Detroit native Derek Stevens owns several properties in Las Vegas, including The D Casino, the Golden Gate Hotel, the historic Las Vegas Hotel, and more.
Stevens graduated University of Michigan 1990 and Wayne State University 1994.
In 2008, he set up shop in Vegas and now divides his time between Las Vegas, Nevada and Birmingham, Michigan & Detroit.
In 2011, Stevens purchased Fitzgerald’s Casino from the trust of recently deceased Detroit businessman Don Barden.
Fitzgerald’s had originally opened in 1979 under the name “Sundance.” At that time, it was co-owned by mobster Moe Dalitz – a mobster who had previously owned the Desert Inn and Stardust. Barden purchased the hotel/casino in 2001, rebranding it as Fitzgerald’s.
Fitzgerald’s transformed into The D Casino by Stevens.
Circa Las Vegas
Derek and his brother Greg Stevens have built a new casino-resort called Circa at the corner of Main and Fremont streets, which is slated to open October 28, 2020.
The 1.25 million square feet casino-resort boasts a 2-story casino, over 750 hotel rooms, 5 original restaurants, its year-round Stadium Swim amphitheater, the World’s Largest Sportsbook and the 9-story tall Garage Mahal parking fortress.
A half-dozen bar, lounge and coffee shop concepts are planned for the first new hotel to be built in downtown Las Vegas in 40 years.
It’s the only 21+ casino-resort in Vegas.
Circa will have the world’s largest sportsbook (a three-level, stadium-style colossus where 1,000 people will be able to watch games on a 78-million-pixel high-definition screen).
It will also feature a 5,000-square-foot Stadium Swim amphitheater (with six pools, a 41-foot-tall LED screen and private cabanas) and a two-level casino (with 1,350 gaming machines and 49 tables).
Stevens, as you might have guessed by now, enjoys going to extremes. So his bar collection will include the longest indoor bar in Nevada, the largest outdoor bar on downtown’s Fremont Street Experience and a 35th-floor rooftop lounge at the city’s tallest hotel north of the Strip.
Biggest Events for Sports Betting:
FIFA World Cup
NCAA March Madness
NFL Super Bowl
MLB World Series
NBA Championship Series
Bars inside Circa
Here’s an exclusive first look at the bars that will be a major part of the over-the-top experience at Circa.
All the bars, except for the rooftop Legacy Club that will debut in December, are scheduled to open October 28, 2020.
At the Vegas Vickie’s lobby bar, the centerpiece will be a neon kicking cowgirl known as Vegas Vickie. The iconic neon sign previously glowed above the downtown Glitter Gulch casino that turned into the Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club.
This lobby cocktail lounge is designed for casual get-togethers, people-watching and Instagramming.
“With Vegas Vickie hanging in our 3-story atrium, she’s going to have an awful lot of people coming in who want to take a picture,” Stevens says.
Expect retro-style lighting, seasonal drinks (overseen by Circa beverage director Sam Pulliam) and the signature Leg Kick cocktail with Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition, strawberry syrup, fresh lemon juice, Cynar, hopped grapefruit bitters and mint.
Located on the 35th floor of Circa, more than 400 feet above downtown, this rooftop cocktail lounge will offer panoramic views that will be most dramatic when the sun sets.
This is an indoor/outdoor bar with fire pits, so it will be open 365 days a year for cocktails, champagne and bottle service “with a cool music vibe” but without any DJs dropping beats.
Legacy Club will sell “sunset packages” for guests who want to see day turn into night over the mountains while Las Vegas and the Strip “electrify right before your eyes.”
The cocktail menu will include a section with “build-your-own” Old Fashioneds as well as the signature Desert Sunset martini, which aims to refresh with its combination of Portobello Road gin, Cointreau, fresh lemon sour, white peach puree and Gambino prosecco.
There will have busts of such Vegas luminaries as Jackie Gaughan, Benny Binion, Jay Sarno, Kirk Kerkorian and Bob Martin lining its halls, with vintage black-and-white portraits at the entrance leading to the “wow” moment: a 10-foot display of 1,000 ounces of gold.
The idea for Mega Bar was born after Stevens saw the success of the 100-foot long Longbar at his other property, The D Casino.
The 165-foot-long Mega Bar will feature flair bartenders, bar-top video poker and slots, 40 double-stacked TVs for sports, and 120 beer taps.
It will be Nevada’s longest indoor bar.
At Circa’s sportsbook, there will be a section on the top floor that overhangs the action. It’s a nod to old Detroit Tiger Stadium, the now demolished baseball venue that Stevens, a Detroit native, fondly remembers.
“What was unique about Tiger Stadium was a section of right field where there was an overhang,” he says. “You could hit a long fly ball and it could be a home room if it caught the overhang. As a kid, I spent a lot of time over there. What was so great about those seats is they were actually above the field of play.”
So Circa has created a sportsbook overhang where casino hosts will be able to put VIP guests who want to play slots on the ledge while watching all the sporting events they’ve wagered on. Meanwhile, the high-volume Overhang Bar behind the slots will accommodate large groups with private seating areas.
The balcony-style sports bar will have prime views of the sportsbook’s 78 million pixel LED screen.
Guests will be able to place bets on Circa’s mobile app, so they won’t have to worry about standing in line to cash a ticket when their long-shot parlay hits. Betting on a phone also makes it easy to make multiple in-game wagers, all without ever having to leave your seat at the bar.
The longest outdoor bar on downtown’s Fremont Street Experience will feature 24 flavors of frozen cocktails.
There will also be flair bartenders tossing bottles around, in front of a backlit blue-glass wall.
“Directly across Fremont Street is the Golden Gate’s OneBar. Opened in 1906, The Golden Gate is the oldest casino in Vegas. The address is 1 Fremont. For Circa Bar, we took everything we learned from OneBar and The D’s outside bar and made it bigger and longer and with a lot more drink options. It’s kind of cool that it’s directly across from where we started this whole bar business.”
Circa Bar guests will be able to watch live music and light shows on the Fremont Street Experience while eating Carolina-style smoked meat from Circa’s Project BBQ. Project BBQ, run by local food-truck chef Rex Bernales, will be one of five restaurants at the resort.
Circa will also feature:
Project BBQ (outdoor BBQ eatery)
Saginaw’s Delicatessen (breakfast and deli food from Paul Saginaw, co-owner of Michigan’s Zingerman’s; his great uncle was Charles ‘Chickie’ Sherman, one of the biggest bookies in the history of Detroit and owner of Detroit’s Anchor Bar)
Jack Pots Coffee Stand (also run by Saginaw)
Barry’s Downtown Prime steakhouse (steakhouse and seafood restaurant by chef Barry Dakae, with an atmospheric setting of 1950s and 1960s Las Vegas)
the Victory Burger & Wings Co. (burger and chicken wing restaurant overlooking the sportsbook from Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros of Detroit’s American Coney Island)
8 East (an Asian restaurant serving Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese food)
Circa Resort & Casino
8 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101