Even though we were in Vegas to celebrate Christmas and the new year, there was still work to be done. This time, though, I knew exactly what coffice I wanted to work at. I’d first visited The Beat Coffeehouse when I was the City Leader for CRAVE Las Vegas, a coffee table book project for women entrepreneurs, and I’d attended lots of meetings there. The vibe is relaxed; you can perch your laptop on the counter while you eat or grab a couch and get comfy. As a bonus, it was within walking distance of our temporary home at Main Street Station.
The independent coffeehouse at Sixth and Fremont, just two blocks from The Fremont Street Experience, is a gathering place for those who live and work in downtown Vegas. Along with the requisite free Wi-Fi for customers, The Beat has small menu with eclectic food, coffee drinks and a nice selection of beer and wine in the evening. The space in the Emergency Arts building includes a vintage store and creative businesses, including galleries and artist studios.
My favorite munchie at The Beat is the Slap & Tickle sandwich, a hipster twist on the classic PB&J with peanut butter, homemade jam, crisp bacon and optional jalapeño slices to kick things up a notch. Paired with some iced tea, it’ll take you through your afternoon to-do list. And, you can easily take quick breaks to people watch out the window while you’re getting things done.
A few years ago, Downtown Las Vegas was so rundown and scary that people wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, never mind wander around down there. But with the Downtown Project and other revitalization efforts, the area has been transformed into a quirky, happening destination for couples, kids, art lovers, and hip bar hoppers.
Jenn and I doing our best cranky model impersonations under the “Life is Beautiful” mural on the wall of the El Cortez hotel
The inaugural two-day “Life is Beautiful” festival took place in late October, drawing celebrity chefs and popular bands, the likes of which you’d normally only find at the mega casino-resorts of the Strip. The event brought 40,000 tourists and locals to experience the new “neighborhoody” feel of Downtown. Designed to reflect the festival’s inspirational message, giant murals were painted on a dozen walls, mostly abandoned motels and hotels, the Container Park and a few businesses like the El Cortez. These shots represent just a few of the fantastic several-story-high works of art.
Even though the festival is long over, most the murals remain, which was the hope of festival organizers. Their goal was to foster pride in the community, beginning with what we see as we walk by. Although Mike and I no longer live in Vegas, I was delighted to see these enhancements. I’ve always had great affection for Downtown. I worked in the area for a number of years. I met Mike at a Downtown bar, and I lots of great meetings at restaurants and coffee shops there. These gorgeous, colorful murals made me want to move back all the more.