Downtown Grand and Tenaya Creek Brewery Partner

Taps on Taps on Taps

Local craft beer in a casino is always exciting. I was stoked when I saw the headline that Tenaya Creek beer would be available at Downtown Grand. After reading the press release I was less stoked but still happy that there is now a local craft beer available in another Las Vegas casino.

Good News: You can purchase Tenaya Creek beer at Freedom Beat, Triple George or the Citrus Grand Pool Deck.

Bad News: Furnace Bar (casino bar) won’t be carrying the beer so it isn’t available as a complimentary beer for gamblers.

Something is better than nothing. The brewery is in downtown Las Vegas if you’re looking for something different to do. Here’s the press release:

Las Vegas Brewery to Offer Private Tours Exclusively To Hotel Guests

LAS VEGAS, NV (Jan 17, 2018) – Unexpected partnerships are the best partnerships. The Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino has announced a property-wide partnership with Las Vegas Brewery, Tenaya Creek, to create the city’s FIRST “Bed & Brewski” hotel room package and experience, which will offer private tours of the brewery exclusively to hotel guests.

Guests who book this experiential package will be greeted with a 6-pack of their chosen brewski upon check-in, as well as a ticket to privately tour Las Vegas’ own Tenaya Creek Brewery. These first-of-their-kind tours will offer hotel guests an intimate look at one of Las Vegas’ most successful craft breweries.

The tour will include a 5-beer sampler and 25% off additional food and beverage at the Tenaya Creek bar PLUS 25% off all Tenaya Creek beers at Downtown Grand’s own Freedom Beat, Triple George Grill, and Citrus Grand Pool Deck during their stay.

With patented brews that include “Hop Ride IPA,” “Bonanza Brown Ale,” “702 Pale Ale,” and “Hauling Oats Oatmeal Stout,” Tenaya Creek Brewery has been a staple in the Las Vegas community for nearly 20 years. They’ve also received several national awards, including a Gold medal in the Great American Beer Festival for their Craft Pilsner and a Bronze Medal for the Bonanza Brown Ale, establishing them as one of the premier craft breweries in Nevada.

“We are firmly committed to creating the most unique hotel experience in Downtown Las Vegas.” said Downtown Grand GM, Kevin Glass. “Discovering new ways to bring the best Las Vegas has to offer to our guests is part of our brand. We look forward to this organic partnership with Tenaya Creek Brewery and to giving our guests one more authentic Las Vegas experience.”

Best Cheap Blackjack in Downtown Vegas

Cheap Blackjack Cards 21

The majority of gamblers that visit Las Vegas aren’t high rollers. In fact, about 80% (arbitrary number in my head) are looking for cheap blackjack wherever they can find it. They’re also looking for good cheap blackjack games. You can find good cheap blackjack on the Vegas Strip but the options are decreasing every day.

It’s time to head to Downtown Vegas where good cheap blackjack isn’t too difficult to find. In recent years, we’ve seen gamblers migrating from the Vegas Strip to Downtown Vegas where the gamblin’s good (see the best craps odds in Downtown Vegas).

For simplicity, I’m using $15 as the cut off for cheap blackjack once again. I’m listing the casinos alphabetically and not by the games with the best house edge. Visit the survey on Wizard of Vegas to see the complete details of the games listed below and higher denomination games.

$5 Blackjack

Binion’s – House Edge: 0.66
California – House Edge: 0.60
The D – House Edge: 0.46 & 0.64
Downtown Grand – House Edge: 0.64
El Cortez – House Edge: 0.30 and 0.45
Fremont – House Edge: 0.60
Golden Gate – House Edge: 0.61
Main Street Station – House Edge: 0.60
Plaza – House Edge: 0.64

$10 Blackjack

El Cortez – House Edge: 0.30
Four Queens – House Edge: 0.57 & 0.60
Golden Nugget – House Edge: 0.48 & 0.60
Plaza – House Edge: 0.456

$15 Blackjack

Binion’s – House Edge: 0.60

Note: Most casinos have multiple games with a worse house edge. Make sure you check the rules before you play.

Updated: June 27, 2016

Speculation: Downtown Grand Won’t Be Sold Until 2016

Downtown Grand at Night
Downtown Grand at Night

If you follow Vegas news then you’ve probably seen speculation that Downtown Grand is for sale (on Vital Vegas) or possibly sold (Travel Zork).

I’m told that Downtown Grand is on the market but there isn’t a buyer in sight.

My semi-educated view on the real estate market in Vegas is that there won’t be a buyer for Downtown Grand until after Derek Stevens announces his plans for the future of Las Vegas Club (see Las Vegas Club news at Travel Vegas and info on its sports theme at Covers).

The former Las Vegas Club has 400 hotel rooms that can be renovated and rented once the property is re-opened. It’s unlikely that an investor would make an offer on Downtown Grand until they know what Derek Stevens plans to do with those hotel rooms.

Added hotel room supply could (should) drive down hotel room prices in Downtown Vegas. If nothing else added hotel room supply should keep hotel room prices low in Downtown Vegas.

Downtown Grand has 634 hotel rooms between its two towers. Prices for those rooms will be effected if Stevens’ plan is to open those extra 400 rooms at Las Vegas Club. The revenue potential of those 634 rooms should help dictate a price for Downtown Grand.

Derek Stevens says he should have plans set for the former Las Vegas Club by VIMPF which is October 16-18. Unless overall room capacity in the area doesn’t matter to the buyer of Downtown Grand I don’t see anyone making a purchase before the year is end – especially if Downtown Grand is trying to position its sales price as if they’re a luxury property.

Photo: Vegas Photo Blog

Top Dollar: My Favorite Slot Machine

Top Dollar Slot Machine Bonus
Top Dollar Bonus

Over the years I’ve written about the original Top Dollar reel slot machines a lot. They’re by far my favorite slot machine and probably the game that got me into playing slot machines. Most 3 coin reel slot slot machines are boring but the loud and obnoxious bonus round totally fits what I like in a slot machine. Check it out.

If you search Top Dollar slot wins on YouTube you’ll notice that many of the people playing Top Dollar are loud and kind of obnoxious – just like the game. And like the Top Dollar slot machines everyone is having fun. When I get a bonus (see photo above) I’ll usually throw my hands in the air and dance a little.

When I was at Flamingo a few weeks ago I played this quarter game to start off my day of gambling. I like to ease into a day of gambling with a lower limits machine even though I prefer the $1 or $5 version of this game. I’m usually just not ready for human interaction and don’t like to risk much the first thing in the morning or afternoon.

These Top Dollar reel slot machines are slowly disappearing from casinos. New casinos opening don’t want the older machines and older casinos don’t want to seem old. There are new versions of Top Dollar but they aren’t as fun.

You won’t find this Top Dollar slot machine in the regular casino at Cosmopolitan or Downtown Grand and probably won’t find it when SLS Las Vegas opens. You may find Top Dollar in some of their high limits rooms though. You’ll also be able to find Top Dollar in larger casinos with sections of older machines like Flamingo or Mandalay Bay. Get em while you can!

Here’s Why SLS Las Vegas Opening A Week Early Is A Good Sign For Gamblers

SLS Las Vegas Sportsbook Rendering
SLS Las Vegas Sportsbook Rendering

SLS Las Vegas announced that it will be opening a week early today and that’s a good sign for gamblers. Casino openings are usually filled with hype. I got sucked into that when Downtown Grand opened last year.

There was a lot of over promising from Downtown Grand before they opened. Expectations were high from everyone. They promised more great dining options than anywhere else in Downtown Vegas. Instead they offered a food court with mediocre food, a sub-par cafe and a shave ice stand that may never open.

Outdoor gaming was a great idea but 2 blackjack tables facing a wall with homeless people wandering the street behind is not ideal. Street dice is nothing like they described either. Besides outdoor gaming, Downtown Grand never talked about their gambling. Typically when a business avoids a subject there’s nothing good to say.

Downtown Grand ruined Mob Bar by removing video poker and a great beer selection. In fact, all of their bars have sub-par beer options (see more at Vegas Chatter). Now it’s just where I park when I want to get chicken parm sliders.

Downtown Grand under delivered on just about everything. I don’t hate them for it but Downtown Grand was poised to become my new Downtown Vegas home.

SLS Las Vegas hasn’t promised much that doesn’t seem attainable. Affordable luxury sounds achievable. Many of their restaurants have outlets in LA so researching them on Yelp should give you a general idea of what to expect. SLS Las Vegas has promised one thing that we know little about.

SLS Las Vegas has repeatedly said that the casino would offer gambling that locals would enjoy. This generally means good video poker, ample slot machines and good table game odds.

If SLS Las Vegas can over deliver on construction by finishing earlier than expected perhaps they will over deliver on their casino odds and returns. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe I’m on to their strategy. I always bet on myself being right. 🙂

I’ve been cautiously optimistic about SLS Las Vegas’ casino but I’m throwing caution to the wind and now I’m straight up optimistic.  

Chicken Parm Sliders Return To Triple George

Chicken Parm Sliders Triple George Grill Downtown Las Vegas
Chicken Parm Sliders

I was bored last week so I decided to spend a day and night in Downtown Vegas mostly on Fremont Street. Surprisingly, I didn’t gamble much but I had a great time anyway. I’ll be sharing highlights throughout the week.

Thanks to everyone’s good friend, Scott at Vital Vegas, Chicken Parm Sliders have returned to Downtown Vegas. Chicken parm sliders were a favorite on the original Mob Bar menu before Mob Bar moved to Downtown Grand and lost everything that made it my favorite bar in Vegas.

Mob Bar’s menu was prepared by the kitchen next door at Triple George Grill so it’s surprising that the popular menu item didn’t just go on their menu. Whatever the case, they didn’t and the tasty chicken parm sliders disappeared.

Thanks to Scott’s constant nagging requests the delicious tiny chicken parm nubs of a sandwich have returned! Even though they are available to order you will not find chicken parm sliders on the menu at Triple George. When they first returned to Triple George you could only them order at the bar if you want these tasty treats. As of last night you can order the chicken parm sliders at a dining room table.

Since the chicken parm sliders aren’t on the menu you might have to speak with the manager, Case, who’s always walking around and very approachable. The chef’s are happy to bring back such a popular fixture from Mob Bar as part of the secret “Parlor Menu”.

While these sliders are delicious they aren’t exactly cheap eats.

$9 For 3 Chicken Parm Sliders
$9 For 3 Chicken Parm Sliders

An order of 3 chicken parm sliders costs $9. My mom would not be cool with paying $9 for what’s essentially one fried chicken breast sliced in 3, a little sauce, cheese and 3 mini brioche rolls. If you’re looking for a better deal you can get a huge chicken parm dinner with pasta and veggies for just $5 more.

Chicken parm sliders aren’t about getting a good deal. They’re about getting a delicious meal, snack or appetizer that won’t slow you down. The three slider portion is just right to feel full and agile for the rest of the night. It’s also a nice way to start dinner if you’re ordering a steak (see Vegas Chatter review).

I’m stoked for the return of the chicken parm sliders and will enjoy them again sooner than later. If you want to drool over more pictures of the chicken parm sliders check this out.

Best Craps Odds In Downtown Vegas

Golden Gate Sexy Craps Dealers
Golden Gate Sexy Craps

Craps is my favorite game in the casino. Besides being fun to play, craps gives the casino one of the smallest house edge’s of most casino games. Fun game and small house edge?! Sounds good to me!

You can actually decrease the, already small, house edge by playing greater odds. The higher the odds played the less the house edge. Today I want to look at the craps odds available in Downtown Vegas casinos. Since the higher odds decrease the casino’s advantage I list casinos from the best odds to worst odds.

20x Odds
Main Street Station
House Edge: 0.099% 0.065%

10x Odds
The D
El Cortez
Golden Gate
House Edge: 0.184% 0.124%

5x Odds
Downtown Grand
Four Queens
House Edge: 0.326% 0.227%

3x-4x-5x Odds
Golden Nugget
House Edge: 0.374% 0.273%

2x Odds
House Edge: 0.572% 0.431%

Even the worst odds in craps give the casino a smaller house edge than most games in the casino. Most people don’t like to max out their odds when playing craps because it’s too much action. I try to max my odds wherever I play. Minimum pass line bets in these casinos is usually only $5 so full odds isn’t too expensive.

The best craps odds don’t make the best games. I’ll get into my favorite Downtown Vegas craps games later. For more information check out Wizard of Vegas craps survey.

I Found The Best Burger In Downtown Vegas…In A Pizza Joint

Burrata Burger and Garlic Fries at Pizza Rock
Burrata Burger and Garlic Fries at Pizza Rock

There are a few people in Vegas that I follow on twitter that share similar tastes in food as I do. When it comes to burgers there’s really one person I listen to and that’s @Vegasburger, Erik from Vegas Burger Blog. He hit the mark on every place I visited that he recommended last year in his 8 Great Burgers in Las Vegas blog post (on AC2LV). We don’t agree on everything but when he gets excited I do to.

His excitement for the burger at Pizza Rock made me drop everything the next day and head to Downtown Grand (Of course I stopped in the casino) and Pizza Rock.

The Burrata Burger was EASILY the best burger I’ve had in Downtown Vegas and one of the best new burgers I’ve eaten in Las Vegas in the past year.

The Burrata burger is American Kobe Beef, Burrata Cheese, Crispy Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Arugula, Balsamic Reduction. I got my burger sans onions. The burger comes with a side of super crisp french fries topped with crazy garlic and was $13.50 minus a 15% discount for a) being local or b) foursquare check in. This is a bit pricey for Downtown Vegas but would cost $18 for the burger alone on the Vegas Strip.

I could taste each element on the burger on every bite. The bacon was crisp enough to be good but not too crispy to break apart in one bite. Generally, I think grinding kobe beef is silly but the beef made for a delicious burger and brought everything together. Even the bun had its own flavor. Damn, writing about this makes me want one for lunch. 

I’m a New Yorker and never think highly of Las Vegas pizza but I enjoyed the pizza at Pizza Rock. It’s not the pizza I grew up with but was good and made with fresh ingredients. For comparison, I love the pizza but the burger at Pizza Rock is about 1000% better.

I love the burger, like the food, enjoy the rock jams and consider Pizza Rock my newest crush in Downtown Vegas. 

Outdoor Blackjack At Downtown Grand Doesn’t Look Awesome

Outdoor Blackjack at Downtown Grand Las Vegas
Outdoor Blackjack at Downtown Grand

When I first heard about outdoor gaming at Downtown Grand I freaked out a little. I envisioned a closed off street with a pit of blackjack and craps tables. My initial thoughts were grand. I saw a big street party surrounding my favorite leisure activity.

My visions of grandeur were quelled a little as the PR people repeated that there would only be two blackjack tables and a non-craps dice game. That’s okay, I still had grand visions. I’m a dreamer and I like awesome things.

The outdoor gaming area wasn’t open for the soft opening over the past few weeks but grand opening of Downtown Grand is today and the blackjack tables have been placed outside. The dice game isn’t available to play just yet. Both blackjack tables face a wall with a TV on a raised part of the sidewalk with a bar separating the space.

I don’t want to stare at a wall when I gamble and I don’t want to leave my back exposed to anybody just walking down the street. Anyone on the street could sneak up on players and do whatever without them having any idea that they could be in harm’s way. Downtown Vegas may be safer than it was 10 years ago but it’s still not the safest area in Las Vegas.

This feels unsafe. Facing a wall and gambling feels unsafe even when it’s inside the high limits room at Downtown Grand with security personnel nearby and hundreds of cameras. There’s less risk inside but facing a wall and not seeing what’s around doesn’t feel comfortable.

Underwhelming and unsafe seem like appropriate descriptions of the outdoor gaming at Downtown Grand. Maybe that feeling will change when the tables are up and running but I doubt it. At least the blackjack inside Downtown Grand pays 3:2, is dealt from a shoe and has $5 minimums. 

My Favorite Part Of Downtown Grand

Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel Lobby
Downtown Grand Lobby

I spent much of the day Monday exploring Downtown Grand. I have mixed feelings on the HOTEL casino. Overall I love the vibe and decor. Downtown Grand, like Cosmopolitan before and SLS Las Vegas next year is a hotel that has a casino.

There are 16 restaurants and 650 hotel rooms that are a part of Downtown Grand complex. There are about 10-15 gaming tables and a very small sportsbook with just 12 chairs. Gaming is an amenity. It’s not the focus for Downtown Grand.

That’s just the way the Las Vegas casino market is today. The casino resort I grew up loving is changing into a hotel casino. I might as well get used to it and enjoy it for what it is.

The photo above ia a couple of huge leather chairs and a piece of art constructed of hundreds of dice in the lobby. The chairs are so comfortable that I could have sat there waiting for other people to take pictures for hours.

Downtown Grand is a beautiful hotel that I can enjoy. I’m not sure I’ll gamble much at Downtown Grand but I’ll certainly enjoy some drinks and wifi in one of those chairs.

I have pictures on the ECG Tumblr but you should check out the awesome coverage on Vital Vegas and Vegas Chatter.