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Is The Casino Coffee Shop A Dying Breed?

By MikeE on Wednesday, 18th August 2010 10:32am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 31


I make no secret about my love for stuffing my face at 4am. All your hangover remedies go in one ear and out the other; you can keep your Advil, full glasses of water, vitamins, and jumping jacks before bed. I'll have my pizza at Stratta, my coconut pancakes at Raffles, or my nachos with extra cheese that JohnH spilled all over a barely 72-hour old Aria SkySuites lounge.

But lest you think I'm just some gluttonous pig, let me tell you, it's not just about the food. Eating that late is just so... so Vegas. At one table is the guy with clear regrets about the cost of the bottle he just got at the nightclub. At another, two guys with blood red eyes, scratching their pink nostrils while completely oblivious to the remnants of coke in their chest hair as they discuss plans to go to Drai's. In walks the skank parade with shoes in hand and the men immediately slow down their consumption. All the while, the sun is rising and the businessmen and elderly couples join the fray. One old guy is visibly disgusted and disturbed by these drunken idiots until he gets a nipple slip surprise when the skank parade departs - a lovely morning pick-me-up.

This all happened one night many moons ago at Terrace Pointe Cafe. The abysmal service and interesting scenery made our "quick" stop for lobster benedict an hour and a half experience - in some ways, it was the best meal of my life and a perfect night cap before retiring to bed.

So then you can imagine my sadness as the economy could no longer support some of these 24-hour eateries. As you may already know, by law a gambling establishment in the state of Nevada must have somewhere to eat for every hour that the casino is in operation - 24-hour casinos, 24-hour coffee shops. But now, cut hours in these nicer sit-down restaurants are subsidized with sportsbook delis or pre-made sandwiches one notch above airport terminal fare. And if it's not that, then I'm force-fed a fucking burger instead of my favorite wings, celery, and ranch dip because Caribe Cafe was replaced with this overpriced Denny's.

Society Cafe Encore was meant to be a 24-hour place until they decided to cut down the hours the last few days before opening. Cosmopolitan makes no reference to a 24-hour spot on their website (though I'm hoping The Henry is just that). Others have simply reduced their hours. It's not a completely dead concept, but it seems to be quickly going the way of the arcade and family attractions.

Here's hoping that if and when the economy rebounds, these places will return to 24-hour operation. They are, in my mind, just as much a Vegas staple as the slot machine.

Tagged: coffee shops   mirage   wynn las vegas   mandalay bay   aria   


Comments & Discussion:

Mike, and here I thought I was the only person to whom this late night ritual was congruous with any Vegas visit. A truly Vegas only and Vegas must do.
So many of the dining choices have had their hours chopped. Let's hope things change. Great post.

i agree on the late-night munchies kick...
though i must say that getting a tuna melt and a knish on my way back to my room from the carnegie deli at 430am makes my half-jewish nyc heart skip a beat. this is what i'm craving after a heavy night.


Totally agree, although I am the one eating breakfast at 4:30am that just got up, and no I am not elderly just a very early riser in NYC that ends up awake at 4am. While the food is good, the people watching is beyond compare, you can't help from making up little stories in your head about the different people, if you're really lucky you'll hear a young woman screaming at her date "my crotch is on fire because of you" and storming out.

Nice article Mike, I hope they aren't dying out, but I do understand where you are coming from on it. A little bit of trivia though, I forgot where I read it but there's no law requiring 24 hour food service for a casino in Las Vegas. I always though that was the case as well, usually was just offered as an option due to the 24 hour nature of the town and so many from different time zones.

The Riviera has obviously fallen on hard times but at least it's next door to the classic 24 hour only in Vegas place, the Peppermill.

I LOVE 24 HOUR ANYTHING. Diners being up there on the list. I can't tell you how many times I've eaten at the Sherwood Forest Cafe in Excalibur or the Grand Cafe at MGM Grand at 3am, experiencing the same thing you did. Skanks, coke heads, etc. (Although I'm usually coming down off X when I hit these diner joints, at those times it's mostly for something to drink, not food).

It makes me so sad the only places in my town that are open 24/7 is Wal-Mart, Dennys, Steak N Shake and iHOP.

I love Vegas

lmao. This soo sounds like so many of my Vegas late night stories. I love Vegas and when I get their I never slow down to eat. This leads me to the Late night/morning munchin at the Coffe Shop's! As much as I love a Great meal at all the fancy restraunts, I hardly stop for em :/ If they weren't there I don't know what I would do...

Love the food at Terrace Pointe, but never go there if you are in any kind of a hurry. I also mourne the Caribe Cafe, which IMO had the best breakfast in the country until after MGM took over.

Your story reminded me of a car trip we took from Portland to Phoenix in 1978. We pulled into the Stardust on a Friday night around 10pm, and went to the coffee shop for a late dinner. As a 12 year old, it was an amazing experience, my first close encounter with public drunkeness, scantily glad woman, and guys who definitely looked like they could have been in the Mob (and since this was the Stardust in the late 70's, probably were).

Great post Mike. My earliest casino memories were not having any money to gamble but going down to Atlantic City with my wealthier friends who were betting green and black at the blackjack table and then mooching off their hefty comps at the coffee shop. What a kick to order every dessert on the menu. Its been a while since I was in casino......the Borgata last October.....and wsa pissed when the coffee shop there was closed at 10 pm on a Thursday.

I'm heading to Las Vegas at the end of this month and staying at Encore.....any ideas on a good 24-hour food option in the area? Is the coffee shop at Wynn still 24 hours?

I remember Toucan Harry's at Stardust. Don't think I ever had a bad meal there, especially in the wee hours, plus it was an easy comp after a few hours of play. Then there was the Cyclone at the old Boardwalk, with a tramp named Hazel as our server. Easy to remember this because it was the worst service my wife and I ever had. I told the restaurant manager that Hazel's services weren't worth a dime, so I left her a nickel. I still overpaid, but I was a kid then.

Great post. I'm a late-night eater in Vegas myself, and I've been partial to Flamingo's 24-hour cafe since it has counter service, which is convenient when I'm the only one ready to chow down a "hangover prevention" meal at 2 or 3 a.m.

Are the graveyard specials disappearing too? I noticed during my last stay at Flamingo that instead of offering the usual Graveyard Specials from midnight to 6:00 am, they actually raised the prices on everything on their late night menu.

I was shocked and dismayed ...another Vegas tradition dying before my eyes...

Not to mention it is getting harder to find a 24hour casino bar that is open. Some properties only have half of a back bar open. I've even been told the 24hr cafe counter is the only place serving drinks.

Ahh, the old days...regrouping with everyone at 4am in the Caravan Cafe, sharing stories of the evening with each other, eating scrambled eggs so liquid-y you needed a spoon and diving our filthy hands into our respective bucket of coins seeing whose was more full. Those were the days, suckah.

This is super on-point. Thank you for writing this.

Adios! I'm done with them. For the people who really want a meal at 4AM, there should be room service.

I'm so glad this was brought up. 2 summers ago I stayed at the Mirage. I checked in around 10:30 at night after flying for 5 and a half hours, and I needed food! My first thought of course was The Caribe Cafe, my very favorite Vegas coffee shop. It was closed by the time I got there. 10:45 and it was closed. This was just a couple months before it was shut down for the B.B. Kings place, so I don't know if that is why the hours were cut back, but either way I ended up at BLT Burger. And as good as it was I really was n0t in the mood for a $30 burger.

It's a similar situation Downtown as well, but I have to say that the Golden Gate is home to perhaps the best casino coffee shop Downtown and one of the best in Vegas. DuPar's was a very good replacement for the Bay City Diner. Usually I don't eat at the same place twice during a trip to Vegas, the food at DuPar's is so good that I ate there four times back in June.

Great article. I too firmly believe that a layer of food in the stomach (and the greasier the food, the better!) alleviates the next morning's hangover.

I'm partial to the Victorian Cafe at Bill's, though as noted above, a place like Flamingo's with counter service is great for the solo patron.

The Peppermill is not going anywhere and that God for that. The Mazeratti omelet has literally saved my life. Well not literally. The Mazeratti omelet has figuratively saved my life.

The other problem I've run into is my lack of room service choices. My friends have cut off the incidentals after one late night at Bill's I uttered the phrase "just charge it to the room..."

I guess I miss Mike_E by two hours. I love starting my day with a 6 AM breakfast. Interesting to see working girls finishing their shift by comparing notes at Baccarat Bar as I'm on my way to Cafe Bellagio.

Where did the name The Henry come from at Cosmo? I don't like it.

The best time I ever had in Vegas was sharing nachos at the Sherwood Forest Cafe at Tropicana at 4am with 4 friends I had met on the internet, but never in person. The nacho cheese helped us bond.

The Victorian Room at 5am is one of the funniest places ever. What a crazy mix of people in there.

I echo donnymac's sentiment 100 percent. The last three times I have been to Vegas, I have hit the Victorian Room over at Bill's for a very good Prime Rib dinner at like 5 or 6 a.m. after a crazy night. I don't want to eat at a fucking McDonald's after fueling up on Jager Bombs and grinding out a marathon session at a blackjack table.

Unfortuntally even Terrace Pointe at Wynn was closing at 11PM last time I was there. I was told this was on temporary so they could do construction there at night to make preparations for the new wine bar which will be occupying part of their old dining area. If that's the case I understand, but you know how things change. If nobody seems to care much, we could lose it forever i suppose. Stratta is open 24 hours now, but for how long I don't know, and it's menu is both limited and more expensive. We shall see what happens, but when several of us had the munchies at 11PM, on a Saturday night in June, the options were very limited at Wynncore, with Terrace Pointe and Society both being closed.

Terrace Pointe was closed at 3pm on Sunday when i went there to eat.

I usually hit Planet Dailies inside Planet Hollywood around 2 am or so. One morning I broke the language barrier when a Japanese man wanted a coke but didnt understand much English. He kept looking at me and I told the waiter he wanted what I waa drinking. When the coke got there the guy smiled at me. Have also seen the endless parade of loaded women and their semi loaded men trying to walk upright at least until they got to their table. If a place doesnt have a 24 hour place then I pass on staying there.

interesting, they say approximately "cohca cohra" in japan

I'm with you. One of the greatest things about Vegas is the ability to get a hot meal at any hour of the day or night. It's part of the Vegas experience. You see the most interesting things at 3am. I would hate to see all the 24 hour cafes go the way of the dinosaur. McDonalds at 3am doesn't have quite the same charm.

One time I went to an orgy, and a coffee shop broke out...

I seriously miss the Stardust coffee shop. At that rate, I miss the little bar overlooking the casino there also. At least they built a nice new fancy hotel where it used to be...

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