Around 1962 Ben Goffstein's dream slowly developed into reality when he resigned as President of the Riviera. He took a job at a downtown Casino but he had a project in mind.
Ben always considered his daughters to be his Queens; The oldest Michele was Queen of spades, Benita clubs, Faith hearts and fittingly, Hope diamonds. With his wife, acting as Chief interior designer, Goffstein began construction on The Four Queens as a loving homage.
The Casino opened in 1966 with 20,00 square feet of gaming space and 120 rooms. His 2 year expansion plan called for a total of 850 rooms.
Unfortunately Ben died the following year of Cancer before he could see this happen.
The hotel was sold to The Hyatt Corporation, which expanded the casino to 33,000 square feet, and In one form or another owned the Four Queens until 2003.
Bringing us to the present day owner, Terry L. Caudill (TLC Casinos Inc.) Mr. Caudill bought the Queens for 20.5 million dollars and brought the failing downtown structure back to modern-ish times. By 2007 Mr Caudill remodeled the guest rooms all the public areas, updated the restaurants and gaming as a whole. Eventually adding the first Casino Club in downtown called the Canyon Club. In total spending 20 million dollars on this gem. My first visit inside the Four Queens was some time back in the early 90's before the massive shit show started under the canopy. I was in my late teens and most likely skipping school but I loved the feeling the Casino gave off, and still do.
Today the vibe on Fremont is completely different, and don't get me wrong, not all bad but it could thin the heard of Kiosks and half naked street buskers.
The vibe in the Four Queens is that of value and history, very exciting small Casino feel with friendly staff that seem to have worked there since Goffstein's days. Food options range from historic to quick bites and brew pub grub.
Hugo's Cellar has been in business since 1976 but there has been a restaurant in the space since Four Queens opened. You do not need reservations to sit at the bar but you won't be served food unless you get a table. There's a very old school flavor to Hugo's. Deep wood and brick make it a blast to the past. The menu is classic and the room is romantic, some dishes are prepared table side, which is very cool. Dont forget roses for all the ladies.
If you're up late or early depending on your opinion, Magnolia's Veranda is open 24 hours. They serve family favorites and quick meals at very reasonable prices. They have lines forming early for some of their daily specials like a prime rib dinner for $12.99. From salads to steak sandwiches, they also deliver room service. Also a great spot for people watching while taking a small break from winning too much.
If Pizza is what you're looking for then Four Queens has some of the best downtown. Chicago Brewing Company is known for their Chicago style pie. I happen to think they have amazing sliders and wings as well but generally go there for the beers. They have a great collection of micro brews and even root beer when you're nursing your late night gaming spree. You can get an inexpensive flight and try multiple flavors including their root beer. Kind of a sports bar atmosphere with t.v's showing all the games and to top it off they have a cigar lounge with a great selection of stogies. Great spot to relax and pass time or meet up with buddies and lose track of it.
Canyon Club adds, sort of, a hidden lounge appeal with inexpensive entertainment. Mike Hammer performs his 1 hr 10 minute show Tuesday - Saturday 7pm and tickets are found everywhere. The other top notch show in the Canyon Club is Steve Connolly's Spirit of the King, starring Elvis Artist, Steve Connolly. With more than 4,500 performances, Steve is considered a seasoned veteran with numerous awards and achievements to his name. Definitely worth checking out.
The Queens offers 1000 slots starting at pennies, 30 tables including Blackjack, Blackjack switch, Craps, Roulette, 3 Card Poker, Let-It-Ride, Stud and Ultimate Texas Hold'em. Some say the VP at Four Queens is the best downtown, without a doubt myself, I have had the best luck and made the most money recently at the Four Queens (my favorite spot being a bar top machine i will keep to myself). Speaking of the bars, besides the Chicago Brewing Co. one can grab quick drinks at the main bar, the one back by "Nickel Town" or their Patio Bar which is the very best place to sit with a cocktail and laugh(i mean) watch people under the canopy of Fremont.
Don't forget about their sports-book and Keno room. Neither are huge and I believe theres more seating in the Keno lounge but with 4 nice flat screens high above everyone's heads, small betting window easily accessible and a bar very close I could spend an afternoon watching a couple games there. Im not a big Keno player but Four Queens has a Million dollar progressive game and the room is comfortable. With about a dozen seats and a small wall of Video Poker machines if you want to mix it up a bit.
Gambling in downtown has always been better for the promos and comps, seemingly more bang for the buck. Four Queens is no exception with their Royal Players Club. Comp dollars are accumulated not on win loss record but "coin through" machines, and by average bet size and time played at the tables. Use comp dollars at Magnolia's, Chicago Brewing Company even Hugo's. Cash back points are good for rooms or gift shop stuff. Why wouldn't you "member up" if you are playing downtown.
On to the rooms............. Meh. What do you want? The suites are nice but hard to obtain, I hope to stay in one next visit. They are not expensive so they get swept up quickly on weekdays and basically high roller rooms on the weekend. I've stayed in the regular rooms and was pleased with what it was. A little worn but comfy and air conditioned when I needed it. Clean and close to the action is what I want and that's what they offer. The rooms facing the "Experience" can be loud but only until the last show, which is 1am. in the summer. (Whos in bed at 1am in Vegas?) I have stayed at both, above and below canopy, level rooms and have to say; below is cool because of the show and people(freak) watching but above is cool because of the views and at night the neon from neighboring casinos.
A couple final bits about Four Queens, if you are staying in the hotel you get free parking and if you are visiting you can get validated while playing for up to 3 hours at a time. Its a great way to park free downtown. You also get to use the pool at the top of Binions if you are a guest, this is something most people overlook but a very nice perk in the summer months plus there is a great view up there.
Four Queens turned 50 years old in June of this year.
She is your typical, old school, Fremont Street casino with good table games and low minimums but not glamorous. That is unless you, like myself, consider history to be glamorous.