Golden Gate Hotel and Casino

Coordinates: 36°10′17″N 115°08′47″W / 36.17139°N 115.14639°W / 36.17139; -115.14639
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Golden Gate Hotel & Casino
Golden Gate Hotel & Casino is located in Downtown Las Vegas
Golden Gate Hotel & Casino
Golden Gate Hotel & Casino is located in Nevada
Golden Gate Hotel & Casino
Location Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Address 1 Fremont Street
Opening dateJanuary 13, 1906; 117 years ago (1906-01-13)
Theme1930s San Francisco
No. of rooms106
Total gaming space12,243 sq ft (1,137.4 m2)
Signature attractionsShrimp cocktail
Dancing Dealers
Casino typeLand-based
OwnerDerek Stevens
Greg Stevens
Previous namesHotel Nevada
Sal Sagev
Renovated in1906, 1931, 1955, 1964, 2005, 2012, 2017
WebsiteGolden Gate Hotel & Casino

The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino is located at One Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. A part of the Fremont Street Experience, it is the oldest and smallest hotel (122 rooms) on the Fremont Street Experience.

John F. Miller initially opened a temporary tent hotel – the Miller Hotel – on the property in 1905, while he planned to construct a permanent hotel structure, which opened as the Hotel Nevada on January 13, 1906. A casino operated within the hotel until a statewide gambling ban took effect in 1909. In 1931, the property was expanded and renamed as Sal Sagev ("Las Vegas" spelled backwards). The casino reopened that year when gambling in Nevada was legalized again. In 1955, the casino was renamed as the Golden Gate. The entire property was renamed as the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino in 1974. The Golden Gate was known for its cheap shrimp cocktails, served from 1959 to 2017.


Early history (1905 – 1974)[edit]

John F. Miller was among the first to come to Las Vegas in 1905.[1] An auction for property in the city's future downtown area was held in May 1905.[2] Miller purchased a $1,750 parcel at the southeast corner of Main Street and Fremont Street.[3][2] On the property shortly thereafter, he established the Miller Hotel, a temporary tent hotel that was also known as the Hotel Nevada.[2][4][5][6]

In August 1905, Miller had plans to construct a permanent two-story hotel structure on the property.[5][7] Construction on the new hotel was to begin as soon as the Kuhn Mercantile Company could vacate the property.[7] In September 1905, the Miller Hotel became the first lodging establishment in Las Vegas to receive plumbing.[2][6] In December 1905, plans were underway for a two-story retail and apartment building, to be constructed adjacent to the Hotel Nevada. The front of the new building was to be cemented to blend in with the hotel.[8] Miller planned for the hotel to be modern, with amenities that included heating, electricity, and a telephone system.[9]

The two-story Hotel Nevada,[3] located at 1 Fremont Street,[10] opened on January 13, 1906, becoming the first hotel structure in Las Vegas,[3][11] and the only concrete hotel in southern Nevada.[12] The hotel rooms measured 10 feet square, cost $1 per day, and were referred to by a local newspaper as "first class".[3] Due to the hotel's popularity, Miller announced in June 1906 that he would soon have a third story added to the property, expected to be finished by September 1, 1906.[12] In October 1906, construction was underway on the addition, which consisted of brick and measured 20 feet by 30 feet. The addition added a kitchen and four bedrooms.[13] In 1907, Las Vegas' first telephone was installed at the Hotel Nevada, with the number 1.[10]

The hotel's casino operated until 1909, when gambling was banned in Nevada. The casino's blackjack and poker tables were subsequently put into storage.[3] By March 1918, Miller was considering a large addition to the hotel that would consist of reinforced concrete and would include 40 feet of frontage along Fremont Street.[14] The hotel gained additional popularity beginning in 1925, when city officials had Fremont Street paved. The Hotel Nevada reopened its casino in 1931, when gambling in Nevada was legalized again. That year, the property was expanded to four stories and renamed as the Sal Sagev[3][10] (Las Vegas spelled backwards).[15]

In July 1955, Abe Miller – the property's longtime operator[16] and the son of John F. Miller[1] – was approved for plans to lease the Sal Sagev's ground floor to a 23-man group, which would sublease the floor for $25,000 per month to eight Italian-American men, nearly all of them from Oakland, California. The eight men planned to open the Golden Gate casino on the ground floor of the Sal Sagev. Renovations on the new casino were underway that month and were being financed by the 23-man group, with an estimated cost of $330,000. Abe Miller was to receive $2,300 per month, as well as five percent of the gambling profits.[16][17][18] The Golden Gate casino, named after the Golden Gate Bridge,[3] opened on the ground floor later in 1955,[18] while the hotel retained the Sal Sagev name.[18][15] Italo Ghelfi, one of the eight partners, operated the casino for nearly 40 years.[18]

In February 1957, John F. Miller died during a nap at his apartment, located within the Sal Sagev hotel. He was 92 years old, and had experienced a substantial period of declining health.[1] Abe Miller continued to operate the Sal Sagev into the 1960s.[19] In 1964, the hotel was expanded to include a total of 106 rooms.[20] In 1965, the hotel's exterior was covered in aluminum siding, which remained until its removal in 1990.[21] As of 1969, Abe Miller operated the property with his sister,[4] Helen Nugent.[1][4]

Later years (1974 – present)[edit]

In 1974, the entire property was renamed as the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino.[3] Abe Miller and his sister had died by 1985, and his sister willed her small ownership of the property to nuns at The Convent of the Good Shepherd of Las Vegas.[22][23] Ghelfi's family purchased the property from the partnership in 1990, and removed the metal-screen façade that had earlier been applied to the structure.[18] The Golden Gate's 90th anniversary was marked by numerous celebrations in late May 1996, including Las Vegas mayor Jan Laverty Jones proclaiming it to be "Las Vegas' Most Historic Hotel."[20]

Mid-2000s logo

The 106-room, four-story hotel was renovated in 2005.[citation needed] By that time, the property was managed by Mark Brandenburg, Ghelfi's son.[18] Brandenburg later became the owner. In March 2008, Brandenberg sold a 50% interest in the property to Desert Rock Enterprises, the investment company of Derek and Greg Stevens, who also owned the Las Vegas 51s baseball team and a 19% stake in the Riviera casino.[24] With new money infused by the Stevens, the Golden Gate undertook casino upgrades and hotel room renovations.[25] The following year, the Stevens raised their stake to 60%, and Derek took over as CEO, with Brandenburg as president.[25]

In 2010, a Du-par's restaurant opened inside the Golden Gate, replacing the Bay City Diner.[26] Du-par's operated as a leased tenant of the Golden Gate.[27]

In 2012, the Golden Gate began its first major renovation in more than 50 years, gutting the old piano bar area and vintage hotel lobby area in favor of a more open and modern look, including scantily-clad women at the betting tables known as dancing dealers. The $12 million renovation includes a 35,000-square-foot, five-story hotel tower with 14 new suites and two penthouses, a new porte cochere, a new check-in and slot club desks, an expansion of the casino floor and a new high limit gaming area.[28] Greg and Derek Stevens became full owners of Golden Gate in 2016.[citation needed][29]

On February 7, 2017, the Du-par's restaurant closed due to financial reasons, as it had been struggling with lease payments.[30][27] It was owned by Biff Naylor, son of one of Golden Gate's original owners, Tiny Naylor.[citation needed]

That month, construction began on an expansion to the Golden Gate's casino. The expansion would take Golden Gate's footprint into the space formerly occupied by the La Bayou casino.[31] The Golden Gate closed around 2:00 a.m. on August 21, 2017, to allow for the multimillion-dollar renovation project, which had been planned for eight months. The project doubled the casino size and added 100 new slot machines. The project also added a new casino entrance, and extended the outdoor OneBar by 20 feet. The renovations occurred at the site of the former La Bayou as well as an alley that once separated the two casinos. The Golden Gate reopened 106 hours later, at 12:00 p.m. on August 25, 2017.[32] The casino contains 12,243 sq ft (1,137.4 m2) of space.[33] A sportsbook was added on June 1, 2019. It is operated by Derek Stevens' company, Circa Sports.[34][35]

Shrimp cocktail[edit]

The famed Golden Gate shrimp cocktail as served in 2008.

The Golden Gate was the first to serve a fifty cent shrimp cocktail in 1959, now a Las Vegas cliché. The idea came from owner Italo Ghelfi, who based it on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.[36]

The Original Shrimp Cocktail consists of a regular-sized sundae glass filled with small salad shrimp and topped with a dollop of cocktail sauce. In 1991, the price was raised from 50¢ to 99¢, as the property was losing $300,000 a year on shrimp cocktails under the previous price.[10] The price was raised in 2008 to $1.99.[36] Until the 2012 renovations, there was a deli bar from which the shrimp cocktails were served. As of October 26, 2012, the price stood at $2.99. As of August 2013, the price was $3.99.

In 2019, with the closure of the privately owned Du-par's restaurant, Golden Gate discontinued serving its shrimp cocktail. Derek Stevens, co-owner of Golden Gate, reintroduced the menu item on a temporary basis in October of that year,[37] and then again in 2020 at the Circa, where he is also co-owner.[38]



  1. ^ a b c d "Pioneer Southern Nevada Rancher Taken by Death". Reno Evening Gazette. February 14, 1957. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Whitely, Joan Burkhart; Hopkins, A. D. (2005). "Chapter One: The Auction". Young Las Vegas: 1905-1931: Before the Future Found Us. Stephens Press. p. 5. ISBN 1932173323.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Burbank, Jeff (2014). "Hotel Nevada / Sal Sagev". Lost Las Vegas. Pavilion Books. pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-1-90981-503-2.
  4. ^ a b c "Photograph of the front exterior of the Hotel Nevada (Las Vegas), circa 1910". University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Coming to Salt Lake". Deseret Evening News. August 2, 1905. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Moehring, Eugene P. (2000). "Prologue". Resort City in the Sunbelt: Las Vegas, 1930-2000. University of Nevada Press. p. 7. ISBN 0874173566.
  7. ^ a b "Hotel Building". Las Vegas Age. August 5, 1905. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  8. ^ "Fremont Street: More Substantial Buildings in View". Las Vegas Age. December 9, 1905. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  9. ^ "Splendid Hotel". Las Vegas Age. January 6, 1906. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d Carter, Lisa (June 4, 2012). "Hotel spans decades as downtown fixture". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Olmsted, Larry (March 20, 2012). "Downtown Vegas Revival Continues With Reborn Golden Gate Casino". Forbes. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Will Enlarge Hotel". Las Vegas Age. June 30, 1906. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  13. ^ "Hotel Nevada". Las Vegas Age. October 20, 1906. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  14. ^ "Hotels and Apartments". Southwest Builder and Contractor. March 1, 1918. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  15. ^ a b "'Backward' Wife Leaves Sal Sagev". United Press International. April 12, 1969. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Nevada Gaming Control Board In First Meet: Lengthy Program Topped by Lease Of Vegas Hotel". Reno Evening Gazette. July 27, 1955. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  17. ^ "License Okehed For New Casino". Nevada State Journal. July 27, 1955. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Green, Michael (October 18, 2010). "Golden Gate Corner". Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  19. ^ "Miller to Build Inn at Kingman". Reno Evening Gazette. February 16, 1963. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Golden Gate turns 90". Las Vegas Sun. May 21, 1996. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  21. ^ "Downtown Las Vegas hotels & casinos 1931-2000". Vintage Las Vegas. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  22. ^ "Nevada uncharitable to Sisters". Asbury Park Press. April 10, 1985. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  23. ^ Riley, Brendan (March 22, 1985). "North Las Vegas casino slapped with $27,500 fine". Associated Press. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  24. ^ Stutz, Howard (2008-03-21). "Commission approves sale of 50 percent stake in Golden Gate". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
  25. ^ a b Knightly, Arnold (26 September 2009). "Partners create new look for Golden oldie". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  26. ^ Radke, Brock (May 1, 2010). "What's become of my diner?: Good things, as it turns out, courtesy of Du-par's". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  27. ^ a b Torres-Cortez, Ricardo (February 7, 2017). "Du-Par's restaurant closes at the Golden Gate". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  28. ^ McGarry, Caitlin (March 19, 2012). "Golden Gate renovations include expanded casino floor; new lobby next". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  29. ^ "Stevens to acquire remaining 35 percent of Golden Gate". 4 November 2015.
  30. ^ Stapleton, Susan (February 7, 2017). "When the Clock Strikes Midnight, Du-par's Shutters: The 24-hour restaurant closes". Eater Las Vegas. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  31. ^ Faith Jessie, "Golden Gate Casino unveils major expansion just ahead of Labor Day weekend," KSNV NBC, September 1, 2017.
  32. ^ Velotta, Richard N. (August 25, 2017). "Downtown Las Vegas' Golden Gate reopens after renovation". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  33. ^ "Listing of Financial Statements Square Footage (2017 data)". Nevada Gaming Control Board. March 6, 2018. p. 5. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  34. ^ Keefer, Case (June 1, 2019). "Circa Sports launches with promise to foster a competitive betting experience". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  35. ^ Purdum, David (July 10, 2019). "Inside the building of the state-of-the-art Circa sportsbook". ESPN. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  36. ^ a b Ashley Powers, A jumbo Las Vegas deal doubles its price, Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2008, Accessed June 17, 2008.
  37. ^ Kelcie Grega, "The return (kind of) of the Golden Gate’s 99-cent shrimp cocktail," Las Vegas Sun, June 12, 2019.
  38. ^ Joyce Lupiani, "Circa bringing back the famous 99-cent shrimp cocktail for limited hours," KTNV ABC, October 22, 2020.

External links[edit]

36°10′17″N 115°08′47″W / 36.17139°N 115.14639°W / 36.17139; -115.14639