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.

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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Las Vegas Club Demolition Rounds Second Base

The former Las Vegas Club, a sports-themed casino in downtown Las Vegas, is about halfway toward its goal of becoming history.

The Las Vegas Club demolition project, which also included Mermaids casino and the Glitter Gulch strip club, hit a milestone with the removal of a baseball player statue that stood watch over Fremont and Main for decades.

Las Vegas Club baseball player

Demolition guy for scale.

The baseball player was spared becoming debris by the demolition company, Northern American Dismantling Corp.

The statue now sits on the demolition site, next to another classic sign, the Golden Goose.

Fun fact we learned about the Golden Goose: At one time it rotated. The mechanism responsible for the movement makes the goose ungodly heavy.

Las Vegas Club baseball player

Make a bid. Take one home. Check for lice.

Removal of the statue provided a rare close-up of the statue.

Las Vegas Club baseball player

Yeah, it’s gross.

There are currently no plans to dispose of the baseball player or the goose, but it’s likely they’ll end up in the hands of a private owner willing to foot the bill to remove, transport and restore the signs.

Ironically, while strolling Fremont, we spotted one of the baseball player’s relatives.

Fremont busker

We crack us up.

Meanwhile on the site, a massive high-reach excavator, nicknamed “Bronto,” suffered mechanical problems, resulting in what amounts to the excavator equivalent of a “slip and fall,” and has been sidelined for several weeks.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Bronto’s in the shop. Otherwise known as the Las Vegas Club’s former parking structure.

It’s been replaced by an even taller excavator that, after a longer-than-expected assembly period (high-reach excavators seem to be temperamental, a frustration that’s cost the demolition team about six weeks), has been steadily eating away at the Las Vegas Club’s south hotel tower.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Housekeeping has really been slacking at the Las Vegas Club. Photo taken Oct. 20, 2017.

It seems Bronto may be down, but it’s not out. The super of the site says it’s expected the excavator will be repaired and join the current excavator as the hotel’s towers are meticulously taken down.

Las Vegas Club demolition

This was taken Oct. 16, 2017. Fun fact: Demolition guys call the tool at the end of the excavator a “pecker.” Some jokes just write themselves.

It’s been fascinating to watch the progress at 18 Fremont, the address of the block being leveled for a new resort from Derek and Greg Stevens, owners of The D and Golden Gate.

The demolition hasn’t been without challenges. Aside from the mechanical problems with the excavators, early in the project the facade of Mermaids was taken down earlier than expected due to the instability of the old structure. Originally, the facade was to remain in place to assist with dust suppression.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Oh, like we weren’t going to show you a close-up of the pecker. Do you know this blog at all?

Recently, while working with the excavator at the top of the south tower, an exterior decorative piece (see below) tore loose, landing on the casino structure below and crushing a fence along Main Street. While not optimal, the demolition crew anticipated the potential for debris on the Main Street side of the structure and had stopped vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The debris was cleaned up in short order and work was back underway immediately.

Las Vegas Club demolition

This is the “before” photo. First rule of demolition: Gravity always wins.

Here’s a look at the west side of the south tower. There will be a quiz.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Here’s the “after.” The Las Vegas Club opened in 1930. The hotel towers closed in 2013.

The dramatic nature of the Las Vegas Club demolition has made it a bona fide tourist attraction downtown, with groups of gawkers gathering to watch the excavator do its thing.

It’s been a blast tracking the demolition progress, and are giddy as workers move closer to a room on an upper floor that is said to contain dozens of cheerleader costumes, a hold-over from the sports-themed casino’s heyday.

Las Vegas Club demolition

This is one of our favorite things about the demolition site, a peek into Vegas history. We’re pretty sure this used to be a restaurant, possibly the Upper Deck coffee shop.

The plan is to finish demolition of the Las Vegas Club by the end of the year, although it may be slow-going when crews take on the north tower. The north tower’s base was built to be able to support another 20 floors that were never added. The reinforced beams are sure to put the excavators to the test.

Las Vegas Club demolition

There’s still time to swing by and kiss the Las Vegas Club goodbye. Metaphorically. That would really be gross.

Check back as we obsessively chronicle the Las Vegas Club demolition. Hey, the alternative is to get a life and we don’t have time for all that.

Las Vegas Club Demolition: Oct. 20, 2017

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Axe Hole Las Vegas Hits the Mark at Neonopolis

When you think about fun things to do in Las Vegas, axe throwing may not immediately spring to mind. Maybe it should.

Axe Hole, a new offering at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, provides guests the chance to test their mettle by tossing axes, knives, spears, throwing stars and other sharp objects at targets.

We are not entirely sure what a “mettle” is, but it sure does sound like something you’d want to test.

Axe Hole Las Vegas

To enter Axe Hole, stroll through this door hole.

Axe Hole follows on the heels of another axe-throwing emporium, Axe Monkeys, which made its debut in Las Vegas in March 2017.

At first, we were doubtful an axe-throwing operation could succeed in Las Vegas, but our doubts were punctured the moment we hit a bull’s eye and heard a magical sound.

“Thook.”

When you land a hatchet perfectly, you’re hooked. Do it when you’re competing against friends, and axe-throwing becomes an obsession.

Axe Hole

Top tip: In axe throwing, it’s all about rotation. If you’re not sticking your throw, move a step forward or back.

At Axe Hole, $25 per person gets you an hour of throwing time. If you can’t commit to an hour, you can do 15 tosses for $15. We’re telling you right up front, you will not be able to stop at 15, so spring for the hour.

Axe Hole

Oh, just do the axe. “Ninja Star Hole” just sounds stupid.

At first glance, axe-throwing would seem to appeal more to men than women, but because the activity relies more on technique than strength, women excel at it.

Axe Hole staffers provide expert coaching so guests can make the most of their time using the throwing lanes.

Axe Hole

Good luck getting the pliers to make a “thook” sound.

Axe Hole keeps things interesting (as if throwing axes wasn’t inherently interesting enough) by selling zombie targets ($4) and “smash box” targets ($5).

A smash box is hung from a target, and an accurate toss will break it open to reveal a prize.

Axe Hole

Ladies and gentlemen, zombie Howard Hughes.

Guests at Axe Hole must be 10 or older to throw, and closed-toed shoes are required to take part in the festivities.

Axe Hole is an entertaining, offbeat way to let off steam and unleash your inner viking in downtown Las Vegas.

Get more details at the official Axe Hole site. And, yes, we really enjoy saying Axe Hole.

 

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Gold Diggers Nightclub at Golden Nugget to Close and Get Renovation, Rebrand

Gold Diggers Nightclub at Golden Nugget will soon close for a renovation. Halloween is expected to be its final night of operation before a hiatus.

Rumor has it the night spot will get an overhaul that includes a name change.

Fremont Gold Diggers

Gold Diggers, seen upper right, provides one of the best views of the circus that is Fremont Street.

The club sits on the second floor of the resort, with a balcony overlooking Fremont Street.(Golden Nugget is a member casino of Fremont Street Experience, where we work in digital marketing as our day job).

Gold Diggers is one of the few dance clubs downtown, it’s next closest competitor being Gold Spike, a former casino but now a hotspot for millennials.

Details about the nature of the Gold Diggers rebrand are being kept under wraps at the moment, but expect a “new nightclub experience.” Hey, scoop’s scoop, no matter how vague.

Vegas beer tap handle

If the Gold Diggers renovation involves swapping out these awesome beer tap handles, we call dibs.

It’s expected Gold Diggers, or whatever it’s called next (see update, below), will re-open relatively quickly, even as soon as November 2017.

If you want to know some skinny about Las Vegas nightclubs, we’ve got this.

Update (10/26/17): We’ve learned the new venue will be named Troy Liquor Bar, a brand owned by Landry’s with an existing outlet in New York City’s Meatpacking District.

Troy Liquor Bar Golden Nugget

Troy Liquor Bar will featured a large video wall and will have a new focus on the lounge’s patio overlooking Fremont.

More details to come, so check back hourly for the latest scoop.

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Flippin’ Good Re-Opens on Fremont East With Waitstaff, New Look, Better Food

Flippin’ Good restaurant is back in business on Fremont East in downtown Las Vegas after a significant renovation.

With its recent overhaul, Flippin’ Good has gone from fast food to casual dining, complete with the addition of servers.

Flippin' Good Las Vegas

Flippin’ Good isn’t fancy, but it’s downtown fancy.

The restaurant has tweaked its full name from Flippin’ Good Burgers & Shakes to Flippin’ Good Chicken, Burgers, Beer.

We suspect the restaurant’s pivot had to do with not only sagging business, but also the opening of a White Castle nearby.

All the changes have resulted in vast improvements over the former concept.

Flippin' Good Fremont East

Flippin’ Good features the four food groups: Chicken, burgers, fries and beer.

The new interior is a mix of wood, steel and brick.

Booths, with padded seats, are at a premium. During a recent visit, we asked about a lone unoccupied booth and were told it wasn’t available because someone had made a reservation for it. Note to self.

The new Flippin’ Good features a slick new bar.

Flippin' Good Burgers Las Vegas

You can’t Fremont and not beer. It’s the law.

At the moment, the bar serves beer and wine, but our hope is it becomes a full, Captain Morgan-enabled bar soon.

The menu’s prices have been bumped up a bit to reflect the restaurant’s new direction, but from the items we’ve had, it remains a solid value.

The grilled chicken sandwich was excellent, and the fries are as good as we remember.

Flippin' Good

Pavlovian response in three…two…one.

Here’s a peek at one side of the menu.

Flippin' Good Las Vegas

Please don’t rupture your eyeball. Here’s a larger version.

We wouldn’t leave you hanging, here’s the other side.

Flippin' Good menu

We’re fairly sure concretes are frozen custard, but we are a blog, not a flavor chemist. Here’s a better look.

We also took a stab at the chicken tenders. While they pale by comparison to Cane’s or Twin Peaks here in Las Vegas, they hit the spot, and the dipping sauces cover all the bases.

Yes, we made a sports reference. We won’t let it happen again.

Flippin' Good downtown

Sauces include Cluckin’, Tennessee BBQ, Carolina Gold, Buffalo, Buttermilk Ranch, Flippin’ Good and Honey Mustard. There will be a quiz.

On a return trip, we tried the Flippin’ Good Burger and found it to be, again, a satisfying offering.

Flippin' Good Las Vegas

Flippin’ Good gives good bun.

The previous iteration of Flippin’ Good had challenges with food consistency, and it still hasn’t worked out all those kinks entirely, but the new Flippin’ Good has made great strides in quality, variety, portion size and overall ambiance.

Flippin' Good Fremont Street

Flippin’ Good was once Uncle Joe’s Pizza and Kabob Korner. Consider our intestinal history preserved.

We’re hopeful Flippin’ Good will veer away from its decision to position itself as “the pioneer of Downtown Las Vegas honky tonk.”

First, we don’t know what that means.

Second, country music is to ears as Admiral Nelson rum is to tongues, and we don’t mean that in a good way.

From the Flippin’ Good Facebook page and menu: “Whether you like scorchin’ chicken eats, grass-fed steak burgers, shivery shakes or ice cold local brews, we gotta ‘lil somethin’ for everybody. Lip smackin’ and knee slappin’, we like to invite y’all home. Here, you’ll be treated like kin.”

We’d love to think they’re being ironic, but the country music says otherwise.

Flippin' Good Fremont East

Yes, Las Vegas has an “outside.” We just avoid it whenever possible.

Still, Flippin’ Good has upped its game in a big way and we recommend a stop to check out the new look and menu.

Flippin’ Good is located between Inspire Theater and a restaurant called The Smashed Pig, across Fremont Street from one of our favorite downtown haunts, Evel Pie.

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Gird Your Loins, White Castle Opens on Fremont Street

The second White Castle restaurant in Las Vegas has opened for business, this time in downtown on Fremont Street.

We were the first to report White Castle would be coming to Fremont Street, news that proved to be polarizing.

That’s because people who love White Castle really love White Castle. Others, not so much.

White Castle

You can’t fool us, your loins aren’t even remotely girded. Shame on you. We’ll wait while you gird.

Business has been brisk at the new White Castle location, but the opening proved to be far more subdued than when Sin City’s first White Castle opened at Casino Royale on The Strip back in January 2015.

White Castle Fremont Street

White Castle was founded in 1921. Which is odd, because we didn’t even know it was losted.

Fremont’s White Castle is open 24/7 and even serves beer. It’s Vegas, so it’s the law.

White Castle Fremont beer

Come for the belly busters, stay for the giggle water.

While we weren’t thrilled when White Castle fancied up a classic Trader Bill’s sign, we enjoyed our first visit.

We tend to agree with those who say White Castle is an acquired taste, probably because the patties appear to be steamed rather than grilled.

Signs at White Castle assure the sliders are 100% beef, so we’ll take them at their word on that.

We passed on the onions, although purists probably consider that an unforgivable transgression.

White Castle Fremont Street

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut once ate 103 White Castle sliders in eight minutes. Competitive eater Joey Chestnut’s digestive system has never forgiven him.

The prices for the various slider combos and “Castle Packs” seem reasonable, making White Castle a good fit for value-conscious guests on Fremont Street.

White Castle Fremont menu

Yes, there’s a Veggie Slider. It was added to the menu by Lucifer, but it’s there.

Also a good fit is the location.

The Fremont White Castle sits at what amounts to the entrance of Fremont Street Experience (where we work in digital marketing as our day job), across from the Neonopolis shopping complex, at the intersection of Fremont Street and 4th Street.

White Castle sits smack dab in the middle (especially if you include the Fremont East Entertainment District) of what amounts to an endless, liquor-fueled street party attended by thousands of people each night suffering from “munchies,” “drunchies” or both.

White Castle Fremont Street

Look for the new White Castle on Fremont Street. You sort of can’t miss it.

As we predicted during the lengthy construction process, the White Castle on Fremont Street pretty much has a license to print money.

However you may feel about White Castle, there’s no denying it’s now a very visible and odoriferous part of Fremont Street.

White Castle on Fremont Street

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