Category Archives: Downtown Las Vegas

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.

Reveal of Five Circa Resort Bars Creating a Buzz

Circa Las Vegas seems to keep topping itself.

First, the downtown resort had its construction topping off ceremony on June 19, 2020.

Now, the casino has shared plans for five bars and lounges, just what we needed to help get us through all the pandemic-related WTF currently trying to create a buzzkill in Las Vegas.

Mega Bar Circa

Behold, our future home away from home.

Circa Las Vegas will have two opening dates: The first five floors (including the casino) open Oct. 28, 2020. The hotel opens Dec. 28, 2020.

Here’s a look at the new bars planned for Circa, as well as what inspired them. In addition to hooch. That’s sort of a given.

Vegas Vickie’s

She’s back! Circa’s lobby cocktail lounge will be named after a vintage Vegas sign, Vegas Vickie. Vickie once sat atop the Glitter Gulch strip club, now part of the Circa footprint (along with the former Mermaid’s and the Las Vegas Club).

Vegas Vickie's bar Circa

How many homes away from home is someone allowed to have? Asking for a friend.

We’re so excited for Vegas Vickie to make her return to Fremont Street. We got a little weepy when she was taken down back in 2017.

Vegas Vickie

No, you grow up.

Vickie’s been fully renovated by YESCO Signs, and Vickie will be reunited with her “husband” (yes, they were married), Vegas Vic, when Circa opens in October 2020.

We’ve heard exclusively Vickie’s leg will kick again!

Vegas Vickie Circa

Another exclusive: Vegas Vickie’s boot will feature the signature of the sign’s designer, Charles Barnard.

Mega Bar

How do you top the longest bar in Las Vegas (Longbar at The D, same owners as Circa and Golden Gate)? You build a Mega Bar.

Mega Bar looks to be Longbar, amplified.

Mega Bar Circa

We suggested Leviathan Supersize Elephantine Bar, but apparently that was already being used.

The bar will set another record for its size (165 feet, Longbar is 100 feet-ish), and will have the only acceptable flair bartenders in Las Vegas. Flair slows down the drinks, but the Longbar guys make up for it with their charm and long pours.

Mega Bar will sport the requisite 40 double-stacked TVs and 120 beer taps.

Mega Bar

Remember, it’s not just the length, it’s the mirth. You can totally steal that for your advertising, Circa.

Overhang Bar

Overhang is pretty much going to be a sports lover’s dream, overlooking Circa’s sports book, complete with a 78 million pixel video screen.

The cleverly-named Overhang, pronounced “hangover” when intoxicated, will have video poker machines, which will almost make all the sports tolerable.

Overhang

We need sports back or everyone at Overhang will be watching “Love Connection” reruns.

Circa Bar

The outdoor bars at The D and Golden Gate are pretty much paying for Circa, so it’s no surprise there will be an epic outdoor bar at Circa itself.

Circa Bar will be in the thick of the circus that is Fremont Street Experience, with 24 frozen cocktail flavors and dancing bartenders. The bar top will be fashioned from recycled Skyy Vodka bottles.

Circa Bar

The most popular slushy flavors on Fremont Street are strawberry, pina colada and margarita.

Legacy Club

While the previous four bars will open, Oct. 28, 2020, guests will have to wait until December 2020 for Legacy Club.

Legacy Circa

We long for a time when everyone can mingle again.

The bar is said to be inspired by Las Vegas’ founding fathers, and will have one of the best views in town from Circa’s 35th floor. Metal busts will line the hall of Legacy Club, so we’re thinking along the line of the Crazy Girls butts. We didn’t read the news release all that closely.

Legacy lounge Circa

Downtown’s about to get a metric shit-ton of fancy.

Legacy Club will boast a 10-foot display of 1,000 ounces of gold, pretty much guaranteed to be a must-see photo op after one hits up Vegas Vickie.

Legacy lounge Circa

Circa is the tallest structure downtown (if you don’t count Strat), so the view is guaranteed to be spectacular.

We’re thrilled about the promising collection of bars and lounges at Circa.

They even threw in a bonus beverage offering, Jack Pots, a coffee shop. This coffee stand comes from one of our favorite new Circa partners, the “sandwich legend” behind Michigan’s Zingerman’s Deli, Paul Saginaw.

Saginaw will also oversee Circa’s Saginaw’s Delicatessen, a 24-hour cafe. Expect the cafe to serve a shrimp cocktail using the same sauce recipe that made Golden Gate a thing.

Jack Pots coffee Circa

Sorry, Jack Pots, this blog has never had coffee. All due respect.

Read all about the Circa restaurants.

It’s an entirely surreal time to be opening a Las Vegas resort, but Circa’s line-up of bars has given us something to look forward to, and just three months away!

We can’t wait to test drive all these Circa bars on your behalf. We’re selfless like that.

Hotel Cloe Planned for Downtown Las Vegas Arts District

This one has flown under the radar, but a new boutique hotel planned for downtown’s Arts District has been dubbed Hotel Cloe.

Details are few at this point, but Hotel Cloe’s Web site describes the hotel as “following a new worldwide trend towards lean-luxury, service-focused, 4-star resorts.”

The four-floor Hotel Cloe will have luxury 74 rooms.

Talk about a tall order, luxurywise. It’s Vegas, after all.

Hotel Cloe Las Vegas

Nope, no renderings, but renderings aren’t a reliable way to judge whether a project will actually exist. Just ask the asshats at Bleutech Park.

The site goes on to say the hotel will have “a cozy, minimal, yet modern aesthetic, programming rich in art and culture, and lush greenery throughout the hotel, bar and restaurant and poolside areas.”

The hotel will “be constructed largely of steel, glass and concrete, with a design-aesthetic that pays homage to the neighborhood.”

As mentioned, the neighborhood in question is the downtown Arts District, also known as 18b. The 18b comes from the original Arts District being 18 blocks.

Links on the Hotel Cloe Web site go to various social media platforms named “18b Hotel,” so we trust that was the working name of the project.

A shame to lose this logo. Bonus points if you see a heavyset guy being crushed by the walls of his hotel room.

That’s about all we know about Hotel Cloe. We’re not sure if it has financing or who’s behind it, other than a blurb on the Web site saying they’re “local designers, builders, architects and entrepreneurs who live in and believe in Downtown Las Vegas.”

We’re pretty sure COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into plans for the new hotel, as the site says, “Coming spring 2020 to the Las Vegas Arts District.” Yeah, not so much.

The site also shares, “Hotel Cloe is set to start construction in the coming weeks.”

In hotel financing circles, that’s what’s referred to as “wiggle room.”

While we won’t be holding our breath on this one, we enjoy sharing things before they’re a thing.

Downtown Las Vegas Archway Is a Go Again

Construction of a downtown welcome arch is back on track, according to our sources.

The long-awaited archway will be located near the foot of The Strat, between E. St. Louis Ave. and W. Bob Stupak Ave.

Road closures and construction will begin July 30, 2020.

Downtown Las Vegas gateway arch

Before the latest news, our hopes of seeing these arches had fallen considerably.

The downtown Las Vegas welcome archway should be completed by August 28, 2020.

The archway is expected to cost about $6.5 million.

Construction was originally supposed to start on March 16, 2020, but the schedule was shifted.

Because it’s 2020. Shift happens.

The first component of the “downtown gateway” project opened several months ago. The display offers visitors a photo op with larger-than-life showgirls, dice, chips and a roulette wheel. See more.

Downtown gateway display

It’s no “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, but it’s got more gambling tchotchkes.

While we we skeptical tourists would stop at the welcome display, we’ve driven by it dozens of times and people were taking advantage of the photo op virtually every time, day or night.

We expect the new downtown archway will get a similar positive response.

We’re always up for something new and shiny, and the new downtown Las Vegas welcome archway certainly qualifies.

Exclusive: Circa’s “MoDot” Mystery Solved

We’ve been chronicling the construction of downtown’s newest casino-resort, Circa Las Vegas, since day one. Before day one, actually.

Here’s Circa before day one (Feb. 2018).

Circa site

Slates don’t get much blanker.

Circa’s come a long way since then!

Circa Las Vegas

Our future home away from home is fancy.

During one of our photo shoots, we noticed something a little off on the Circa hotel tower.

We have a smidge of OCD, so an oddly-spaced panel caught our eye.

Circa MoDot

If you can spot it, you’re in an elite club of weirdos.

We immediately reached out to Circa’s owner, Derek Stevens, to get some inside scoop.

When we asked about the panel, Stevens’ response was, “Are you serious?”

Of course we’re serious. We are a Las Vegas blog.

After some urging, Stevens spilled the beans about this curious feature on the west side of Circa’s hotel tower.

“So, this is an engineering and construction element that gets put up during the construction process, during pandemics. It’s called a MoDot.”

Our very thoughtful response was, “Whuh?”

“We had no ability to have any vertical transportation. There was no way for the designers and our operational team to go up and down the tower while the construction was going on, so the MoDot was out there.”

Stevens mentioned the hotel’s “vertical transportation” challenges during an interview on our podcast. At the height of social distancing guidelines, no more than two people could be on a man lift at once, which made it virtually impossible for crews of 400 people to get into the tower.

This resulted in Circa having a split opening date. The first five floors (casino, sportsbook, restaurants and pool) open Oct. 28, 2020. The hotel opens Dec. 28, 2020. Read more.

Fun fact: Circa will be the first adults-only casino resort in Las Vegas history.

But back to the MoDot.

Circa MoDot

Here’s a closer view, in case you’re not a great MoDot spotter.

Stevens continued, “The last time the MoDot was used was during the Spanish flu time period.”

Go on.

Stevens explained, “When we’re over in the laydown yard, and we’re looking, and we’re like, ‘When’s the electrical going to hit on this floor or on that floor?’ You can’t tell what floor you’re on, so, it’s a vertical communication element that tells us ‘It’s two floors above the MoDot, it’s three floors below the MoDot.’ The MoDot gives you a reference.”

Genius!

“It helped because none of us could get up there. Normally, we’d have meetings up and down the tower, but because of the vertical transportation problems, we never could,” Stevens added.

So, now that it’s practical purpose has expired, does the MoDot stick around?

“The intent was always that the MoDot would go away,” said Stevens. “But since we’ve put the hotel rooms for sale, I’ve had so many questions asking about the rooms. Remember, this is a sunset suite. It faces north, west and south. It’s an unbelievable suite. That’s actually the most-requested room, the room with the MoDot.”

At which point we realized we were being duped. Pranked. Snookered. Punked.

Oh, like you weren’t onboard for a minute.

So, what’s the real story?

Circa Las Vegas casino

If you’re going to get pranked, get pranked by somebody building a this.

Stevens reluctantly spilled the real tea: “There’s a great engineer. Probably one of the most brilliant engineers. He’s the guy that did all the glasswork, the curtain wall work, he developed all the acoustical specs for all our glass. Because, you know, we got the thickest glass to have the quietest rooms.”

Marketing and a great story, all wrapped into one? Now, you know why we like Derek Stevens so much.

“Yes, there was a screw-up,” Stevens finally admitted. “One of the panels went up backwards. Yes, there’s a dot on the west side. And the engineer, one of the smartest guys I know, his name is Mo.”

Mo Pierce, to be exact.

The plan is to fix the errant panel prior to Circa opening. But not before we give the MoDot a little Internet immortality.

So, now you Mo.

Dick’s Last Resort Coming to Neonopolis

Longtime Excalibur fixture Dick’s Last Resort is bringing its quirky restaurant to downtown’s Neonopolis mall.

Dick's Last Resort

Let the “negging” begin.

According to Eater Vegas, Dick’s Last Resort will move into the space formerly occupied by the ill-fated Cannabition Museum. The museum’s footprint was huge, about 10,000-square-feet, and the space was adorned with massive, cannabis-themed murals.

The cannabis museum closed in July 2019.

weed museum mural

Weed murals out, people wearing bags on their heads with funny sayings, in.

Dick’s Last Resort, known for its intentionally-rude waitstaff and lively atmosphere, is owned by the same company as the Deja Vu strip club chain.

The company also owns the Cat’s Meow karaoke club at Neonopolis.

Cat's Meow

We’d bet Cat’s Meow and Dick’s got a package deal on rent.

Dick’s Last Resort will extend its reach with an outdoor patio in the Neonopolis courtyard.

While the Dick’s Last Resort party vibe and snarky attitude seems a great fit for Fremont Street, Neonopolis continues to be a challenge for tenants.

That said, the operation could very well give the also-irreverent Heart Attack Grill, a few feet away from the new location, a run for its money.

Dick’s Last Resort is slated to open in 2021.

Circa Announces Opening Dates, First Adults-Only Casino Resort in Vegas History

There’s been a flurry of great news around Circa Las Vegas, so let’s dive in! We’ve got exclusive video, the most in-depth interview ever given by the casino’s owner, Derek Stevens, and more.

Not to make it about us, of course.

First up, Circa has announced its opening dates. Yep, there will be two dates.

The first five floors of Circa Las Vegas open Oct. 28, 2020, months ahead of schedule. The hotel opens Dec. 28, 2020.

Circa Las Vegas

Circa Las Vegas has officially been topped off.

On Oct. 28, the resort’s casino will open, as will its sports book (touted as the biggest in the world), a number of bars and the massive pool complex.

Four restaurants will open on Oct. 28, but 8 East won’t because, as Derek Stevens says, “There will be a crane going through the center of the restaurant.” Learn more about the restaurants at Circa.

As mentioned, Circa’s hotel opens Dec. 28. Reservations will be taken starting June 24, 2020.

Derek Stevens believes this is the first time in Vegas history a resort has been given an exemption so a casino can open separately from a hotel. Current regulations require a casino resort must have 200 rooms to open.

We sat down for an exclusive chat with Derek Stevens to get all the inside scoop about Circa, and there’s a lot.

Circa

Derek Stevens likes casinos so much, he made one from scratch.

Kick back and enjoy all the spilled tea, or whatever the kids are calling it now.

Are you not entertained?

Next up in our cavalcade of Circa news: The resort has announced it will be for adults only.

That’s right, Circa will be for ages 21 and older.

No Kids Quest. No strollers. No kids in the pool. No kids at all, 24/7. Ever.

This is seriously the best news in the history of Las Vegas.

Speaking of history, it’s believed this is the first time a Las Vegas casino resort has been restricted to 21-plus, ever.

Circa rendering

Circa rolled out a bunch of new renderings. Check the photo gallery for more. Sup, Vegas Vickie?

As if all this great news weren’t enough to fill your gullet, there’s more.

On June 19, 2020, Circa Las Vegas had a topping off ceremony. During the ceremony, the last beam ever placed at Circa was hoisted into place.

Circa Las Vegas final beam

Circa owner Derek Stevens was so happy to see this lifted into place. In fact, he was beaming.

We had the awesome privilege of being able to strap a GoPro to the beam, so we captured this momentous occasion for posterity.

It’s epic.

If you watched until the end, you may have noticed the steel worker putting the final beam into place.

Check out the dude’s tattoo! You’ll try to think of something more Vegas than a guy with a Las Vegas sign tattoo securing the final beam on the newest Las Vegas casino, but you will fail.

Circa topped off

Even our haters are, like, “This puts the ‘vital’ in Vital Vegas.”

Prior to the beam being lifted, Derek Stevens and his executive team signed it, along with a number of the construction workers.

Since we’re doing things for posterity, we need to mention what Derek Stevens wrote on the beam. It wasn’t publicized, but we know people.

Stevens wrote the names and initials of his wife Nicole, his parents and brother, Greg Stevens (co-owner of The D and Golden Gate), his three children (Whitney, Sammy and Sera) and the initials of the company’s first employee in Vegas, Wayne Peters.

Derek Stevens

No pressure, Derek.

There are so many stories to be told about Circa.

There’s the story about the ventilation system being used for the first time in any Las Vegas casino: The air flow will be floor to ceiling, a true game-changer.

There’s the story about how COVID-19 actually helped speed up construction because the project didn’t have to be as concerned with noise affecting neighboring hotels (they were closed).

There’s the story about how at one point, elevators at the Circa construction site went from being able to carry 20 people to only being able to carry two per trip.

There’s the story about how important it was to finish and open Circa in 2020 (hint: tax incentives).

There’s the story about why Circa will have a massive video screen facing away from The Strip, rather than toward it. (It’s all about eyeballs on the freeway.)

Circa

This video screen will be seen by one trillion people. Note: We were drinking, so we may have rounded up.

Circa is the first new casino resort in downtown Las Vegas in 40 years, and we look forward to sharing more stories from Circa Las Vegas.

Here are more photos because we know how you are.