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Downtown Las Vegas’ next cool hang to be open by New Year’s Eve

Updated June 15, 2022 - 9:01 am

As if hypnotically drawn to the lights, pedestrians have for years milled around the Plaza’s porte-cochère.

The time has come to turn it into a formal hang.

Carousel Bar is coming to the hotel on 1 Main Street this year. The outdoor, walk-up tavern will take up the space under the Plaza’s famous lighted dome.

The vision is to have the 120-seat nightspot open for New Year’s Eve. If it works out, you can watch the fireworks show ushering in 2023 from the parcel where the city of Las Vegas was born.

“This is a historic location, for a lot of reasons, and the lights are just iconic,” Plaza CEO Johnathan Jossel said Tuesday after unveiling the bar as one of the new projects to be completed at the hotel this year. “If you look around town, they are often replicated, but never duplicated. There is nothing like this.”

You can’t argue that, though Circus Circus long ago offered a carousel bar at its midway attraction (referenced in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).

The Plaza porte-cochère has been a downtown focal point since the hotel opened in 1971. There have been several modifications, of course. A swimming pool once took up that open rounded platform. Find the local who learned to swim at the Plaza. They are out there.

After the glass dome was installed, Center Stage Restaurant and Firefly opened and closed above that pillar before Oscar’s Steakhouse debuted a decade ago, But all of that work was on the top of the deck. Tuesday marked the turning point when the Fremont Street facing entrance evolves as a hospitality destination.

“Starting today, it moves from being a porte-cochère, which it has been for 50 years, to a pedestrian-ized entertainment location,” Jossel said. “The lights won’t change. They will be activated.”

Jossel said he is attempting to keep access open through construction, saying, “There are so many requests for film shoots here, we have to try to accommodate that demand.”

Also planned for the domed locale is Oscar’s patio, which is an extension of Oscar’s Steakhouse and also Oscar’s ego, as Mayor Carolyn Goodman noted in her remarks Tuesday. Our friends at Pinkbox Donuts are opening an outpost at the Plaza, too (this is the time to follow through with The Elliptical, the donut that sends you to the gym).

And, downtown’s first smoke-free gaming area is in the works. The space is highlighted by Brian Christopher Slots, devices named for the social-media influencer buddy of Jossel’s. The area is said to be a social media-friendly gaming space. We will see the difference between the Plaza’s space, and casinos downtown that order you to stop looking at your phone at the blackjack table.

Jossel was asked the biggest challenge of delivering all these new options at the same time at a famous Vegas landmark.

“People are always nervous about change, especially downtown,” the executive said. “But this will be done in a way to build on the history of the Plaza.”

Cool Hang Alert

Even in the off-season, David Perrico’s Raiders House Band floors it at Las Vegas venues. Taking on its David Perrico’s Pop Strings Orchestra title, the band headliners Chrome at Santa Fe Station at 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.) Thursday. No cover as Perrico is running a no-huddle offense. Musically speaking.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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