Category Archives: Downtown Las Vegas

Commissary Restaurant at Downtown Grand Closes, Converts to eSports Lounge

The long-struggling Commissary After Dark restaurant at the Downtown Grand resort has closed.

The space is still being used, however. The restaurant’s tables and chairs have been removed, and now the space has been reconfigured as the Downtown Underground eSports Lounge.

Commissary

Out with the underperforming restaurant, in with the millennials playing first person shooters.

The eSports lounge could once be found in the former high limit slot room in the casino at Downtown Grand.

Moving the eSports lounge across the street makes some sense given the fact eSports tends to draw a younger crowd, but only those 21 and older can be in a casino. The move to the former Commissary space means another, even younger, crop of video game competitors and enthusiasts can join in the fun.

The Downtown Underground eSports Lounge hosts events and tournaments Fridays and Saturdays, 4:00 p.m. to midnight.

Downtown Underground eSports

For better or worse, everybody in Vegas is jumping on the eSports bandwagon, but Downtown Grand was way ahead of the pack.

You can stay abreast of all things eSports at Downtown Grand on the official Facebook page of the Downtown Underground eSports Lounge.

Downtown Grand had big plans for Commissary After Dark when it opened, including using the space as a nightlife venue. In recent months, the restaurant had been reduced to serving coffee and snacks for a few hours each morning.

There are tons of great dining options in the immediate vicinity of the closed Commissary, including Freedom Beat inside Downtown Grand, the reliably excellent Triple George Grill and the incomparable, must-try Pizza Rock.

Who knows if eSports is going to be a thing for Las Vegas casinos. If it is, though, now it has a new place to be it. A thing, that is. Please try and keep up.

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Neon Museum Completes Demolition for Expansion

It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Las Vegas Neon Museum announced it would be expanding to an adjoining lot.

Here’s what the site looked like as demolition commenced.

Neon Museum

Fun fact: If you hold the Neon Museum’s visitor center up to your ear, you can hear the ocean.

The neighboring building, the dilapidated L.A. Street Market, has already been removed, making way for an additional .27-acres of neon signs. That might not sound like a lot of space, but it will allow the Neon Museum to display 30-40 signs which have been in storage.

Here’s what the expansion space looks like now.

Neon Museum

The Neon Museum displays about 200 signs. That’s a lot. (We’ll wait.)

The signs are expected to include those from the Las Vegas Club, Spearmint Rhino, Longhorn Casino, Sahara Saloon, Opera House Saloon and Riviera.

Neon Museum

The Neon Museum was founded in 1996. Which is odd, since we didn’t even realize it was losted.

The Neon Museum expansion is happening due to a $425,000 grant from the City of Las Vegas.

Also planned for the new space is an open-air exhibit and events space.

Useless neon trivia: Neon was discovered after krypton and before xenon, and it’s the fifth most abundant element in the universe.

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The Nerd Nightclub Opens at Downtown’s Neonopolis

A new nightlife offering has opened at downtown’s Neonopolis, The Nerd.

The Nerd nightclub takes up residence in the former Drink & Drag space and offers bowling, pool and frosty beverages. No drag queens, but you’ll survive.

The Nerd nightclub

Fun fact: The stigma of being a nerd vanished about 15 minutes after Bill Gates made his first billion.

The Grand Opening of The Nerd was attended by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and other tenants of Neonopolis, a shopping center that has struggled in the past, but which seems to be building momentum with new businesses like Fremont Arcade and an eSports arena.

The Nerd nightclub

You can keep your cornhole. We’ll opt for pool every time.

The Nerd is on the second floor of Neonopolis, and features a 12-lane bowling alley, four pool tables, a dance floor and DJ booth.

The Nerd nightclub

We hear The Nerd’s dance floor features go-go dancers on the weekend. Guess we have some further research to do.

So far, The Nerd feels a bit hastily put together. There’s no permanent signage to speak of, and while there’s a full bar, there’s no signature cocktail menu. During our visit on opening day, however, there was one specialty cocktail being served, the Carolyn Cosmopolitan (named after the mayor, of course), and it was delicious.

The Nerd nightclub

A certified panty-dropper cocktail. All due respect, Mayor Goodman.

If you’d like to make the Carolyn Cosmo at home: Grey Goose Le Citron vodka (2 oz.), Pama pomegranate liqueur (1 oz.), Cointreau orange-flavored liqueur (1 oz.), fresh lime and a splash of cranberry.

There’s no food currently being served at The Nerd, but that is likely to change in the future. (Related: We’ve heard a food truck may take up residence in the courtyard of Neonopolis, which would certainly help to satisfy our drunchies.)

In fact, The Nerd’s owner, Jonathan Borchetta, seems to have lots of plans in the works for the place. Some of the most ambitious are off-the-record for the time being, but stay tuned. Borchetta is also owner of the VooDoo Zipline at Rio Las Vegas.

The Nerd

Jonathan Borchetta receives a Proclamation from Mayor Goodman. In Las Vegas, it’s the law.

Borchetta understands The Nerd is in a challenging location, but thinks the quirky theme and libations will win the day.

He’s also enticing customers with the promise of free bowling and pool. We’re sold.

The Nerd nightclub

Bowling continues to be one of the best ways to humiliate yourself in front of your friends.

Speaking of the nerdy theme, The Nerd has ample movie and TV memorabilia on display, will sell comic book and pop culture costumes for those into cosplay, and anyone wearing a costume will get half-price drinks.

The Nerd

We’re thinking “Breaking Bad.” There was a placard, but this blog is more of a drinker than a placard reader.

There are also classic video games throughout the venue, and those, too, are free to play.

The Nerd nightclub

Even if you’re wasted, you’ll be able to tell you’re at The Nerd.

We fell in love with the Drink & Drag space during its short run at Neonopolis and were sorry to see the establishment close. The Nerd has a lot of potential, and we look forward to seeing what’s next.

If The Nerd can tap into the gamer and Comic-Con crowds, while wooing the cool kids who frequent Gold Spike and Fremont East, it truly will be the revenge of the, well, you know.

The Nerd Nightclub at Neonopolis

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Neon Museum Receives Big-Ass Grant, Begins Demolition for Expansion

One of the best attractions in Las Vegas, the Neon Museum, has received a $425,000 grant for a major expansion.

With some additional cash in its coffers from the city of Las Vegas, the Neon Museum has acquired an adjoining .27-acre parcel, and demolition of the existing structure is under way.

Neon Museum expansion

Adios, gross building next to the Neon Museum’s awesome visitor center that also happens to have been the lobby of the historic La Concha Motel.

Demolition crews should make quick work of the building, the former L.A. Street Market, just south of the Neon Museum.

Here’s a better look at the whole shebang, a term we’re fairly sure hasn’t been used since 1961.

This is the first major expansion of the Neon Museum since it opened in 2012.

The expansion will allow the Neon Museum to display an additional 30-40 signs, currently in storage. The improvements will also include an open-air exhibit and events space. The Neon Museum expansion will be designed by SH Architecture.

Neon Museum expansion

Hey, architectural rendering dude, don’t leave a lovely lady on a bench all by her lonesome. Not cool.

The expansion will feature a covered patio canopied by a solar-paneled shade structure. Why one would need to power a shade structure, we have no idea. Then again we are a blog, not an architectural firm.

And let’s just say some of the signs in storage a fairly epic.

We captured this photo in an off-site storage area and it shows a huge section of one of the coolest Las Vegas casinos, ever, the Stardust. Yes, yes, there’s already a Stardust sign on display at the Neon Museum, but you can never have too many Googie stars.

Neon Museum storage

We told the folks at the Neon Museum we wouldn’t give away the location of this storage area, so this is all you’re getting.

Signs expected to make the migration from storage to public viewing are from the Las Vegas Club, Spearmint Rhino, Longhorn Casino, Sahara Saloon, Opera House Saloon and Riviera.

The Neon Museum is a nonprofit endeavor with more than 500 signs on display. The organization is dedicated to collecting and preserving iconic Las Vegas signs. And they occasionally let one slide that’s not particularly iconic. We’re looking at you, Spearmint Rhino sign.

As a nonprofit, the Neon Museum is often strapped for funding, so kudos to the City of Las Vegas for seeing the value of this invaluable treasure trove of Las Vegas history. Learn more about this must-do Las Vegas attraction.

The Neon Museum is expected to unveil it’s new space later this year, but it’s well worth visiting in the meantime.

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The Nerd Nightclub Poised to Open Discreetly at Downtown’s Neonopolis

A new nightclub and bowling venue, The Nerd, is set to open on March 30, 2017, at downtown’s Neonopolis shopping complex.

The Nerd Neonopolis

We grabbed this from a video. There’s a 65% probability it’s not the actual logo for The Nerd.

The Nerd hasn’t really been on the radar to-date, and publicity about the opening has pretty much been non-existent (perhaps intentionally), but this new nightlife concept could very well be a breath of fresh air at Neonopolis.

There’s a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for 11:00 a.m. on March 30, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman is expected to attend.

Here’s the video invitation. Which we didn’t actually receive, officially. We’ll try and get over it.

Not too much is known about The Nerd, except it’s taking over the space formerly occupied by the wildly underrated Drink & Drag nightclub, a bar featuring (wait for it) drag queens.

The space includes a 12-lane bowling alley and dance floor, and The Nerd will presumably take advantage of both.

We caught a glimpse of some of the nightclub’s decor, and it appears “Breaking Bad” will play a part in the club’s decor.

The Nerd nightclub

If your club has a meth-making suit from “Breaking Bad,” you can consider us a fan.

From what we understand, employees had their first day of training on March 28. So, with an opening on March 30, it’s possible the establishment has made a conscious decision to keep its soft opening on the down-low.

We caught a group of servers leaving the venue, and they were universally attractive and dressed in white shirts and black shorts or skirts. Most of the employees sport suspenders to add to the nerdy theme.

The Nerd Las Vegas

Remember, it’s not creepy if you’re taking the photo for your blog.

In fact, The Nerd is going so incognito, there are no signs whatsoever outside the club, other than a legacy sign from Hi Life Lanes from back in the day. We overheard a sign is set to arrive any day now.

In the meantime, we’re honestly excited to have the Drink & Drag space back in action. It’s a challenging location for a business, but there are very few places to dance downtown, and this seems to fit the bill. Word is The Nerd is taking a lot of inspiration from the wildly successful Gold Spike, formerly a casino, but now a nightlife hangout for the cool kids that is pretty much printing money every weekend.

The Nerd is the brainchild of Jonathan Borchetta, owner of the Voodoo Zip Line attraction at Rio Las Vegas.

Here’s our recipe for success at The Nerd: Keep the price points right, adjust the music volume so we can hold a conversation, throw in some decent munchies and we’ll be there will our nerdy friends to drink, bowl and feebly attempt to dance the night away.

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Lappert’s Ice Cream is So Very Back at The California

Our favorite ice cream place in Las Vegas closed for a renovation, but Lappert’s Ice Cream is back and making us swoon all over again.

Lappert's Ice Cream

Second floor of The Cal, next to the Ethel M chocolate store, because your thighs deserve a vacation, too.

We’re sort of at a loss to say what’s changed about Lappert’s following its renovation, as the current shop is virtually indistinguishable from the previous incarnation.

The Cal Lappert's

Oh, just pretend you see a big difference. The last thing you want is ice cream with hurt feelings.

Something that’s definitely changed is the fact our favorite ice cream flavor is back, specifically, chocolate chip (not mint chocolate chip, that’s as blasphemous as pineapple on pizza).

Lappert's Ice Cream

And all was right with the world.

A couple of the display cases have been upgraded, and it’s possible the decor has been spruced up a bit, but otherwise, it’s the Lappert’s legions of devotees know and love.

The menu remains the same, and Lappert’s still serves up the best shaved ice in Las Vegas along with the best ice cream.

The Cal Lappert's hours

Let’s call this an “infographic.” The kids love infographics.

Downtown’s California casino has been undergoing dramatic changes in its casino, bars and restaurants in recent months. It’s estimated the hotel has invested $40 million in upgrades.

It seems there are more changes to come, and we sleuthed one upon entering The Cal. One of the neon signs, for Dave’s Aloha Bar, has gone dark.

Dave's Bar California

True Vegas fanatics will notice the Main Street Bar remains lit despite it having closed months ago. Sleuthing is an imperfect science.

We poked around a bit and were informed the bar has, indeed, closed, although it’s occasionally used for special events. We couldn’t get anyone to fess up about when, or if, it might be closed for good.

Dave's Bar California

The video poker machines at Dave’s Bar still function, but you’ll need to find a cocktail waitress to get your hooch.

It’s possible the bar is being phased out since the nearby sports book has moved to a new sports book and lounge downstairs.

California sports book

There are no traces of the former sports book at The Cal. Las Vegas is magical like that.

The California is about a block off of Fremont Street, and Lappert’s Ice Cream is well worth the short stroll.

We consider Lappert’s Ice Cream a Las Vegas must-do. Let us know if you agree. If not, keep it to yourself and think about seeking medical assistance because your taste buds may have taken a severe blow to the head.

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