A Flair for Hair
Atomic Style Lounge brings retro looks to Main Street’s Antique Alley
The opening of Atomic Style Lounge is much more than a new hair salon. The partners, Jenn Hunter and David McManus, are people who realized a mutual dream, explored downtown Las Vegas and decided to create a fusion of mid-century culture while embracing the 21st century.
According to McManus, many hair salons (and barber shops) are vibrant social gathering places where people can come to talk, relax and feel good about themselves. Atomic Style Lounge blends many elements in a unique space for people to hang out and have fun. For tourists, this experience might not be available at home, and for residents this is a chance to revel in the mid-century, Rat Pack era.
The main focus of the lounge is full-service styling for men and women, particularly vintage looks. Women coming in for hairstyling are invited to choose from a menu of looks: the Screen Siren, Sweet Tart, Skinny Jeans. The menu also includes cuts, a full range of color services and makeup. Clipper cuts and signature looks, including the Undercut and Executive Contour, are available for men, along with hot towel relaxation treatments. Bumble & Bumble products will be carried by the lounge, as well as items from other companies featuring retro hair pomades in vintage-inspired tins.
The salon also sells antiques and collectibles from the 1950s and ’60s and modern items with a retro aesthetic. This aesthetic carries through to the stylists, who each have their own interpretation of mid-century glamour.
It is the passion, vision and mission of Hunter and McManus to grow Atomic Style Lounge as a business and part of the community. The business model of the lounge encourages staff, customers, suppliers and vendors to be creative and bring the mid-century-modern aesthetic into the current era. The lounge was designed as a performance space, and the partners are working with the owners of the building to allow a mural to be painted on the exterior wall facing south.
Mid-century culture, whether it is design, music or style, can be brought into the current time without fossilizing it,” explained McManus. “We are not interested in just museum pieces. We really want to create a living extension of design trends from the past.
For example, bands performing might include covers from that era, but their original music is integral to the growth of the space. Other entertainment will include Burlesque Bingo and comedy shows. The venue plans to also host mixers and events to benefit various charities.
I am thrilled to be part of the downtown redevelopment effort in the Arts District, particularly Antique Alley,” Hunter said. “We believe it is poised to explode and become a vibrant neighborhood that will attract both locals and tourists.
The commercial tenants are working together with a common goal of making the Arts District a destination featuring uniquely Las Vegas experiences, explained Hunter. Along with making the streets one way, bike lanes and park benches will be added. The plan is to develop a pedestrian- and bike-friendly area and create a corridor between the Strip and downtown.
The concept for Atomic Style Lounge started when Hunter was trimming McManus’ hair while wearing a vintage outfit. He loved the idea of opening a salon celebrating mid-century culture. However, the costs in New York were exorbitant, so they decided to take a risk in a different city. While visiting Las Vegas and dining at the Peppermill, they decided that this was the place to make their dream a reality.
This is such a great neighborhood to bring the mid-century vibe to and keep it current,” said McManus. “We knew Las Vegas would embrace this culture.
Since opening in April, McManus has moved from New York to the Arts District and Hunter is planning to relocate soon.
Debbie Hall has been a resident of downtown and central Las Vegas since 1978. After attending UNLV, she followed a career path in broadcasting and writing. Currently, she writes for a number of publications and actively supports downtown Las Vegas in its growth and regeneration.