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A Covid Trip Downtown, Jan 8-11

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by duceiswild, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. duceiswild

    duceiswild Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Been lurking on the board for a while, did a trip recap after my last trip with the wife in August when we stayed at Encore. We got married at Bellagio in March and hadn't been back since, and this will be my first trip since then, and this is a guys trip. Typically a BJ and light craps player, with a little slots and VP mixed in. Really excited to check out Circa this year, likely for multiple gambling sessions and maybe to watch some NFL on Saturday or Sunday.

    Since I can remember, there has been a group of ~30-50 guys from my small Ohio hometown that have been going to Vegas the first weekend after New Year's, typically it works out to be either the weekend before or after CES. It is quite the range of ages, from 30-80. About 5 years ago, my best friend and I decided to join in the fun and have been going ever since. Everyone stays downtown, some go Thursday-Tuesday, some Saturday-Sunday, and everything in between. The great thing about downtown is that it is easy to run in to people you know with a group of that size, no matter the casino you are in.

    The first year I was leery about downtown, as my first 10 years of Vegas had all been on the strip, in progressively nicer casinos in progressively nicer rooms. But I have no problem making the Golden Nugget Rush Tower home for a few days, feel that it is every bit as nice for standard rooms as all but the top tier strip properties, certainly the best downtown before Circa.

    The crowd is thinned significantly this year, as most of the older crowd has chosen to skip this year in favor of 2022. Not sure on the actual number of people, but I'd guess it is still 10-20.

    Logistics
    Flying direct from Colorado Springs to Vegas on Frontier for the bargain price of $32. ROUNDTRIP. Frontier did a status match in December, so I was able to match my United status to Frontier's 100k level for what ended up being free. It was $49 to apply for the match, but that included a Discount Den membership, which is usually $49 but gives you a discount on fares. But then they were running a promo where if you joined the Discount Den, you got a $50 travel voucher. So on top of having their top tier and discounts for the year, it essentially ended up being free. Their 100k level gets rid of all the nickel and diming that they typically do - it includes a personal item, carry on, checked back, and seat selection. Frontier has about 3 rows at the front of the plane that have more leg room and actually recline, and I've found these are every bit as comfortable as the Economy Plus seats on the mainline carriers.

    Anyways, the direct flight out of a small airport is clutch, and worth flying Frontier for the hour and a half. Leave at 11:40, land at 12:30 on Friday. There until Monday afternoon, and get back just in time to watch my Buckeyes play the Tide in the Natty.

    Staying at the Nugget, comped in the Rush Tower plus some FP.

    Gaming
    Mostly $25+ BJ, maybe some craps, maybe some VP, maybe a few carny games. The great thing about downtown is you can kind of see where the wind blows you, and with a group this big, can grab a seat at a table with guys you know as you walk through the casinos. That may be a little harder this year with the reduced table capacity, but we'll see. In the past, we would basically take over the tables at the Gate in the afternoon and watch the NFL Wild Cards while playing cards.

    I can't wait to check out Circa, so expect to play some tables there if the minimums are right.

    Food and Drink
    With the reduced capacity, we've made dinner reservations every night. Friday is Barry's and I am PUMPED given some Yelp reviews and things I've read here from @DaiLun. Saturday is Andiamo at the D, and then Sunday is Chart House at GN, a little early so we can catch their great happy hour.

    I'm also excited to get up to Legacy Club at the top of Circa and check out the view and the cocktails up there. I am sure it is $15+ for a cocktail, but the view should be pretty killer, and a nice atmosphere for downtown.

    One guarantee is that beers and cocktails will be had throughout the day, wherever we are. Can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning, right?

    Overall
    I'm going to try to keep this as current as possible, and update at least once a day, but this is my first attempt at semi-live, so no promises. I've been inspired by the epic reports recently from @Flowers, @luck.ofthe.draw, and @MCann, so will do my best to live up to the high standards. Little nervous about the conditions we will find downtown, I've read about the undesirables in the casino area, but very excited none the less. Will just keep our wits about us, stay in groups, and if it gets too bad, will move up to an MGM place on the strip.
     
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  2. Dr Nostron

    Dr Nostron High-Roller

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    Have a great trip - looking forward to your review of Barry's
     
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  3. AyDee

    AyDee is getting too old for this

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    Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.
    IMHO,
    you'll be just fine downtown, it's emptier, the conditions have greatly improved since right after re-opening,
    Circa had all tables at $15 min on the first floor, and ID's everyone coming in (21+ only), I think you'll enjoy it. It's quite a sight.

    also looking forwards to your thoughts on food there, we enjoyed Saginaws, 8 East, and are looking to try Barry's soon.

    and no pressure on doing the TR, it's your vacation time,
    do it during downtime, skip it all, post unintelligible drunk posts with blurry pics, or fill it in later, whatever works.
    Don't let it become a chore, that kind of ruins it.. (JMHO from doing a few.)

    most important thing in Vegas is to have a good time.

    get some!:clap:
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2021
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  4. luck.ofthe.draw

    luck.ofthe.draw VIP Whale

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    Welcome to the boards, and enjoy your trip! Sounds like a good plan you have in place. Go with your gut, and if it doesn't feel right for you, move on. :)

    Have a good time!
     
  5. AyDee

    AyDee is getting too old for this

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    oh, your one hangup may be getting seated in max groups of 4 at restaurants if they're still doing that, which I think they are.

    I'm sure it's manageable with reservations, which are also recommended.

    Bigger groups work better when smaller groups splinter off to do their own thing anyways.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2021
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  6. duceiswild

    duceiswild Tourist

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    Thanks for the encouragement and pointers @AyDee and @luck.ofthe.draw. I am hoping the lack of CES will make this a slower weekend downtown and it will be all good.

    On the dinners - we never do dinners as a group, typically break into smaller groups decided during the day. It is indeed 4 people max, and we are planning for that, but I'm not concerned about it, as 2 out of 3 nights in the past it seems like a group of 4 of us do dinner. There is usually one bigger group of 8-12 each night, but obviously that won't happen this year.

    Also looking forward to trying Saginaw's and possibly Circa's 99 cent shrimp cocktail if we happen to be up during that hour :D
     
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  7. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

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    I wasn't sure Chart House was open.....good to hear. Have fun!
     
  8. duceiswild

    duceiswild Tourist

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    All quiet at the airport. 30 minutes from leaving the house until getting through security, love living close to a functional small airport. Social distancing isn’t a problem in the small lounge here. Board in 15 minutes for what should be an hour and a half in the air.

    Talk to ya in Vegas!

    9EB4EDBE-D806-4DB7-ABE4-36BB58B295E8.jpeg
     
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  9. duceiswild

    duceiswild Tourist

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    Easy flight, landed about 20 minutes early and on the way downtown. The rest of the group is all on the same flight landing a few hours later, so I wasn’t going to hang out and wait for them.

    Lots of people waiting for Ubers, took about 8 minutes for my driver to get there. Light traffic on the way downtown, had a super friendly front desk agent who got me into a Rush Tower room on the 20th floor, looking south towards the strip. About as much of a “strip view” room as you can find at the Nugget.

    Like I said earlier, I really like these Rush Tower rooms when staying downtown. The whole tower has been non smoking since it was built I believe, so there is no lingering old smoke smell which I really appreciate.

    Heading down to check out the casino situation, pick up my FP, and kill a couple hours before the Calvary arrives.

    C9C1B4E2-A70C-4AC5-BF23-EE573AEEF81B.jpeg 6E899332-23DB-4AF6-9930-002D0B208E08.jpeg CF5572AA-CB77-43A1-8429-3215A7C9DF0F.jpeg 3777698D-C535-4337-A1E0-591639594EF6.jpeg ABAA6045-CE62-4227-9EA3-2E6BD219DBEC.jpeg 7B875B3B-59B3-4447-B20D-E2A914B6C4C6.jpeg 6F769413-BB45-4DAD-8972-79C4C25BA9BA.jpeg
     
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  10. Blue pacific

    Blue pacific Low-Roller

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    Good luck on the tables, hope you get on a hot run! looking forward to this trip TR
     
  11. vegasvstr

    vegasvstr High-Roller

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    Nice room.
     
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  12. duceiswild

    duceiswild Tourist

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    Just got done with a short session at Circa. That place is amazing, well done in every regard. All tables were at $15+, but $10+ and even some $5 could be found at the other downtown places. GG was at $10 for craps and $15 for BJ, which was the same as Circa.

    The sports book TV really has to be seen to believed. Pictures don’t do it justice. Looking forward to watching some NFL over there Saturday and Sunday.

    Stopped back at the Nugget to greet the rest of the guys, and then get ready to head to Circa before dinner at Barry’s.
     
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  13. AyDee

    AyDee is getting too old for this

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    I'm jelly, I heard it gives Andiamos a run for the money.
    Looking forward to your thoughts..
    I got a Feb ressie already.
     
  14. BigSully

    BigSully Tourist

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    Rush Tower is the best! Decent games down at El Cortez!
     
  15. duceiswild

    duceiswild Tourist

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    Whoa, holy hangover. That night kind of got away from me. Lots of time spent at Circa playing $25 BJ after dinner, and it was a slow grind to the bottom. Couldn’t get on any good streaks over the course of about 4 hours.

    But the main event of the evening was Barry’s, and it did not disappoint. If you are downtown, or even if you are on the strip, it is certainly worth a stop. It gives any steakhouse in the city a run for its money, including the Primes and CUTs of the world, in my opinion. Especially when it comes to the beef. And the prices are in line with the aforementioned places.

    I didn’t get any pictures, one because it was pretty dark in there, and two because I didn’t want to be “that guy”. But between the 4 of us, we had a bottle of Peju Cab and Quilt Cab and both were solid for their ~$100 price point. We started with the potstickers, and then had some Caesar salads, French onion soup, and lobster bisque to get going. Lobster bisque was on the rich side, but a good amount of lobster. The guys that had the salads said they were good not great, and the French onion soup got very good marks as well.

    The beef, oh the beef. 2 got the rib cap and 2 got the filet, and everyone agreed they were definitely some of the best steaks we’ve ever had. I think the rib cap was just slightly better, but you can’t go wrong with either. Cooked perfectly, and can cut through them with a butter knife.

    for sides we did the creamed spinach, Joel’s potatoes, gnocchi, and lobster Mac. The spinach was out of this world good, the potatoes were very good, gnocchi was a little chewy for my liking, and surprisingly, the lobster Mac was just ok. The pasta was a little rubbery and didn’t appear to be made in house, which for $48 was disappointing. I wanted to love the lobster but just couldn’t. Of the whole meal, that was the miss.

    No one had room for dessert, but I’ve read good things about the banana cream pie so may stop back by at some point just to try that. Or maybe we try to get back there for another meal this trip.

    The plan today is try and recoup some of the gambling losses, probably at Stadium Swim. I want to check out that TV, and they have outdoor BJ tables, so this could be a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

    Covid-wise, everywhere down here seems to be doing a surprisingly good job of mask enforcement. No plexiglass at the tables at GG or Circa, but a lot of the tables at the Nugget do have glass, and for that reason I don’t think we will be playing much here. I may burn them completely this trip and hope to get offers from D, GG, or Circa in the future.
     
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  16. eliza

    eliza VIP Whale

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    Awesome report so far! Thanks for posting. Circa really is a game changer for downtown.
     
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  17. GOLFCADDY1

    GOLFCADDY1 Tourist

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    I look forward to your report. If ya need a quick meal downtown, I recommend Magnolias at the Four Queens. Keep up the good report. GOLFCADDY1
     
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  18. Necrochaos

    Necrochaos High-Roller

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    I think it's sad that so many people write off downtown because it doesn't have the glitz and clam of the strip. So many good places to play and eat.

    However, my brother in law (a doctor) who always stays at Caesars is going to check out Circa next trip. He would never go downtown, until now.
     
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  19. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good stuff so far! Good luck the rest of the way!