Desert Companion
 
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NOVEMBER 2014
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Features
The Radioactive Activist

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All things to all people
Art
Dining
Editor's Note
End Note
Health
History
Notes and letters
Take 5
the guide
upcoming events
Take 5
Nov. 20, 7:30p. Thomas G. Leslie, conductor. Guest conductors: Col. John R. Bourgeois, director emeritus, United States Marine Band, “The...   
Nov. 20, 7p. Beckmann is a longtime figure in the Las Vegas art community whose fine art and murals have reached well beyond our city limits....   
November 22 Alex Boyé Ham Hall, UNLV Click over to the Tube of You for Boyé’s videos: Africanized versions of pop songs you...   
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Editor's note: Our martini glass runneth over. If you've sipped and chugged your way through our 53 Best Bars feature, here's some liquid extra credit: a tour of classic cocktails in their native habitat.

Like most modern visitors to Las Vegas, you likely suffered misty-eyed barstool yarns of Old Vegas, that nostalgic notion of a town where the gambling and bawdy shows were an all-night affair. A place that was so much classier (and, of course, safer) when The Outfit ran the joint. Partially myth and entirely awesome, Old Vegas was where the hotel rooms were cheap, the food was cheaper and the booze was free.
 
Authentic or embellished, those days are long gone, chased out by Sin City's many reinventions. But you can still sneak a taste of that classic Vegas ethos, if you know where to look.
 
Given its wealth of land and cash, most of the old Strip casinos are imploded and buried. Not so in cramped downtown, where, despite recent attempts to erase it, the Vegas of pack rat postcards survives. Some of the casinos (Golden Nugget, Downtown Grand) have undergone extensive updating, while others (Binion's, the Golden Gate) remain old school. And if it's old school you want, the El Cortez, holder of the city's oldest gaming license, is a great spot to experience that old black magic of "Vegas, baby!" From the low ceilings to the smoky, smallish gaming floor; from the occasional Elvis impersonator to some of the cheapest drinks on its revitalizing block, the ElCo is the place to go. We often find ourselves corralling a cozy corner at the Parlour Bar, sipping a whiskey-heavy Old Fashioned and recounting stories of the good old days.
 
Just as time has taken many of our classic casinos, finding a surviving restaurant can be just as difficult (even our city's longest operating eatery, El Sombrero, recently shuttered). Thankfully, joints like Bob Taylor's Ranch House and The Golden Steer are still grilling up the grub our grandfathers enjoyed, while a handful of new places (Herbs & Rye, the Barrymore) do what they can to continue the tradition. For our bankroll, Piero's is the place. It came of age in the Las Vegas fictionalized by Martin Scorcese's "Casino" and feels like it never left. Don't want to splurge for the whole Osso Bucco? Plant yourself at the bar, grab a gin martini, and submerge yourself in the appetizers and old school attitude.
 
Ready for a nightcap? Much has been made about the bevy of new bars populating downtown, concentrated in the East Fremont and the Arts districts. This new collection of boozeries bring a welcome, updated energy to what was until recently a stagnating nightlife scene. Still, Old Vegas they are not. And while we love the Strip's Peppermill and its 1970s disco-fern bar vibe, it's Frankie's Tiki Room that swings us with its '60s swagger.
 
Located a mile west of the Arts District, the freestanding Frankie's has held ground for decades. Outside, the bar shines with original "Frankie's" neon. Inside, the cozy cove was remade into a lively Polynesian lounge, featuring a tantalizing menu of power-packed rum punches -- enjoy the sugary kick of a Fink Bomb (pictured) a classic Navy Grog, or its updated cousin, Three Dots & A Dash. An impressive jukebox (garage, lounge, Sinatra), attentive service and bar-top gambling round out a classic Vegas scene. For this Sin City native, disappearing into the booth at the back on a quiet midweek night — letting the sights, sounds and smells of Frankie's wash over me — takes me back to a nostalgic spot that I rarely get to experience in this era of mega-resorts, mega-clubs, tech funds and relentless reinvention. Old Vegas is dead; long live Old Vegas!

 



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Newstand Locations
Pick up your Desert Companion today at one of these Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Jamba Juice locations.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf LAKE MEAD & TENAYA
7291 W Lake Mead
Directions


PALMS CASINO
4321 W Flamingo Rd
Directions


UNLV
4550 W Maryland Pkwy Suite A
Directions


CARNIVALE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian Food Court
Directions


THE LAKES
9091 W Sahara Ave
Directions


THE DISTRICT
2220 Village Walk Dr Suite 140
Directions


MIRACLE MILE
3663 Las Vegas Blvd S Suite 45
Directions


CANYON POINT
10834 W Charleston Blvd Suite 200
Directions


TOWN CENTER
3645 S Town Center Dr Suite 101
Directions


PATRICK
6115 S Rainbow Blvd Suite 101
Directions


PALAZZO
3265 Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 1600
Directions


TOWN SQUARE
6599 Las Vegas Blvd, South #P-8149
Directions


BRIDGE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian
Directions


BOULDER CITY
Boulder Dam Credit Union
530 Avenue G
Boulder City NV
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Jumba Juice

PEBBLE
1500 N. Green Valley Pkwy Suite 240
Directions


SAHARA & EASTERN
2675 S. Eastern Ave Suite 400
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MCCARRAN MARKETPLACE
5905 S Eastern Ave Suite 108
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NORTH MESA PLAZA
1829 W. Craig Road Unit 3
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CANNERY CORNER
2546 E. Craig Road Suite 135
Directions


WESTLAND FAIR
1121 S. Decatur Blvd
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Also available at Clark County and Henderson libraries.
Emerald City Smoothie

ST GEORGE
2376 East Red Cliffs Drive #502
St. George, UT 84790
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