Monday, August 3, 2009

What Exactly is a Sawdust Joint?

A Sawdust Joint has sawdust on the floor to soak up the blood, and the guts, and the beer.

It is the opposite of a "carpet joint" that has carpet on the floor, and generally tries to please a more genteel and refined clientele.

Though you won't actually find sawdust on the floor of joints anymore, sawdust joints in spirit do exist and flourish.

Benny Binion was very proud of his new, swanky carpet joint "The Horseshoe", though now the Horseshoe would be considered a sawdust joint. Times, and tastes change but to me the difference between a sawdust joint and a carpet joint can be as simple as drinking beer out of a can or a bottle.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Westerner is Long Gone, but The Western Remains

Yep, The fabled "Western" is still open for business on the wrong side of the tracks. That is East of Las Vegas Blvd. on Fremont Street. A couple of blocks of this area has been gentrified with new neon displays, hipster clubs, and an upgrade for the historic "El Cortez" Casino and Resort. It has been dubbed "Fremont East" and really is quite enjoyable if you are seeking something a little different than the slickness of the Strip.

The Western is East of East Fremont. Just check out some of these reviews from Yelp, and you will get the idea.

You can also check out the Cheapo Vegas Review -

If the Western has their own website, I can't seem to find it. I remember at one point it was bought by Barrick gaming along with The Plaza, and The Vegas Club from Jackie Gaughan and was slated to undergo renovations. It doesn't look like that ever happened, or every will.
If you are brave, and want to experience the real seedy underbelly of Las Vegas, the Western is your destination.
Like most of it's patrons, it's past is a little murky. Wikipedia offers this information
It may very well be the poster child for Sawdust Joints, but it does have competition . . . I have a feeling I will have no lack of subject matter for this blog.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Westerner, Las Vegas

Pretty much the quintessential sawdust joint can be epitomized by the now defunct "Westerner" in Las Vegas.

In 1946 Texas gambler Benny Binion came to Las Vegas and invested in J. Kell Houssels' Las Vegas Club which was at 23 East Fremont Street. After the Las Vegas Club moved across Fremont Street to the Overland Hotel in 1951, Benny Binion sold his interest in the Las Vegas Club and opened the Westerner Saloon & Gambling House in the building where the Las Vegas Club had been. Binion then sold the Westerner Saloon & Gambling House in less than a year to buy the Eldorado Club and Apache Hotel where he opened the Horseshoe Club.

The Westerner Saloon & Gambling House had other owners until 1960 when it became Club Bingo.

The Westerner 21-23 Fremont St. Opened 1950 - Closed 1960