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News Flash: The Strip Doesn't Love You Anymore

By BlackHillsBoozeHound on Thursday, 11th February 2010 2:00pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 19


News flash: the Strip doesn't love you anymore. I hate to say it, but she hasn't for some time now. For the past year, she hasn't even had the decency to mask her contempt. 6/5 Blackjack? Reduced comps? The switch from real food to day-old slices of bread in the VIP lounges? Hello, how are you not catching on?

But you know who does love you? Downtown. She loves you like an ugly whore: extra hard, and for half as much money. And she's anxious to show you.

Nightclubs seem to have turned Las Vegas Boulevard South into a douchebag wasteland (but it's not called douchebag wasteland, it's called Baba O'Riley). Fremont Street, on the other hand, maintains its blue-collar charm. What makes it great is its crazy shit, like the million dollar display at Binion's, the motorcyclists riding around in their metal ball of death, or the $1.99 shrimp cocktails at Golden Gate that you know are gonna be a catalyst in your hurling later. Can you dance in a circle with a group of strangers from South Carolina on Fremont Street? Hell yes you can, and I helped put that to the test, one member of our group falling down and spraining his ankle, so dedicated was he to prove this point to you.

Yes, the Strip has the Bellagio fountains. You know what it doesn't have? Mermaids. That's right. Scoff all you want; those cocktail waitresses practically assault you with booze. I couldn't finish all the scotch they brought me, and this was only in part due to it being the cheapest swill around (after the first two, it doesn't really matter anyway).

Go ahead, counter me with Mirage's Volcano. Golden Nugget has a water slide that takes you through the middle of a fucking shark tank. Main Street Station lets you piss on a piece of the Berlin Wall. And don't even make me play the Viva Vision card. Downtown is trying like the Strip used to, back when it was a competition among multiple casinos rather than a few corporations.

In short, the Strip has become the equivalent of a wine party at a rich friend's condo. Fremont Street is the kegger that your buddy held over a decade ago and people are still talking about today. Next time you're headed for Sin City; give the old-school Vegas vibe a shot. And tell 'em Boozehouse sent ya.



Comments & Discussion:


Great post. I haven't been downtown since I turned 21 three years ago. I've wanted to check it out, but I always seem to forget it's there when I'm in town. I feel like my friends would love that scene. Definitely making it a point to hang out there at least one night next trip.

Yep, yep, yep. Main Street Station, particularly the 777 Brewpub, has become my FAVORITE place in Vegas to watch a football game, especially Monday Night Football.

i agree, except for the casino vibe in the smaller downtown joints after midnight. it just gets creepy.
as it stands, i like staying on the strip because i get damn cheap rooms at the Mirage. and i like the view.
i go downtown for deep-fried oreos, gambling, and the two best bars in town (griffin and beauty bar).
but i head south down the boulevard when i'm finally ready to call it a night.

As someone who in the last few years has all but abandoned The Strip (I do venture down there because of a few places to eat.), I agree wholeheartedly. I've had more fun staying and playing on Fremont Street than I ever have on The Strip.

Great post, I just mentioned to my husband I haven't been downtown in forever and I'd like to try and spend some time there this visit. This seals it.

"But you know who does love you? Downtown. She loves you like an ugly whore: extra hard, and for half as much money. And she's anxious to show you."

Jeez, now you have me achin' for an ugly whore too.

There's a downtown theme today and I'm so stoked. Four times to Vegas...to the strip every one.

It's downright depressing when the porn slappers outnumber the visitors and the fast-handed dealers have $15 minimums on 6:5 blackjack.

I'm surprised you Vegas veterans are letting this secret out...

Most of that stuff has actually been there for a long time. Okay, not the shark tank.

I'm still not sure whether downtown is on the up or not. Saying "like the Strip used to be" is a bit odd when the Four Queens expanded to taking over Binions, Fitzgeralds isn't really competitive, Golden Nugget has hardly even tried to express that their more interested in non-gaming revenue than good odds, and the old Gaughan properties are languishing under incognito management.

Still, the Boyd properties are doing pretty good for themselves, Golden Nugget is doing pretty well odds aside (and avoid the coffee shop), the Four Queens is acceptable. Probably the strangest renaissance as of late downtown is the "Fremont East" district and how it's made the trip to El Cortez just a little bit less scary. ElCo itself is expanded and cleaned up, but I can't promote it too much as I've never been there. But what I've seen in photos definitely has funky charm.

Drake, I can tell that you and I need to share a bottle of brown liquor sometime.

Meh. I have a hard time with "Strip v. Downtown" flame wars, since I actually appreciate both. It just depends on what one wants out of Vegas.

For good food, great accommodations, wonderful shows and clubs, and fabulous shopping, The Strip is THE place to see and be seen. IMHO the food at our top Strip restaurants easily rival New York's and LA's, and so do our shows. For non-gamblers and not-that-heavy-gamblers like moi, The Strip can be so much fun.

OTOH for great odds on gambling, edgy hipster entertainment, and true "living history" that can rarely be found elsewhere in Southern Nevada, Downtown is a fun place to hang out. Fremont East has a bunch of fun new bars, and staying at The Golden Nugget is like experiencing the story of Las Vegas.

We all have different tastes, so I'd rather not say one is better than another. Each attracts different people with different interests. And really, that's OK.

Big Congrads to Boozehound! This guy has taught me everything I know about Vegas! I look forward to tons of good posts.

This is your first entry?! Loved it.

Welcome to VT. Proud to call you my colleague.

Luv the Downtown vibe, really where do you get a nasty biker bar right next to one of the best causal fine dining places I've ever eaten at!! Get yelled at by a girl in a bikini on crack one minute and then eat a giant steak. It's like being back at my moms house!!!!!!

Thanks Rich! You're like the brother-in-law I never had. Oh wait...

Likewise MikeE - I think your 5 Hundy drunk dials have frightened me more than anyone else's. We need to share a jug and get thrown in Clark County together sometime.

"But you know who does love you? Downtown. She loves you like an ugly whore: extra hard, and for half as much money. And she's anxious to show you."

Brilliant prose! The best blog entry I have seen all week!

I'd be down with that, boozehound, I like the cut of your jib.

My buddy and I are already planning our summer trip, and posts like this just fan the fire. We love the downtown action, and I for one can heartily recommend the stroll up to El Cortez. Last July I had a great time playing $5 single-deck pitch BJ all night, and for poor-ass idjits like me it doesn't get any better than that.

Frankly, I liked ElCo better 10 years ago before they cleaned it up, but I'm not complaining. You still can't beat it for good cheap gambling.

Great post! My first trip downtown was in October, and I was a little apprehensive going in that I'd just end up blowing all my money on cab rides to the strip. I hardly wanted to leave Fremont Street the whole time. Now the Golden Nugget is the only place I want to stay in Vegas.

Every year my friends and I start planning on our annual Vegas trip, and every year I suggest staying downtown, and every year the idea is shot down. Mind you, we are generally not Wynn/Encore types at all, and in fact, one of the shooter-downers suggested the Sahara because it's so cheap!

I at least hope to convince a group to head downtown for an afternoon/evening during the stay. Some of my favorite Vegas memories are from Binions, sitting in the sports book alongside toothless drunks who look like they showed up out of the mines, swigging tall boys out of a paper bag. Good times!

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