A great city is often judged by the caliber of the dive bars in town. Las Vegas has some really great dive bars. Is it any wonder that a few of those classic dive bars are located in beautiful Downtown? The oldest bar in town is one of the locals’ favorites. Atomic Liquors opened in 1945 as Virginia’s Cafe at 917 Fremont Street boasting the first package liquor license and permit. The original owner Joe Sobchik realized that his customers seemed more excited about sampling his secret ingredient ‘Atomic Cocktails” while watching the blasts from the test site, so, in 1952, the bar was renamed Atomic Liquors. A large wrap around bar was constructed and they built a huge one of a kind neon sign that has become a Vegas landmark. The bar was purchased in 2012 from the Sobchiks son by a group of investors. It has been restored to its original glory and is once again THE place to hang out on Fremont Street. The operating hours are Monday- Wednesday 4 PM – Midnight; Thursday and Friday 4 PM -4 AM; Saturday 11 AM- 4 AM; and Sunday 11 AM- Midnight. A host of celebrities from the Rat Pack to Barbara Streisand drank here. History, free parking, and drink specials…what more could you ask for?!
Frankies Tiki Room is a special place whether you are a tiki enthusiast or not. A great escape to the wonderful world of tiki tradition. Fabulous rum drinks like the traditional scorpion or zombie, signature drinks such as the Tiki Bandit or the Thurston Howl, gaming at the bar and TIKI! This Vegas mainstay offers an authentic tiki experience from the original interior designed and built by Bamboo Ben, the world’s foremost tiki designer to the surf music that calls to mind exotic tropical locales. Frankies signature tiki is a large island warrior done by Crazy Al Evans. The lounge is a haven for tiki enthusiasts, as it features art and carvings by many of the world’s great tiki artists. The vibe is enhanced by the eclectic music and the loyal locals who hang out here. Stop by soon and look around for tiki and art done by Tiki Bosco, Tiki Ray, Leroy Schmaltz and other well-known artists. Many visitors to Frankies add this bar to their Vegas trip every time as this bar is a one of a kind experience not to be missed.
The Huntridge Tavern is a downtown dive bar that has been serving locals and visitors alike since 1962. As a native, this is the bar that defined Dive Bar for me from the moment I reached legal drinking age. It’s small enough to be a neighborhood bar but inviting enough to bring my out of town guests. The drinks are cheap, the patrons are loyal and hilarious, and the owner/sometimes bartender (Katie) is so friendly you’ll want to return to hear more stories. There’s a television tuned to sports usually and almost always some guy on one of the stools who can tell you anything you need to know about absolutely anything- even if you don’t want to know. Located on the southwest corner of Charleston and Maryland Parkway, it is easy to get to with plenty of parking. Physically connected to the Huntridge Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, you can have a beer after getting lunch at the counter! You can’t beat that with a bat! The bar is open 24 hours, so stop anytime.
People who live Downtown have a unique opportunity to introduce their children to a variety of different art venues, theatres, and parks. One of the special places to visit Downtown is Huntridge Circle Park. It is centrally located on approximately 3 acres on Maryland Parkway between Charleston Blvd. and Franklin Ave. Children love the play area at the north end of the park and the hilly amphitheater at the south end. In the center of the park is a shaded stage. The neighborhood associations host various events such as outdoor Cinema in the Circle, performances, and holiday parties. The park boasts several round, concrete picnic tables and many mature trees providing shade and the perfect atmosphere for an afternoon lunch or a weekend picnic. There are restrooms and a drinking fountain. Dogs on leashes are welcome and enjoy the spacious grassy area. The park is open daily from 7 AM until 6 PM.
A wonderful place to take the family is only steps away from Circle Park. The Huntridge Pharmacy and Soda Fountain. Opened since 1962, the Huntirdge Soda Fountain has a unique 1950’s atmosphere. Thrifty ice cream, malts and shakes, French fries and hamburgers! All the things that you’d expect to have at a neighborhood soda shop complete with the awesome red swivel counter chairs. The Soda Fountain is opened Monday-Thursday from 9 AM- 8 PM; Friday from 9 AM- 3 PM; closed on Saturday; Sunday from 9 AM- 5 PM.
For those of you who still love the feel of an actual book in your hands, who enjoy the sound of turning pages, and use actual bookmarks; there is a haven Downtown for you. The Writers Block is the newest example of an independent neighborhood bookstore. With shelves and shelves of books from every genre, one could lose hours in this cozy shop. The children’s area boasts many new titles and authors as well as classics and favorites. There is also a large variety of wind-up toys to play with and/or purchase.
When you walk in the Writers Block, you will notice an antique printing press. The Writers Block is not just a bookstore, it is also a book manufacturer, publisher, and writers workshop. The Book Machine is the only one of its kind in Nevada. It can print, bind and trim a paperback book in less than 5 minutes! It is very affordable and there are millions of titles available. It is also a great tool for self-publishers. Contact the store for appointment scheduling for the book machine.
The Writers Block is also home to Codex which is a writers studio dedicated to education, production, and publishing. Free field trips and classes are offered to Las Vegas area students.
Baron the rabbit
You can also visit the store to hear featured authors, poets, and artists. One of the most famous residents of the shop is The Baron. He is a rescue bunny from the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA). He is a large and in charge brown bunny with a white fluffy tail. He loves people and seems to enjoy visitors. He will, however, hop away and close his eyes when he’s done being social. Children love to pet him and watch him eat carrots.
The next time you venture Downtown, make sure to stop by and spend some time in the stacks at The Writer’s Block.
The Writer’s Block www.thewritersblock.org
1020 Fremont Street (Between 10th and 11th)
Looking to get in shape, challenge yourself, or maintain your healthy lifestyle? Downtown is a great place to get or stay healthy. An awesome fitness adventure could be in your future if you walk through the doors of Freestyle Crossfit on Main Street. Jake Soteros or one of his coaches will help you begin your fitness journey. With several membership options, there is something for everyone to get training. The coaches at the gym are certified
Sin City Yoga
and will help you plan your fitness program. The gym offers fitness training, a 6 week fat loss challenge which includes full gym membership, body composition measurements and a coach assigned to you for the duration of the challenge to answer questions and support you, kickboxing in which you will learn proper technique ,footwork and striking. The gym also offers personal training for those who may not like group training or maybe need sport specific training.
Another fitness option right in the heart of Downtown is Sin City Yoga. This is an urban yoga
studio that offers over 30 classes each week, yoga teacher training, workshops, reiki sessions, private yoga lessons, and continuing education for current yoga teachers. The weekly schedule has any opportunities for you to practice yoga including an hour and a half of open practice called Open Flow on certain days.
A refreshing way to cool down and stay healthy is with a natural smoothie,whole food juice or even soup from GrassRoots. Located in the John E. Carson building, this place is more than a juice bar. The ingredients they use are carefully sourced from local, regional small farms and farmer’s markets. Stop by to learn, share and experience the best in health and wellness.
Downtown Las Vegas is the best place to hang out. It’s not easy to know where to go and what to do if you don’t live down here, which is why the Adventurist Guide was created! With this Guide in your hands, you will be able to plan a day, evening or even a weekend around the places to go and things to do in beautiful Downtown Las Vegas.
Sweet Spot Candy Shop
If you had only 24 hours to show the best of Downtown to your visiting friends, where would you take them? Guide in hand, perhaps you’d begin your day with breakfast at Vickie’s Diner. For over 50 years, this strip eatery has been serving up home cooked meals with Vegas hospitality. Then, perhaps, you’d do a little shopping at Sin City Pickers. This collection of sellers has the most eclectic combination of antiques, local art, and collectibles. Make your way north on Main Street where you can window shop, take a pottery class at Clay Arts Vegas or even get a tattoo! A leisurely walk or a quick ride down to Fremont Street and you will be ready for lunch. Maybe the oasis in the desert that is the Cous Cous Mediterranean Café will tempt you with fresh, healthy, natural Mediterranean cuisine.
Travel a little further east on Fremont Street to the Container Park to find a great place to relax. This is also where you can get amazing, all natural, hand crafted chocolates from Jin Ju Chocolates; voted Best of Las Vegas 2015 Chocolate Shop. You can also grab some old fashioned candy treats from The Sweet Spot candy shop which has gummy candies, chocolate, and all the vintage treats you remember from childhood.
With a wide array of places to dance, listen to live bands, play games and of course gamble, there is no shortage of ways to end your evening. So grab you Guide and let the adventure begin!