Downtown Las Vegas is a quirky alternative to the Las Vegas Strip, with good gambling, a grittier vibe and a diverse collection of restaurants, bars and casinos. Downtown Las Vegas isn’t for everyone, but many locals and tourists enjoy it for the value, authenticity and lively atmosphere.
The classic Golden Goose statue, which once ruled the roost over the seedy Glitter Gulch strip club, has been returned to its former glory and can again be viewed on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.
We’re excited you’re back! Sorry, “eggsighted.” Like you didn’t know what was coming.
The sign was donated to the Downtown Project by Derek and Greg Stevens, owners of The D and Golden Gate. The Stevens acquired the Golden Goose, along with Glitter Gulch, in 2016.
Downtown Project inherited both the Golden Goose and another iconic casino sign, the baseball player from Las Vegas Club. Here’s a photo of the signs near the Las Vegas Club demolition site.
Down, but not out.
Now, the Golden Goose resides farther east than its original location, at the corner of Fremont Street and 10th Street, near the entrance the Bunkhouse Saloon.
The Golden Goose looks awesome, and not only sports a new paint job, but also revolves, as nature intended.
Downtown Project hasn’t made a big deal out of the Golden Goose restoration, so we’re going to!
Props, Downtown Project.
All right, so maybe we used “big deal” a little loosely, but we genuinely think it’s awesome Downtown Project was willing to make an investment in Las Vegas history despite the fact there’s virtually no return on investment with a giant, spinning Golden Goose.
Vegas does kitsch right.
The Golden Goose casino opened in 1974 and closed in 1980. Before that, the space held State Cafe, Buckley’s and Mecca Casino.
Here’s to another bunch of decades.
We haven’t heard about any plans for the Las Vegas Club’s baseball player, but another iconic statue, Vegas Vickie, is being refurbished and will return to Fremont Street when Circa Las Vegas opens in Dec. 2020.
Here are a few more photos of the Golden Goose before and after its Fremont Street comeback.
Sports are a big deal, and a big draw, at The D. So, it’s not all that surprising to hear the downtown casino will turn its showroom into a proper sportsbook.
The closure of The D’s second floor showroom means its five resident shows will be out as of Jan. 5, 2020.
The curtain’s falling on The D’s showroom. Oh, like you didn’t see that coming.
The five shows closing at The D are: “Marriage Can Be Murder” (dinner show, never saw it), “Laughternoon” (entertaining, family-friendly show featuring Adam London), “Friends, The Musical Parody” (valiant effort, but forgettable), Jokesters Comedy Club (missed this one, too) and “Defending the Caveman” (the only show we’ve ever seen that was so bad, we walked out, then saw it another night with a different actor, just so we could walk out again).
“Marriage Can Be Murder” recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, with more than 6,000 performances under its belt. The dinner show originally opened at the Showboat Hotel & Casino.
The announcement of a new sportsbook at The D comes on the heels of a recent retooling of The D’s diminutive sportsbook not too far from the showroom. The unveil of that sportsbook happened in conjunction with a renovation of our home away from home, Vue Bar.
Please don’t disturb us at Vue Bar. We already have carpal tunnel from all the autographs.
The showroom at The D never seemed an especially good fit for the casino. Downtown is much more about drinking and gambling than it is about theatrical productions.
Aside from the current crop, the only other show we can remember seeing in The D’s showroom was “Ja-Makin-Me-Laugh,” a show so awful it made “Defending the Caveman” look like “The Book of Mormon.”
Oh, and “Aussie Hunks” may have been there for a minute. Otherwise, we have no explanation for having taken this photo in 2015.
Not to be mistaken for “Thunder From Down Under” or “Aussie Heat,” probably.
The new sportsbook at The D follows the recent launch of Circa Sports, a sports betting venture from brothers Derek and Greg Stevens.
The Stevens own The D, Golden Gate and the under-construction Circa Las Vegas resort. Circa is expected to open in Dec. 2020. (Note: We work in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience as our day job. The D is a partner casino.)
We trust a couple of the shows displaced by the closure of The D’s showroom will find new homes. Hopefully, not all of them. Because life’s too short for entire shows centered around losing TV remotes and leaving the toilet seat up. All due respect to toilet seats.
It’s been a busy few months at Binion’s Gambling Hall.
In July 2019, the downtown casino opened (technically re-opened) the historic Hotel Apache, with a modest 81 old-timey rooms. The original Hotel Apache opened in 1932.
Now, Binion’s has opened a new restaurant, bar and nightlife venue, Whiskey Licker Up. And, no, we honestly never thought we’d use the words “Binion’s” and “nightlife” in the same sentence.
Yes, it’s open during the day, too, but “nightlife” just sounds sexier.
Whiskey Licker Up officially opened on Sep. 30, 2019, with some perfunctory hoopla, which is the best kind of hoopla in our humble opinion.
Where to begin? With the bar, naturally! Do you know this blog at all?
The centerpiece of Whiskey Licker Up is a sweet revolving bar. It was inspired by Carousel Bar, a hot spot in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
You’re familiar with New Orleans. It’s like Las Vegas, but stickier.
Our newest happy place.
The revolving bar has variable speeds and rotates counter-clockwise. We talked to an engineer who said bars that rotate clockwise can cause people to feel woozy. We honestly have no idea what difference that would make, but we are a blog, not an engineer.
Here’s a look at the revolving bar during construction.
Heavy drinking precludes us from sharing any fun facts about the revolving bar, sorry.
The bar takes 15 minutes for a complete revolution.
Here’s a badass time lapse video of the revolving bar at Whiskey Licker Up.
It’s downtown, so the venue has a back-up bar, of course. This one doesn’t rotate, but the long pours are still in effect.
Proof a person can have more than one happy place.
Video poker players will note that Whiskey Licker Up has none. Video poker, that is. You’ll survive. We were surprised about that, too, but the bars were built so they can accommodate video poker machines should they be installed in the future.
For now, it’s just food, hooch and a section of the restaurant that can be used as a dance floor.
Everyone asks where one can go to dance downtown. This will apparently be that.
The food we’ve tried has been delicious, including the wings, beef sliders and meatballs. The pork sliders were a disappointment, but the chicken tenders more than made up for them as they are some of the best we’ve had in Vegas.
Here’s a look at the meatballs.
These meatballs are far better than they have to be.
The fact Binion’s gets meat right shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve have the hamburger in the Binion’s Cafe. It’s also one of the best in Las Vegas, possibly because they use meat trimmings from their steakhouse, and that often means your burger is made from filet mignon.
Here’s a look at the Whiskey Licker Up appetizer menu. Please don’t strain your eyes, click here or possibly here for a larger image of the full food menu.
Please don’t call them “tapas.” Downtown hates that pretentious crap.
The liquor is ample at Whiskey Licker Up, which probably wasn’t difficult to predict given “whiskey” is right in the name of the place.
The signature cocktails are $12 ($18 for a double), and there’s an extensive beer selection. Again, click here (for the cocktail and wine menu) and definitely here (for the beer menu).
Yes, they have Captain Morgan from the bottle. Don’t you ever think about anything else?
The original plan for Whiskey Licker Up was to have a mechanical bull, but apparently it was nixed. Instead, the venue features one of those new-fangled virtual reality machines. Isn’t it funny you never hear about things being old-fangled?
The VR machine is a four-seater. Here’s a look.
If you start to freak out, just close your eyes. This isn’t rocket science.
The VR machine, the X World 360, has the option of 89 different rides. We, naturally, chose a mellow one. It was awesome, and we are not even a ride person, virtual or otherwise. Here’s more about the X World 360 if you’re into that kind of thing.
Rides are $15 a pop. The mellow rides last 7-9 minutes, the more intense ones last 3-4 minutes.
On the service front, Binion’s has wisely hired a bevy of model servers. They’re like your typical servers, but are younger, more attractive and less roboty.
The theme of Whiskey Licker Up is a little bit country, but without the bull, they have the flexibility to feature a variety of music styles. We suspect, though, country will be prominent when the rodeo is in town. There’s even a rodeo gate (slash advertisement) for photo ops.
It’s hard to beat this bucking chute. Which sounds far more inappropriate than it really is.
Whiskey Licker Up is bigger than you’d think, and there’s tons of seating at tables, at the bars, on the outdoor balcony (enclosed by windows that can be rolled open) and in VIP booths.
Again, never expected to say “VIP booths” in a story about Binion’s, but we’re always open to surprises.
No paper straws for the win.
One of the absolutely best things about Whiskey Licker Up, of course, is it’s at Binion’s, and Binion’s is an iconic part of Vegas history.
Part of that history has been exposed at the street entrance to Whiskey Licker Up. Guests go up a flight of stairs, and can see a wall of petrified wood that dates back to the Mint. It’s downright old-fangled.
The Mint was absorbed into Binion’s in 1988.
Vegas fanatics will enjoy the fact a portion of the Mint’s famous facade has been left exposed. Prepare yourself for engorgement, if you get our drift.
Swoon fodder. Which, come to think of it, wouldn’t be a bad band name.
Preliminary hours are 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., except for Friday and Saturday, when the place will stay open until 4:00 a.m.
It’s gratifying to see Binion’s doing this new venue right. We’d love to see some video poker, but the prices are reasonable and the service is perky, so we expect to be back soon and often.
Full disclosure: We work in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience and Binion’s is one of its member casinos. Opinions are our own.
Of course, we’ve got more photos of Whiskey Licker Up, so mosey on through them or whatever the kids are doing.
Golden Nugget has confirmed it will soon boast a Chick-fil-A restaurant, the first in downtown Las Vegas.
The new Chick-fil-A was announced by Golden Nugget via social media.
We love when a juicy rumor pans out! Emphasis on “juicy.”
While this item was news to the world, it wasn’t new to us, because we know things.
We also have access to the Internet.
We originally got wind of the new Chick-fil-A because of a job posting on LinkedIn a few months back.
Great gig (average salary is $53,000), except for the “always having to be nice to everyone” thing.
Scant details have been announced about the Chick-fil-A at Golden Nugget, but we’ve got a few additional unconfirmed, ahem, nuggets to share.
Golden Nugget has said the new restaurant will open “this winter,” but we’ve heard Dec. 2, 2019 as the slated opening date.
The location, from what we understand, is the hotel’s Carson tower. We scouted the area in question, and employees said Chick-fil-A will move into the location currently occupied by a gift shop next to one of Golden Nugget’s two Starbucks. See more.
Out with the keychains, in with the waffle potato fries.
Employees claim the Essentials gift shop will move right next door.
If this location skinny pans out, it’ll be a surprisingly low profile spot for such a high profile restaurant. Carson tower is deep inside Golden Nugget, past its restaurant row, and about as far as you can get from all the foot traffic on Fremont Street.
Still, we predict this Chick-fil-A is going to print money, and having large numbers of chicken sandwich fans making their way through hundreds of slot machines is bound to be a boon for
Golden Nugget has already gotten a start on creating visibility for its new offering. Specifically, this big-ass sign on Fremont.
An iconic Las Vegas neon sign, Vegas Vic, was recently repaired following months of neglect.
The Fremont Street fixture, first erected in 1951, looks better than ever thanks to the efforts of the YESCO sign company. (Before you point it out, we understand “YESCO sign company” is redundant, as YESCO stands for Young Electric Sign Company, so it’s like saying “ATM machine.” We love your freakish attention to detail.)
Here’s a look at Vegas Vic following his rejuvenation surgery!
The neon king of smokin’ and cow-pokin’ is back! Speaking of cowpokes, awkward fact: Bestiality was legal in Nevada until 2017.
Vegas Vic made his debut in 1947, first at the Chamber of Commerce building. Shortly thereafter, he began to stand watch over the Pioneer Club.
Don’t be alarmed if you experience southerly moistness after gazing into Vegas Vic’s piercing blue eyes.
The Pioneer Club casino closed in 1995. Now, it’s a gift shop.
In fact, it was the Pioneer gift shop owner, Haim Gabay, who paid to have Vegas Vic repaired. Gabay is the former owner of the Bonanza Gift Shop, touted as the world’s largest gift shop. He sold Bonanza for $50 million in 2016.
Technically, the responsibility for maintaining Vegas Vic falls to the owner(s) of the building, in this case Schiff Enterprises. The owners have apparently been unresponsive to ongoing requests to get Vegas Vic back up to snuff. Duly noted, Schiff Enterprises.
When Vegas Vic first went up, he was the biggest neon sign in Nevada.
While the 40-foot-tall Vegas Vic is looking infinitely better than in recent months, he’s not the man he used to be.
Originally, Vegas Vic had a moving arm (it stopped moving in 1991) and featured audio saying, “Howdy Podner,” among other things.
In addition, a portion of Vic’s cowboy hat was trimmed away when the Fremont Street Experience was build in 1995.
Look closely and you can see where Vic’s hat was trimmed to accommodate the curve of the Viva Vision video screen.
Worth noting: The red circle in Vic’s pocket is a Durham Tobacco tag hanging from a yellow string. Vic presumably rolled his own.
Vegas Vic’s repair has sparked questions about his counterpart, Vegas Vickie.
Vegas Vickie was taken down in July 2017 (see below), and was recently transported to YESCO for a renovation. Vickie will return to Fremont Street in the new Circa Las Vegas resort in December 2020.
Oh, like we were going to miss a chance to share this photo. Do you know this blog at all?
Vegas Vic and Vegas Vickie were married in 1994. We can’t wait to see the pair reunited again following their legal separation.
Big thanks to the entities, governmental and otherwise, who kept the pressure on to get Vegas Vic back to his former glory.
Vegas Vic is an irreplaceable part of Vegas history, like the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and it warms our cockles to see him looking so sharp again.
A longtime go-to shop for gambling-related products in downtown Las Vegas, Gamblers General Store, has pulled up stakes and moved to a new location.
Thankfully, the store has only move about 180 feet from its former location, so customers shouldn’t have too much trouble locating it.
Here’s a look a the new digs.
Two words: Dice table felt. Take it home. Learn the game. Get back to Vegas and stick it to The Man. Not to be confused with the “stickman.” Different thing.
The new address for Gamblers General Store is 727 S. Main St., Las Vegas, NV 89101.
From what we hear, the rent got too high at the former location, so the business made a move.
Here’s a hastily-assembled video for a look inside.
At the former location, there were several attempts at a restaurant inside the store’s footprint, but the most recent (and most promising), Dough Dough’s Hawaiian Cafe, tanked.
The restaurant closed “temporarily,” but the operators never came back. It appears no restaurant is in the cards for the new Gamblers General Store location.
If you like gambling, this is the place for you. If not, WTF is wrong with you?
Gamblers General Store has been in operation since 1984. The store boasts 15,000 gambling products, including not only cards, dice and chips, but also items with awesome names like “lammers.”
Beyond the retail shop, the company’s makes some bank with personalized custom chips. Gamblers General Store has made chips for TV shows and movies, including “The Sopranos,” “Ocean’s 11” and even “Casino.” Both Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and former Mayor Oscar Goodman get their promotional chips from Gamblers General Store, and that’s endorsement enough for us.
Our home is pretty much a hoarder’s paradise for items we’ve gotten from the Gamblers General Store, so check it out if you’re in the neighborhood.