77 Sands Boulevard, Bethlehem, PA 18015
When you roll up to a spot and “it moves”, you know you are off on the right foot. Tucked in between the banks of the Lehigh River and a peaceful residential neighborhood, the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA is a gambling oasis in the heart of steel country. At first glance, this place was as big and bold as mid 90s Anna Nicole Smith. What was Casino Guys take? Let’s find out….
I mean, how often are you in Bethlehem, PA? Don’t get it twisted, this place is fairly close to some major highways but it is kind of tucked in to a nice part of Pennsylvania’s 9th largest city. About 90 minutes from both NYC and Philadelphia, it certainly is an option for those who want to make the drive. The parking garage, quite honestly, is the cleanest concrete structure I have ever dropped a Slim Jim on, pick it up and did NOT fear once that I was going to die of dysentery (theoretically).
The few times I have been there, I have come from a different direction each time. hand to God, I don’t remember a sign once. Thank you Roger Easton.
Look and Feel
This is it. The crown jewel for me. If you remember from other reviews, I am a sucker for exposed beams, cool brick and anything that is just not your stereotypical shitty paint/wallpaper and crappy carpet casino decor. Sands Bethlehem has awesome in spades (yes I used awesome as a noun, deal with it). The whole place feeds off the region it was born from, Steel Country.
Exposed steel beams, massive metal pillars, over-sized visible duct work, actual sunlight coming through the roof (I can hear gambling purists gasping from here). This place has no rival that I have seen – have I mentioned I have been to a lot of places? Check that out here…
What I liked about this full service joint, was that gaming tables were in these long ass rows, basically forcing you to make a decision or walk another half mile to get to another group of games. And they have it all. 21+3 Blackjack is a winner in my book. They have the rare King’s Bounty Blackjack which is just a misogynistic version of Lucky Ladies (relax, its a joke).
Their poker room is mobbed. All. The. Time. Get there early, leather ass a full day….just don’t give up your seat.
They also have stadium gaming for Baccarat and Blackjack. Folks, play live table games, cut the shit please. “Wait Casino Guy, I can play multiple tables at the same time. I can do all the things you can do and more!” Come on. Stop. Enough. I hate playing next to the unwashed on the six hand tables made for four normal sized people table just like the next guy….but if you are that hard up for diverse action, just play multiple hands or go heavy on your action. Stop utilizing technology to make lives easier.
It all started with electronic dealers that looked like this:
and all this nonsense will lead to the world being overrun by this:
Consider yourselves warned.
I am torn on this one. I can’t say that anyone impacted my experiences here. I mean anytime you go to a casino, you are going to get the Mount Rushmore of Gamblers no matter what. The Holy Quartet was WELL represented here. I have been there early in the morning with the mid afternoon lunch rush and on a bustling Saturday night. And boy did we have it all…..
On that bustling Saturday, there were a pair of scuffles in the pit across from me. I won’t act as if I didn’t stand up to see a couple drinks thrown back and forth between a few mouth breathers. I also won’t act as if I didn’t then clap when during the melee we got a free thong shot from a lovely young lady in a skirt hitting the deck trying to get her Eagles-fan boyfriend from taking another looping hook that would miss by 12 feet. I won’t act like that. I just won’t. Maybe I just like my cards and chips without a side of blood spatter. Who am I kidding, it was awesome. It just may not be for everyone. It was probably a one time thing but if Philly fans have taught us anything, is that they don’t take no shit from nobody.
Clean. Not small. Kind of far away but that is because of the aforementioned rows. The point here is anytime you can walk in and out and nothing stands out, you have yourself a fine facility. I have only been a standing customer at the Sands. I probably should have taken care of business there because going at the McDonalds just down the road near the highway was a harrowing experience. I will save that story for my new website, DroppingHeatatMcDonaldsRewiews.com.
Take the morning/early afternoon trip out of the mix, where there were enough folks milling about to help people. That Saturday night was abysmal, and it focused on two area, drink service and the pit bosses. Forget about getting a drink. It was not happening. Too many people, not enough servers. These poor ladies simply had too much on their serving plates. I also envision the folks fulfilling these orders like young Brian Flanagan on his first day.
The crowd wanted to get after it, however only about 50% were able to.
And I know there are rules about making change or coloring in, but if you want to put a ridiculously low amount in place for the dealers to wait for you to confirm or give the once over to, at least make your pit bosses available in timely fashion. Maybe there was an open heart surgery on table 55 that I did not see. But I can tell you this if I give you crisp, real American currency in exchange for colored clay chips, I should be able to play with those chips before losing them longer than I waited for them. Just sayin….
Grub & Liquid Courage
We already talked about the liquid courage part. There are however a bunch of places to get a drink not on the casino floor that are viable options. And since the Outlets went in, the general dining options improved. There are a number of joints for all budget levels and palates. I’m sorry, I don’t have the heart to talk about this category anymore. I am still salty about getting stiffed on beers that night.
Coming out of the gate, this place was a Hall of Fame candidate. The look and feel alone puts it in the upper echelon of properties that have been lucky enough to have been graced by my presence. But as much as I like the mayhem of watching drunk people interact, I am not a fan of feeling like you are the brink of something bigger. And I can’t fault the waitstaff for being overwhelmed but I can hold it against the pit bosses for taking their sweet ass time removing that brain tumor on table 57. Oh wait, that’s not what happened? Ok, the HURRY THE F UP!!!!
With that said, the good outweighs the bad here in a big way.