An Old Fashioned Night Out
One of the biggest issues I have with the Bay Area right now is the price of real estate; not necessarily because I can't afford to buy anything, but more so because all of my favorite longstanding bars and restaurants are being priced out of doing business. Anything historical, kitschy, or old school is being shuttered up in favor of modern beer gardens, progressive cocktail dens, and farm-to-table eateries specializing in small plates, long lines, and high prices. I like many of these new Bay Area establishments, but the San Francisco I was raised on is all but a memory at this point. However, that sense of the past lives on in Las Vegas where real estate is still cheap and historical kitsch is preserved in bright neon.
I won't go into a history lesson on Frankie's Tiki Room as you can get the full rundown from the webpage I've linked in. I'll let the photo do the talking: my drink is blue and absolutely loaded with alcohol, there's electronic Keno and poker at the bar, and the entire place smells like cigarettes. Those characteristics act like a built-in filter for pretense! Everyone at Frankie's last night was a professional drinker and they'd been drinking for hours by the time we got there. Ain't nobody talking about measured pours or cocktail culture in here.
The Golden Steer may look like a strip mall steakhouse from the street (because it is), but I'd warn you about judging a book by its cover. This place has been here since 1958 and it has hosted Elvis, Joe DiMaggio, Nat King Cole, and Natalie Wood over the years, to name a few. It was my first time at the old Steer last night and now I'm smitten. It's everything I want out of life in one beautiful dining experience.
You should definitely form your own opinion about the wonderful experience at the Golden Steer, but one thing you MUST get is the table-side Caesar salad that is 100%, without a doubt, hands-down the best Caesar salad I've ever had. They make it from scratch right in front of you and it has Tabasco, Worcester, fresh garlic, and a handful of other magical ingredients that light up your taste buds. It's truly worth basing your entire stay in Vegas around.
I can't say that I wanted the "Oscar" when the waiter explained to me what the night's special was. I think I felt obligated at that point, mainly because I'd never even thought about topping filet mignon with fresh crab meat and smothering the whole thing with Hollandaise.
In any case, if you're feeling homesick for the food and drink culture that's being systematically erased from Bay Area living, these are two great options for a glorious reminiscence.