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Taboo Cove, Venetian, Las Vegas, NV (bar)

Pages: 1 35 replies

Name:Taboo Cove, Venetian
City:Las Vegas

The Taboo Cove is open at the Venetian. We heard conflicting rumors - but christiki295 and I confirmed it was in fact still open.

[ Edited by: hanford_lemoore on 2004-12-26 22:20 ]

The issue of whether Taboo Cove remains open seems to have reappearead some of the luckiest of us are going to Sin City for New Year's Eve.

Venus, the nightclub, dance spot is closed (although is represented to be open by New Year's Eve).

However, Taboo Cove was unaffected.

I called myself today and confirmed.

(Someone should probably merge these posts with the others. Mahalo.)

Well folks, looks like all of the speculating and hypothesising, and yes, even the phone-calls to the place have turned out to be all for naught. TABOO COVE and VENUS lounge as we know them are GONE. Yes, I said GONE!
How do I know, you ask? Well, pull up a chair, folks, and I'll tell you a little tale...
I live here in Vegas, and have the Tiki Room at The Red Rooster Antique Mall, as well as a space at the new Flamingo Road Antique Mall (Flamingo & Pecos... Thanks For Askin'!), and I have feelers out all over the place to get the heads up on where to find stuff. I also happen to be a Gondolier at The Venetian, and I am CONSTANTLY in that gosh dern bar with friends after work. At least I was, until a few months ago. I haven't been in a while. Just a few days ago, I got a call from a buddy of mine who WORKS IN THE BAR. Not around it, not at the front desk, but actually is employed by the company that owns the two places and physically works inside of the establishment. He told me the horrific news: "They've torn everything out and are throwing it away. There's a big pile of Bosko's stuff & more in the kitchen and they don't know what to do with it. They want to throw it away because it's in the way." Dear God, what a shock. I asked him why they were getting rid of it, and he said they were going to totally re-do the whole place. It'd still be a Tiki Bar & Retro Lounge, but "all new". Panic set in immediately. The dealer in me wanted to run down there and cry, beg, & grovel for it all, and the Tiki-Phile in me wanted to go down there and try to talk some sense into the Manager and tell him why it NEEDS to be re-assembled and kept as Bosko designed it. My friend said to chill for a while & he'd try to get me a meeting with the Manager, and that was the last I heard from him.
Flash Forward to today, when I went in to work. I went early so I could see if I could get in and talk to the Manager. The outside looked normal; everything in place. And then I noticed the windows all covered up with black from the inside. I tugged on the door, & it opened.
I don't even know how to describe the feeling of sickening loss that I felt as I walked in to see that what was once glorious, was now stripped completely bare. There is absloutely NOTHING left in that place. Thatching: gone. Bamboo: gone. Carvings: gone. Framed menus, art & records:gone. Lights: gone. Mugs: gone. Shag's Art & all the posters: gone. Believe me when I tell you that the place is completely devoid of any and all decor what-so-ever. I looked in the kitchen where the stuff was supposed to be piled up, and it was not there. I hope to God that it's in storage, waiting to be re-instated and not wasting away in the Las Vegas Landfill.
So, the definitive answer for that burning debate as to whether or not Taboo Cove & Venus are closed is: NO. They WILL be open for New Years Eve. However, they will not be the same Taboo Cove & Venus as before. Bosko's Taboo Cove is gone forever. It's life was short, but that torch burned oh so brightly. I know a lot of you out there didn't like it much, but it's all we had here in Vegas. For all it's shortcomings, I will miss it tremendously.

[ Edited by: Tiki Lee's on 2004-12-23 01:39 ]

first of all - great to hear from you lee... i'm just sorry to hear it under these circumstances.

and NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
those F*ING GD DMN complete idiots!
so you didn't get to salvage anything at all?

it makes me sick to think of what they did - but even sicker if no one dumpster dived and retrieved anything.

now i am glad i stole a taboo cove menu.


Boy what a SAD Story. It really leaves an Empty hole in your heart.
At least when I carved all the tikis for the Tropicana Hotel, they Told me up front they were changing it all in 4 years and tikis would be no more and at Least they auctioned them off so they didn't end up in the dumpster.
Sad Story.Now o start fixin the hole in my heart...

Man, what a shame. I too, really liked this place. I only hope the carvings weren't trashed in the process.

What?? We called the other morning and were told by the Venetian that it was in fact still open. Okay - who is telling the truth here? Hmmm - conflicting stories again!

Will have to check it out after the New Year!

That is, in fact, terrible news for x-mas. Although we all felt it was just a mattter of time, to now hear that there is not a shred left in the place, walls/floor/ceiling are blank, and all of Bosko's carvings and vintage artifacts were thrown in a pile and dumped, lets one cry out "Sacrilege!" in despair.

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki on 2004-12-26 15:58 ]

WHAT!!!??? Thrown in a pile and dumped? What is this world coming to??? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

When I was there in the summer, they told me they were shutting the doors. I asked what they were doing with everything and the manager told me that most of the stuff was up for grabs by the employees. I gave them my contact info to try to get some stuff but I never heard back. So hopefully it made its way into someones home and not buried in the desert with all the other dead bodies.

I have this sickening and depressing image in my head of clueless busboys taking turns tossing all of those new and vintage Tiki mugs from behind the bar into a dumpster and listening to them smash, laughing and having a good time with it all...

Hope someone can still rescue the Boskos!


Whoa, that really sucks. I never even got a chance to visit the place.

I went there in the beginning of 2002.

What a waste of a lot of great Bosko carvings and vintage mugs, they could not have been stupid enough to throw all that away. The bartenders, barbacks and bar manager all seemed to have a lot of respect for Bosko. We ended up speaking to all of them about the Bosko bowls they served one of the drinks with. I am surprised that any of them would just disregard the decor and dump it.

I was warned about the place not being up to snuff, but lucked out when I went there that they were playing exotica instead of techno. The Cove was well worth visiting, the drinks were soso but the decor was great. It was good timing when I went because I was able to buy the last two Bosko bowls they had. Chips and 151 scorch marks aside, they are huge and beautiful.
Sad to see it go.

That so badly blows I can hardly stand it! I thought the REEF in Palm Springs would go first. Everytime I try to go to that damn place it's closed! It really cheese me off! Uhh, Saturday night...10:00pm...closed? Business must be boomin'! So I end up goin' up to the Toucan "TIKI" lounge, and I'm not even gay (not that there's anything wrong with it). Well everybody, let this be a lesson to us, patronize the joints we got (Lucky Tiki here I come).


This is really sad news. Bosko did a great job with that place. I went there a year ago with my wife to check it out. I can't say that I'm surprised. They were playing heavy metal and rap music. When I asked the bartender about the decor, they had no idea what I was talking about. They just didn't get it. Sad.

Bosko's Taboo Cove is gone forever. It's life was short, but that torch burned oh so brightly.

I am devastated!

I can't handle Las Vegas discarding its tiki. Last time I was there I swung by Sunset Park to check out the Moai of the Lake, and, of course, went to Taboo Cove later that evening.

It had a curious mixture, a bride to be & her ladies in waiting, hip-hop types waiting for Venus to open and random tourists.

I never dreamed that would be my last visit.

The least they could have done was to donate the tiki to Kahunaville, across the street at TI.


A sad thing indeed to hear of the passing of another Tiki place. But the distrubing new (if confirmed) is that the owner just chucked all that tiki artisanship in the trash.


That must make Bosko and many others sick.
Sorry I never made it over there to check it out.


[ Edited by: MEAN GENE on 2005-01-07 10:28 ]

Mrs. Digitiki and I are heading over to Vegas for the 3-day weekend. Are there any tiki must-see's out there?...other than the Taboo Cove which is sadly no more.

I went to Taboo Cove three times and was lucky enough to get in and enjoy the drinks and decor twice. The last time I was there I was on one of those lonely business trip when I happened to meet a S. Cal. surf artist that was into tiki. We had a great conversation about Bosko's art, mugs, exotica music, Hawaii, etc.


That evening is a nice tiki memory. Mahalo to everyone who worked to create it.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2005-01-12 13:27 ]


Yes, so sad and disrespectful. Though I'm from L.A. I had been in there at least five times since it was open. One of the bartenders told me that they were doing it right for the first six months or so: playing exotica music on the p.a., and had a d.j. coming in to play exotica and Sixties rock music and had go-go dancers gyrating on the stage behind the bar! Sorry I missed that! I asked them about the decor and they did mention Bosko. The staff were nice enough but didn't seem to be rabid tikiphiles, or as you might say, "they just didn't get it." Everytime I talked to the bartenders, it seemed that they were slacking off on the whole concept more and more as time went by, and I walked out of there with a heavy heart every time. I knew its days were numbered, especially in Vegas, where since the late 80's everything gets a makeover every three years.
Glad I did drag some friends in there when I had the chance. Excuse me, I must go support Tiki-Ti right now by buying $100 worth of drinks.

Just got back from Vegas and I hereby confirm that the Taboo Cove was taken out to a ditch and shot in the back of the head and left for the buzzards ... or, as polite people say, has become "nonoperational."

Spoke with one of the bouncers, and his smirk when I inquired of any tiki artifacts or indeed any tiki info was as cruel and pitiless as a 26-year-old Congolese "general" preparing to slaughter all the inhabitants of a Belgian nunnery. So I left him to his meth and moral bankruptcy.

The "host" club of Taboo Cover -- Venus -- has also changed its name. I've already forgotten it. But, like, who cares?

Diagonally across the Strip, at the Bellagio, as I glumly walked back to my hotel, the fountain display suddenly erupted in timed explosions with Elvis Presley's immortal cover of "Viva Las Vegas!" Too magnificient for words. More magnificient than even Esquivel at his best. And I recalled that Elvis Presley's good friend Richard Nixon -- yes, the same man who wore black dress shoes to walk on the beach -- even he loved tiki bars. And yet, in this place of all places, tiki was ... well, it's with Elvis now.

I really need to check in here more often...

I was looking into the Taboo Cove as my best friend is out in Vegas right now and he wanted to swing in. Alas, too late.

Just goes to show that if you miis a day (or in my case a month) at TC, you miss a lot!

Very depressing story folks.


Bringing this one back to the top.
Mrs Artiki and I just returned from Vegas after VLV. We went to the Venetian to find that Taboo Cove is now a nightclub called Vivid. It was shut but looks horrendous from the outside.


It just figures! I was SO looking forward to checking this place out. I leave Wednesday for Vegas and now the closest thing to Tiki I will be able to hit will be Margarittaville or Kahunnaville.(looks like they have some Bosko masks on the walls) Sad!

Well maybe I will checkout Sunset Park.

[ Edited by: TikiGoon on 2005-04-12 07:16 ]


Here's a photo of "Vivid"... which as of 4/16/05 still did not appear to be open. The tiki stuff is indeed all gone...

[ Edited by: rupe33 on 2005-04-28 12:06 ]

On 2005-04-27 13:52, rupe33 wrote:
Here's a photo of "Vivid"... which as of 4/16/05 still did not appear to be open. The tiki stuff is indeed all gone...

Any relationship to the film company by the same name?


It did not appear to be related to the film company... although in Vegas you never know! There was no adult industry decor that we could see, even peeking into the darkened windows.

I just ran across this thread, and am much saddened. Visited Venus and Taboo Cove in October 2003. Thought that the bartenders were hired to breath fire and did not have a clue about making Tiki drinks, but still I enjoyed a couple of hours by myself hanging out at Venus. Then went back with the wife and another couple and we got there and it was closed in January 2004. It was still there, but it was closed on like a Tuesday or Wednesday night. I thought to myself that this could not be a good sign.


A few days ago, I was plodding through the Venetian on my way out of Sands convention center I noticed a familiar silouette in the doorway of the China Star... It was a Bosko faux lava Moai, and at it's base a sign reading "Don the Beachcomber's, Polynesian Cocktails and Pupu's!"

I ran in to see several large Bosko totems and a pair of seven foot tall Bosko masks on each end of the bar. Above the wall sconces were framed exotica LP cover from Quiet Village, Taboo, and Ritual of the Savage and on shelves above the door perhaps ten seemingly valuable mugs. I am guessing these items were salvaged from Taboo Cove and will end up in the new Don The Beachcomber's free standing building elsewhere later in the year.

I was a little alarmed however when the bartender told me that since all rights to DTB had been purchased the new owners were free to alter the classic drink recipes to "suit Vegas drinkers who want to quickly gulp drinks instead of slowly sip them". He told me Don's own Zombie recipe had already been altered because it was too strong to slam!

On 2006-03-09 22:51, hodadhank wrote:
A few days ago, I was plodding through the Venetian on my way out of Sands convention center I noticed a familiar silouette in the doorway of the China Star... It was a Bosko faux lava Moai, and at it's base a sign reading "Don the Beachcomber's, Polynesian Cocktails and Pupu's!"

I ran in to see several large Bosko totems and a pair of seven foot tall Bosko masks on each end of the bar. Above the wall sconces were framed exotica LP cover from Quiet Village, Taboo, and Ritual of the Savage and on shelves above the door perhaps ten seemingly valuable mugs. I am guessing these items were salvaged from Taboo Cove . . .

Excellent urban archeology, Hodadhank!

Where will Don the Beachcomber be located?

A silver lining to the tragedy that befell Taboo Cove.

This is so exciting! I hope the new DTB opens by this fall when we go to Vegas for my brother's bachelor party!

On 2006-03-09 23:15, christiki295 wrote:

Excellent urban archeology, Hodadhank!

Where will Don the Beachcomber be located?

Mahalo Christiki, but I just happened to look up at the right moment.

I asked the bartender if it wouldn't be better to put the Moai out in the corridor where people would see it better. He agreed grumbling that the Venetian wouldn't allow them even though it's halls are already littered with kiosks and signs advertising other attractions at the casino.

All he said about DTB's future location is that it would be located off the strip in a freestanding structure and that they would be moving out of the venetian at the end of the summer.

Oh, I incorrectly identified the lounge as The China Star. It is actually called The China Bar located next to the Royal Star chinese resturant.

I found some photos of its former asian themed incarnation. (From the first image you can imagine how a tall dark moai might escape detection inside the tall dark doorway of a tall dark lounge!)

MrsBaliHai and I just spent 3 nights at the Venetian, and I made a point of stopping at the China Bar for one of their advertised "Don the Beachcomber" cocktails. The bartender was MIA, he'd gone hunting for a donut fix, so we sat there for a few minutes and contemplated the sad fate of Taboo Cove. When the barkeep came back (with Krispy Kreme smeared all over his lips), he informed us that the cook for the new off-strip Beachcombers had gone AWOL with the drink recipe book, but that he would try to make us something. My red danger flags went sailing up the pole hearing that, but I ordered a Mai Tai anyway.

Despite the fact that the bar was loaded with top-shelf rums, he proceeded to mix my Mai Tai with Cruzan Mango Rum and sweet/sour mix with a floater of Myers Dark on top, no limes were in evidence. The result was pretty sweet for my tastes. I struck up a conversation with him about sweet vs. sour mixology, and he told me that the China Bar owner was "modifying" the original Beachcomber recipes to make them more palatable to modern tastes (i.e. the fratboys and sorority chicks who were roaming the Venetian in swimtrunks and hooting at the top of their lungs), by, among other things, eliminating the Pernod that Don used in many of his recipes. Having had many a drink ruined by too much Pernod, I couldn't blame them too much, but getting rid of lime and lemon juice, just shows a basic misunderstanding of mixology to me.

He also told me that the owner was in litigation with the current owners of the Beachcombers in Hawaii over the copyright of the name. He claimed that the China Bar owner has actually purchased the trademark. Apparently, China Bar is up for sale, and the owner intends to break ground for the new Beachcomber as soon as the deal closes. I didn't know whether to be excited or not, because it sounds like it's probably going to be another Mickie Finnz-style surfer bar with a few random tikis tossed in. I hope I'm wrong.

Nabbed this picture from a Las Vegas Review Journal story on P Moss and Frankie's.

Photo Scott Lindgren

I wish there were more Taboo Cove pictures, this is a good one.


On 2013-06-14 07:46, Bora Boris wrote:
I wish there were more Taboo Cove pictures,

Yeah it's surprising that there aren't. Funny how, when a place is new, sometimes it feels like there's no need to document it so thoroughly, expecting it to be HERE TO STAY. But also since Taboo Cove mostly predated the Locating Tiki forum, maybe there's some pics on TC distributed in other threads. Here's some of my pics...

From a visit in 2001, the view entering the bar area

Great Wall of Bosko

Those pics were from Oct 2001, when everybody was still skittish about air travel after 9/11. Also for context, here's the (EMPTY) Venus Lounge next door on the same 2001 visit.

I can't remember the layout between the two, but I think this Shag mural thing was somewhere in the hallway

And since I was looking at the pics from that visit, I can't help but include these totally unrelated images. I guess 2001 was a while ago, but not THAT long ago, when places like La Concha were still there.

Back to Taboo Cove, I came across some pics from another (attempted) visit in 2002, except everything was closed at the daytime hour I stopped by.

Can't remember what these doors led to - maybe this was the closed entrance to Taboo Cove?


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