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.
All the casinos along Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas have confirmed they’ll open on June 4, 2020.
That sound you hear is this blog becoming fully engorged.
Let’s Fremont again.
The casinos along Fremont Street are The D, Golden Gate, Plaza, Golden Nugget, Fremont, Binion’s and Four Queens.
Just-off-Fremont Downtown Grand and The Cal will also open on June 4.
In the case of some casinos, not all dining options or other amenities will be available upon reopening. The casinos and bars are really the important things, anyway.
As for the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall, officials say they’ll be open on June 3 at 9:00 a.m.
Fun fact: Virtually no one has ever gotten up early enough to see Fremont Street Experience at 9:00 a.m. If they have, they’re doing Vegas wrong.
There’s a light at the end of the sad.
At the moment, the newly-renovated Viva Vision video screen, is playing a countdown to the reopening of casinos downtown and on The Strip. Specifically, June 4 at 12:01 a.m.
While the Fremont Street Experience mall opens June 3, it will do so without its signature live bands. Announcement of the venue’s free summer concert series was derailed by the COVID-19 crisis, and there’s been no word as to whether any of the planned concerts will happen this year.
In related news, the SlotZilla zipline will reopen on June 4 at 4:00 p.m.
Time flies when you’re in lockdown. Welcome back, SlotZilla.
Demand is expected to be strong downtown (including ours) upon reopening. The buzz is hotels both downtown and on The Strip are receiving unexpected levels of room bookings, despite the fact hotels and casinos are currently limited to 50% occupancy.
Downtown Las Vegas is much less reliant on conventions and Asian visitors than The Strip, so it’s expected downtown could recover more quickly than other destinations.
We are personally going to leave our stimulus money in a variety of slot machines and bars along Fremont the minute they reopen. You know, to support Las Vegas. We’re selfless like that.
Derek Stevens, owner of The D, Golden Gate and the under-construction Circa Las Vegas, gave away 2,000 flights to Las Vegas to help kick-start visitation and support airline travel following the COVID-19 shutdown.
Las Vegas casinos have been closed since March 18, but many will reopen on June 4, 2020.
Stevens initially offered up 1,000 free flights on May 27, 2020, but those were snatched up within a couple of hours. Another 1,000 flights were made available later in the day. Travelers grabbed those almost immediately as well.
Derek Stevens just sort of gets it.
Derek Stevens made it clear those who took advantage of the free flights did not have to stay at his Las Vegas casinos, although many booked rooms at The D and Golden Gate.
Reservation lines were overwhelmed, and many folks on the company’s player development team (VIP hosts) took to the phones to assist reservations staff. They still couldn’t keep up with the demand.
Demand, of course, has been a big question of late. Casinos across the country have seen record revenue since they’ve reopening, but some have questioned how quickly Las Vegas visitation will recover, or if it will at all.
Given our own level of pent up demand, we suspect Vegas will see a healthy level of visitation right out of the gate. Hotels, casinos and restaurants will be limited to 50% capacity, however.
Here’s one last look at an empty Longbar at The D. Let’s hope we never see this again.
The end of the sadness is near. Or “nigh,” if you’re fancy.
Circa Las Vegas opens in Dec. 2020, but the new downtown resort has already announced its five restaurant offerings.
Circa’s restaurant line-up includes a deli, a steakhouse, a burger and wings joint, an Asian spot and a BBQ truck.
Here’s a quick overview of the restaurants coming to Circa Las Vegas:
Saginaw’s Delicatessen from Detroit
Barry’s Downtown Prime, a classic steakhouse
Victory Burger & Wings Co. from the crew behind The D’s American Coney Island
8 East, an Asian restaurant from the genius behind downtown’s Le Thai
Project BBQ, the first permanent food truck on Fremont Street
Let’s get into the renderings, already! Here’s more about the restaurants at Circa resort.
Saginaw’s Delicatessen comes from well-known Michigan restaurateur Paul Saginaw.
Saginaw is an Indian word meaning “land of the Sauks.” Look, not ever photo caption can rock your world.
Saginaw is best known for his Zingerman’s Deli, an Ann Arbor institution he opened with partner Ari Weinzweig, acclaimed as being among the world’s best sandwich joints.
“Delicatessen” comes from the Latin, meaning “alluring, delightful, dainty,” much like us. Dainty, that is.
Downtown fanatics might recognize the Zingerman’s name from the coffee stand at the D Las Vegas, currently undergoing an expansion.
Fun fact: We played craps with Paul Saginaw one time. He’s a hoot.
Barry’s Downtown Prime
You can’t open at Las Vegas casino without a steakhouse. It’s the law. Take a gander at Barry’s.
Do people still take ganders? Well, they should.
Barry’s Downtown Prime has a solid pedigree before it even opens, as the chef will be Barry Dakake, the force behind N9NE at Palms which closed in Sep. 2017.
For the record, Barry Dakake’s name is pronounced “day-cake.” It’s not like he hasn’t heard jokes about that before, so please grow up like we probably have.
Bold move to name a place “Barry’s.” First, not the flashiest. Second, what if they fire the chef? Bright side: At least the name doesn’t have a number in it.
Dakake’s partner, Yassine Lyoubi, who served as general manager for N9NE Steakhouse and Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at Sahara (formerly SLS).
Boom. Now we know where Vegas Vickie will be at Circa. Fun fact: Her leg’s going to move again!
There aren’t a lot of sure things in Las Vegas, but Barry’s Downtown Prime is bound to be one of them.
Victory Burger & Wings Co.
Victory Burger & Wings will overlook Circa’s sportsbook, being touted as the world’s largest.
Circa’s going to be sports-friendly, so it needed a sports bar. Victory covers all the bases.
We predict you’ll be seeing us a lot, Victory Burger & Wings.
Victory Burger & Wings comes from the folks behind the popular American Coney Island at The D, Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros.
The menu will include specialty burgers, wings and appetizers.
Oh, and beer, lots of beer. (Bonus points if you read that in the voice of Keanu Reeves.)
Why do we feel like our pleas for a “No Sports” section is going to go unanswered?
We’ll say this as delicately as we can: Any restaurant from the folks behind Fremont East’s Le Thai restaurant is going to kick ass.
Please let us know if saying an Asian restaurant is going to “kick ass” is racist, thanks.
8 East was inspired by metropolitan Asian food markets and will feature pan-Asian cuisine. The menu will span Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai dishes.
We’re going to breeze by the part in the news release where it says 8 East will have “communal dining.” Hey, no restaurant is perfect.
Time to brush up on your chopsticks. Also racist, probably.
An Asian restaurant will fill a niche not currently available at Circa’s sister casinos, Golden Gate and The D. 8 East is likely to be a big hit with a lot of downtown regulars, as an inordinate number hail from Hawaii.
This downtown fixture is finally going to find a permanent home. It’s moved around often to accommodate the ever-changing construction footprint of Circa, and before that the Las Vegas Club demolition site.
Project BBQ will be Fremont Street’s only permanent food truck and its first Carolina BBQ joint. The truck will be moving west from its current position, toward Plaza and near the Main Street stage at Fremont Street Experience. Prime real estate.
Our pal Chef Rex Bernales keeps it simple and satisfying, offering pulled brisket, pork and chicken, among other BBQ favorites.
This isn’t the first time someone’s pork has been pulled downtown, if you get our drift.
The mix of restaurants at Circa seems to have a decent amount of variety, both in terms of cuisine and price points.
Worth noting: Some have asked where Golden Gate’s famed shrimp cocktail will resurface a Circa. Owner Derek Stevens says they haven’t decided yet. Stay tuned.
Disclosure: Our day job is in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience, and The D and Golden Gate are casino partners of that organization. Our opinions are our own, especially the poorly spelled ones. We sometimes drink when we blog, in case that weren’t obvious.
It’s been a minute since we shared photos of Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower, so consider this that.
We’re calling it topped off.
The new tower is set to open in mid-2020, and will have seven guest room floors, adding 495 new rooms to the downtown hotel-casino.
The 495 new rooms will include 405 standard rooms, 67 studio units, 20 one-bedroom suites and three presidential suites. Guests will be able to recognize the presidential suites immediately because their quality will be unimpeachable.
Downtown Grand says it’s known for its “industrial chic aura.” We enjoy visiting, anyway.
The new Downtown Grand tower is being build where the hotel’s valet parking was once located. Construction began about a year ago.
The new tower will connect to Downtown Grand on the casino and pool levels.
While Downtown Grand’s casino has struggled since the resort opened in Oct. 2013, its hotel business is said to be stronger, so the owners are clearly playing to the resort’s strengths in an attempt to drive more room revenue.
The views won’t win any awards, but Downtown Grand’s rooms are some of the best downtown and quieter than those along Fremont Street, as is the casino.
Downtown Grand, formerly Lady Luck, is owned by CIM Group and operated by Fifth Street Gaming.
While we’re on the subject of Downtown Grand, we recently spoiled the surprise the hotel will be getting a new restaurant, Hot N Juicy Crawfish. No, the new restaurant hasn’t yet been announced yet, that’s just how we roll.
Interesting how “hot” gets top billing. “Juicy” needs a better agent.
The Louisiana-style seafood restaurant will move into the space previously home to Commissary After Dark and the short-lived Downtown Underground eSports Lounge.
We’ll keep an eye on the construction at Downtown Grand, so check back for further updates whenever you’re done skimming stories on blogs where you don’t even bother to read the last sentence. Rude.
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.