Monthly Archives: August 2016

Work Begins on Exterior of Fremont’s La Bayou Casino

Work has begun on the exterior of former grind joint and daiquiri dispensary La Bayou on Fremont Street.

Here’s your exclusive look at the scaffolding and mesh, which, we should add, would make a great band name.

La Bayou renovation

The casino version of a burka.

La Bayou was purchased by Derek and Greg Stevens, who also own The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate, in April 2016.

Here’s a look at the historic casino before it closed.

La Bayou Las Vegas

For years, La Bayou was our go-to spot for strawberry daiquiris. Which explains all the typos and grammatical errors in this blog post.

La Bayou has a long and glorious history which we are far too drunk to actually research or share with you.

Instead, here’s a photo of where La Bayou is in relation to other things Derek and Greg Stevens purchased, specifically Mermaids and the Girls of Glitter Gulch Strip Club and Human Petri Dish.

La Bayou Fremont Street

La Bayou originally opened as the Las Vegas Coffee House. Because naming things is hard.

The Stevens brothers haven’t said too much about their plans for La Bayou, but stripping away the New Orleans-themed decorations on the buildings facade are probably high on the list.

Derek Stevens has said the La Bayou site is likely to be part of an expansion of the Golden Gate casino, which is an idea we love, basically because we personally kick that casino’s ass at every possible opportunity. All due respect.

On the other side of Fremont Street, both Glitter Gulch and Mermaids will soon be absorbed into a new resort which will also include the shuttered Las Vegas Club. The resort is being called “18 Fremont” internally, but don’t get emotionally attached to that name.

To stay in the loop about all the happenings on Fremont Street, make sure to visit this Las Vegas blog, hourly. At least. Like you have anything better to do.

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Four, Count ‘Em Four, Shops Call It Quits at Pawn Plaza

To say downtown’s Pawn Plaza is going through a rough patch would be an understatement. A startling four shops have shuttered at Pawn Plaza in just a week’s time.

Pawn Plaza is a shopping complex fashioned from shipping containers, an idea inspired by downtown’s Container Park. Pawn Plaza sits next to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop made famous in TV’s “Pawn Stars.”

Pawn Plaza

It’s like Piet Mondrian humped a container ship. Or something.

It seems Pawn Plaza is going through the same kind of growing pains Container Park experienced, just all at once.

Here’s a rundown of the casualties.

Smoke’s Poutinerie

The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop gets a huge number of Canadian visitors, so it made sense to have an eatery featuring this popular Canadian dish. No such luck. Smoke’s Poutinerie was the first of the four shops to close.

Pawn Plaza

We quite enjoyed whatever it was we ate here.

Inna Gadda di Pizza

The closing of Inna Gadda di Pizza came as a surprise because of the restaurant’s pedigree. The shop was run by some of the same folks who opened the popular Pizzeria at Cosmopolitan (often called “Secret Pizza”). The pizza was okay, but given the choice between Inna Gadda di Pizza and the excellent Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ, it was no contest.

Inna Gadda di Pizza

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” translates roughly as “The Garden of Life,” further proof you learn a metric ass-ton of useless stuff writing a blog.

Pawn Donut and Coffee Shop

The Pawn Donut and Coffee Shop was managed by the company behind Inna Gadda di Pizza. The doughnuts were solid and the prices were good. It’s likely this small shop could hold its own, but when Inna Gadda di Pizza pulled up stakes, it was a package deal.

Pawn Donut and Coffee

“Folks, we’re closing the shop, so we have to move everything out.” “All right, I’ll get a shoe box.”

Las Vegas Flip Flops

It’s a shock a flip flop store would fail given the huge public demand for, you know, flip flops.

Pawn Plaza Flip Flops

You will be missed, Las Vegas Flip Flops, by both of your loyal customers.

Thanks to Eater Vegas and Las Vegas Advisor for sharing news of the shuttered shops.

So, what’s the story at Pawn Plaza?

It’s been reported businesses at Pawn Plaza have been struggling overall, with disgruntled shopkeepers claiming the shopping center’s failing to meet their expectations.

Pawn Plaza’s PR team says, rightly, it’s the nature of the business that some stores will survive, others won’t.

Gold and Silver Pawn

The Gold & Silver Pawn shop continues to draw throngs. Just walk over to Pawn Plaza and buy something, people. It’s 14 feet away.

Pawn Plaza says it looks forward to announcing new tenants soon. Then again, what else are they going to say?

Is Pawn Plaza worth a stop? Of course! Did we mention Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ? It has a bar. ‘Nuff said. Bonus: “Pawn Stars” star Rick Harrison even tends bar there most Friday and Saturday nights.

Oh, and try Rita’s Italian Ice and Custard. The frozen custard is amazing, but just make sure it’s custard you’re getting because of the occasional egg shortages. It’s a thing.

Rita's Italian Ice custard

First, the custard is spectacular. Second, our future as a hand model is assured.

We’re rooting for Pawn Plaza to find a new batch of shops to fill out its roster. Pawn Plaza is a colorful addition to a blighted part of downtown. It’s just a matter of finding the right mix of shops and not relying solely on pawn shop visitors to support them.

And more bars couldn’t hurt.

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Big Rig Jig Debuts in Downtown Las Vegas and It’s Glorious

The Big Rig Jig, a 50-foot-tall, 25-ton sculpture has made its debut in downtown Las Vegas, and it’s an undeniable jaw-dropper.

Big Rig Jig downtown Vegas

Oh, you know, just your everyday two giant tanker trucks doing the tango.

Big Rig Jig was created by artist Mike Ross, and became known worldwide after buzzed-about appearances at Burning Man and Coachella.

The public art piece was purchased by Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, and goes on display in time for the Life is Beautiful music festival, Sep. 23-25, 2016.

Here’s another look, elevated.

Big Rig Jig, featuring two modified tanker trucks in a gravity-defying “S” shape, is set to be a must-see attraction downtown, and is destined by become one of the most-photographed pieces of public art in all of Las Vegas.

Big Rig Jig Las Vegas

Big Rig Jig has cleaned up real good for its Las Vegas debut.

As originally designed, Big Rig Jig can allow guests to climb up through the work and peer out a viewing platform on top. It’s unclear if visitors will be permitted to get inside the downtown incarnation.

Big Rig Jig is located at the defunct Fergusons Motel.

Big Rig Jig

It’s best if you don’t ask what happened at Fergusons Motel before it was purchased and closed by Downtown Project.

The former motel is at the corner of Fremont Street and 11th Street, a block west of Maryland Parkway.

Note: While the neighborhood around Big Rig Jig has benefited from the real estate investments (Downtown Project owns Fergusons) by Tony Hsieh, it’s still a tad sketchy, so best to visit in the company of a friend or pepper spray.

Big Rig Jig downtown Vegas

All that sits on this. Amazing!

Big Rig Jig, built in 2007, is a feat of engineering, and is described by the artist as “a commentary on America’s unsustainable oil economy.” Oh, artists.

We say Big Rig Jig is a commentary on how awesome it must be to have a bajillion dollars like Tony Hsieh.

Big Rig Jig is a visionary, surreal, larger-than-life work of art perfectly suited to an over-the-top town.

Big Jig Rig Las Vegas

The major export of Las Vegas has always been “wow.” We may have just cornered the market.

Check it out and let us know what you think, as long as you love it as much as we do.

 

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Fiddlestix Restaurant Opens at Downtown’s Gold Spike

Gold Spike, has opened a new restaurant, Fiddlestix, just weeks after closing its cafe, The Grill.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike

Gold Spike is geared to a young clientele, but the name of its new restaurant goes way back. “Fiddlestick,” referring to a violin bow, goes back to the 15th century.

Gold Spike is a block off Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. The former dive (sorry, boutique hotel-casino) was overhauled back in 2014 and is owned and operated by Downtown Project.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike

Insider tip: Here’s how to get a free soda at Fiddlestix. Good luck with that.

While there’s no longer gambling at Gold Spike, it’s become a popular downtown hangout, and an absolute smash as a Millennial destination on the weekends.

It’s part 86-room hotel, part bar and part college commons, complete with social games and some of the sweetest Wi-Fi in the city.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike

The counter seating at Fiddlestix has terminals so guests can fiddle around on the Internet.

Gold Spike also played host to the 31st season of “Real World.” Long story.

The restaurant refresh includes a revamped menu.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike menu

Keeping it simple for the kids.

Here’s a better look at the menu that features light appetizers, breakfast, salads, burgers and panini. Fiddlestix also has a decent selection of pastries.

Guests can also build their own parfait or acai bowl ($9), whatever that might actually be.

Click here for a better look at the Fiddlestix menu.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike

The Tuna Melter has Albacore tuna, provolone cheese, pickle relish and tartar sauce ($10).

Prices are a tad higher than we’d like (burgers are $11-12), especially for downtown.

There’s a Kids Menu for $5, with pancakes, tenders and grilled cheese, among other tot-friendly fare.

We tried the margherita flatbread, and it was disappointing. It’s probably best to think of Fiddlestix as being in a soft opening mode.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike

With so many great pizzas and flatbreads downtown, this one just can’t compete.

One thing Fiddlestix has absolutely nailed is its Boozy Milkshakes.

There are six to choose from ($10-11), including our obvious favorite, the Oh Captain, My Captain. It’s a delicious combination of Captain Morgan spiced rum, Cap’n Crunch cereal, vanilla ice cream and caramel. The menu also says it has choco sprinkles and a cherry, but those didn’t turn up in the milkshake we got. (We should also mention it took 15-20 minutes to get it.) No matter, still spectacular.

Fiddlestix Boozy Shakes

The winning Oh Captain, My Captain spiked shake at Gold Spikeis worth the wait.

Here are the other Boozy Milkshake options. They make a stop at Fiddlestix
well worth the trip.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike shakes

We’re not even going to pretend we’ll be trying the other flavors.

Our only real gripe with Fiddlestix is its tagline, “Pick-up Something Good.” See, while the restaurant may serve as a “pick-up” location, you “pick up” (a phrasal verb) good things, you don’t “pick-up” good things.

Then again, three spiked shakes in, and you won’t particularly care.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike restaurant

Not a huge change from when it was The Grill, but we think any amount of new is fire, as the kids say.

“What are the Fiddlestix hours of operation at Gold Spike?” you may ask. Fiddlestix is open 24/7. From 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. each day, Fiddlestix has build-your-own yogurt parfaits and acai bowls. Saturdays and Sundays, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., a specialty brunch menu is available.

Enjoy more pics from Fiddlestix.

Fiddlestix at Gold Spike

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Lucky Dragon Shows New Sign of Life With, Y’Know, A Sign

If you’re looking for signs the beleaguered Lucky Dragon resort may actually open, we’ve got one.

The Lucky Dragon’s hotel tower now boasts a fancy new, well, sign.

Lucky Dragon Las Vegas

In Chinese culture, dragons are a symbol of power, strength and good luck. And in the case of Lucky Dragon, an uncanny survival instinct.

Lucky Dragon is an Asian-themed boutique resort on Sahara Avenue, just west of Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s near SLS Las Vegas, the Bonanza gift shop and right next to the Golden Steer Steakhouse.

The new sign seems to support developers’ claims funding has been found to complete the once-stalled project.

Lucky Dragon resort

We’re hoping Lucky Dragon’s use of feng shui experts will result in our kicking its ass on the casino’s 300 slot machines, all due respect.

Applications for 800 jobs at Lucky Dragon are presumably being accepted, and officials claim it is on track to open in late 2016.

However its backers did it, we’re pleased to see more signs Lucky Dragon could actually be a thing.

The 203-room Lucky Dragon will cater to Asian players, mainly Asians living in Las Vegas. Most of the Lucky Dragon staff will the staff will speak Cantonese and Mandarin.

We are not personally Asian, but we can’t wait for some Las Vegas casino newness on The Strip.

May you live as long as Mount Nan, Lucky Dragon, whatever that might actually mean.

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Pete Rose Strikes Out at Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill

Baseball icon Pete Rose is no longer involved with the former Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill at the Hawaiian Marketplace on the Las Vegas Strip.

As evidence of his parting ways with the venue, Rose’s name has been unceremoniously blacked out on the restaurant’s signage.

Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill

So much awkward, so little time.

Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill had its official opening on Oct. 14, 2015. Before it became Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill, it was the People’s Republic Beer Garden & Kitchen.

The opening of the Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill was curious given it seemed to materialize overnight. Pete Rose’s involvement in the place appears to have ended just as abruptly.

Pete Rose sports bar Las Vegas

The baseball seams on the ceiling are one of the few reminders Pete Rose was ever involved with the restaurant. They’ll be painted over soon.

While we haven’t heard from anyone at HIG Management, the company that operates the restaurant (and which was involved with the defunct F.A.M.E. at the Linq promenade), we can take a pretty good stab at what the official statement will be. It’s Las Vegas, after all.

“We can confirm Pete Rose is no longer involved with our bar and restaurant. Pete Rose is a baseball legend, and our relationship has been a mutually beneficial one. However, in reviewing our business needs and licensing agreements, we’ve made the difficult, mutual decision to discontinue our collaboration on this project. We wish Pete Rose the best in all his future endeavors.”

Las Vegas translation: “The business hasn’t doing all that well, and having Pete Rose’s name slapped on it wasn’t a big draw, so why are we paying these licensing fees?” Or something along those lines. It happens.

The bottom line is Pete Rose is out, but the bar and restaurant will continue to operate. Staff believe a new concept is in the works, although no specifics are available at this time.

Virtually all traces of Pete Rose are gone at the establishment, including all the memorabilia, presumably from Pete Rose’s private collection.

Pete Rose Las Vegas

This case was once full of autographed baseballs, bats and other Pete Rose memorabilia. Now, not so much.

The Pete Rose-inspired menus remain intact, but not for long.

Also gone is the throne made with bats (67 to be exact) made in Pete Rose’s honor by one of venue’s bartenders.

Pete Rose throne of bats

We’re curious where this ended up. It was a popular photo op.

If we hear anything official about all this, we’ll certainly pass it along.

Special thanks to loyal reader and citizen journalist Jeremiah W. for tipping us off to this story.

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