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By Joe Vegas

It’s been years since the mob ran Vegas, but the fascination with that world just grows and grows.

If you’re looking for places to absorb that wiseguy aura of yesteryear on a Las Vegas vacation, here are my picks:

One is the Fireside Lounge at the Peppermill, featured in the movie "Casino." Located on north end of the Strip, roughly across the street from Circus Circus, the Fireside Lounge’s main feature is a water pit from which a flame burns 24 hours a day. The lounge is bathed in hot pink light and made cozy with lush fake trees that create coves of romance around every corner. In “Casino,” a shot of the lounge flashes by during a montage right at the film’s start.

Speaking of “Casino” — about the heyday of the mob in Vegas — stars Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone spent their downtime at Champagnes Café, a tavern on Maryland Parkway that allowed them to maintain that old-school Vegas feel.

The walls of the place are covered in ruby-red felt and shiny gold wallpaper. There’s a signed photo of Frank Sinatra prominently displayed on the wall. The bartenders, I think, are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. And the clientele, which ranges from young hipsters to age-old Las Vegans who would never go anywhere else, really do add to the ambiance that those movie stars inthe mid-’90s felt when they went there to wind down after long days on the set.

Joe Vegas currently resides in the Writer’s Protection Program, and somehow manages to lay low while living the high life in Sin City. Lucky for us, what he knows about Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Tagged: Las Vegas

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MaryJo Lipman

MaryJo Lipman

MaryJo Lipman

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