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.”

Local Eats: eat Summerlin

You may be familiar with eat from its original location in downtown Las Vegas. The breakfast and lunch restaurant recently opened a new location in Summerlin.

Here are a few things about the original location. The original restaurant on Carson Street consistently gets great reviews. Second, the backstory on Natalie Young is inspiring.

I’ve never been to the downtown Las Vegas restaurant so I made this visit to the farthest reaches of Summerlin because of recommendations. I’ve lived just outside of Summerlin for more than five years and had no idea where the restaurant was located.

After driving around 3 or 4 roundabouts and two shopping centers I finally found eat. Ironically, the restaurant is 10 minutes away with no loops if I take the highway. (This is a reminder for myself).

Eat Summerlin feels cozy but isn’t small. We sat in the front and I was later informed that there’s a large back area of the restaurant. I had work to do (drink coffee) and didn’t feel like exploring. Sorry.

Good morning!

I was told that I must get the pancakes and I take direction well. So, I ordered pancakes without looking at the menu. I don’t eat pancakes often but the pancakes at eat were probably the second best I’ve ever eaten.

The batter is very good and the pancakes are light and fluffy. I like my pancakes a little more crisp around the edges. DuPar’s pancakes at the Suncoast remain my favorite for this reason.

However, the meal as a whole was spectacular.

I ordered my pancakes with an adorable turkey-apple sausage. It was the best thing on the plate. The coffee was even better. It was a nice mild but hearty breakfast blend. The coffee is good enough to solicit a return visit another time.

The syrup that comes with each order comes in a small jar. Eat charges $1 for each additional jar. I’ve never seen this before. The policy doesn’t bother me because the jar was more than enough. It’s just really annoying.

The staff was great and we saw Chef Nat hanging out with some customers on the way out. The breakfast menu for both locations is the same if you’re a fan of the downtown restaurant.

I live about 10 minutes from the Summerlin location and maybe 20 minutes from downtown Las Vegas after I find parking. I’ll opt for the easy parking in Summerlin if I have a choice. Good breakfast and lunch restaurants seem to be popping up in the area every few weeks. That’s not a bad thing in my eyes.

Good breakfast and lunch restaurants seem to be popping up around Summerlin and Spring Valley every few weeks. I’m into it.

eat is at 1910 Village Center Circle

Best And Worst Craps Odds On The Vegas Strip

Craps Table At Luxor
Craps Table At Luxor

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, craps is my favorite game in the casino. Besides being fun to play, craps gives the casino one of the smallest house edges’ most casino games. Fun game and small house edge?! That’s a perfect combination!

You can actually decrease the, already small, house edge by playing greater odds. The higher the odds played the less the house edge. Unfortunately, the Vegas Strip doesn’t really offer the diverse craps odds that you find in Downtown Vegas. Thankfully craps still has a tiny house edge no matter what the odds.

Here are the craps odds on the Vegas Strip along with the house edge for the casino for each game.

100x Odds
The Cromwell
House edge: Pass 0.021%, Don’t Pass 0.014% 

10x Odds
Stratosphere
SLS Las Vegas  
House edge: Pass 0.184%, Don’t Pass 0.124%

3x-4x-5x Odds
Every other casino not listed
House edge: Pass 0.374%, Don’t Pass 0.273%

2x Odds
Circus Circus
Encore
Wynn 
House edge: Pass 0.572%, Don’t Pass 0.431%

3x-4x-5x are the normal odds offered at casinos on the Vegas Strip and just about everywhere else in the country. The house advantage playing maximum odds is still better than most games you’ll play in the casino.

Casino Royale has the best craps odds on the Vegas Strip but usually only has one table open so it’s difficult to get in on a game. The craps game at Casino Royale is one of the cheapest you’ll find on the strip with $5 or $10 minimums, so there’s that.

4/24/16 Update: The Cromwell has 100x odds up to $5,000. Table minimums are usually $5 or $10. (Thanks to @John_Mehaffy for confirming)

Bottom line with craps on the Vegas Strip – play wherever you want. The odds in most casinos are the same. If you’re looking for a good craps game with good odds head to Downtown Vegas. Here are my 3 favorite craps games in Downtown Vegas.

Note: Craps odds are from the Wizard of Vegas craps survey.

Best Cheap Blackjack in Downtown Vegas

Cheap Blackjack Cards 21
Blackjack

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

Lunch at Therapy On Fremont East Was Fantastic

I’m just back from Lunch at Therapy on Fremont East and feel the need to share how good it was. This is one of the best lunches I’ve had in a while. This isn’t an in-depth review, rather just how the food hit me as I as eating it.

Appetizer – Fried Mac & Cheese Croquettes (served with red pepper aioli on a bacon tomato jam)

Mac & Cheese Croquettes will make you forget it's 108 in the share.
Mac & Cheese Croquettes will make you forget it’s 108 in the share.

Thought 1 yesterday – I need this and I need this now.

Thought 1 today – I’ll share this if you want but I’ll eat the whole order myself. You’ll share? Great. I can try more food.

Thought 2 today – After food arrives, these look pretty. YO! That red pepper aioli is what’s up!

Thought 3 today – I can eat a hundred more of these or I can eat no more because they were so good.

In conclusion, the Fried Mac & Cheese Croquettes were everything I imagined and more. DELICIOUS!

Main Course – Chicken Fried Chicken Sub (Scallion mayo slaw with truffle fries)

Chicken Fried Chicken is More Like Lunch & Dinner
Chicken Fried Chicken is More Like Lunch & Dinner

Thought 1 today – Waitress said it’s her favorite item on the menu. I was stoked.

Thought 2 today – First taste was okay. Not overwhelming, not underwhelming, just fine.

Final thought – Every bite tasted better than the bite before.

In conclusion, this was a legit fried chicken sandwich. The chicken breast was big yet juicy, crispy and delicious. I can’t wait to finish it for dinner.

The service at Therapy was very good, the food was excellent (friend said the burger was very good) and the prices were reasonable.

Therapy will become one of my regular places to get lunch when I’m in downtown Vegas.

Visit therapylv.com for menus, hours and more information.

Since choosing this place for lunch, I can’t get this old Therapy? song out of my head. You’ve probably never heard it before. Enjoy.

Therapy? – Screamager

The promotional video for Therapy?’s Screamager, found on their home DVD, Scopophobia. Buy it from their website, http://therapyquestionmark.co.uk, or http://amazon.co.uk. It’s in PAL, but isn’t region-encoded so it plays fine on a PC.

Use Comp Dollars From The D At Le Thai And Bocho

TheDMarqueeYou can now use your comp dollars from The D at Le Thai and Bocho (a restaurant I’ve never heard of until now). Le Thai is a favorite of just about everyone who’s open to experiencing Thai food. Great prices help those who might not normally be willing to experiment with this kind of cuisine.

There aren’t many dining options at the casino and that makes this is a nice perk from the Club D players club at The D. Little things like this go a long way to making The D one of the best casino experiences in Downtown Vegas.

Here’s the press release with all the info you can use:

The D Las Vegas, home to award-winning restaurants including Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse and American Coney Island, is expanding its guests’ dining experiences through an innovative business partnership with the Downtown Project and Fremont East restaurants Le Thai and Bocho. Effective immediately, members of Club D, the property’s players club, can use their comp dollars toward meals at both of Chef Dan Coughlin’s highly acclaimed Asian eateries. This collaboration marks the first relationship that connects a downtown casino with the Fremont East restaurants.

“By now, I think everyone knows I hand-pick every experience that’s offered to guests of the D Las Vegas. I want only the best for them, and every decision is personal to me,” said Derek Stevens, CEO and owner of the D Las Vegas. “Beyond my passion for this property and our clientele is my deep-rooted support for the Downtown Las Vegas community. Developing this partnership is a win-win; I’m thrilled to expand my guests’ dining options with two of my favorite restaurants, which in turn will drive additional traffic to other downtown businesses.”

Founded by Chef Coughlin, Le Thai (523 Fremont St) and Bocho (124 S 6th St.) both have made their mark as Las Vegas dining staples. Le Thai, inspired by Chef Coughlin’s Thailand-born mother, is renowned for its famous three-color curry, homemade Thai noodle soup, short-rib fried rice, signature waterfall sauce and authentic pad thai – an ode to Coughlin’s grandmother. Down the street, sushi lovers can visit Downtown Project’s Bocho, a traditional Japanese restaurant overseen by Chef Joon-Yong Cho featuring a wide range of sushi, sashimi and bento boxes, as well as private dining and karaoke rooms. Chef Cho ups the ante with innovative sushi offerings like amberjack and ocean trout.

Registering for Club D is free and available to guests ages 21 and over. Members can earn comp dollars by playing slots, table or video games in the D’s thrilling two-story casino. In turn, these can be exchanged to dine at Le Thai and Bocho at the guest’s leisure. Club D members also can enjoy dining, show and room comps at the D; invitations to exclusive events, parties and tournaments; special room rates and more.

Photo: Vegas Photo Blog

Golden Nugget To Host 3rd Annual American Craft Whiskey Revival on March 5

Whiskey And Dice
Whiskey And Dice
I’m not sure it’s possible to drink 24 types of whiskey in 3 hours but I think I’d like to try.

It will be possible to try that much (and possibly more) whiskey when the Golden Nugget hosts the 3rd Annual “American Craft Whiskey Revival” on March 5.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $49 day of show. I’m a novice when it comes to brown booze but this seems like a good deal if you’re looking to experiment with whiskey.

See more details on the 3rd Annual “American Craft Whiskey Revival” from the press release:

Golden Nugget Las Vegas is getting in the spirit of springtime with the American Craft Whiskey Revival, the third annual whiskey Grand Tasting event, on Saturday, March 5 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Grand Event Center.

The Whiskey Revival offers guests the opportunity to sample fine artisan whiskies, American craft spirits, moonshines, and barrel-aged beers from a variety of America’s great distilleries. In addition, guests will be treated to live entertainment and Southern cuisine, plus mixology and educational classes led by distillery owners and brand ambassadors.

The Grand Tasting will feature over 24 participating distilleries including:

  • Basil Hayden
  • Blanton’s
  • Bookers
  • Buffalo Trace
  • Bulleit
  • Death’s Door
  • Firestone Walker Brewery
  • George Dickel
  • High West
  • Hudson Whiskey
  • Jack Daniel’s
  • Jim Beam
  • Knob Creek
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Square One Organic Spirits
  • St. George Spirits
  • Amador Whiskey
  • Anchor Distilling
  • Templeton Whiskey
  • Michters

Advance tickets are available for purchase for $45 (plus tax and fees), and allow guests access to the Grand Tasting one hour early. Guests can also purchase tickets at the door for $49 (plus tax and fees). To purchase tickets, click here or call (866) 946-5336. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to attend the American Craft Whiskey Revival.

Flippin’ Good Burgers? Yup

Flippin' Good Burgers Neon Sign
Flippin’ Good Burgers Neon Sign

I love the neon sign.

I love burgers so it’s surprising that it took me so long to try Flippin’ Good Burgers and Shakes which opened earlier this year. I love a good shake but I think they might need to change the name to Flippin’ Good Burgers and Fries. Perhaps Flippin’ Good Burgers and Dem Fries might be a better name.

The summer was a bit chaotic but I think my schedule has turned the corner to normalcy (as I see it). I’ll be able to find more time to get out of the burbs and try some restaurants again. It feels good to be myself again.

Anyway, let’s get to Flippin’ Good Burgers.

Flippin' Good Burgers and Shakes
No line!

I walked into Flippin’ Good Burgers a few minutes before noon. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that the people who work in downtown Vegas weren’t at lunch yet but I was. I often forget how people who work in normal jobs operate. There were a few people eating but the restaurant was mostly quiet until noon.

I waited a few minutes past noon for a friend to show up before ordering. In that time packs of people started to show up. Groups of people were 4-8 people kept popping in but they all seemed to disappear after ordering. Maybe they had orders to go. I wasn’t too concerned with the other people since we had a perfectly located booth and a plan on how not to lose it.

The ordering process was simple, efficient and similar to most quick serve burger restaurants. I asked for a recommendation and was told to get the bacon cheeseburger with two patties. It’s as though she was inside of my head because that’s my go to order for my first visit to a burger restaurant.

I ordered at the counter and a few minutes later (5 or 10) my bacon cheeseburger and fries were delivered. I played it cool but I was a little more than excited for the food.

Flippin' Good Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries
Flippin’ Good Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries

Flippin’ Good says all of its ingredients are fresh. While that’s great you can find that in other good burger restaurants today. Knowing that fact gave me confidence to think that the food would at least be good.

The main thing that separates Flippin Good burgers from other quick serve burger restaurants is that their cut of meat is chuck, brisket and short rib. Even though my burgers were a little overcooked I tasted a different burger than other quick serve burger restaurants.

The other thing that stood out with the burger was the delicious fresh potato bun. It was soft but sturdy and held things together perfectly. These differences may seem small but they’re important to making a good burger. This wasn’t the best burger in downtown Vegas but it was really good and possibly a better value (Less than $6 for a double with bacon).

What really moved the needle for my Flippin’ Good lunch were the fries. Growing up I wasn’t a fry guy but I’ve come across some really good fries in the past year (see Shake Shack review).

The Flippin’ Good fries were fantastic. They’re fresh cut, never frozen potatoes that are fried in cholesterol-free oil. The fries aren’t thick but were full of potato flavor almost like a miniature steak fry. I would go back just for the fries. In fact, next time I think I’ll get an order of fries and a shake.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my Flippin’ Good double bacon cheese burger and fries. Lunch was $11 (and change) and worth every penny.

For comparison I thought the burger was a little better than Shake Shack and on par with In-N-Out Burger. Lunch was priced a little less than Shake Shack and more than In-N-Out.

I don’t know that I’d go out of my way for Flippin’ Good Burgers but I will happily return when I’m looking for a quick bite in downtown Vegas.

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

Oscar’s Steakhouse Was Even Better Than The First Time

Oscar's Steakhouse at the Plaza in Downtown Vegas
Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza

I recently visited Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza in Downtown Vegas for the first time in a couple of years. I enjoyed Happy Hour on that first visit (see full review at Vegas Chatter) and enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately the Happy Hour deal at the bar is no longer offered and the beer selection is back to mainstream basics.

That was okay for this visit as I was having a meeting in the lounge that would end in dinner in the dining room. You know that iconic dining room at the Plaza that juts out above the main hotel entrance (where valet should be) as you can see in the photo above.

Since that first visit to Oscar’s I’ve been telling people who it’s one of two steakhouses to visit in Downtown Vegas. The other is Andiamo’s Steakhouse at The D. While the steak was great my thoughts remain almost the same.

Filet Mignon at Oscar's Steakhouse in Downtown Vegas
Filet Mignon at Oscar’s Steakhouse

The New York Strip is normally my steak of choice but I decided to switch things up with Joey C’s Filet Mignon (12 ounce $44) prepared medium. Besides a little cartilage you see in this bite the steak was perfect. The exterior was charred and topped with a little kosher salt (which makes everything better) and black pepper. The center was as pink, tender and beautiful as you could want.

The steak was cooked to perfection and it was delicious. The filet was probably better than the NY strip. That’s a rare opinion for me.

Service was great. The bottle of wine selected for us was exactly what I wanted (something fruity and mellow). The vibe and company weren’t bad either. 🙂

This visit to Oscar’s Steakhouse was better than the first time in part because I had a better steak but also because we sat in the dining room instead of the bar. If you’re looking for a great steakhouse experience in Downtown Vegas you really have two options – Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza and Andiomo’s at The D.

Both steakhouses have excellent steak. Both steakhouses are similarly priced and less expensive than the Vegas Strip. Both steakhouses have a unique vibe that can’t replicated anywhere else. I would gladly eat at either steakhouse and I’m glad I was talked into meeting at Oscar’s to reaffirm that thought.

Update: Check out the Best Steakhouses in Downtown Las Vegas at Top 10 Vegas.