John Curtas is …

East Fremont Street Pub Crawl

ELV is gettin’ a little long in the tooth to be hangin’ with hipsters. But East Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas (Nevada, not New Mexico) gives him hope that the halcyon harkenings of yore may yet happen again along this hallowed haven.

That’s why he went pub crawling there last week with some not-so-hammered, huggable, and habilimented hotties.

Now, a good pub crawl needs a piano player (or a ragin’ good juke box*) somewhere along its route — to kickstart or keep the festivities going. It also needs (in no particular order):

> a number of bars or pubs within walking distance of each other;

> bars of different stripes, with various clientele and personalities;

> a variety of boffo beers and potent potables available along the route (no wine please – wine drinking and pub crawling are contradictions in terms);

> decent food available along the route (to kickstart or keep the festivities going);

> both indoor and outdoor vantage points for people watching;

> lots of good, clean toilets, and finally;

> accessibility to reasonably-priced cabs** and hotel rooms with good, clean toilets.***

Downtown Las Vegas would seem to have many of these already in place, but until recently, it lacked a key component: a variety of taverns that compliment, instead of repeating each other. Because, when you think about it, what’s the point of wandering (and drinking) in and out of a number of bars in one night (other than getting shit-faced) if they all serve the same product?

ELV has maintained for decades that food/restaurants (and/or the revival thereof) will be the savior of Downtown, but for the time being, booze is what’s keeping these dreams afloat. East Fremont Street is slowly becoming a hipster happening (especially on weekend evenings), and the good news is, with Andy Knudson’s new, late night menu at The Beat, a couple of gourmet Cheffinis hot dogs, and a more than decent pizza (from the Prima Pizza & Deli), there’s some decent grub in them thar hills.

The cocktail culture that began with Downtown Cocktail Room has spilled over to The Vanguard, and even the Lobby Bar at the El Cortez Hotel — where $7 gets you a healthy Lemon Drop or Gin Glimmer made with top shelf booze and fresh-squeezed citrus — swigged, appropriately amidst the twinkling keys of a live pianist. The EC is becoming cool, and is cheap (in a good way), and authentically retro…in other words, what Downtown Vegas should be all about.

From there — if you’re inclined to stagger along ELV’s path — proceed to The Vanguard where the cool, grey, elongated room spills onto the sidewalk (great idea that – are you listening City planners?), for some al fresco imbibing. Gettin’ a little hungry? Then do what ELV and his staff do: walk across the street and order an all meat 16″ pie from and have them deliver it to your outdoor table at TV whilst you polish off a Spicy Evangelist (about the best use of tequila since this gal lost her virginity), or a Sherman Tank**** — made with fresh apricots (in season) and black pepper bitters — a drink that’s a lot tastier than its namesake might suggest. One more stop — this time at DCR — for whatever seasonal libations they are whipping up there, before re-fueling (and moderating your buzz) at The Beat.

The Beat also now has a beer and wine license with a few, well-chosen labels to compliment Knudson’s mac n’ cheese, Slap and Tickle (a pb&j with bacon), nice deviled eggs (perfect for soaking up some booze), and other salty, tasty treats (like jamon Iberico) for doing likewise. If all of that sounds too highbrow, there’s Cheffinis gourmet hot dog cart that magically appears now and then in front of the Emergency Arts building, serving some mighty well-dressed tube steaks.

As we said at The Urban Vibe Symposium, Downtown has a long way to go. It doesn’t need another t-shirt cart or more cheap beer or a gimmicky zip line. It needs places that attract people with a little disposable income who want something more personal than the corporate, hidebound Strip, and want to feel like they are getting a taste of Vegas that doesn’t just support a bunch of stockholders. East Fremont Street is a start. A funky, cool, kinda-gritty-but-kinda-cool start. Now, all it needs is customers.

DOWNTOWN COCKTAIL ROOM

111 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89101

http://thedowntownlv.com/01_about-us.php

EL CORTEZ HOTEL

600 East Fremont Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101

702.385.5200

http://www.ecvegas.com/

PRIMA PIZZA & DELI

505 East Fremont Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101

702.385.2163

THE BEAT

520 East Fremont Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101

702.300.6268

VANGUARD LOUNGE

516 East Fremont Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101

702.868.7800

http://www.vanguardlv.com/

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* Live music and pub crawling go together about as well as Gregg Allman and Cher. Live music, especially live rock/popular music, is almost as overrated as lobster. ELV prefers listening to his sappy, overwrought, 80′s power ballads in the privacy of his own home like this.

** Las Vegas taxicabs are the dookie in the punch bowl of our humble burg. From the juiced-in, monopolistic, fat-cat owners to the inaccessibility of anything but airport and hotel service to the outrageous prices they charge, they should be run out of town on a rail. A light rail to be precise.

*** If you can find a cab with a good, clean toilet, more’s the better.

**** Seasonality is all the rage in the cocktail culture, so what is being whipped up at any time may differ from what you’ve read — and, after all, that’s part of the fun.

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2 Responses to East Fremont Street Pub Crawl

  • Vanguard & Beat are welcome additions to East Fremont St! I’d like to see Dont Tell Mama be a success, not sure if it will be though. The rumored/coming soon concert venue will no doubt be brilliant, as would few microbreweries.

  • To be fair: the zip line was fun as hell, and people screaming overhead add a lot to the street’s ambiance.

    Just sayin’.

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