Las Vegas Mob Attractions Putting the Sin in Sin City Las Vegas embraces its criminal past

like no other city in America. With a wink and a nod it looks back to the underworld element that, in part, brought notoriety and promise to what would have otherwise been a sleepy town in the middle of the desert. Names such as Benjamin Siegel and Meyer Lansky were credited by some as having the vision to bring large-scale casinos to the desert, as well as the gamblers who fueled them. Today the town is a model of order and civility, catering to family vacations as much, or more, than the gamblers of yesterday. Despite its family values, however, there is a soft space in Vegas for its criminal history. When visiting by all means enjoy the seedy past of Sin City. Just remember to watch your back and tip appropriately! The Mob Museum With a motto “There are two sides to every story,” the Mob Museum is the Smithsonian of crime! Located on Stewart Avenue in downtown Las Vegas, the museum is housed in the former federal courthouse and United States Post Office. No expense was spared when the city of Las Vegas worked with law enforcement archivists and the development group responsible for the Spy Museum in Washington DC and the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland. As you ascend the steps of the historic building, you are transported back in time to a world that is both glamorous and deadly. Starting at the top and working your way down, the Mob Museum leads you down the windy corridors from the gaudy, enticing mob lifestyle that attracted gamblers and entertainers to the deadly and sadistic world that trapped them there. The exhibits in the museum range from the suits and props of Hollywood and Las Vegas to the listening devices and under-cover tools law enforcement used to combat them. Along the way visitors can see a portion of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre wall, an interactive Tommy gun exhibit, and a mock-up electric chair that causes the house lights to dim. The museum is chalk full of fun and light-hearted exhibits, but it never loses sight of the danger and corruption of the underworld. This is a must see, and you could easily spend the day wandering the museum. Just be aware that when they close their doors, they mean it!

The Mob Bar Around the corner from the Mob Museum on 3rd Street is the Mob Bar, as perfect a compliment to it as ice cream is to pie or vermouth to gin. To call the Mob Bar a watering hole is a HUGE disservice, with expert mixologists concocting a litany of unique cocktails guaranteed to hit the spot and rub it out. Embracing its theme, there is also a menu of “20’s-inspired drinks,” such as the “Clara Bow,” to put you in a roaring mood! Pairing with these drinks is a selection of what is considered by few to be “small plates” of delicacies that would make any Italian grandmother proud. The décor of the bar is pure Speakeasy, with a wall of mirrors, chandeliers, and a life-sized painting of Garbo that transports you into an idealized past. The servers sporting flapper dresses and newsie caps complete the transformation. The Mob Bar is a great stop for lunch, where you can indulge in a libation or two and watch the calendar roll back to a time when everything was the bee’s knees.

Tropicana Mob Experience On the entertainment side, the Mob Experience at the Tropicana is steeped in crime novels and movies such as the Godfather and Goodfellas, where you travel through the exhibit as an active participant to the action rather than an observer. And in this world, it means an early exit if you don’t know your stuff. At the beginning of the experience you are greeted by your choice of celebrity guide. You can choose between such Hollywood bigwigs as Mickey Rourke, Steve Schirripa and Tony Sirico, but why you wouldn’t choose James Caan is beyond me. You are taken through the history of Vegas, from The Beginnings, The Heyday and The Decline and Fall of the Mob. Along the way you are greeted by a Speakeasy doorman who tells us that “Big Leo” wants to see us. From there the decisions you make guide you on a path from dealing with an underground Speakeasy to interacting with the cops, who are curious to know if you’ve spoken with “Big Leo.” Thank about your answers, because like in any Mob drama, they matter greatly. Moving through the Mob Experience, you play your role and think on your feet, making the Mob Experience at the Tropicana a new level of fun!

Capo’s Speakeasy Steakhouse Removed from the hustle and bustle of the strip, Capo’s Steakhouse, located on West Sahara Avenue, is a great way to wind up your whirlwind Mob tour of Las Vegas. A true Speakeasy, your first challenge is to call ahead and get the “password” that gains you entrance to this one-of-a-kind steakhouse. The next is to find the door to the establishment and gain entrance. While it may take a little effort to get in, it is well worth it. The interior of Capo’s is pure gangland, with dark wood accenting gaudy red wallpaper and crimson vinyl booths. The chandeliers in the dining room would look natural in Tony Soprano’s home, and the waiters do their best “Joe Pesci” as you order from a menu with items such as Bogie’s Bruschetta and the Rat Pack pasta. Enjoy a nice red wine as you take in the ambience where the owners complete the experience. On weekends there is usually live entertainment, such as a screening of The Godfather or a Rat Pack singer, the perfect way to bid ciao to a lovely evening.

The Rose Garden at the Flamingo Hotel As the sun goes down over your day of Las Vegas Underworld activities, be sure to stop by and pay your respects to the man who brought the mob to Vegas. Outside the Flamingo Hotel is a small rose garden, very discreet and subdued by Vegas Strip standards, that celebrate Bugsy Siegel. At the foot of the hotel, amid the roses that Siegel reputedly adored, is a small plaque dedicated to the founding of the Flamingo hotel. If there were any other achievements which Bugsy Siegel was known for, the plaque don’t know nuthin’.

Steven Gomez is a pulp writer in the best (or worst) tradition and makes his home in the Sierra foothills of northern California, where he lives with his wife and two dogs. You can get your FREE copy of his Knockout noir novella, The Standing Eight, at

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