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Daytime Is The Best Time For Downtown Vegas

Outside Of The Fremont Street Experience Downtown Las Vegas

Dusk! Time To Exit The Fremont Street Experience

Downtown Vegas is awesome. 

Downtown Vegas is a shit show.

Even since I first visited Downtown Vegas I made it a part of every vacation. Now that I live in Vegas it’s become a regular stop. Downtown Vegas is great but it’s like that two face like that woman on Seinfeld years ago.

During the day Downtown Vegas is a much different place than at night. I’ve always been partial to visiting Downtown Vegas during the day. Here’s why.

Fewer People – The canopy and free concerts on Fremont Street bring out hordes of people. I don’t like hordes of people. The confined space feels claustrophobic. I don’t want drunk people touching me for no reason. I’m also always in a rush and hordes of people slow me down.

See Everything – During the day you can actually see everything. The vintage neon signs are great and I truly enjoy them but they’re distracting. The signs are designed to draw the eye and they do a great job at that. Those signs are really all you see at night. During the day you can see everything Downtown Vegas has to offer.

Even Cheaper Gambling – Gambling in Downtown Vegas is always cheap compared to the Vegas Strip. However on weekend nights you’ll see some minimum bets around $10. Yes, that’s still low but you can usually find minimums around $5 when the sun is up. I can dig that.

The Freaks Come Out At Night – The buskers and mascots looking to make a buck are always out on Fremont Street. During the day you can easily just walk by them. Buskers multiply at night since there’s more people and more money. They just get in the way. No thanks.

I like Downtown Vegas a lot and I prefer visiting during the day. Unless I’m staying overnight you’ll rarely, if ever, catch me in Downtown Vegas at night. If you enjoy crowds and a chaotic environment you’ll probably love Downtown Vegas at night.

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You’ll Find Deep Fried Twinkies In Downtown Vegas At Mermaids

Find Deep Fried Twinkies at Mermaids Casino Downtown Las Vegas Fremont Street

Find Deep Fried Twinkies At Mermaids

I’ve never had a Deep Fried Twinkie and probably never will. It just doesn’t sound appealing. I’d rather waste $1 on something else that’s bad for me. Maybe a Deep Fried Oreo.

I’ve only been to Mermaids in Downtown Vegas once in my life. That was my first visit to Downtown Vegas. It’s a small slot machine only casino with no hotel. The one thing that they have you can’t find at any other casino in Las Vegas are Deep Fried Twinkies.

I always get Mermaids confused with La Bayou which is the other slot machine only casino without a hotel on Fremont Street in Downtown Vegas. La Bayou doesn’t have Deep Fried Twinkies. It’s too small.

The only reason to visit La Bayou is for the single line nickel slot machines and fast drink service. Hey, that doesn’t sound too bad.

Remember:

  • Mermaids – Deep Fried Twinkies.
  • La Bayou – Single line slot machines and fast drink service.

This blog post is as much for you as it is for me since I never remember the difference. Have fun getting fat and drunk!

Photo: Dickies Universe

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Nacho Daddy: Voted Best…

Nacho Daddy Sign Downtown Las Vegas

Nacho Daddy

I was bored last week so I decided to spend a day and night in Downtown Vegas mostly on Fremont Street. Surprisingly, I didn’t gamble much but I had a great time anyway. I’ll be sharing highlights throughout the week.

Best Margarita In Vegas At Nacho Daddy Downtown Vegas

Best Margarita In Vegas

If you know me you know that I don’t drink tequila. The last time I had tequila I vomited on myself. No bueno. Good thing I met up with someone willing to taste test the margarita at Nacho Daddy.

I needed to know if the sign was true or false advertising! With that in mind I had an ice cold beer. It was so cold that there was almost ice forming on the top of my beer.

Dos Equis Beer At Nacho Daddy

mmm…beer

Unlike previous visits I didn’t go to Nacho Daddy to eat. It was to meet up with Gray from Vegas Solo and have a drink. Unbeknownst to either of us we found Scott from Vital Vegas sitting at the corner of the bar.

[Read more…]

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Banger Brewing Is Better Than I Imagined

Banger Brewing Logo

Banger Brewing

I was bored last week so I decided to spend a day and night in Downtown Vegas mostly on Fremont Street. Surprisingly, I didn’t gamble much but I had a great time anyway. I’ll be sharing highlights throughout the week.

Banger Brewing opened its doors for business late last year to rave reviews. I visit Downtown Vegas pretty often but I’m usually in a casino to gamble. I kind of feel like a jerk for not visiting Banger Brewing sooner. I like beer and was blown away with my first 4 beers from the flight below.

Flight of Beer At Banger Brewing in Downtown Vegas

Flight of Beer At Banger Brewing

There are about 15-20 beers on tap at Banger Brewing and I told the bartender to give me a nice variety without getting too hoppy. Too many hops and I get a headache.

The flight above started with a crisp basic pilsner or wheat (I forget the name) and went to their Sandia (watermelon wheat) which led to the most amazing beer I’ve tried. El Heffe was next. It’s a pretty awesome name for their jalapeno hefeweizen. This might be the most unusual beer I’ve ever tasted. I would never order it alone but as part of a flight the subtle jalapeno flavor was fantastic. The flight ended with their tasty Imperial Stout called Knight Rye*der.

Lemon Shandy

Lemon Shandy

The subtle flavors from the watermelon and jalapeno beer made me want to try this Lemon Shandy which is one of the beers that rotates through (here’s their regular beer menu). This was a perfect beer for how I was feeling at the moment. The beer was crisp, refreshing and not too lemony.

[Read more…]

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Go Pro Video Of The SlotZilla Zipline On Fremont Street

SlotZilla looks awesome!

The zipline that shoots out of a two-story slot machine in Downtown Vegas may look hokey and clog traffic on Fremont Street but the design takes me back to a time when I found Vegas. It will always hold a special place in my heart because of that. That said I’ll never ride it. Ever.

Heights and I don’t get along. In fact, I’m such a wuss about heights that I couldn’t make it through this entire point of view video of the zipline ride. If you’re not height adverse and looking for a random fun thing to do in Vegas, check this out! What I saw looks cool.

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Slotzilla Should Be Open This Friday At Noon

Watching people fly overhead on Fremont Street in Downtown Vegas is fun but I’ll never do it. According to Fremont Street Experience on twitter you’ll be able to do that again as soon this weekend. Slotzilla should be open as soon as Friday at noon.

PS: You’ll never see me on this thing no matter how cool it looks

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In Vegas It’s Hot In The Sun

Las Vegas Weather

Talking about the weather is a funny thing. I was tweeting about this a few weeks ago when a friend had similar, unrelated, thoughts about talking weather. Usually weather is a topic just to fill awkward moments of silence. When I told friends I was moving to Las Vegas they all asked me about how I’ll deal with the weather. Truth is that there’s 4 months of sweltering heat in Vegas while there’s up to 6 months of cold and snow back east. I win the battle of bad weather.

Still, it’s hot in Vegas. Today will be the second day the temps reach 100 degrees this year. 100 degrees is hot but it’s not obscenely hot. That happens when the temperatures reach 115 and above. There’s no humidity in Las Vegas and that makes a huge difference. There really is something to there being “dry heat”. 100 degrees with zero humidity feels better on the skin than 90 with 100% humidity in New York City.

Last summer some friends were in town and we met up in downtown Vegas to play craps and Sigma Derby at The D among other games at other places. We joked that the weather was fine as long as we stayed under the canopy on Fremont Street. We joked about it until walking all the way to Mob Bar for a drink.

While it was fine being outside on Fremont Street the 115 degree temperature on that 1 block walk to Mob Bar was nasty hot. I woke up early this morning and decided to watch Channel 8 news and the weather person mentioned that it’s 15 degrees hotter when you stand in direct sunlight as opposed to the shade. Today’s 100 degrees will feel like 115 degrees and the temperature in July will feel like 130 when we walk to Mob Bar from The D.

Now we have a number to prove that it’s hot in the sun in Vegas. If you follow me on twitter you’ll notice me reference “closest _____ with covered parking” pretty often this summer. That’s my trick to avoid the extra 15 degrees. It’s also a good excuse to visit a casino since they have covered parking.

The heat is normally fine when you’re in the shade but you may want to stay out of direct sunlight if you don’t like the heat or you’re physically sensitive to it. Wether you’re covered or not it’s always a safe bet to drink water.

PS: On a side note it will be interesting how The Linq and MGM Park complex will deal with the sun and heat.

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So Long Gold Spike, Sexy Blackjack

Sexy Blackjack At Gold Spike Las Vegas

$5 Sexy Blackjack At Gold Spike

Gold Spike was closed a couple of weeks ago during my pre-summer-n0t-really-vacation and is now owned by Downtown Project. Gold Spike will re-open in a couple of weeks as a bar/restaurant and without a casino or Sexy Blackjack.

 Michael Downs, Downtown Project executive vice president of operations. said the property at 217 Las Vegas Blvd. North is in good shape. The Siegel Group of Nevada Inc. sold the property to Downtown Project investors recently for an undisclosed amount. When Siegel purchased the property five years ago, it did extensive renovations to the casino and hotel rooms.

Sexy Blackjack was stopped back in February and I could tell that this was just the beginning. See, the first place I worked out of college ran into financial problems and was looking for ways to trim the fat. Their first idea was to remove the water cooler. The water cooler was less than a $100 a month expense and let everyone on staff know that things were seriously bad. It didn’t have to be a water cooler that signified change but there was always a signal.

Sexy blackjack wasn’t an expense like the water cooler but its removal was a metaphor for change. Sexy Blackjack wasn’t sexy but it was fun to talk about. Gold Spike was always a part of my Downtown Vegas tour specifically because of Sexy Blackjack. “Hey, I just played $5 Sexy Blackjack” was something my friends and I would say pretty often. There’s plenty of $5 blackjack available downtown but there was no other “Sexy Blackjack”.

The Gold Spike will re-open as part of Downtown Project’s renovation/gentrification/takeover/expansion in Downtown Vegas. This isn’t entirely a bad thing. Reinventing the area around Fremont Street is great even though a little diversity in ownership would be nice. Monopolies are never good for the consumer. That’s for the government to deal with.

Sexy Blackjack and the Gold Spike leaving our lives means different things to different people. Gamblers won’t really be affected since there is plenty of $5 blackjack downtown, tourists will lose a few hundred cheap hotel rooms but room prices may increase with less competition, locals will have to deal with the Downtown Project expansion.

Me, as a local gambler? I’ll miss Sexy Blackjack because it was fun to say but that’s about it. If I want to look at girls while I gamble downtown I can go to Binions, the D, Golden Gate Casino or The Plaza but it won’t be the same as spending a lazy Saturday afternoon playing Sexy Blackjack. 

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3 Awesome Downtown Vegas Casino Renovations And 2 Others

Old Vegas became Downtown Vegas over the past few years because of a myriad of changes to the area. There have been a lot of additions to the area but the places I care most about are the casinos. Many of the Downton Vegas casinos have been renovated over the past few years. Some renovations are better than others. Here are my favorite Downtown Vegas casino renovations.

1. the D – The D casino used to be Fitzgeralds but a complete overhaul of the property last year turned it into something entirely new and awesome. I know I’ve been inside The Fitz but I have no memory of it. The D has two very contrasting floors of its casino. The first floor is incredibly energetic (and loud) with great craps and good 3:2 blackjack. The loud music gives beats that the Go-Go dancers in between table games can dance to. Upstairs has a more mellow vibe with slower music and more machine games. This is where you’ll find Sigma Derby, old video poker and slot machines. It’s a fun contrast and easily one of my favorite places downtown. Photo: Yelp

the D casino

2. El Cortez – El Cortez was the first casino to renovate and the renovations almost seem old compared to the other casinos in downtown Vegas. The renovations being a little older than the other downtown Vegas casinos allows El Cortez to easily have the most real vintage feel. Besides having great gaming rules (3:2 blackjack, 10x odds craps) rules and cheap gaming ($5 blackjack, $3 craps) they give away free ice cream and free pie periodically. I love El CortezPhoto: AllVegasPoker.com

El Cortez Poker

3. Golden Gate – Golden Gate is the oldest downtown Vegas hotel and last year’s renovations go a long way to keep that vibe. The renovations were all done to a roarin 20’s theme. The casino is very small and can be claustrophobic to some but that coziness brings great energy to the tables. Golden Gate has the same owners as the D so much of the gaming is the same. The main difference is that the video poker here is not very good and some of the blackjack games use a Continuous Shuffle Machine (I hate CSM!). Most of the dealers at night are also G0-Go dancers. That doesn’t hurt. This is probably my favorite downtown Vegas casino to play craps (ironically, no go-go dancers are craps dealers). Photo: Priceline

Golden Gate Sexy Craps Dealers

Golden Gate Sexy Craps

Honorable Mention. Gold Spike – Gold Spike is a tiny casino off Fremont Street. The casino is made up of 4 blackjack tables. That’s it (I think). Gold Spike is fairly useless with the exception of $5 sexy blackjack. $5 sexy blackjack isn’t really sexy but it’s fun. Gold Spike is more of a change of pace than anything else. Drink service is super quick since it’s small and never busy.

sexy blackjack

Other: The Plaza – This is my least favorite of the renovated casinos downtown. There is just no vibe at all here. It’s clean, big and new but that’s about it. Odds are if I’m at this end of Fremont Street I’m probably across the street rolling dice or eating pancakes at DuPar’s inside the Golden Gate. 

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Old Vegas Out…Downtown Vegas In

I’ve been talking about a lot of the upcoming changes to the Vegas strip lately. I’m all for change and I’m pretty stoked about what the future of the Vegas strip will bring. It won’t be the Las Vegas that I came to love over the years but that’s what Vegas is and I’m cool with it.

When I first started visiting Las Vegas we used to take part of a day to visit “Old Vegas”. We saw what Vegas used to be. It was fun to go from Bellagio to the El Cortez and see the difference between new luxury and old n dirty. This was before renovations began to Old Vegas around 10 years ago. What’s happening to the Vegas strip has been happening downtown for years and its awesome.

The first downtown renovations I remember happened to one of my favorite downtown Vegas casino – El Cortez. The burnt felt was replaced around 6 years ago. Around that time they stopped asking if “El Cortez can buy me a drink” and beer stopped being served in dented cans. Bottles only. The charm was gone and so was I.

I needed to let the changes to soak in. This was just the beginning and I wasn’t ready for a new and modern El Cortez (or anywhere for that matter). Old Vegas was becoming Downtown Vegas.

Downtown Vegas is still old, technically. The renovations to many of the casinos and bars are just lipstick on a pig. New paint, new felt. Low brow fancy, but not really fancy. In addition to renovations there have been a lot of new bars and restaurants popping up in Downtown Vegas. You can see some on the wikipedia page for Fremont Street.

It took a while for me to be OK with the changes to Old Vegas. Now, downtown Vegas is one of my favorite parts of Las Vegas. If I just want to grab coffee and wifi I’ll head to The Beat. If I want to play craps, I’ll head to Main Street Station, the D or El Cortez. If I’m in the mood to drink? I’ll head to Mob Bar and get a cheap crash pad somewhere. There is a lot of fun to be had downtown and, even though it took me a while, I dig the change from old Vegas.

I’ll go into brief detail with some of my favorite changes to old Vegas…err downtown Vegas next week.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas