Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch Close to Make Way for New Downtown Resort

Three mainstays of Fremont Street have shuttered at once, for good: Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch.

Mermaids closes

You either get Vegas or you don’t. So, do.

Each of the now-closed establishments has a long and glorious history, which we are
obviously far too lazy to actually look up.

Instead, let’s take a superficial look at these longtime fixtures of downtown Las Vegas.

Glitter Gulch was a strip club, the only one on Fremont Street. Glitter Gulch didn’t have
the best reputation, which is perhaps why it closed unceremoniously and under cover of
darkness at 4:00 a.m. on June 27, 2016.

Glitter Gulch strip club

Probably best not to attract too much media attention, if you get our drift. We figure the strip club signage will be around for another 48 hours.

Rumor has it that even when the music stopped and the lights came up, Glitter Gulch patrons
didn’t want to leave. Behold, the power of beer goggles.

Glitter Gulch bar

This never-before-seen rendering shows a proposed facade upgrade and outdoor bar at Girls of Glitter Gulch, which we’re lovingly filing under “lipstick on a pig.” The plan never happened, and now, never will.

Mermaids and La Bayou, on the other hand, closed at 11:00 p.m. on June 27, 2016.

Mermaids

With the closing of Mermaids, our long national apostrophe nightmare is over.

Much of the hoopla at these slot parlors had already taken place, on June 25. That’s the
night Mermaids and La Bayou had to give its progressive jackpots away. Read more.

Still, fans of Mermaids and La Bayou came out in force to say farewell.

The best way we can describe the affection for Mermaids and La Bayou is to compare it to
the first time you had sex. Most people remember it as being much better than it was, and
whatever comes next is bound to be an improvement.

Mermaids

One last moonwalk at Mermaids.

Most people who came out for the closing of Mermaids had deep fried food on their mind. The
casino was known for its inexpensive deep fried Oreos and Twinkies.

A line snaked around the casino’s snack bar area for hours before Mermaids closed, and we
honestly felt like those who were turned away toward the end were going to riot. You know,
like in “Soylent Green.” Although, Soylent Green had more nutritional value.

Mermaids

Earlier in the day, there were false reports Mermaids had run out of Twinkies. We should know, we reported them.

Funny story.

This blog’s place in Mermaids history was secured in true Las Vegas fashion as the snack
bar line came to an end. It was announced the snack bar had run out of product. There was a
collective groan from the remaining guests.

As people drifted away, we seized the moment and approached the counter. “Sir, we’re sorry,
but the snack bar is closed and we have no more product.” At which point we removed a $20
bill from our wallet.

Wait for it.

“Sir, enjoy the last deep fried Oreo ever served at Mermaids.”

These, dear friend, are those very deep fried Oreos. Which, upon reflection, we should have
had bronzed or something.

Mermaids fried Oreo

Twenty bucks for 99-cent fried Oreos and Las Vegas immortality? You bet.

Our decision to eat the last deep fried Oreos ever served at Mermaids was, of course, a
horrible one. The nausea continues even a day later as we write this. Memories to last a
lifetime.

As closing time approached at Mermaids, there were hugs and tears among the employees. Buskers and strippers (many of whom had worked at Glitter Gulch) came by to pay their last respects. There were lots of Las Vegas visitors and locals, too. All left with free beads, a calling card of Mermaids and La Bayou.

Mermaids beads

It’s important you keep your beads organized. You might say we’re anal about beads.

While we may not have too many fond memories of Mermaids, we have two related to La Bayou.

La Bayou was the first place we remember having a strawberry daiquiri in Las Vegas. La Bayou became a favorite jumping off point for many a Las Vegas adventure, at least until the quality of the liquor went downhill dramatically. Then, it was the jumping off point for blackouts, projectile vomiting and lifelong liver damage. We haven’t had one in ages. Still, memories!

We also have a La Bayou memory that was captured on film. Or pixels. Let’s not get bogged down in details.

Pictured below is this blog’s actual grandmother playing her favorite Triple 7s machine at La Bayou in 2009, along with a pina colada and a dream. And an oxygen tube. It’s hard to get any more Vegas than that.

La Bayou grandmother

Miss you, Gram.

We’ll always love this La Bayou moment. It was one of the few times we remember our grandmother truly happy before she passed away some time later. It’s a reminder of how much we had in common, too.

So, what now?

Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch were purchased by Derek and Greg Stevens, the folks who own The D and Golden Gate.

Derek Stevens

New owner Derek Stevens chats with Mermaids staffers. Some will stay on at The D and Golden Gate.

They also own the former Las Vegas Club, so the plan is to create a new resort that will expand the Las Vegas Club footprint and gobble up Glitter Gulch and Mermaids. La Bayou is part of a planned expansion of Golden Gate.

Mermaids Las Vegas closed

Mermaids casino is no more.

It’s never a happy occasion seeing a casino close. Because casinos. Ditto strip clubs, come to think of it.

Given the track record of the Stevens brothers, however, these closures are in service of a larger vision, one that is likely to result in new, shiny (and probably pulchritudinous) things we’re pretty much guaranteed to love.

A new resort will add some much-needed energy and excitement to the west end of Fremont Street and the Fremont Street Experience (where this blog works as its day job, by the way).

Not everyone is a fan of “new,” of course.

Some love their downtown gritty and raw and communicable. We do, too. Just not that raw and gritty and communicable.

La Bayou closed

La bye, you.

We suspect the new resort, with the working name of 18 Fremont, is going to strike a balance. There will be nods to classic Vegas. Vegas Vickie, for example, isn’t going anywhere. She’ll be featured in the new resort.

Mermaids

The change of ownership means Vegas Vickie is likely to get the maintenance she so richly deserves.

While Vegas past will get its due, there will also be fun new diversions. How can we be sure? Because Las Vegas’ main export is diversions.

Mermaids Las Vegas

Don’t freak out. The lights will stay on until demolition begins for the new resort, probably in early 2017.

So, good night Glitter Gulch, Mermaids and La Bayou. And, hello, whatever’s next. It wouldn’t be Las Vegas without a metric ass-ton of next.

Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch Close

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  • Vegasbymonday

    The passing of these casinos is a sad time but it passes. We’ll soon realize all memories of a casino shouldn’t be of gigantic daiquiris or deep fried delicious death. So let’s all take a giant step back to make room for the construction crews that will bring us a place to create new memories that, with any luck, we’ll forget because we had too much fun.

  • William Wingo

    Just what downtown needs: another large, impersonal profit center like Golden Nugget or the D.

    I wonder if they’ll have resort/parking/convenience/ambiance fees (rhetorical question).

    • Whatever happens after these places will be better. No question.

  • Troy Swezey

    Glitter Gulch is one place I never went but wanted to just so I can say I did but just could not bring myself to the scam I heard it was.
    One of my favorite places I have ever stayed was Golden Gate. I stayed in one of the original rooms overlooking the alleyway between it and La Bayou. I liked the room as it was small and ‘original’ though updated but still had that feel like it was built in 1906. Nice.
    Would love to see what one of the new suites looks like. Can you pull some strings Vital Vegas? Please and thank you.

    • Vegasbymonday

      I was lucky enough to have a friend from a certain branch of the military that would moonlight at the Gulch. This gave us an excuse to enjoy the filth and play a round of tetanus roulette a little more than any of us wanted to. With that said, I’ll miss the old girl…which one? I’m not sure.

  • Bouldersteve

    I was thinking of going downtown for the closing but I was afraid I would get too emotional..ok maybe I just decided to do laundry

    • Oddly, I get emotional whenever I do laundry.

  • Wolfdog

    Dang well-written piece. But don’t let it go to your head……………………..Oh, go ahead.

  • Bill B

    From Binions to Main Street all dark on the north side of Fremont. How can the city OK shutting down so much all at one? & for how long?

    • Bouldersteve

      I don’t think the city has much say. You cannot force someone to operate a business. Plus Derek has a good relationship with the city because of his investment in downtown. Its will tough for a while but in order to make things better it has to happen. Hopefully construction will start soon.

    • Yep, the whole block, but it’s needed to do the new resort right. As mentioned, the City doesn’t have anything to do with it in this case.

  • Chuck in Richmond

    We never see Greg Stevens. Is he an international man of mystery, or Derek’s imaginary brother?

    • Bouldersteve

      I don’t think Greg lives in Las Vegas. He might be more involved in the family’s other business which is automobile parts based in Michigan

      • He sort of just chooses to be behind the scenes, rather than in the spotlight like Derek. Nice guy, though.

    • Ha! He’s in town often, but seems to concentrate on their business interests back in Detroit. Just not a spotlight guy, but very nice.

  • Darwin Akbar

    Good riddance to the three of the worst clip joints in town, which is no mean feat. Hopefully, this will also reduce the number of drunk scumbags barfing up their strawberry-flavored grain alcohol slurry.

  • Misslaydj

    love the pic of granny 🙁