Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | 5:05 p.m.
"This is like trying to follow the Goonies' treasure map—if we push the wrong button the floor's going to fall out beneath us," my elevator companion says as we climb into our second lift of the night on Saturday. We aren't seeking buried gold, though; we're simply trying to navigate our way to the roof of Binion's, to check out local funk/jam band Moksha's second show of the weekend.
No MP3s are available for this band.
We reach our destination, where we're met by a security type wearing a Mexican wrestling mask (he loves lucha libre, he explains). Dodging past him, we join a mellow crowd, swaying its hips and passing its herb while lounging around a small pool. No one's wearing swim trunks in sight, but halfway through the set—which features songs averaging eight-to-10 minutes in length—someone finally gains the (liquid) courage to jump in and cool off. If the temperature gauge flashing beneath the hotel's giant spinning B is to be believed, it's still 95 degrees as midnight approaches.
As for the untraditional choice of venues for the quintet's third-anniversary celebration, Brian Triola, keyboardist and one of three vocalists, explains: "The vibe and energy up here is great, and the sound's great 'cause there's no enclosure." The band itself sounds great, keeping its cool despite perspiration running down the musicians' faces. With the bright lights of the Strip in the background, and with help from new singer Sam Lemos and a two-piece horn section on a couple numbers, Moksha jams well into the wee hours of the night. Sweat be damned.
Binion's Gambling Hall has been a landmark in downtown Las Vegas for more than a half a century. The 80,000 square foot casino opens up to Fremont Street Experience and features 80-plus gaming and poker tables and about 800 slot and video poker machines.
Benny's Bullpen Sports Bar and Cigar Lounge is an old fashioned saloon featuring a full-service bar that serves handcrafted beers, a fine selection of cigars, 10 plasma TVs broadcasting live sports and video poker machines.
The Top of Binion's Steak House is open at 5 p.m. and is located high above downtown Las Vegas on the 24th floor.
The pool area is located on the 25th floor, affording a view of downtown and the Strip. It is also available for concerts, special events and weddings.
The property is made up of three historic buildings: The Apache Hotel, The Boulder Club and The Mint. Benny Binion bought the Apache Hotel in 1951 and renamed it the Horseshoe Club. Benny Binion's sons completed the existing footprint in 1988 when they bought Del Webb's Mint Hotel.