As much as I enjoy Vegas, the taxes and pricing are completely out of control. On the Strip, cheap food and drink options are vanishing quicker than the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee. Now, I don’t want you to misinterpret my earlier comment as a tantrum in which I declare that I will no longer be traveling to Vegas. Certainly not. Degenerate gamblers don’t give up because a bottle of Coors Light costs $7, after all. You must purchase scent for a casino visit.
However, I am able to counteract this trend by identifying the VALUE that still remains in plain sight. Yes, there are restaurants in Vegas that provide cheap food and beer that you may not be aware of, even directly on the Strip. Enter Stage Door Casino, one of my favorite places to go for a cheap night out.
Stage Door, which is a block off the Strip and just behind Cromwell, isn’t much to look at. It’s a plunge, and I mean that in the kindest possible sense. The several offers that may be found inside are plastered on the building’s facade. $1 Michelob Ultra $2 for light bottles, $2 for 16 oz. Draft Bud and $2 for all-beef burgers Steps away from the exaggerated costs on Las Vegas Blvd. are 1/4 pound hot dogs.
The vibe at Stage Door is perfectly described as unpretentious. If you’re looking for luxury, glamour, and glam, look elsewhere; this isn’t the place for you. Nobody is attempting to impress anyone here. Bachelor parties and high-priced bottle service are not available. Instead, the average patrons are everyday people who stop by for a beer after work or to put $20 in a machine.
The structure, as well as the clients, are a little rough around the edges. The scars are evident, but they are what give the place life. In a city where they are a dying breed, Stage Door is a hole in the wall. My bar-top video poker machine’s buttons were broken, the bar top was covered in unidentifiable smudges, drips, and sticky things, and the floor was worn. What I’m trying to convey is that this isn’t Hell’s Kitchen or Giada… but for many people, it’s worth a visit. Stage Door is a throwback to Vegas’ gritty past, when the emphasis was on gambling, service, and drinking rather than posh nightclubs and ever-increasing costs.
The service is excellent. I went in with the intention of drinking just one beer, but I always had a fresh Michelob laid in front of me when I got 2/3 full without asking. You’re in luck if Kendra is staffing the bar. That kind of attention doesn’t come around too frequently.
Stage Door is the kind of place where you can watch the game while drinking seven beers for $7 plus tip and listening to classic rock on the jukebox. Sit back and enjoy a few light-hearted disagreements about song choice, discussions about run-ins with the law in California, or a botched pickup attempt by the mother/daughter duo sitting next to you.
“So, do you guys want to take turns?” I asked a mother and her daughter for the record, gentlemen. Or do you want to kill two birds with one stone?” This does not work. However, it was a valiant effort.
Also, cheap cocktails and happy hours can be found on the Las Vegas Strip.
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Stage Door isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, despite the fact that she’s well-worn and sits on prime real estate. While Caesars Entertainment owns the property, Stage Door’s lease doesn’t expire until 2030, and they have no plans to leave before then.
If you enjoy dive bars, stop by Stage Door for a beer, a dog, some video poker, and some music. You will not be dissatisfied. Unless you need to be fancy in Vegas, in which case you’ll be pissed. We recommend making a day of it and stopping at Stage Door behind Bally’s on your route to or from Ellis Island. Within walking distance of the Strip, Ellis also delivers cheap food and beverages.