Vital Vegas

Derek Stevens Buys Glitter Gulch, Mermaids and La Bayou

Downtown casino mogul Derek Stevens, with his brother Greg Stevens, has purchased three iconic downtown haunts: Glitter Gulch, Mermaids and La Bayou. The Stevens brothers currently own The D, Golden Gate and 18 Fremont (the temporary name of the former Las Vegas Club).

The three venues are of strategic importance to the Stevens brothers’ growing empire on Fremont Street and beyond (the pair also own the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center). La Bayou is next to Golden Gate, while Glitter Gulch and Mermaids are adjacent to what was the Las Vegas Club.

It’s expected Glitter Gulch, Mermaids and La Bayou will close in roughly 60 days, on June 27, 2016.

Employees of the three businesses, owned by Steve Burnstine (Granite Gaming Group), have been informed of the change in ownership.

Glitter Gulch was once a term that referred to all of Fremont Street. It’s in good hands.

Acquisition of these three venues could have some interesting implications for the Golden Gate and Las Vegas Club project.

Having the La Bayou space, in addition to an alleyway between it and the Golden Gate (the oldest casino in Las Vegas), could allow an expansion of both the Golden Gate’s casino, but potentially could provide space for a hotel expansion.

Glitter Gulch is home to Vegas Vickie, sometimes erroneously referred to as “Sassy Sally.” And, yes, they’re real. Weirdo.

The purchase of Glitter Gulch and Mermaids changes the potential scope and design of 18 Fremont (the closed Las Vegas Club) dramatically.

No specific details of the expansion plans are available at the moment, but rest assured Derek Stevens has big things in store for this entire section of Fremont Street.

All the venues involved in the purchase have long and colorful histories.

For example, La Bayou opened as the Las Vegas Coffee Club and in 1920 became the Northern Club. The Northern Club received the very first Nevada gaming license.

La Bayou has been one of the biggest suppliers of Mardi Gras beads and brain freezes in Las Vegas for many years.

Glitter Gulch and Mermaids have some of the most distinctive neon signage in Las Vegas, including the aforementioned Vegas Vickie, the companion sign to Vegas Vic. They were married at one point. Long story.

The glorious Golden Goose sign sits above the Glitter Gulch strip club as well.

While the fate of the Golden Goose sign is unknown, Vegas Vickie is likely to be featured prominently in whatever the Las Vegas Club becomes. Specifically, a resort likely to give Golden Nugget a run for its money.

A new name for the former Las Vegas Club has yet to be announced, but the planned resort is likely to cost $100 million or more.

Hear more about 18 Fremont in our interview with Derek Stevens. On our podcast. Which you probably didn’t even know existed. Rude.

Yes, the deep fried Oreos will be missed, but trust us, the purchase of Mermaids is the best possible thing that could happen to your lifespan.

Fans of the daiquiris at La Bayou and the deep fried Oreos at Mermaids may bemoan the change of ownership, but big picture, the purchase of Glitter Gulch, Mermaids and La Bayou is a giant stride forward for Fremont Street and the surrounding businesses. (We know of which we speak, we work at Fremont Street Experience as our day job.)

Some of these Mermaids machines will be updated and placed in the expanded Golden Gate or new 18 Fremont (formerly Las Vegas Club). The new casino will have 1,300 machines, or about the number in Golden Gate and The D combined.

Derek Stevens famously purchased the Las Vegas Club, at least in part, to kill off a potential CVS pharmacy, and he similarly is taking out two somewhat seedy “grind joints” and easily the most communicable strip club in Las Vegas. Stevens also purchased downtown’s Bridger Building.

We look forward to learning more about what’s in store, and you’ll know when we do!