Thursday, October 13, 2016

Old School Vegas Is Alive and Swingin'

Ask any Las Vegas old timer and they’ll tell you life in the valley was better when the mob ran the town. Ever since Howard Hughes ushered in the era of corporate Las Vegas, things have certainly changed. Whether it was for the better or not is up for debate. Old school Vegas is far from dead though. For a taste of the good ol’ days in Vegas, be sure to check out these Sin City attractions dripping with old school cool.

Sure, the player’s cards and slot vouchers are convenient, but nothing beats the adrenaline of letting the entire casino floor know you just hit a jackpot with the sounds of thousands of coins clacking against the tray. At The D Las Vegas, that feeling is alive and well. This well-appointed casino in Downtown Las Vegas has an entire second floor devoted to vintage gaming, meaning only coin-in-coin-out machines. You’ll make more friends screaming at the little mechanical horses of the Sigma Derby machine than just about anywhere else in Vegas. Grab yourself a souvenir coin cup and saddle up, partner!

Nothing says old school Vegas like the longest continually operating casino in the valley, El Cortez. When the Downtown Las Vegas mainstay first opened in 1941, most establishments in the general vicinity still had saw dust on the floors and horses corralled in the “parking lots.” This 59-room resort of Spanish colonial design changed the game. In 1945, none other than Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel purchased El Cortez on behalf of infamous gangster Meyer Lansky. You can still reserve a handful of the hotel’s original rooms located a floor above the casino. The other amenities on the property continue the old Vegas theme, such as The Parlour, a slick lounge that hearkens back to the mob days of old. Snag a few $5 flutes of French Champagne here every Thursday.

The variety show was king on the Vegas Strip of yesteryear. Showgirls, singers, musicians, jugglers – nothing was out of bounds. Vegas! The Show takes audiences back to the golden age of Vegas entertainment. The show delves into the rich history that made the city of Las Vegas a hot destination for entertainers from around the world. The concluding video montage serves as an ode to the Rat Pack’s Vegas. C’mon! Everyone loves a good kick line!

Any Cirque du Soleil show is always a good choice for entertainment on the Strip, but this French Canadian import isn’t what Vegas is really about. What those craving old school Vegas really need is a good old fashioned magic show. Penn & Teller have astounded Las Vegas audiences for nearly a quarter of a century! When you watch the two catch bullets in their teeth, you’ll understand why they’re the champions of Vegas magic.

Love him or hate him, Las Vegas’ boisterous former mayor Oscar Goodman is a Sin City icon. The Former mob mouthpiece made a cameo appearance in the movie Casino for goodness sake! One of the best gifts Goodman left the city is his steakhouse, charmingly named Oscar’s Beef, Booze & Broads. The upscale restaurant boasts a premier location inside the almost equally iconic dome of the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. It offers a thrilling view down Fremont Street and top-notch steaks. It’s the vintage cocktail menu that will have you clamoring for more though. Sip some delicate concoctions, including the legendary martinis, the former mayor’s signature drink.

A true standout steakhouse in a town known for its steakhouses, Golden Steer has been serving up some of Glitter Gulch’s finest cuts to the likes of Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio since 1958. Its old Victorian ambiance reminiscent of the Gold Rush-era of San Francisco sets the mood for a night of cold drinks and spicy conversation. Turn off your electronic devices and enjoy this world-class meal the way it was meant to be enjoyed: in the company of good people. If you’re celebrating a special occasion while in Las Vegas, this is where you do it.

Old school Las Vegas is still kicking! You just have to know where to look. For more Vegas travel advice, history and trivia, follow VegasDaze on Facebook!

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