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PJ Perez: Developments in downtown Vegas dining

PJ Perez: Developments in downtown Vegas dining
Freedom Beat (Courtesy of Downtown Grand Las Vegas)

A new year is just around the corner, but downtown Las Vegas isn't waiting until 2017 to unleash a passel of new spots in which to gather, imbibe and nosh — everything from an always-open casino diner to a bar where you can order an antique lamp with your Jack and Coke.

Fans of American tastes and tunes will dig Freedom Beat, the new 24-hour restaurant and bar inside Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino. Serving creative spins on classic comfort fare, Freedom Beat's indulgent menu includes such items as a double-grilled mac and cheese sandwich, cast-iron-seared top sirloin and the Full Smoke platter, which features brisket, pork shoulder, hot links, beans, coleslaw, pickles and hand-cut fries. The vibe is relaxed and unpretentious, with sports playing on flat screens around the restaurant and live acoustic music nightly.

Craving more international flavors? Try Le Pho, the latest culinary project from Le Thai creator Dan Coughlin and Khai Vu, chef-owner of popular Chinatown kitchen and bar District One. Recently opened on the ground floor of the Juhl condominiums, Le Pho features Coughlin and Vu's contemporary take on traditional Vietnamese dishes, offering a variety of banh mi, spring rolls and, of course, its namesake dish, available with various meats, including oxtail, ribeye and chicken.

Meanwhile, a local favorite recently moved in to its new home in the Las Vegas Arts District. Cornish Pasty Co. built a loyal following at downtown-adjacent Commercial Center, so it's sure to be an even bigger hit in its new location across the street from the world-famous Arts Factory. Offering a variety of tasty updates to the basic English pasty, including an entire selection of vegetarian and vegan options, Cornish Pasty Co. is also known for its imported beer selection, which changes frequently, as well as its ever-present hard rock soundtrack.


Around the corner from Cornish Pasty Co. on Main Street is another relative newcomer to the downtown drinking and dining scene, ReBAR. Everything is for sale at this unique mashup of antique store and watering hole. Dig the mid-century furniture, vintage neon signs or kitschy knickknacks decorating the space? You can take them home! The quirky bar doesn't have a kitchen, but does offer sausages from John Mull's Meats, which pair well with ReBAR's selection of locally made beers and liquors.

— PJ Perez, LA Times Custom Publishing