Glass by glass for 34 years, tap master serves for Station

As a bartender for 27 years at Palace Station, Henry Gauger is a Las Vegas institution.

Since 1984, Gauger can be found tending bar Monday through Friday at the Trackside Bar, which is better known among his friends and co-workers as “Henry’s Bar.”

“I came over in 1977 as beverage director, but a few years later I just wanted to get back into bartending,” he said. “I consider myself a bartender.”

While he’s not a creator of cocktails or a mixologist, he said his favorite drink to make is a vodka martini but that he’ll mix anything you ask him to make.

“It’s a knowledge of how to make a drink,” he said. “It’s more than putting on an apron and serving whisky drinks. It’s like becoming a wine aficionado, but for liquor.”

Gauger said his customers prefer drinks made with “the whites,” rum and vodka. While only a fraction of his business is whiskies and bourbons.

“When I started in this business as a bar back in 1971, it was all whiskies and bourbons,” he said.

These days, customers have become more selective in the brands they order. In the old days, he said, a customer was fine with whatever you poured.

He’s also been in Las Vegas long enough to bars without poker machines and guests who would dress up for a night on the town.

“I stopped here in 1967 when I was going to Vietnam. I finally moved to Las Vegas in December 1971 and have been here ever since,” he said. “When I was first here it was an adult playground … it has totally changed.”

Over the last 40 years, Gauger, 64, says the town has become less sophisticated as gamblers in tailored clothes have been replaced by tourists in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops.

“It was much more charismatic when you dressed up to go out and see the town,” he said.

Gauger joined the company on July 7, 1977, and now is No. 4 on the list of longest serving employees at Station Casinos. Rose Bell, a house person, and Erma Jackson, a guest room attendant, both from Palace Station, have been with the company for 35 years.

Mike Manning, shift manager at Santa Fe Station, is third on the list, followed by Gauger then Marci Gibson, a bingo agent at Boulder Station.

Lori Nelson, a spokeswoman with Station Casinos, said about 40 of the company’s 13,000 employees who have been with the company for at least 30 years.

“I’ve been lucky. It’s been like a big family for 34 years,” Gauger said. “We’ve hired people, watched them have babies, then their babies are having babies.”

His only other employers during his 40 years in Las Vegas were Circus Circus and Slots-A-Fun.

“I’ve never wanted to transfer to another Station casino,” he said. “I’m in my zone here.”

Gauger said it’s hard to believe Station Casinos is now 35 years old. The company, which recently emerged from bankruptcy, began on July 1, 1976, with a 5,000-square-foot casino simply called The Casino. That property went through a few name changes and now is home to Palace Station. It is one of Station Casinos’ 17 casino properties in Southern Nevada.

Today, the company is run by its founder’s sons, Frank Fertitta III, who is chairman and CEO, and Lorenzo Fertitta, who is vice chairman. It all started with a novel idea in the 1970s: Frank Fertitta Jr., a dealer at the Stardust, wanted to create a gaming and entertainment venue for locals.

As the years rolled by there was a name change. The company was taken public, before it was taken private again in 2007. Property was acquired and new resorts were built.

“Our 35th anniversary is certainly a nostalgic time to celebrate, but more important, serves as a reminder to us that our success was built on staying true to Mr. Fertitta’s founding principles to provide friendly service, value and great entertainment to the locals,” Station Casinos Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Kelley said. “As we look forward, we will continue to reinvest in our existing properties and refresh our entertainment offerings to give our guests new and exciting reasons to come back.”

As Palace Station continued to expand over the years, Frank III and Lorenzo had the opportunity to learn the gaming business from their father. They also studied how the town was growing and developing.

In 1993, Frank III took the company public as Station Casinos Inc. His father retired and Frank III took over leadership of the company.

Station Casinos received national recognition a few years ago. In January 2005, it became the first gaming company named one of Fortune magazine’s Best 100 Companies to Work For.

The nonunion company repeated that milestone four years in a row.

But, the company’s fortunes were hammered along with the local economy. Two years before the company filed bankruptcy, the Fertittas and Colony Capital LLC reached an $8.8 billion deal to take it private.

In July 2009, the company filed for bankruptcy owing its creditors and lenders about $6 billion. Today, the Fertittas own 45 percent of the new Station Casinos that has a debt level of some
$2 billion.

Frank III has maintained it was the economic collapse in late 2008, not debt, that forced bankruptcy. Whether or not it was the debt load that led to the company’s bankruptcy filing, for Gauger it’s business as usual at Palace Station.

“I was very lucky, everyone who hired me has been great to work with. I’ve also enjoyed good relationships with my customers,” said Gauger, who added he plans to “hang it up and retire in July 2013.”

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at
csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Mecum Car Auction in Las Vegas
The Mecum Auctions is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Construction underway for new Google Data Center
Henderson is slated to be home to a new Google data center in December 2020. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved $25.2 million in tax abatements for Design LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company plans to build the data center on 64 acres of land on Warm Springs Road west of Boulder Highway.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, an in-home digital companion and monitor.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, HAPPIE Home technology, an in-home digital companion and monitor designed for unpaid family caregivers that gives personalized alerts, messages and reminders. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Holiday parades help bring shoppers to Downtown Summerlin
Sports Town USA floor manager Angela Gardonio talks about the work that goes into the Downtown Summerlin holiday parades and how they benefit her and other businesses there.
Final vote on CG Technology
Final commission vote on the $2 million settlement for CG Technology.
Happie Home Startup Establishing Headquarters In Las Vegas
Digital companion startup company Happie Home is establishing its headquarters in Las Vegas after receiving tax abatements from the Governor's Office of Economic Development on Nov. 15. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center will showcase 13 small businesses in November and December and seven in January. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
T-Mobile uses ticketing data to plan for event
T-Mobile Executive Director of Arena Operations explains how ticket sales data and demographics help plan staffing, vendors, parking and operations for an event.
Costco opens its doors in southwest Henderson
Costco has opened its fifth Las Vegas-area location near the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Amigo Street. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas strip mall and office park
The Krausz Cos. and WG Group bought a strip mall and an office park in Las Vegas for nearly $80 million total. They acquired a portion of Tropicana Beltway Center in the southwest valley for $59 million. They also acquired the Westbay office complex in the Las Vegas Medical District. The buyers are former owners of The Gramercy, a once-mothballed mixed-use project in the Las Vegas suburbs. They sold The Gramercy in phases for more than $100 million.
Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry
Celebrity tattoo artist and business owner Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry at The World of Tattoo industry trade show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
$7.5M Las Vegas pot dispensary opens near Las Vegas Strip
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. It has entertainment including an interactive floor and floating orbs. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars CEO to step down next year
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora will leave the casino company in February. Frissora has been CEO since July 2015. He was named CEO right after Caesars' operating company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Caesars Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2017 Before Caesars, Frissora spent seven years as chairman and CEO of Naples, Fla.,-based Hertz He led the consolidation of the rental-car industry through Hertz‘s acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Planet 13 in Las Vegas adds twist to marijuana dispensary look
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. The dispensary is located near the intersection of Desert Inn Road and Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, near Trump International, in Las Vegas. Planet 13 has plans in the future for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on site if that is legalized and space for food.
Caesars Entertainment opening 2 resorts in Dubai
Cove Beach will open on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai in November and Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai will open in December. (Caesars Entertainment)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like