Plaza Hotel & Casino is at 1 Main St. (at Fremont St.). “What a dump!” Five years ago, odds are excellent you'd have uttered those very words upon entering the Plaza casino. It took some $35 million and nearly a year's worth of renovations, but the Plaza (originally opened in 1971) is entirely rehabbed and once again worthy of its anchor spot at the west end of the Fremont Street Experience.
Though small compared to Strip casinos, the gaming floor doesn't feel cramped. Poker machines and all the latest video slots are well spaced. Minimum blackjack and craps bets are usually $5. Tucked away at the back of the casino is the small-scale William Hill Race & Sports Book, a comfy, low-key place to play the ponies. On the hotel's third floor, near the conference rooms, you can daub the day away at downtown's only bingo hall; six, 1-hour sessions are offered daily.
Those who recall the Plaza of old will see big changes in the small lobby, decked out with red velvet couches, sparkling chandeliers and all manner of retro-sleek decor. Production shows and comedians headline the main showroom. Out front you'll find the open-air Bier Garten, serving up craft brews and hosting live bands on weekends.
Former city mayor Oscar Goodman, once in favor of imploding the 25-story hotel, has a pricey steakhouse in the Plaza's signature, glass-domed structure overlooking Fremont Street. The view's a knockout, but the name of the place, Oscar's Beef * Booze * Broads, isn't going to win any feminist fans.