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. Downtown Las Vegas isn’t for everyone, but many locals and tourists enjoy it for the value, authenticity and lively atmosphere.

Truck Dings Self-Driving Shuttle on First Day of Service

Murphy’s Law is laughing its ass off right about now.

On its first official day of service downtown, an autonomous shuttle had a close encounter with a delivery truck and the incident went viral.

Driverless shuttle accident

“Look, Ma, it’s a P.R. nightmare.”

Within an hour of a news conference about the shuttle going into service in a 0.6-mile loop around downtown’s Fremont East district, the shuttle was bumped by a truck illegally backing into an alley near La Comida restaurant.

The shuttle, as programmed, sensed the presence of the truck and stopped. The delivery truck driver, however, didn’t sense the presence of the shuttle and continued backing up, so the truck’s tire made contact with the shuttle.

driverless shuttle accident

Despite the self-driving shuttle being sponsored by AAA, no roadside assistance was required.

The story of the fender bender made international news with misleading headlines like “Driverless Shuttle Crashes Within First Hour on the Road.”

Oh, Internet.

During the incident, there were no injuries (the shuttle only goes 10-15 miles per hour), the truck suffered zero damage and the self-driving shuttle had only a small dent on its front left side from being grazed.

Driverless shuttle accident

The delivery truck driver was cited for illegal backing and ruining a perfectly good paint job.

Granted, a human driver might have reversed in time to avoid the accident, but we’re striking this up to bad luck and awful timing as there were numerous news crews near the scene of the accident due to the earlier news conference.

Company reps say the self-driving shuttle has transported 275,000 passengers without incident.

The shuttle is expected to continue its one-year pilot program as planned. It’s free and stops at three locations along Fremont East and a block south on Carson Avenue.

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30 New Things in Downtown Las Vegas Since Your Last Visit

There’s always something new happening in Las Vegas, and we try our best to keep up with the latest restaurants, bars and offbeat things to do and see.

Here, we’ve decided to focus on downtown, so let’s dive into a metric ass-ton of what’s new since your list Las Vegas visit.

1. Golden Gate Expansion

Downtown’s oldest casino recently unveiled an expansion into the space formerly occupied by La Bayou. The space added about 100 slot machines to the casino, and features an entrance highlighted by a 24-foot-tall fountain of TVs.

Golden Gate expansion

The TV “fountain” is surrounded by 468 mirrors, much like Jennifer Aniston.

2. Corduroy Bar

Corduroy Bar opened on Fremont Street between Beauty Bar and The Griffin. It’s a good drink and a good time. What else do you need from a Vegas bar?

Corduroy Fremont Street

Corduroy features a “bubble wall” behind the bar and Moscow Mules on tap.

3. White Castle on Fremont

White Castle got a lot of buzz when it opened on Fremont Street. It no longer serves liquor (liquor license trouble), but still fills a void for those experiencing the “drunchies.” So, pretty much everyone partying on Fremont Street.

White Castle

Yes, they screwed with the Trader Bill’s sign, but we’re trying to get past it.

4. Las Vegas Lights Soccer

Yes, Las Vegas now has a pro soccer team, the Las Vegas Lights. The team was named by fans, and its logo was also crowd-sourced. The team starts play in downtown’s Cashman Center in 2018.

Las Vegas Lights

The “FC” stands for “football club,” and you can’t go wrong with Googie stars.

5. Downtown Grand High Limit Room

Downtown Grand’s high limit room has gone through several iterations, but we like it’s current one the best. It’s petite, but welcoming and visually appealing. Also new at Downtown Grand is an e-sports lounge in the former Commissary.

Downtown Grand high limit room

Just the right amount of fancy.

6. Sidebar Renovation

Just across the way from Downtown Grand is Triple George, one of our favorite restaurants in Las Vegas. Sidebar is attached to Triple George and recently got an overhaul. We hear Sidebar will be rebranded soon, so we’ll have something for a future “new in downtown” list.

Sidebar renovation

Yes, Sidebar is on one side of Triple George, but the name refers to the fact lawyers who work downtown frequent the establishment.

7. Waffelato at Downtown Container Park

This new treat spot specializes in “Hong Kong-style egg waffles,” whatever those might be, and Italian gelato. We know exactly what that is.


Hong Kong-style waffles are eggy leavened batter cooked between two plates of semi-spherical cells. Oh, just eat them, already.

8. Downtown Terrace Kitchen & Bar

Perch restaurant has a new name, Downtown Terrace Kitchen & Bar. Apparently, the eatery heard from another venue with the same name and decided to rebrand to avoid any legal hassles.

Downtown Terrace

Here’s Downtown Terrace Kitchen & Bar, especially that last thing.

9. Movies at The Dome

Also at Downtown Container Park, there are now movies showing inside The Dome. The Dome shows family-friendly fare on an “ultra-HD” screen billed having 14 million pixels and “360-degree imagery.” The Dome seats 25 and tickets run in the $15 range.

The Dome Las Vegas

Fun fact: There is currently nothing in Las Vegas that isn’t described as “immersive.”

10. Ike’s at El Cortez

El Cortez revamped its casino bar and now it’s Ike’s. The hope of Ike’s is to grab some of these elusive millennials casinos have heard so much about. Surprisingly, we hear Ike’s is actually drawing its intended audience, as they’re already bar-hopping on Fremont East, anyway.

El Cortez casino lounge

While you’re there, check out the table with chips from the closed Thunderbird and Western casinos embedded in it.

11. Chumlee’s Candy on the Blvd. at Pawn Plaza

The popular goofball and fan favorite of “Pawn Stars,” Chumlee, has opened a candy store at Pawn Plaza. There’s a great selection of classic candy, and Chumlee makes frequent appearances at the store, so consider the bumped up prices the cost of rubbing elbows with reality TV royalty.

Chumlee candy shop

Fun fact: Nostalgic candy has fewer calories than typical candy, and that’s the story out thighs are sticking to.

12. Carson Kitchen Expansion

A downtown favorite, Carson Kitchen, recently got a new bar when it expanded into a neighboring tattoo shop. Same great menu, with more seats and cocktails.

Carson Kitchen

Carson Kitchen’s expansion arrived just in time because downtown was lacking in watering holes.

13. World’s Largest Keno Board at The D

Yes, it’s just a large video screen at The D, but it does show live keno games, so it probably qualifies as the “world’s largest keno board.”

world's largest keno board

We sort of put this on the list so we could share this photo because we are nine.

14. Fear the Walking Dead Survival Attraction

This new walk-through attraction was created in conjunction with “Fear the Walking Dead.” It’s (wait for it) immersive and features a motion ride.

Fear attraction

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Well, that and becoming a reanimated corpse.

15. Life is Beautiful Murals

Life is Beautiful is an annual music festival in downtown Las Vegas, and the event brings with it some impressive murals. The mural below is on the Fremont Street Experience parking garage. The Plaza and El Cortez got murals, too.

Life is Beautiful mural

We’d tell you who painted this mural, but that would involve “effort.” We can barely muster the effort needed to swallow our Captain Morgan, and we really like Captain Morgan.

16. 7th & Carson Restaurant

Glutton’s out, 7th & Carson is in. The menu is divided into Oven, Land, Sea and Earth, so you’re pretty much covered.

7th and Carson

If only we knew where 7th & Carson is located.

17. Flippin’ Good Restaurant Renovation

Flippin’ Good Burgers & Shakes is back after a major overhaul. The name of the place has been tweaked to Flippin’ Good Chicken, Burgers, Beer, and the former fast food place is now a casual restaurant complete with servers.

Flippin' Good Fremont Street

Except for the country music, we love the joint.

18. Not Your Father’s Root Beer Pint at Hennessey’s

It’s billed as the world’s largest pint glass, and it sits atop Hennessey’s tavern. For some time, the Hennessey’s pint glass doubled as a billboard for Bass Pale Ale. It took a full year (no, really), but the pint glass now touts Not Your Father’s Root Beer.

Not Your Father's Root Beer pint glass

The Not Your Father’s Root Beer mug was originally designed to have a handle. Unrelated: In gambling, a “handle” refers to the total amount of bets taken.

19. Downtown Loop Shuttle Service

The Downtown Loop moves riders between seven stops, at least three of which you’d actually want to visit: Bonneville Transit Center, The Arts District, Pawn Plaza, Fremont East, the Mob Museum, Fremont Street Experience and Las Vegas North Premium Outlets.

Downtown Loop shuttle

The Downtown Loop stops about every 20 minutes, or approximately four times longer than sex with us.

20. Las Vegas Club Demolition

This blog loves it some Las Vegas Club demolition. The gradual dismantling of the Las Vegas Club, as well as Mermaids and the Glitter Gulch strip club, has changed the downtown landscape, and there’s more newness on the way as a new resort gets built. And, yes, a demolition is a “new thing.” Like we were going to do a list with 29 things on it.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Hey, even excavators get the drunchies.

21. Axe Hole at Neonopolis

The business model is simple: Pay to throw sharp objects at targets. It’s therapeutic, it’s challenging and it’s utterly addictive. Axe Hole is a fun diversion and your new eye patch will really up your mystique quotient.

Axe Hole

There are no actual holes involved in Axe Hole. Marketing!

22. Mural at Evel Pie

One of our favorite Las Vegas pizza joints is still evolving, including a new mural that captures the spirit of the 1970s throwback.

Evel Pie

Evel Pie sits between Park on Fremont and Red lounge. You sort of can’t miss her. It, you sort of can’t miss it.

23. Smooth Eats

Smooth Eats, from the owners of the popular Donut Bar, serves up smoothies, salads and sandwiches in the space that used to be home of Grass Roots Juice Bar. Come for the paninis, stay for the wheat grass shots, you freak.

Smooth Eats

The last time we had anything this healthy, our liver could do 50 push-ups without breaking a sweat.

24. Neon Museum Expansion

Downtown’s Neon Museum recently bought up some neighboring land and has expanded its footprint to allow for about 30 more classic Las Vegas signs. Bonus: There was demolition involved.

Neon Museum Googie stars

We haven’t been by since the expansion, but we were giddy about the arrival of these giant Googies.

25. Wana Taco at Four Queens

The Wana Taco stand just inside the northeast entrance of Four Queens started as a temporary offering, but is back permanently. The tacos are surprisingly good, and the price is right. You can’t get hooch at the taco stand, but there’s a casino bar just a few feet away.

Wana Taco Four Queens

Save room for cookies, which isn’t just a tip for Wana Taco, it’s a tip for Life.

26. Downtown Parking App

Downtown has frequently tried to change public perception about its parking challenges, and is now touting a new app to make parking (or at least paying for it) easier. The app, Passport Parking, helps visitors monitor their parking “session,” pay for additional time remotely and get receipts by mail. Hey, we didn’t say it’s “fun,” we just said it’s “new.” Well, new-ish. It’s been used in the City’s surface lots for two years.

Passport app

Here’s a frequently asked question: If the story’s about the City of Las Vegas (downtown), why are the folks at Passport using photos of The Strip?

27. Troy Liquor Bar at Golden Nugget

Gold Diggers at Golden Nugget is no more, but there’s something new already in the works. The Gold Diggers space is being renovated and will be rebranded as Troy Liquor Bar.

Troy Liquor Bar

Troy Liquor Bar is already an established brand in New York’s meat packing district. “Meat packing,” surprisingly, is not a euphemism for anything.

28. Golden Nugget Sports Book Renovation

Also new at Golden Nugget is a recently-unveiled sports book renovation. We do not know the specifics of the renovation because we are not a sports person, but we understand customers quite like the improvements.

Golden Nugget sports book

This is where you can bet on your favorite sportsball.

29. Binion’s Poker Room Relocation

Poker was a thing at Binion’s before poker was a thing, a sentiment they should clearly steal and use in their advertisements. Binion’s has turned its former poker room into a space for arena gaming and to debut new slot machines, so its live poker area has moved to the main casino floor. The casino has erected a wall to separate the new poker room from the sports book, complete with photos from its Poker Hall of Fame.

Binion's poker room

On Jan. 23, 2004, Harrah’s (now Caesars Entertainment) bought Binion’s Horseshoe. They sold it on Mar. 11, 2004, keeping the Horseshoe brand and World Series of Poker.

30. Driverless Shuttle on Fremont East

It’s back and nobody’s at the wheel. After a short test in early 2017, a driverless shuttle (autonomous vehicle) is back for a year-long run on Fremont East. The shuttle is free, travels in a .6-mile loop and is the first of its kind to be deployed on a public roadway in the country.

Las Vegas driverless shuttle

While there won’t be a driver, there will be an attendant onboard at all times. It’s not about making sense, it’s about making news!

Unless we’ve miscounted, that’s 30 new things, and boy are our arms tired.

We’d list more, but we’re fairly exhausted. We’re also a big fan of more doing things and less writing about things.

Please note, as our day job, we work in digital marketing at downtown’s Fremont Street Experience. And, yes, we tend to put “work” in quotation marks.

There are a few noteworthy new things going on at Fremont Street Experience, including a resurfacing of the mall (happening now) and an upgrade in the works for the Viva Vision canopy, but seriously, our arms are very tired and we might need them for something.

If you think of anything we’ve left off our list, please send it our way so we can be duly impressed.

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Two Bald Brothers Restaurant Closes Downtown

Two Bald Brothers, a Mediterranean restaurant, has closed downtown.

The restaurant opened in June 2017.

Two Bald Brothers

Two Bald Brothers, we hardly knew your shawarma.

The modest restaurant took up the former Zydeco Po-Boys space.

The “two bald brothers” were Roei Klein and Yitzhak Maydan.

They were, in fact, bald.

They weren’t brothers, however, and apparently had a falling out shortly after the restaurant opened. It’s believed Maydan departed the business just a few weeks into its operation.

Two Bald Brothers was Maydan’s fifth restaurant and Klein’s first.

Two Bald Brothers

You know it’s bad when you’re open from 00 a.m. to 00 p.m.

Word has it a well-known Las Vegas hospitality pro already has his eye on the Two Bald Brothers space, although the contract hasn’t been signed yet. Rumors are the next offering in the space could be Mexican.

The restaurant sits in a “restaurant row” on Carson Street, about a block off Fremont.

Vegenation is next door, with the new 7th & Carson next to that.

Here’s a fun fact: The former owner of Zydeco Po-Boys, Brandon Trahan, now cooks for Vegenation.

Downtown’s restaurant scene is eclectic and, to put it mildly, fluid. We look forward to tasting what’s next.

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Driverless Shuttle to Begin Service in Downtown Las Vegas

After a successful pilot period back in January 2017, a driverless shuttle is ready to begin service on Fremont East in downtown Las Vegas.

While an official announcement hasn’t been made yet, the self-driving, autonomous shuttle is expected to begin operation on Nov. 8, 2017.

The shuttle service will be free.

Driverless shuttle Las Vegas

Hold on! You’re in for a wild ride of up to 15 miles per hour.

The driverless shuttle is the first of its kind to be deployed on a public roadway in the country.

Unlike during the shuttle’s test run in January, it will not only move passengers between Flippin’ Good restaurant and the Downtown Container Park, it will loop over to E. Carson Ave., with a stop outside Donut Bar.

Previously, a lane of traffic was blocked off for the shuttle, but when it goes live this time, it will maneuver in traffic.

Driverless shuttle Las Vegas

While the driverless shuttle never turns around, it does go both ways. It’s Vegas, we don’t judge.

The shuttle is battery-operated and carries about 15 people.

Judging by the wrap on the vehicle, the shuttle service is sponsored by AAA.

Here’s a look at the shuttle in action during its pilot period earlier this year.

The hours of operation of the autonomous shuttle aren’t known yet, but the shuttle ran from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during its trial run.

Expect some hooplah around the launch of the driverless shuttle program in the days to come.

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Dough Dough’s Hawaiian Cafe and Malasadas is a Delicious Downtown Discovery

Yes, it’s got a weird name.

In addition, Dough Dough’s Hawaiian Cafe & Malasadas is in a weird location. The new restaurant is attached to the Gambler’s General Store in downtown Las Vegas.

Dough Dough's Hawaiian Cafe

At first glance, you might think, “That’s a thing?” You think wrong.

“Weird location,” however, isn’t a deterrent when a restaurant serves one of the best desserts we’ve ever had in Las Vegas. And trust us when we say we’ve had a lot of desserts in Las Vegas.

Prepare yourself for the Dough Dough’s malasada.

Dough Dough's Hawaiian Cafe

That sound you hear it Heaven opening its gates as a choir of angels sings.

Dough Dough’s Hawaiian Cafe replaces the former sandwich shop, Gambler’s Cafe.

The cafe has a full menu, including an excellent “plate lunch” that will be familiar to those familiar with Hawaiian fare.

This blog personally lived in Hawaii for a decade, and we can attest the plate lunch at this modest eatery is one of the best we’ve had in Las Vegas.

Dough Dough's Hawaiian Cafe

Teriyaki chicken, check. Two scoop (sic, it’s a Hawaii thing) rice, check. Macaroni salad, check.

The menu also features salads, burgers and sandwiches.

Dough Dough's Las Vegas

This is the Cliffs Notes version. Find the full menu on the Dough Dough’s Facebook page.

The Pete Kalua Burger is a hamburger with (wait for it) kalua pork on top.

Dough Dough's Las Vegas

“Kalua” means “to cook in an underground oven.” You’d know this if you were a cook in Hawaii, which, we’re pretty sure, is considered a Pacific Rim job.

Undeniably, though, the malasadas are the star of the show at the Hawaiian Cafe.

You know they take malasadas, basically fried dough smothered in sugar, seriously here because there’s an entire menu devoted to this Hawaiian treat.

The malasadas come three ways, as we all wish we did, as either Big, Mini or Bites. They’re all amazing, satisfying and utterly addictive.

The large malasas come with an extensive selection of fillings, including cherry, raspberry, strawberry, apple, guava, pineapple, vanilla, chocolate, coconut cream, lemon, blueberry, cream cheese, apricot and mango.

If you insist upon a filling, just save yourself some time and do the lemon.

Dough Dough's malasadas

These malasadas will change your life for the better. Or, at the very least, for the wider.

The malasadas also come in “Local Favorite Combinations” like “Lemon Drop,” “Strawberries and Cream,” “Apple Pie,” “Pina Colada” and others.

We are a malasada purist (shocker), so we prefer Mini Malasadas (six medium-sized malasadas) or Malasada Bites (a dozen donut hole-sized malasadas).

Dough Dough's Las Vegas

“Malasada” means “under-cooked” in Portugese. The malasadas at Dough Dough’s, however, are fried to perfection.

The minis and bites are rolled in a choice of sugar, including plain, pure cane, powdered or cinnamon.

When it comes to the malasadas at Dough Dough’s, your expandable waistband may just have met its match.

Dough Dough's malasadas

No reservation needed, at least until word gets out. Consider it out.

Despite the restaurant’s challenging location, these sugar-coated delights are an absolute Las Vegas must-try.

While you’re there, wander through the Gambler’s General Store. It’s a great place to get gambling-related merchandise and possibly to put a $2,800 craps table on layaway because you seriously need to get this blog a Christmas present.

Dough Dough’s Hawaiian Cafe & Malasadas is located at 800 Main Street, and has limited hours at the moment, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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Carson Kitchen is Back in Business After Expansion

A popular downtown eatery, Carson Kitchen, has re-opened following an expansion.

Carson Kitchen

Carson Kitchen is located at 6th St. and Carson Ave. Which doesn’t help you find it, but we figured we’d throw it out there, anyway.

In June 2017, Carson Kitchen celebrated its three-year anniversary, and has now added about 550-square-feet to its modest footprint.

The expansion took over a space previously occupied by Black Spade Tattoo.

Additions included a new entryway and bar, especially that last thing.

Carson Kitchen

Carson Kitchen seats six, or 12 if you’re cool with PDAs.

The Carson Kitchen expansion increases the seating capacity of the restaurant by about 24 seats.

Carson Kitchen

Twenty-four more seats may not sound like a lot, but when you’re hangry, it makes all the difference in the world.

The restaurant has kept its open kitchen and social seating, and the menu remains the same, replete with palate-pleasing fare.

Carson Kitchen

Carson Kitchen’s open kitchen lives up to its name. Because it’s open again. This isn’t rocket science.

The food at Carson Kitchen is exceptional, and we’d love to say we dine there often, but the establishment doesn’t serve Captain Morgan, so that’s a nonstarter for us.

Still, Carson Kitchen continues to receive raves, so it’s well worth a try.

Carson Kitchen

Social dining takes some getting used to, much like this blog talking about itself in the first person plural.

Really, the food’s excellent.

Carson Kitchen

The “Devil’s Eggs” are a must-try.

Go here for the full Carson Kitchen menu, and see more of our photos of the food.

Carson Kitchen is open Sunday through Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Yes, we copied and pasted that from a news release. Don’t judge.

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