Bargain-Hunting at the New Downtown Grand

Photo by Geoff Carter

Photo by Geoff Carter

At long last, the Downtown Grand is open. It’s being touted as the area’s first new hotel-casino in 30 years; it’s also the first major opening in the Valley since the Cosmopolitan in December 2010. Many have eagerly awaited this moment, mostly because of what has morphed into an almost cult-like attachment to the Grand’s predecessor, the Lady Luck. But don’t expect a nostalgia rush when you walk through the doors—there’s not much of the old lady left.

For eats, there’s the Stewart + Ogden bistro, an Asian restaurant and a sportsbook deli called The Spread, where you can get fresh made-to-order sandwiches starting at $8 (see Across Third Street, Pizza Rock offers more pizza styles than I’ve ever seen in one place, including Napoletana, Romana, Sicilian, Classic Italian, New York, New Haven and Chicago, with different variations of each. It’s a cool place to eat while you watch a game, but you can also nab a slice up front—cheese is $3.78, pepperoni is $4.05 and combos are $5.41. Next door, the Triple George has always been good for its steaks under $40 and a stellar pot-roast plate for lunch.

The Grand has multiple bars, including the Art Bar with replicas of famous paintings hung upside down on the ceiling. Draft beer throughout is $5, or hit Pizza Rock, where you can get a pint of Moretti or Stone Ruination, among several other draft selections, for just a buck more.

The casino opened with some good video-poker schedules, but if you blinked you missed ’em, as someone apparently thought better of that plan and dropped the return percentages within the first week. The best-returning schedule is now 9/6 Triple Double Bonus, with a 98.15 percent return. It’s available only for dollars and higher, so quarter players will have to make due with a best play of 6/5 Bonus Poker (96.87 percent). But sign up for the My Points players club: New members get $5 in free-play after earning 1,000 points ($667 coin-in), along with a mystery bonus of $3-$1,000.

I’ve seen good value in room prices. Granted, this is the bargain month, but rooms are as low as $39 per night. There’s also an added $11 resort fee, but this is one you shouldn’t mind paying, as it comes with a $10 match play worth $4.70, at least three free drinks worth $15 and another $5-$15 in food discounts, yielding $35 in value for the 11 bucks.

In the spring, the 35,000-square-foot grass-covered pool complex, Picnic, will open on the roof, and I’m told there will be a gaming area outside where players can partake in a game of “street craps.” That sounds like fun.

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and