Where to go … where everybody knows your name!
Let’s review the Laughlin watering holes that are ventured into by the locals. This is the answer to the question most asked, “Where do the locals go after they get finished working for the day? Do they go to the hotel bars?” Of course, this goes along with the question I hear most often from people who want to visit Las Vegas, which is, “So, which hotel do you live in?”
There are several bars/lounges that are havens for the locals in Laughlin. They do not have to travel to Bullhead City, across the river, although there are places to visit there for a break from Laughlin. There are a few more locations in Laughlin which will be covered in the near future.
Old Town Saloon is one of the locals’ hot spots and is in a family of 5 locations which had a shared players club. Each of the locations has 15 bar top machines which have all been converted to Gamblers Bonus now, so the players club cards they used to have are history. The 5 locations which are covered below are Old Town Saloon, on Casino Drive and Gilligan’s, Gnat’s Landing, Beside The Pointe, and the South Pointe Market located on or just off of Needles Highway.
Old Town Saloon is visible to vacationers if they are traveling down Casino Drive between Laughlin River Lodge and Harrah’s Hotel. The parking lot has a great view of the surrounding area. But I suggest you go inside for the food, drinks, gaming, as in video poker, pool tables, darts, and for dancing with entertainment. They offer free line dancing lessons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for a few hours in the afternoon and have couples/partners lessons later on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.
This bar has a kitchen which is open from noon until 10 p.m. Their special every Monday and Thursday is $1.00 street tacos with Coronas, Modelos & Pacificos for $3 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. They have weekend live entertainment with no cover charge. They do allow reservations for some of their events; however, they do charge a fee for the reserved seating. Their kitchen is open until 10 p.m.
At the corner of Casino Drive and Needles Highway (south past Harrah’s) is Gilligan’s Tavern. If you are on Casino Drive you will (literally) go straight into their drive and parking lot if you continue straight at Needles Highway.
This location is very quaint and very quiet if you go early in the day. It does get busy in the evenings and on the weekends. Gilligan’s is another location that does not serve food. You used to be able to order it from Old Town Saloon and it would be delivered. I have been in there many mornings where they had donuts from Krispy Kreme for players. But, it seems to be hit or miss.
This is more of a social bar with lots of tables in their tiki style, bamboo furnished, thatch-hut design. They only have 4 TVs and a juke box, besides the gaming. What seems to be the nicest thing about it is it’s clean, open and airy and makes you feel more relaxed. Just a nice place to hang after work.
Taking Needles Highway north from Gilligan’s you will see South Point Market first since it is their gas station that is closest to the street on your left side. The Market has a gaming area which was remodeled. The only problem is it’s in a Mini-Mart building with all the people coming and going to buy quick items and pay for gas. (By the way, if you happen to have one of the old Laughlin Locals players cards they offer $.10 off of each gallon of gas for cash customers.)
If you want to really play away from the customers you will go next door to Beside The Pointe. Locals refer to it as The Point if you are discussing it with anyone in town. This is another laid back lounge with no food, no pool tables, no dart boards, just a bar with a good size aquarium in the middle of the bar.
Gnat’s Landing is the last of the group of 5 and is located farther north. You would take Needles Highway north a couple of streets to Cal Edison Drive and turn right (east). There is a sign at Needles Highway and Cal Edison which shows South Pointe Business Park with Gnat’s Landing in green on that sign. It will be on your right side just past the housing/apartment complex. Obviously, this is a real locals’ bar. This was Laughlin’s first tavern built in 1986 and has a straight, long bar. It is also has the darkest lighting inside of the group.
They have 6 pool tables in a sectioned off area, 3 dart boards, a jukebox, and some craft type beers on draft. Their TVs are large and always have sports showing. They do many tournaments and always have specials during NFL, NHL and other sport events, plus celebrate with specials for most holidays. They even provide snacks during sporting events.
Another local haunt that is not part of the group of 5 above is right across from the Golden Nugget and the Pioneer and is called The Hideout. Look up! It’s on the second floor of the building. There used to be two ways to enter. You can drive up the hill (pretty steep) and park. You could also park close to the street, or just walk there and take the elevator up and go through the gate.
Special note: Although their sign says “Food,” they do not serve any. We found this out when we made our way up there years ago when we were hungry. You can bring food in or have it delivered from Papa’s Pizza below them or go to Minato’s on the same floor.
The Hideout has numerous TV’s so is great if you want to watch sporting events. They have a large selection of beers, domestic and imported along with cocktail libations. Ask them about their beer specials which run $2.75 each bottle with at least a half dozen selections. A $20 buy-in on video poker and actively playing will get you comped drinks. A lot of their domestic beer selections are in cans.
They have a free video poker tournament on Wednesdays for Seniors (50 yrs. +). The tournament runs from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with a maximum $75 prize. They also have dart boards.
Friday nights are Karaoke nights, which usually bring loads of people. On Saturday nights they usually have live entertainment. Both nights’ entertainment is from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.
Updates: The Laughlin River Regatta, normally held in August, has been cancelled for this year! While there will be some people putting out their rafts to float down the Colorado River, the dam will not be controlling the slow release of the water as they did during the event. People will not be encouraged to attempt the floating, for safety reasons.
Harrah’s Hotel & Casino has raised their resort fee again. It is now $16.88 per night. Does anyone remember when they started at $8? The fee is waived for Diamond and Seven Stars club members.
The Tropicana Hotel & Casino has closed their buffet. Although it was not one of the best buffets in Laughlin, the Roundhouse Buffet offered 2 for 1 for locals and discounts for veterans.
— Pauline Cimoch
Ty Herndon Promotes Country Music at Riverside
Country music star Ty Herndon will headline Don’s Celebrity Theatre Wednesday-Sunday May 8-12. Tickets are $30.
The Grammy-nominated, Dove-award-winning recording artist’s passion and commitment to his music are lyrics about what he’s lived in life. With a career spanning two decades, 20 Billboard charted singles and more than five million albums sold, Herndon shows no signs of slowing down.
He gained popularity while playing honky-tonks in Texas, and in 1993, he was named Texas Entertainer of the Year, which led to interest from Music Row and a record deal with Epic Records. Herndon made his chart debut in 1995 with “What Mattered Most,” which became his first No. 1 song and garnered a Song of the Year award from “Music Row Magazine.” It was also the title track to his debut album, which had the biggest first-week shipment in the history of Epic Records’ Nashville.
Herndon’s “House On Fire” release, which is a collection of 12 new contemporary songs, is his latest and most ambitious album to date. Herndon co-wrote seven of the tunes.
Little Joe y La Familia Will Appear at Harrah’s
Little Joe Y La Familia will headline Harrah’s Fiesta Showroom Friday-Saturday, May 10-11. Tickets start at $36.23.
With more than 50-years performing and recording, Little Joe y La Familia have become one of the top Tejano bands with their own creative style, imbuing its sound with norteño, country, blues, and rock-and-roll music. Established in 1959 by José María de León Hernández, the band was initially known as Little Joe and the Latinaires.
Little Joe, the seventh of thirteen children, had an affinity for music and was playing guitar and singing with his cousin’s band in his early teens.
Flash forward, Little Joe y La Familia was recognized with a 1991 Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album for “Diez y Seis de Septiembre” and a 2008 Tejano Album of the Year Grammy for “Before the Next Teardrop Falls.” The band also received other Grammy nominations in 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2003. Their “Recuerdos” won a Best Tejano Album Grammy in 2011.
Willie Nelson & Family Visit Harrah’s
Willie Nelson & Family will make it a party at the Rio Vista Outdoor Amphitheater at Harrah’s on Friday, May 17 at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $70.73.
Distinctive American music treasure Nelson with one of the most recognizable voices in country music established his place with fans in the 1970s with his albums “Shotgun Willie” in 1973, “Red Headed Stranger” in 1975 and “Stardust” in 1978. The multi-faceted music man wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at 10 and has never stopped working and being creative. He’s written songs, which have beccome country standards, including “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Hello Walls” “Pretty Paper,” and “Crazy.”
This well-known Texan has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. Nelson has acted in more than 30 films, co-authored several books, and been involved in activism for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana. For a period of time he joined the country supergroup The Highwaymen with fellow singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kristofferson.
Riverside Pays Tribute to Great Singers
Tribute acts visiting the Riverside Resort in May include Fleetwood Nicks, Rod Stewart and Tina Turner. They will appear in Don’s Celebrity Theatre at 8 p.m. and tickets are $30.
Fleetwood Nicks will headline Wednesday-Sunday, May 22-26. This group honors the Fleetwood Mac music and stage performances with the signature vocal sound of Stevie Nicks played by Julie Torchin, who is one of the nation’s top Nicks impersonators. Audiences are transported back in time to when Nicks first stepped on stage apart from Fleetwood Mac to become the Queen of Rock.
“It Takes two” is a tribute to Rod Stewart and Tina Turner, two of music’s distinctive and original music stars. This show is Wednesday-Sunday, May 29-June. No question this is a high-energy tribute production performed by Cookie Watkins and John Anthony. Watkins, and international touring tribute artist, brings Turner to a fever pitch, while Anthony recreates Stewart’s amazing style
— Jackie Brett