Downtown is expanding its available entertainment options. On Wednesday, Gold Spike, downtown’s adult playground, Corduroy, a popular bar known for its music selection, Smashed Pig, a gastropub, and Oak & Ivy, a cocktail bar, reopened.
Gold Spike’s ‘Backyard’ playground is welcoming back groups of no more than five or less per table, serving customers on a first-come, first-served basis with no required minimum. The new hours of operations are from Wednesday through Sunday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The Smashed Pig will be offering dine-in service, featuring their full food and cocktail menu. Reservations are encouraged. Their new hours of operation are Wednesday through Thursday, from 3-9 p.m., Friday, from 3-11 p.m., Saturday, from 10 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Corduroy bar will be allowing groups of up to five people, to adhere to social distancing guidelines as provided by the CDC. Their new hours of operations as of now, in a similar trend to the other reopened businesses, are from Wednesday through Sunday, 5-11 p.m.
And Oak & Ivy, which is nicknamed downtown’s “Container Park’s bar in a box,” is encouraging guests to make reservations through OpenTable before coming down. Their updated hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday, from noon-8 p.m, and Friday through Saturday, from noon-9 p.m.
Downtown is Slowly but Surely Reopening
The four new downtown re-openings join a list of other downtown properties and the Fremont Experience which reopened last Thursday, June 4.
Ahead of reopening, the D Hotel & Casino’s parking garage was full of guests waiting to get back into the casino to gamble. Only hotel guests were allowed to reenter ahead of the midnight opening.
D Hotel & Casino’s owner, Derek Stevens, led a New Year’s Eve-style countdown to midnight, and the crowd was all for it. And it’s no wonder the pent-up demand was high, with casinos being closed a total of 78 days in the state.
Some things that looked different inside of downtown casinos right now are employees wearing masks, entrants having to undergo a temperature check when coming into the property, and plexiglass barriers on the casino floor. The Gold Nugget, on the other hand, is only taking hotel guests’ temperature at check-in.
It seemed that outside of questions about safety protocols, the most asked questions were if football was coming to come back or not in the sportsbooks.
Overall, it seems the energy downtown is full of excitement and forward-focused on what’s to come.
More Free Parking Options Downtown
Downtown Las Vegas has been doing a few things to encourage tourists and locals back to its streets.
For one, D Hotel & Casino’s owner Stevens gave away 2,000 free one-way flights to Las Vegas in the week leading up to its reopening. It’s no surprise that the flights sold out by the afternoon.
When Nevada entered into Phase 1 of reopening, which allowed for the reopening of dine-in restaurants without operating bars, many staple downtown restaurants started offering sidewalk dining to accommodate guests and make them feel more comfortable in returning.
Now, the city of Las Vegas is taking it a step further by providing new parking amenities alongside the safe reopening of its businesses and casinos.
Beginning June 8, additional convenient parking options have been introduced for those visiting downtown restaurants, attractions, and other businesses.
In partnership with the Downtown Project (DTP), parking is now free for the month of June at downtown LV’s Llama Lot, which is located at 152 N. Ninth St.
Discount for All-Day Parking
Additionally, all-day parking is now 50 percent off at many downtown lots and parking garages if reserved in advance through the ParkWhiz app.
In addition to the discounted and free parking, the city of Las Vegas has also introduced new technology giving patrons touch-free options in their garage transactions, including QR code scanning, using Apple or Google Pay, or waving hands in front of garage sensors instead of physically touching kiosks.
Downtown’s Reopening Came on the Heels of George Floyd Protests
A week before downtown reopened its casinos and retail businesses, it was overrun by protests honoring George Floyd. Downtown became the epicenter of the protests in Las Vegas.
It put businesses in a tough position of whether or not to postpone their re-openings.
Some popular bars in Fremont East district, including the highly-anticipated reopening of Commonwealth, made the decision to postpone their Thursday, June 4 opening after suffering some damage from the riots last Monday night.
But, despite the concerns of the violence, many downtown businesses were in solidarity and support of the protests.
Despite Public Concerns, People Showed Up for Downtown’s Reopening
While the coronavirus pandemic is still active, and protests and riots are still occurring, it didn’t stop people from returning to downtown Las Vegas and the city of Las Vegas to get back into the action.
Trends over how Las Vegas fares over the next few weeks with being reopened will be important in other casino operators deciding to reopen their properties to the public as well. Las Vegas is taking a smart, measure approach to its reopening, reintroducing properties a little at a time to gauge public impact and demand.
So far, so good. There have been no big jumps in daily COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations, and with airfare to Las Vegas being reduced and hotel rates being on the low-end, it’s predicted that Vegas will see many more visitors by the end of June and through July.
We hope that’s the case, as it’ll help springboard Nevada’s economy back into recovery after COVID-19 shuddered the state’s industry workforce.
Because of the coronavirus shutdown, and it being a city built on tourism and gaming, Nevada has topped lists for the highest unemployment percentage in the country for the month of April. Thankfully, with casinos reopening, many casino employees are getting their livelihoods back into full swing.
The “New Normal” for Vegas for A While
Vegas has reopened to a “new normal” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, the new Vegas experience was highlighted in the city’s latest tourism ad that’s describing the new reality as a more “intimate” Las Vegas experience.
So if you’re returning to Las Vegas or you’re new to visiting the city as a whole, what will look different? Well, with social distancing guidelines being considered and implemented all throughout the valley, that will mean a less-crowded Vegas.
Normally, downtown Las Vegas, especially the Fremont Street Experience, is overrun with crowds and people from all walks of life. But now, with confidence in air travel wary, the crowds will likely be a mix of locals and domestic guests, especially visitors from Southern California who are able to simply drive into town to experience the fun.
Many casino properties are only operating at reduced capacity as well, meaning guests will have more space to take in the sights or experience amenities without, hopefully, having to fight to get a reservation in.
Guests can also expect to see casino employees wearing facial masks, and floors riddled with social distancing guideline markers.
The 4th of July holiday weekend in Las Vegas this year will be an interesting one to watch. It’s hard to predict how busy it might or might not get, but as things are looking right now, you can probably bet that more people will be heading to town during that time.
In fact, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, the Strip’s two largest casino operators, are planning to open up more resorts in time for the holiday weekend, including Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Aria.
Are you excited that more businesses and casino-hotels are reopening across downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip? Will you be coming into town to visit soon? Share with us below, and be sure to check back for more coverage regarding Las Vegas’ reopening.