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Going Down(town)?

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by J.Go, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. J.Go

    J.Go Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Delray Beach, Florida
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    My Trip Report

    Preamble

    Dear Trip Report,

    Before I begin, I feel inclined to preface this trip report with the admission that I am a trip report virgin. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed reading others’ stories and comments, but I’m not one typically inclined to put my thoughts or experiences down on “paper.” To be truthful, I’ve never written an online review of any kind, although I strongly considered doing so when I first tried Dollar Shave Club (because it’s friggin awesome). That aside, this will likely be my first and last submission of such kind, so I will try to be as comprehensive and lucid as possible. As I write this, I am currently 5 days and a wake-up from embarking on said trip, but I figured it best to collect my thoughts beforehand and make notes in real time moving forward.


    The Setup

    Over the years, our trips to Las Vegas have taken on many iterations. We began to visit the city regularly after Super Bowl XLII when my compatriot and gambling mentor (T. Lightning) introduced me to a quirky game called “craps” during a weekend trip to Biloxi. I had always been intrigued by the game dating back to day trips to Atlantic City as a youth. However, I was as intimidated by the game as I was interested. Anyway, to make a long story short, just about every time I bought in during that trip I cashed out a winner, and in me the hook was firmly set. Screw BJ and poker, I was a “dice player” now.

    Since that time, T. Lighting and I have visited Vegas about 3-4 times per year (+/- 30 times total) with a various rotating cast of characters. In general, we like to game, drink, eat and party in that order. We spend a good amount of our gaming time at the dice table, but we also enjoy the sportsbook, Free Bet, BJ, and the occasional slot (just to take a load off).

    In the past, we have vacationed at most of the major strip properties including the MGM, Mandalay Bay, Rio, Flamingo, Encore, Aria, Caesars, Planet Hollywood and Bally’s (ugh) . However, ever since the Cosmo opened for business, we have taken up residence there, save the occasional foray to the Cromwell.

    We have stayed in pretty much every room type at the Cosmo including one magical weekend when we treated ourselves to the infamous Bungalow 9. For the initiated, it’s a 3-storey room that backs up to Marquee Day/ Nightclub and includes a private rooftop splash pool, patio area and 24-hour butler service. We had private access to the club at all times and the room was spectacular. Somehow we got a deal on it and split it so the damage wasn’t too bad. The only caveat being that it was so loud in the club 20 of the 24 hours in the day that it was literally impossible to sleep. One night, I actually slept on the floor of one of the bathrooms with the shower running to escape the haunting, incessant beats of Tiesto!

    Our typical Vegas excursion spans Wednesday or Thursday through Sunday, with one day-time trek Downtown to get our fill of shrimp cocktail and a picture with the living Stevie Wonder statue. Prior to each trip, a heated debate ritual predictably ensues regarding where to stay. The Cosmo presents such an imposing draw for us that it is difficult to rationalize staying anywhere else. The only caveat to Cosmo is the price point and that not everyone in the group receives a full comp for their stay. Other than that, The Cosmo checks all of the boxes (excellent gaming staff, food options, nightlife, locations, bars/ lounges, entertainment, pool). At some point during this process, someone inevitably meekly suggests “Downtown?” as a potential option. This is typically met by a chorus of jeers and f-bombs and the discussion is deftly set back on its rails regarding which strip property would be most appropriate for the upcoming excursion.


    A Different Kind of Trip

    There’s so much to see and do in Las Vegas that it’s difficult to imagine the scene becoming mundane and redundant. Throughout the course of the past few trips, we have been experiencing a waning lack of gusto and for lack of a better word, our escapes to sin city were becoming “routine.” In our pre-trip planning, we set forth the the usual suspects... Cosmo, Cromwell (100x odds was a tremendous lure), and the Wildcard. We then proceeded to consider just about every strip property for at least a moment (save Circus Circus and the like) before giving it a swift pollice verso. Then a meek voice queried, “...what about Downtown???” That’s when it happened.

    Could it be done? Were we men enough to fly 2,500 miles over gulf and desert and mountain and stream and wind up spending those four precious days of vacation time holed up in the dark underbelly of the sinniest city on the planet? Could we do it???????????

    We always enjoyed the novelty of Downtown, great gaming odds, cheap drinks, $1.99 shrimp cocktail, 80’s hair bands and a fun crowd to boot. Kind of like going to the county fair. Good people watching, get lit up and have a corn dog and some funnel cake and call it a day until next year. But no one goes to the county fair for 4 straight days! At least no one in possession of all of their teeth.

    The option we set upon the proverbial table and discussed seriously over the course of several days. It was not an easy process, and depending on the day we were on the verge of booking either the Cosmo or the Cromwell. The Papal Conclave has seen less deliberation. BUT, when that puff of white smoke was finally released from the roof of the Sistine Chapel, the winner was....


    The Decider

    ...the one and only “Jewel of Downtown,” The Golden Nugget! Once we decided to test our mettle on Fremont, there really was only one option as far as accommodations go. We do enjoy the atmosphere and gaming of The D (as well as their Italian steakhouse, Andiamo); however, I crashed there in February after Super Bowl 50 and actually slept in the bed fully clothed, so take that for what it’s worth.

    After we were committed to a “Different Kind of Trip” the reality set in that once we landed at McCarran, we would have to embark on the cab ride of doom past the glinting towers of the beckoning Cosmo and the columns of the Augustus Tower to reach our ultimate destination. To stem this sickly feeling, we resolved to spend all of Saturday evening on the strip gaming and gallivanting after a nice meal at The Four Queens’ Hugo’s Cellar.

    We also decided to delve into the scene wholeheartedly and leave no stone upturned as far as what Downtown had to offer. We promptly reserved a poolside cabana at Golden Nugget’s adults only pool (The Hideout) for Friday afternoon. We also, resolved to give the new Plaza rooftop pool a rattle (despite the reviews) and booked a cabana there for Saturday. We figured if it sucked we would at least have backgammon and pickelball to pass the time.


    What do you wanna do tonight, Marty?

    Not long after our rooms were booked, I began to feverishly work on the ever vital trip itinerary. Now, just to clarify, once we get out there we do pretty much whatever we want whenever we want, but it’s always nice to have a loose itinerary in place so we aren’t standing around at 7:00 looking at each other like, “So, where you fellas wanna eat?” The crafting of the itinerary also helps to get in the mood for the trip and adds to the excitement and anticipation. Composing your list for Santa as a kid was almost as fun as the payoff on Christmas morning. I’ve included the itinerary within the body of this report below for you review and easy enjoyment:

    Thursday, September 15:

    9:38PM: Arrive at McCarran Airport

    11:00PM: Check-in at Golden Nugget

    11-11:45PM: Get “Settled-in”

    Midnight: Drinks @ Rush Lounge

    12:30-???: Explore Golden Nugget and game responsibly on property


    Friday, September 16:

    9:30AM: Breakfast @ Du-Pars

    11:00AM: Convene at the Hideout Cabana

    11AM-2:30PM: Pool Time! (Backgammon Tournament of Champions!)

    3:30PM: Commence Downtown Walk-about (The Gryphon, The Brass Lounge, The Commonwealth, Backstage Bar & Billiards, The Roof, The California, Fremont Casino, Downtown Grand)

    4:00PM: Happy Hour Eats @ Park on Fremont

    7:00PM: Cease Downtown Walk-about

    7-8:30PM: Downtime

    9:00PM: Evening Snack (TBD)

    10-???: Gaming & Drinks (Crapless Craps @ Plaza, Games @ Gold Spike, The Laundry Room, Downtown Cocktail Room, Wayfarer Bar, Vanguard Lounge, The Parlour)

    WILDCARD: Gold Diggers!!!


    Saturday, September 17:

    9:00AM: Deadline for all Sports Handicapping Plays

    9:30AM: Breakfast @ EAT

    10:30AM-2:00PM: Cabana at Rooftop Pool @ The Plaza (College Football, Pickelball, Dice Tub)

    3:00-5:00PM: Gambling Pentathlon

    6:15PM: Big Winner Dinner @ Hugo’s Cellar @ the 4 Queens!

    7:45-8:30PM: “Freshen-up”

    8:30PM: Disembark for Cromwell

    9-1:00AM: Strip Walk-about (Cromwell , PH, Cosmo)

    WILDCARD: Chateau!!!


    Sunday, September 18:

    10:00AM: NFL Kickoff!

    10:30AM: Moving Day!

    11:00AM: Disembark for Westgate Superbook!

    2:00PM: Lunch @ Sid’s Cafe

    7:00PM: Buffet Dinner @ Golden Nugget

    9:00PM: Depart for McCarran Airport

    The “Gambling Pentathlon” noted above to be held on Saturday afternoon should not go without explanation. Without getting to involved in the minutia, it’s basically a ball-breaking extravaganza with a large helping of booze and a dash of gaming. Events include Sports Handicapping, Slot Play, Blackjack, Craps, Pari-Mutuel Wagering. Let’s leave it at that for now.


    The Players

    So, who’s going on this trip anyways? Well, past trips have ranged in attendance from wildcat to a bunch of us buddies and our wives/ girlfriends and friend’s friends. This trip will consist of three gents disembarking from south florida. The players in this tragedy are, yours truly, T. Lightning and Mr. Something (AKA Mr. S.). We will rendezvous with our gentleman friend (Joe T.) who recently moved to Vegas from South Florida and will serve as our liason. Our ages range from late thirties to early fifties, the one commonality being our love of sports, dice, hooch, and macabre humour (excluding Mr. S).

    Last Updated 09/13/16, 1510 ZULU
    Time remaining until departure 52 hours 12 minutes...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. golfer53511

    golfer53511 Newbie

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    Sounds like an excellent plan. Can't wait for the "rest of the story". Good luck! and Enjoy!
     
  3. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

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    Best of luck to your group. If you go to the Downtown Grand, you may want to stick your heads (and the rest of y'all) into a bar across the street called Hogs and Heiffers. Basically an overpriced biker atmosphere, but unique to say the least.
     
  4. elaine.mcgrew

    elaine.mcgrew Low-Roller

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    Can't wait to hear more. Downtown is my Go To. Sounds like you are going to be hitting all the right places. Main Street Station sports rest. is a fun place to watch games. The Cal has a new bar/ lounge with plenty of TV's too. Check out the Container Park and past the the Atomic. Carson Cafe is yummy to, just off the beaten path downtown . Binion's Steakhouse is a great stop for the view and if you've eaten already, have a martini or glass of wine. Floor to ceiling windows 3/4 away around the restaurant. Another restaurant that is good is across from the Downtown Grand , Triple George, good happy hour.
     
  5. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    A preamble! This could be the Constitution of all Trip Reports!

    Very well organized for a first pre-TR!

    I wish a great trip to you and the other suspects!

    RICHARD
     
  6. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Welcome to the UnderBelly!
    I hope you guys make it to MSS while your downtown.
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  7. spicole

    spicole Low-Roller

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    This will be awesome!

    You seem to have left Frankie's Tiki Room and the Palomino off of your list. I am sure these were both inadvertent omissions.
     
  8. elaine.mcgrew

    elaine.mcgrew Low-Roller

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    Love Frankie's too
     
  9. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Low-Roller

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    I love a downtown trip report! I am partial to the D but GN might get me next time I want a good pool. Love your writing style and your itinerary-style. Please do Gold Diggers because as a 40-something married lady I've always been terrified of it yet intrigued. I want up on that patio! Take lots of pics!
     
  10. J.Go

    J.Go Tourist

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    Thanks for all of the great suggestions, gang! Will try to fit in whatever we can in the short time allotted!
     
  11. J.Go

    J.Go Tourist

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    D-Day

    The Day is finally upon us! As per usual, I had much difficulty sleeping last night due to nervous anticipation. Watched Mississippi Grind starring Ryan Reynolds before bed to get in the mood but was disappointed. SPOILER ALERT: a $285,000 bet on the field? C’mon, man! And is it so difficult to place the chips on the craps layout properly, Hollywood? I know it’s nit picky, but just a pet peeve of mine.

    But I digress, I’m at work now and I actually am employed by one of my travel companions (TL) who so kindly headed out to Vegas yesterday and left me to hold down the proverbial fort. Without getting too specific, we are in the business of “helping people,” but right now the only thing I feel like helping is three fingers of whiskey to my lips as I bang a hard eight.

    I’m flying out direct on Jetblue which I’ve very excited about (watch out Jamba Juice in Terminal #3!). I had TL put in some sportsbook wagers for me so that I could watch some football on the plane to pass the time. Other activities slated for the plane ride out include backgammon with Mr. S., the Sun Sentinel crossword and Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger. There are few that are bigger mushes than me when it comes to sports handicapping, but I will share my plays with you for posterity’s sake: NYJ (PK), Houston Cougars (-7.5) and (ML). Do with them what you will.

    As I sit her counting the moments until departure, I feel more anxious for this trip than I can remember. The variable of Downtown is really messing with my head. I know that no matter what, we will have a great time, but I feel like I’m about to go on a blind date with a girl I’ve only seen pictures of from the neck up. On Instagram, no less.

    That's all for now, folks. Stay tuned for a fully synopsis upon our return!
     
  12. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Working on a travel day makes the clock go so slow.
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  13. Wobnobdog

    Wobnobdog Tourist

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    Looking forward to reading this. Enjoy
     
    Wife's 50th
  14. Edserv

    Edserv Low-Roller

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    Don't forget Pizza Rock downtown. Best of luck on your trip!
     
  15. WDMJB

    WDMJB Low-Roller

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    This sounds like waaaay too much fun to me!
     
    Our annual Holiday celebration!
  16. johnnytwofingers

    johnnytwofingers Low-Roller

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    I'm extremely interested to hear what a group of guys who know they prefer the strip think of a trip downtown. This will be a great trip report, I can't wait!! :D
     
  17. caroleehs

    caroleehs Low-Roller

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    Will be staying at the plaza in a week. Can't wait.
    We stay in pompono for the winter. Love playing at Coconut creek and some Isle play . Poker!