Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Las Vegas - Atomic Liquors

January 2015 - Las Vegas NV

We had stopped to get photos last week but the bar wasn't open so we headed back have a beer and check it out.

Click here for a detailed history of the original owners.
In 1921, Virginia and her two daughters; Helen (age 4) and Stella (age 2) stepped off the train in Las Vegas, and into a brand new life. Always a hard worker, Virginia soon had a job as a cook for the Union Pacific railroad. She was later to meet an elderly Nevada Judge, John Busteed who hired her as a housekeeper. Virginia became his friend and caregiver until his death, and as part of his estate, she inherited the property on between 9th and 10th on Fremont. By this time, Stella was working at Walker’s Laundry in Niagra Falls, a job that was to allow her to meet her future husband Joe Sobchik.

Stella and Joe, recently married, decided to give it a shot. So Virginia’s Café was born, with Joe and Stella manning the grill. This was during the war years, and because of food rationing, finding ingredients to serve was not the easiest thing for Joe and Stella. Still they made a go of it, serving food to the travelers that stopped for gas, and catering to the locals that would line up in front of the building for the popular Heldorado parade.

Eventually, Joe tired of cooking for the public, decided that they should close the Café and open a liquor store. Thus, Atomic Liquors was born with the first Liquor Store license in Las Vegas. Always looking to boost the income of the store and establish a more consistent clientele, Joe and Stella then purchased the liquor 'pouring' license from the Lido Lounge which was closing in a downtown casino. This allowed them to augment their takeout trade with beer, wine and mixed drinks served over the counter while becoming the oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas. This endeavor also created an entirely new type of liquor sale license called 'The Tavern License' in which Atomic was issued the first ever License #00001.

In it's heyday, the Atomic had a local, working class, clientele that was bolstered by regular visits from celebrities looking to avoid the attention they attracted on the strip or Downtown. The likes of the Rat Pack, Barbara Streisand, the Smothers Brothers, Clint Eastwood and other notable characters could be seen enjoying their favorite beverage and playing a friendly game of pool after their shows or productions. Barbra Steisand even noted in her book that she was a regular, stopping in on every trip to shoot pool and chat with her friend Stella. The Atomic was open 24 hours a day and drew quite a crowd of casino workers looking to enjoy themselves after their shifts, stating that, "you never know who might stop by."

The Guantlet, an episode of the original "The Twilight Zone" and parts of the movie Casino were filmed inside the Atomic as well inside the adjacent garage which served as a production studio for Martin Scorsese and crew for more than a month. Most recently the Atomic can be seen in the famous car crash scene in the movie The Hangover.

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort

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January 2015 - Las Vegas NV

We visited the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort part of Nevada State Parks.

Entrance is $1.

In present day Las Vegas, the site is just east of Las Vegas Boulevard and slightly north of the downtown area and Fremont Street. This is the only U.S. state park located in a city that houses the first building ever built in that city.

More than 150 years ago, a spring-fed creek flowed through this valley, creating an oasis in the desert. With the only free-flowing water and grass for miles around, the site attracted native Paiute people as well as traders, emigrants and gold seekers traveling the Old Spanish Trail to California. The Spaniards called the place las vegas, Spanish for the meadows.

In June of 1855, William Bringhurst and 29 fellow Mormon missionaries from Utah arrived at this site and built a 150-foot square adobe fort, the first permanent structure erected in the valley. The Mormon outpost, complete with a post office, served as a way station for travelers. The creek provided irrigation for fields and orchards. Lead was later discovered in the mountains to the southwest, and the mission was expanded to include mining and smelting, but the effort proved unsuccessful.

After less than two years, the Mormon effort was abandoned after dissension arose between two of the local leaders, adding to the discouragement of many in the group.

Headed outside to see the fort. This statue was striking.

In 1865, Octavius D. Gass bought the site and developed a large-scale ranch that included a small store and blacksmith shop to serve travelers and nearby mining communities.

Gass defaulted on a loan to Archibald Stewart in 1881 and lost the ranch, with Stewart and his wife Helen becoming the new caretakers.  Although Archibald was killed in a gunfight in 1884, Helen, with the help of her father and others, continued to operate the ranch.

In 1902, William A. Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad acquired the property from Helen Stewart along with most of what is now downtown Las Vegas, transferring most of the company's land to the now defunct Las Vegas Land and Water Company

The fort was surrounded by 14-foot (4.3 m) high adobe walls that extended for 150 feet (46 m). While called a fort, it was never home to any military troops but like many Mormon forts provided a defense for the local settlers against an Indian attack. As a result of the beginning of the Utah War, the Mormons abandoned the fort.

Wordless Wednesday


Wordless Wednesday and at Wordless

January 2015 - Las Vegas NV

Loved this, spotted off Fremont St.

Las Vegas Battista's Hole in the Wall

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.com

Beth hosts Weekend Cooking where you can post anything food related.

January 2015 - Las Vegas NV

On one of our last evenings in Las Vegas this week we had intended on going to an old favourite for dinner but then decided to try our a LV landmark instead. Battista’s Hole in the Wall, Italian restaurant located behind the Flamingo hotel.
We have passed this place so many times so finally we are trying it.

It was actually raining when we left and were planning our parking options. the restaurant has a parking area but it is usually so packed. However, we scored a spot RIGHT in front.

Our reservation was for 7:30 but it was only 7 PM when we arrived so we went to the bar where I took several photos. All photos were taken with our phones.

Our table was then immediately available and we were led through a labyrinth to a room at the back.
the room was full and we were given a table in the corner which was perfect.
Photo was taken later in the evening.

We told our server, Eric, that we would finish our drinks before placing any orders to which he was amenable and then placed a carafe of white AND red wine on the table.

There was a bus boy who kept asking if we wanted our salad or soup to whom we kept telling no we would wait.

The menu is on the wall and you can have soup or salad, garlic bread and a main course. There is unlimited wine and a cappuccino at the end.

We placed our orders and were served our salads. The salad had a slice of salami and banana peppers on top and was really good along with the garlic bread.

The room started to empty out, these people must have arrived at 5PM!

John had spaghetti and meat sauce and I opted for veal marsala after vacillating between eggplant parmesan or veal parmesan. It was all good, don't expect gourmet dining but quantities are plenty.

This is when it started to fall apart. The room is now empty, it is only 8:30 and they are open until 10PM.
The servers start whipping table linens onto tables, clattering cutlery and bustling about. We were asked several times if we wanted our cappuccinos, no.
Our servers disappeared.
Another server appeared with cappuccinos - "here's your hat, what's your hurry"?

John is a very generous tipper usually, but not tonight, he did write on the back of the bill about the dismal service.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Our World Tuesday

January 2015 - Las Vegas NV

Some more casino visits. This time Circus Circus, definitely not a favourite of ours and I would not recommend it to anyone unless you have little kids and big pockets for the arcades. Plus it has a really awful odour!! John said it smelled like liver.

A cute diner, it revolves slowly.