Las Vegas’ first topless club, Larry’s Villa, up for sale

Larry’s Villa, the first topless club in Las Vegas, is up for sale.

The owner of the bar on West Bonanza Road recently listed the joint for sale with an asking price of $375,000.

Opened by Larry Lapenta in 1972, Larry’s Villa soon became a destination hangout for tourists and locals looking to experience a slice of Sin City’s historic adult playground.

Before Lepenta died in 2006 of pneumonia, he transferred ownership of his trust to his longtime accountant, Brent Howard, who took over management and marketing for both of Lapenta’s businesses.

Larry’s Villa was a sister location to Larry’s Hideaway, which Howard closed in 2012 after it suffered many losses during the recession.

Although three years remain on Howard’s lease for Larry’s Villa, the owner said he wants to sell the bar because his landlord won’t negotiate a contract that doesn’t include higher rent.

Howard said the landlord wants up to another $4 a square foot, which, at 5,000 square feet, would mean an additional $20,000. Howard said he can’t afford it.

“I’m kind of stuck,” Howard said. “If there’s somebody smarter than me who can make this work, go for it.”

Landlords Jim and John Bayer were not immediately available for comment. John Bayer was head coach of the UNLV basketball program in the early 1970s.

Howard said he’s received numerous calls from interested investors. One offered him $20,000, but Howard turned it down.

He said he doesn’t want to give the place away for nothing.

A short time after Lapenta died, Howard turned down an offer on the bar for $3.2 million, he said. The offers plummeted from there. The next one was $1.4 million. Then $400,000.

The bar has since struggled in the headlines, making the news for a December 2013 shooting that left four people wounded.

Howard said the closing of Larry’s Villa would be a loss to the community.

“It’s not like going to the big monuments. It’s a local place where it seems everyone has a story about Larry’s,” Howard said. “Good or bad they’re out there...The stories will be missing. A part of Las Vegas will be gone.”