When it comes to where I hang out, I lean more towards the cozy hole in the wall places that are free from pretentiousness and snooty attitudes.
Where I go, the bums may shuffle about and less than favorable characters may lurk but it’s those characters that make it interesting. Add in a bit of historical value and a good cup of coffee and it’s a great way to enjoy an afternoon or a late morning.
One such place I tend to frequent as often as possible is The Beat on Fremont St. and 6th across the street from the historic El Cortez Hotel and Casino. It once housed a Penney’s and the Fremont Medical Center and today serves as a place to enjoy a good cup of java by day and a glass of beer or wine by night. Upstairs you will find an art gallery filled with work from local artists among many other tenants.
Much to my dismay recently, I read an article from a local blogger who said The Beat was a place for “lost locals”. Anyone who spends any serious amount of time around Fremont St. knows it is in fact a locals coffee shop. I probably shouldn’t have been bothered by the comment but it just made me question whether that person really knew and understood that particular area of downtown.
On any given day you can find a small (sometimes large) crowd of people lounging on the couches or at a table with their laptops and their drink of choice. You’ll find a range of people from your average Joe to the well dressed business person. With the courthouse nearby you might also find lawyers hanging around.
It’s an eclectic mix of individuals, each with their own story to tell. I’ve yet to talk to any strangers there but I’m sure eventually that day will come. Usually when I visit I’m waiting for a friend to arrive. One such friend doesn’t drink coffee but will still enjoy a smoothie while there. But even when I’m alone there’s always an interesting character or two to see.
Trust me when I say there is never a dull moment along Fremont St. For me, people watching through the window is a wonderful way to spend a morning or a late afternoon. And who can argue when there’s often great vinyl records playing and delicious coffee to be drank? I know I can’t.
Other areas of Las Vegas no doubt have their charms. But when I want to escape the Henderson area and get a little bit of Vegas culture, downtown is my place to hang out (though I can be found lurking around Grouchy John’s near Henderson city limits at times too). It may be a bit seedy and have a few questionable people roaming around but that’s all part of the downtown charm and intrigue. And frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way…