The Gold Spike used to be that last spot of desperation. Somewhere between a free clinic and a bus stop. Only maybe not as nice.
You remember those times when you and your buddies were drinking up a storm, eating sea monkey cocktails from the Golden Gate when somebody would get upset with how nice the Four Queens was and would blurt out, "Let's go to the Gold Spike!"
Because really, you haven't lived until you risked your life to walk into a place that was fogged over like a July afternoon in San Francisco. Prison waiting rooms were often more cheery. You'd often find people at the Spike playing $20 and you would wonder if that poor sap's family would be able to eat that week if he lost. And he'd be sitting next to a group of fraternity brothers who didn't stop to read the fine print on that hotel that was selling rooms for $29 a night.
A place that smelled so bad, that the 19-year old with a fake ID puking in the corner actually improved the aroma.
In other words, it was just wonderful.
The new place does look great. Even though it now looks like every other joint on the strip. But the new upgrades to the El Cortez are wonderful, so I'll keep an open mind about this place. The only question that isn't answered in this linked story is if the $1 T-N-T (Tecate and tequila) is still valid. If it is, there might be a new favorite downtown.