Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 | 2 a.m.
A group of Raiders fans at this central Las Vegas bar were on the edge of their seats as the team moved the ball downfield.
And when the Raiders finally scored a touchdown, everyone at Chanclas Cantina jumped in joy, hugging and high-fiving to celebrate amid the Raiders’ 2-0 start to the season.
These fans, while not at the stadium, have lived and died with each Raiders game at Chanclas for years.
While not everyone can be in attendance for a Raiders game — at home or the road — viewing parties are numerous across town. Some like Chanclas have been longtime Raiders hangouts, even before the team moved here. Others are now embracing the hometown team.
Tucked away in the Thunderbird Boutique Hotel complex along Las Vegas Boulevard South between the Strat and Fremont Street, Chanclas is a place where it’s rare to find a customer without a Raiders jersey during a game.
Eddie and Megan Cerda opened the original Chanclas bar near Desert Inn Road and Pecos Road about three years ago. It quickly became a Raiders fan hangout. With a need for a larger space, the Cerdas moved the bar to the Thunderbird in March.
Their slice of Raider Nation moved right along with them.
“This is our home away from home,” said Art Perez, president of the Raiders of the Central Valley booster club out of Fresno, Calif. “The food is great here, and Eddie and Megan really take care of us.”
As they do for most Raiders games, Perez and close to two dozen of the club’s members watched last week’s game from a small VIP section inside the bar.
The six-hour drive from Fresno is a small price for Perez and his wife to pay to be with their favorite group of fans to watch their favorite team in the team’s new home city.
A former season ticket holder when the Raiders played in Oakland, Perez said he couldn’t afford season tickets inside the team’s $2 billion Las Vegas football and entertainment palace.
“I’m not going to lie, I was a little upset when the team left Oakland,” Perez said. “But I’m a die-hard Raider fan. I’ll support the team wherever it is. Here in Las Vegas, I can’t believe the number of Raiders signs and billboards we’ve seen around town. The logo is everywhere. It’s amazing to see that.”
Inside Chanclas as the first half of the Sept. 13 game wound down, fans started to sense that a Raiders comeback might be possible.
Raiders fan Doug Price of Las Vegas said he had a ticket for the season opener two weeks ago against Baltimore, though he decided to watch from Chanclas because the people he planned to attend with had a last-minute change of plans.
As he stood by the bar, a waitress greeted him by name and handed him a Miller Lite.
“I figured I’d come here to watch it instead of going with people I didn’t know,” Price said. “The people here are like family. The food is good, and the DJ is a friend of mine. Raiders fans are very loyal and very passionate about their team.”
At halftime of the game, members of the Central Valley booster club, one of over 50 clubs officially recognized by the Raiders, had a chance to dig into the chicken taquitos and chicken and carne asada nachos, which were made by Eddie Cerda.
The bar even accepts fans of other NFL teams.
“The real fans just want to watch the game and have a good time. We don’t care who your team is, we just like to have a good time,” Perez said. “If you’re a true Raider fan, there’s always respect there.”
Where to gather
Raiders Tavern & Grill
12300 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Henderson
Stage Door Casino
4000 Linq Lane
Jackpot Bar and Grill
4485 S. Jones Boulevard
Lucky Club Hotel & Casino
3227 Civic Center Drive, North Las Vegas
Time-Out Sports Bar
6138 W. Charleston Blvd.
1215 Las Vegas Blvd. South