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Downtown Vegas 2018: Bad Shrimp, Good BBQ and Better Gaming

Discussion in 'Full Las Vegas Trip Reports' started by Marko62, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Marko62

    Marko62 Bronze

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    Landed in Vegas Saturday morning from Atlanta during a bad sandstorm, which was cool to see but a nerve racking way to arrive.

    This was originally scheduled as a boys trip with a co-worker so I cashed in comp rooms at the Downtown Grand and Golden Gate, but he had to bail at the last minute. It it ended up working out as my Cousin who lives a few hours away came to hang out and was able to use the extra room.

    I checked into the Downtown Grand with ease. The room was standard, but was clean and comfortable with a good view of the pool and the mountains. The casino was calm (as expected) but Freedom Beat and the pool were crowded, including a huge party Saturday night with a DJ at Citrus. The bartender at Freedom Beat mentioned that the new hotel tower couldn't get built fast enough. So, it sounds like the casino is a little slow but everything else on property is doing great. After getting settled and giving DTG some money, I headed to Golden Gate to the get the extra room. It was nice, clean, small (as expected) and had a view of the alley (also, as expected). GG was the first spot I stayed at in Vegas, so it holds a special place to me. I can easily look past the small rooms and bad views for the convenience of being 3 mins. from the casino floor and they are generous with comps.

    My cousin arrived around 3 and we headed to Freedom Beat for some cold ones and to watch baseball (as a native of Vegas, he doesn't gamble, but that just gave us more time to catch up). We hit Triple George for dinner and that place was well worth it. We capped the night off watching more baseball at the Plaza.

    I was up early enough Sunday to see the sunrise over the FSE and get a few quiet moments of gaming before Vegas woke up. We met up later that morning for a great breakfast at Brightside at the Plaza. He took off and I headed for a coupon run on the Strip. I started at Ellis Island and the place looks great. The Front Yard construction doesn’t affect any of the inside restaurants or gaming. The floor was busy (as much as it could be for 930 on a Sunday morning) and the staff was friendly. I try to hit a few new spots with every trip and this year it was Tropicana and Hooters Casino. The Trop was clean and the craps table was kind to me, so I was happy. From there I walked to Hooters and was not impressed. It felt very tight and filled with drunks trying to keep their buzz going before going to the airport. The Players Club attendant was not friendly and the Blackjack Dealer, while hot, was arrogant. She kept telling me to “double down, I’ll bust” but amazingly, she never did. Bad advice cost both of us money. I left annoyed and frustrated.

    From there I took the Monorail to the Linq for lunch at Ja Burritos, a great place that’s inexpensive and fills you up, but doesn’t make you uncomfortably full. I used a coupon for drinks at AmeriCAN next door and that place just drips with USA. They had cool bartenders and I imagine it’s a fun scene at night. Back on the Monorail to SLS to cash in some match/free play coupons. While SLS smells good, it was dead. That re-branding or whatever they plan to do can’t come fast enough. From SLS, I took an Uber back Downtown for a tour of the renovated Plaza Property from one of the PR Reps. Kudos to the crew at the Plaza for not letting this place become an old dirty downtown cliché. The Penthouse Rooms are amazing and the Pool Suites are a brilliant idea. They had a good crowd both at the pool and on the casino floor. Plaza is one of my top 3 Downtown spots and hope they continue to evolve. After the tour and some time at the Plaza tables, I walked down to The D (upstairs $5 WOF Slot was like a mini-ATM) and El Cortez (love the Pina Colada smell).

    Heading back I cashed in a drink Groupon at Vanguard Lounge. I was probably the first customer of the day and the hot little bartender was super cool. She made me a few specialty cocktails that hit the spot. We talked Strip vs. Downtown and how Fremont East is the new hot spot for industry locals. Post Vanguard I was hungry and wanted to try out the "famous" .99 cent Shrimp Cocktail at the Fremont Casino. Las Vegas Advisor has this as a Top 10 Value. This is no value. It was a little plastic glass of spicy, chunky ketchup, a green glob of something and a scoop of cold mini shrimp-ish meat product. I got about 3 bites in and gave up. I followed this mess with more gaming at Fremont and Binions. I used my points from GG/The D for a free meal at the Project BBQ Food Truck. This was a welcomed surprise. The BBQ Garbage Bowl was just what I needed to get the Shrimp Cocktail out of my memory and a good base to soak up the booze. I wrapped up Sunday with a few more hands at GG and DTG.

    Up early Monday to see the sunrise (again) over the FSE. The casinos, restaurants and overall atmosphere was quiet. I wrapped my trip with another great meal at Freedom Beat and a good run at the California craps table. Packed up and took off around Noon and that was it for Vegas 2018.

    A few final observations:
    - I think we have hit our quota on fat guys in thongs and fat women in pasties on the FSE asking for tips. If I saw one, I saw 15.
    - Most of the employees (outside of The D and Golden Gate) are not excited about the 18 Fremont project. The common response is that the new casino will take away the charm of Downtown by adding a Strip like resort. I can see their point, but it will be fun to watch what happens.
    - Finally, if you want the place to yourself, visit Downtown on a Monday morning. The weekenders are gone and locals are at work. It's just you and the homeless. Bonus: the cocktail service was super fast!

    Vegas 2019 is already in the planning stages!

    Thanks for reading
    Mark.
     
  2. BoVegas

    BoVegas Silver

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    Good report, Thanks for the info on the Shrimp was going to try it next trip. We are back downtown for last 3 years after 10 years on Strip. Is the Fox Theater still open in Atlanta? Saw live Elvis Presley show there in 1956 or 57, need a Varsity Dog. Again good report.
     
    #2 BoVegas, Jul 26, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  3. Marko62

    Marko62 Bronze

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    Yes! Fox still does huge business. Same for Varsity. Now they have a few locations across the metro.
     
  4. DRPinVa

    DRPinVa As always, inspired by MrsDRPinVa
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    Thanks Mark! Nice report....I like the way you made the full circle on Sunday and took advantage of so many freebies/offers...well done!!!! Hooters is I believe the only strip/near strip casino that I have never been in....I keep saying I need to at least step inside just to say I've been... Didn't sound like I'm missing too much though...
     
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  5. wxforecaster

    wxforecaster Bronze

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    Good report. I agree that most rooms are small but the time you spend in them is very limited. I normally stay at El Cortez because they are always free for 3 nights. Love the downtown atmosphere and will be interesting to see what that new hotel brings. Heading there in about 9 days! Good luck on your next trip!
     
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  6. claired67

    claired67 Platinum
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    It’s been awhile since I found the machine that was my mini ATM. Glad you had a good trip minus the shrimp cocktail.

    Thanks for posting!
     
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  7. aprilroncincy

    aprilroncincy Palladium

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    Thanks for the TR! We’ve never stayed downtown, but visit it every other trip. Sounds like it would be fun!
     
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  8. IM ALL IN

    IM ALL IN Gold
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    I need to do a downtown escapade. I have done slot tournaments at GN, and I so enjoy the entrants. Totally different crowd who do the slot tournaments there, than at my usuals. You've made me want to do one again at the Nugget and hang around downtown for a couple of days. (they've stopped calling me, so I should book one) And GN is very good with limo pick up.
     
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  9. Marko62

    Marko62 Bronze

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    Hooters is not bad, it just wasnt as fun as I had hoped/expected. Like the Trop, I expected it to be worn out, but it was very nice.
     
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  10. NickPappageorgio

    NickPappageorgio ¿Quién vigila a los vigilantes?
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    Nice, quick TR. I've heard that the DT Grand is doing well in all things except the casino. And I heartily agree with fat people in thongs and pasties on the FSE. Hell, as a fat guy myself I think one is too many because I see enough in the mirror every morning.

    Unlike the workers I'm highly interested in the 18 Fremont project. Tillman has done his level best to turn the GN into a "Strip style resort" but has the limitations of the existing building. Derek is going to have a clean slate and I cannot wait to see what he does with it.

    I'm assuming the employees outside were picketing?
     
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  11. momnkid

    momnkid Platinum
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    Sometimes I forget that our avatars aren't necessarily a picture of our self. Yes, I would walk up to Ethan Embry and be like "dude, nice quote you dropped on that trip report", call him Nick and say let's go gamble. (Even though I just watched him in the new season of Grace & Frankie) (And my avatar is my dog when she was a little pup)

    Maybe I need to lay off the cheebah.

    As for the pounds of flesh that should be more covered, they don't call it the Fremont Street Experience just for the light show and music...
     
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  12. Marko62

    Marko62 Bronze

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    Didnt see any picket lines. But it was odd walking parallel to the FSE and the spot where LVC once existed was just one big empty dirt lot. Regarding the DTG, I hope they don't give up on the gaming part of the property. I may be in the minority, but I like playing craps with a full table of adults having fun, not shoulder to shoulder with sloppy drunks. Sadly, I see them either scaling back on the tables or going slots only. But I'm glad Citrus, the hotel and Freedom Beat remain busy.
     
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  13. tringlomane

    tringlomane Theoretical Video Poker Addict
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    Nice report!
     
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  14. Tessa QC

    Tessa QC Gold
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    I think Citrus is awesome - great service, good food, drinks reasonably priced, fun atmosphere. Not a bad place to spend an afternoon downtown.
     
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