How the Golden Gate Became a Las Vegas Legend

The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino neon sign.

When it comes to vintage Vegas greatness, it doesn’t get any better than the Golden Gate Casino Las Vegas. The casino is located in the heart of downtown and is the oldest hotel in Sin City and is still operating today! Known as “Hotel Nevada” when it first opened in 1906, the Golden Gate Hotel Casino set the precedent for all the hotels, casinos and resorts that followed.

Here’s a glimpse into the history of this Las Vegas icon and how the Golden Gate Hotel continues to make its mark on the city.

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The history behind the legend

No old Las Vegas hotels or casinos even come close to the 116 years of history within the walls of the Golden Gate Las Vegas. This legendary casino opened when electricity was considered a luxury, and the main mode of transportation was the horse. However, the Golden Gate did boast some modern technology for its day, with electric lighting, ventilation and carpeting. In fact, the first telephone in Las Vegas was installed in the Golden Gate!

The most noteworthy Las Vegas firsts the Golden Gate can claim include:

As times evolved, Fremont Street was paved, new partners bought and renamed the hotel, the new owners renovated and expanded the property, and the Fremont Street Experience became the go-to destination in Las Vegas. Through it all, the Golden Gate remained a staple in Sin City and continues to be a defining presence in downtown Las Vegas.

OneBar’s refreshing flair on Fremont

While watching a free light show on the Viva Vision canopy, enjoying a live band with the Downtown Rocks concert series or just exploring Fremont Street Experience, it’s only right that you have a frozen drink or ice-cold beer in your hand. Golden Gate’s OneBar is one of the best places to grab a drink in the most “Vegas” way possible.

When they’re not enjoying the music with a lively dance on the bar, the sassy, bikini-wearing bartenders at OneBar show off their drink-making skills. The ladies send glasses and bottles flying through the air as they take orders and make cocktails with jaw-dropping flair.

If that’s not enticing enough, OneBar has another interesting fact that might leave you curious enough to swing by. OneBar uses an underground geothermal, closed-loop system (the only one of its kind in Las Vegas!) to chill all their frozen drinks.

Bar Prohibition! The original casino bar

Another piece of Las Vegas history inside the Golden Gate is Bar Prohibition! This celebrated prohibition bar has withstood the test of time as the place to be; from the earliest wild west days to the Roaring 20s and the Rat Pack era to today’s craft cocktail scene. Although the Golden Gate itself has changed and expanded over the years, the original casino bar has remained in the same spot within the structure since opening its doors.

While many bars in downtown Las Vegas have a reputation for excellent cocktails, Bar Prohibition! lets you drink in the same place where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. drank whiskey and partied with Las Vegas locals and Hollywood stars. They may have even done impromptu performances when the vibes were just right.

Some of the speakeasy-style signature cocktails served at Bar Prohibition! that pay homage to the bar’s legendary past include:

  • The Rat Pack Manhattan: Bulleit Bourbon, Grand Marnier, sweet vermouth and bitters
  • Bootlegger: Bacardi, Captain Morgan, banana liqueur, pineapple juice, orange juice and fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Kick in the Head: Bombay, Grand Marnier, pineapple juice, freshly squeezed lemon and ginger beer
  • 1906 Spritz: Bombay, St. Germain, Campari and champagne

The hotel that started it all

As the first hotel in Las Vegas, you can imagine how much has happened at the Golden Gate. Luckily, the hotel owners have taken great care to preserve 10 rooms that date all the way back to the opening of “Hotel Nevada” in 1906. You can even stay in one of these original rooms to truly experience a piece of Las Vegas history.

However, if you’re looking for something a little more spacious and upscale, the Golden Gate Hotel offers upgraded rooms, luxury suites and two premium penthouses that will make your trip to Vegas truly one for the books. As a bonus for staying at the Golden Nugget, you’ll also get access to all the amenities at the Golden Gates’s sister properties: The D Hotel & Casino and Circa Resort & Casino.

Experience vintage Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience

A view of the crowd at Fremont Street Experience.

If you’re looking for “Old Vegas” attractions and nostalgic experiences that harken back to the Golden Age of Sin City, you can find countless historical Easter eggs throughout downtown and the Fremont Street Experience. Skip the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard and head downtown for vintage casinos and hotels, a stroll through the Neon Museum and The Mob Museum and the best drinks at the legendary downtown Las Vegas bars!

See downtown like never before on the thrilling Slotzilla Zipline! Get tickets now.