Downtown Life: The Grass Roots, Shinya Maru and Corduroy
An Enduring Legacy
Forget about the two gold albums and the 21 singles that landed on the charts (14 of which were Top 40 hits). Forget, too, about worldwide record sales in excess of 20 million and a legacy that spans six decades. The most remarkable accomplishment for American rock band The Grass Roots is the fact it has maintained a loyal following despite not releasing new material since 1982 and despite undergoing more makeovers than a department store cosmetics counter. No fewer than 13 adaptations of the band are pictured on the group’s website, and 44 musicians in all are credited as band members.
The lone constant for much of The Grass Roots’ existence—Rob Grill, who joined in 1967, a year after the band formed—served as the bassist, vocalist, songwriter, producer and leader until his death in July 2011. Before his passing, though, Grill had assembled a lineup intended to keep the music of The Grass Roots alive for years to come—bassist Mark Dawson, drummer Joe Dougherty, guitarist Dusty Hanvey and keyboardist Larry Nelson, who continue to proudly perform from coast to coast, delighting fans with hits like “Sooner or Later,” “Midnight Confessions” and “Let’s Live for Today.” –Matt Jacob
Golden Nugget, 8 p.m. Dec. 21, starting at $49 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster
The second location of Shinya Maru Ramen & Izakaya (following a Hard Rock Hotel-adjacent spot on Paradise Road) brings something to Fremont East that the district has needed for a while: an inexpensive, yet hearty and satisfying fill-up, and a worthy base for a night of ambitious drinking. The tonkatsu broth is creamy, the thin noodles are perfectly cooked and there isn’t an item on the menu priced above $11. For those of us who have logged long hours in Fremont East—soldiering through music festivals, or squiring visiting family around—Shinya Maru is a gift.
The ramens have too-clever names—the classic tonkatsu is called Shoyu What Tonkatsu Is ($10)—but what they lack in subtlety, they make up for in flavor. Killing Miso Softly ($11) is tonkatsu-infused with miso and chili oil and loaded with green onions, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and half a seasoned egg; it’ll power you through a night at Corduroy and then some.
And a menu of izakaya bites runs from the expected (deep-fried, chewy chicken karaageserved with a sriracha aioli, $6) to the left-field (somehow, this Japanese quick-casual joint serves a tasty shrimp tempura taco, $6).
And should these savory delights inspire a thirst that can’t wait for the next location to your itenary, the bar serves sake, Sapporo and Asahi on draft, and fruit-laden sangrias and margaritas, because why not? –Geoff Carter
520 E. Fremont St. No. 150, 11 a.m.-midnight Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thurs.-Fri., 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-midnight Sun. 702.790.4340
The 1970s-styled Corduroy has been a welcome return to the easy-access, straight-ahead night at the bar approach. There’s a couch-filled conversation pit from a bygone era, a special “lightbox” room for group selfies and vintage TVs, speakers and microwave ovens serving as art installations. And, of course, a great beer selection and both specialty and classic cocktails. –Brock Radke
515 E. Fremont St., 4 p.m.-late daily. 702.553.2548