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10 Things You Should Know About Downtown's El Cortez

Where: 600 North Fremont Street [map], 89101
January 22, 2013 at 4:43 PM | by | ()

Downtown's El Cortez is the perfect example of a dive. It is really old, it smells like a grandma, and everything is really cheap. That said, it is absolutely one of our favorite places for cheap food, drinks, and gambling. Bugsy Siegel less famously owned this place at one time, too. Your money will go much farther here than that other casino he owned on The Strip.

Over this last weekend, we planted ourself in one of the hotel's Pavilion Rooms and took advantage of all the El Cortez had to offer. We had a great time and learned quite a few fun facts and survival strategies:

1. As we have mentioned before, El Cortez has 40% looser slots than the Clark County average. To us that means a twenty dollar bill lasts longer and brings us more free cocktails.

2. The main casino bar is actually a really cool place to people watch. We have met both really nice friendly tourists, and a ponytailed old man that, although unprovoked, yelled at us about the President until the bartender 86’ed him.

3. Las Vegas legend Jackie Gaughan used to own the El Cortez. Although he is now retired, he still lives in a Penthouse apartment in the hotel. He plays poker almost every day in the El Cortez’s low limit poker room.

4. Speaking of poker, El Cortez offers a fun 1 – 3 spread limit Hold ‘Em game. It is a tough game to win or lose a lot of money in, but it is a fun way to have some drinks, socialize, and (as we quickly learned) talk a little trash.

5. Ask for your drinks in a plastic glass unless you like a side of soap with your beer.

6. Every hotel guest gets an offer for a comped bottle of wine with purchase of dinner for two in the Flame Steakhouse.

7. There is a legitimate, old school barber shop on the second floor. Take the stairs. On this level, you will also find hotel rooms that are almost unchanged from when Bugsy owned the joint (aside from the TVs and mattresses, of course... we think).

8. They offer a $3 dollar 21 table 24/7, but it has no tens and you are only paid even money on blackjacks. They have a $5 regular 21 table at 3:2 odds.

9. The Parlour Bar in El Cortez is located between the poker room and the steakhouse. It is a really cool throwback casino bar with a classic cocktail menu, plush vinyl seats, and an Elvis on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

10. In true dive bar fashion, show the bartender a little extra love with a larger tip on the first drink, and he will be much more attentive to you than the group of hookers on the other side of the bar.

We make fun, but it is all in good spirits and with much love. El Cortez is truly one of the most fun times in Las Vegas, if you do it right. You can find this gem at 600 North Fremont Street in Fremont East.

(PHOTOS: El Cortez on Foursquare)

Archived Comments:

Oldie, But Goodie

Back when I lived in Vegas (until 09), when I would have roommate drama I would book a suite in old building (older than Pavilion, no elevator access, unless you come in by the garage).  It was studio style, but had a funny set up.  There was a small foyer area that had a desk.  My friends said it was for the personal assistant.  The room was decent size and had a large lime green sofa.  I was really impressed how clean the room was, you can tell the housekeeping staff took a lot of pride in their work.  I mean, I would never stay there as I am more of an Aria corner suite kinda guy, but back in the day it served its purpose. :)

I love the 'Tez

For all of these reasons. And since they  cleaned it up, it has a really cool vibe (and yet still has the old regulars, who are usually harmless), and the Flame is a pretty damned good throwback steakhouse for really low money.

It is always advisable

It is always advisable to get to know the neighborhood before you purchase any property for sale. See the nearby places there and look out for amenities which are very crucial in our daily lives. After which, walk around about a mile or two from the area and see how far it would be to travel out of that particular neighborhood. This way, you can derive with the decision whether or not the house is up to your liking.

Loved it!!

Just got home from Vegas and visited El Cortez for the first time ever. We thought we'd have a quick peek before getting the Deuce to the Strip. Anyway, we spotted the 25c roulette tables and decided to spend half an hour or so. 10 hours and countless drinks later, we eventually left the table up on our winnings and having had a great time!!!