, recently put up a for-sale sign, which provoked chatter about its future. However, according to owner Paul San Filipo, he’s been looking for someone to lease or outright buy the property for the better part of the year.

It’s not out of lost love for the enduring club, which San Filipo patronized all throughout the 1980s before he took it over in 1993. Dealing with contractors and designers — and their usual delays and escalating costs — for the past six years on both Gipsy and its nearby sister club, Piranha (with the attached 8 ½ ultralounge) has taken its toll.

“My strong point isn’t construction,” he says. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, and you get a little burned out … I prefer to just concentrate on [Piranha].”

Several interested parties have come forward, San Filipo says, but none have proposed the right arrangement that would allow Gipsy to continue as more of an ultralounge — something that complements and does not compete with Piranha, which itself is undergoing a major renovation. Patrons will be able to see Piranha exactly as San Filipo originally envisioned it later this month or in early September. Gone are the upstairs VIP booths, and the decor has been altered “100 percent,” he says.

Piranha is the anchor club of the Fruit Loop entertainment district, which appears to have suffered decreased foot traffic over the years. San Filipo disputes this, saying revelers might visit other clubs and bars earlier in the night, but arrive in the area later. “On Saturday, come 2 a.m., there’s a line of traffic that doesn’t stop, and at 2:30, [Piranha] is mobbed.”

Piranha and Gipsy not only face competition from Strip but from the proliferation of gay nightlife throughout the valley. They share the Fruit Loop with other LGBT hangouts such as Freezone and Buffalo, with Krave’s Boys Lounge slated to open there in September.

But San Filipo doesn’t sound worried. In fact, he thinks the abundance of options in the Fruit Loop, as well as Krave’s downtown expansion, is good for Vegas’s gay nightlife. “It’s great to see the bar continuing to raise in the nightlife industry,” he says. “It helps the city, it helps bring more people to town. It’s a positive thing we’re doing.”