Golden Gate to Close One Week for Refresh


There’s arguably bigger news in Las Vegas at the moment (Durango casino opened, Fontainebleau opens Dec. 14), but scoop is scoop, so just deal with it.

The petite and glorious Golden Gate casino is set to close for a week for a refresh.

Golden Gate closes on Dec. 18 and will reopen at 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2023.

The only constant in Las Vegas is change. That’s not even where the cage is anymore.

The casino is being tight-lipped about what a “refresh” actually entails, but we hear replacing the casino’s carpeting is on the agenda. There’s also a 50/50 chance the video poker bar will get its beer taps back. They were removed because they were blocking views of the TVs, we’ve been told.

There will also be some rearranging of things on the casino floor. We don’t care all that much about such changes, as long as they don’t touch our magical Top Dollar machines in high limit.

Also, Valeria the bartender must be protected at all costs. Sorry, we don’t have a current photo of Valeria, so we’re sharing this one from when she was moonlighting at Rio.

Valeria go-go dancer
Reminder: This is technically journalism.

Golden Gate was the first Las Vegas acquisition of Derek and Greg Stevens, who also own The D and Circa.

In 2006, Derek Stevens wandered into the Golden Gate in shorts and flip-flops and told then-owner Mark Brandenburg he’d like to buy the place. Golden Gate wasn’t doing well at the time, so Brandenburg sold half to Stevens. The Stevens bought out Brandenburg 100 percent in 2010.

Golden Gate unveiled an expansion in 2017, its footprint expanding into the former La Bayou casino space. The expansion featured this explosive emission of TV screens.

Golden Gate expansion
Fun fact: Golden Gate loses 114 remote controls a year under its couch cushions.

One of the more memorable dramas involving Golden Gate was when Du-par’s abruptly closed. Basically, the owner of the restaurant was a tax dodger and screwed Golden Gate over for hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovation costs. The same thing happened at Suncoast (owned by Boyd Gaming), but rather than giving Du-par’s the boot as the Stevens did, Boyd kept the Du-par’s brand and recipes. The restaurant is still in operation at Suncoast, the aforementioned alleged tax cheat is no longer involved. The pancakes remain epic.

The bottom line is we love Golden Gate and will miss her for the week she’s closed for upgrades.

The diminutive casino has been overshadowed a bit in recent years, mainly due to the flashy Circa just across Fremont Street.

Golden Gate can feel a little claustrophobic at times, but it’s still got a great vibe (bring earplugs), friendly bartenders and dancing dealers, and a hell-ton of history.

Golden Gate opened in 1906, at the time it was called Hotel Nevada. If you visit, check out the hidden portal to the past in the high limit room, along with a preserved water fountain from 1909.

Golden Gate high limit room
You’re welcome.

There are also lots of antiques on display in a case near hotel registration, and a number of classic slot machines as well.

This is better than porn.

Here’s another fun fact: Whenever you’re in Golden Gate, notice that there’s always one person clapping. We can’t explain it, but after dozens of visits, we have found it to be unfailingly true. We have thought about making a T-shirt, “Golden Gate: Home of One Person Clapping.”

Yes, it’s possible we spend a little too much time at Golden Gate.

Derek Stevens tends to make the most of any P.R. opportunity, so there could be some Golden Gate reopening festivities planned. We’ll be there to check out the place on Dec. 23, of course. Like we’re going to spend time with family during the holidays. Didn’t we just do Thanksgiving? Enough is enough.


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