Top 3 Things To Do In Vegas

I’m not sure if it’s the people I follow on twitter or if I’m just noticing it more, but I have seen a number of “Top X Things To Do In Las Vegas That Doesn’t Include Gambling.” I’m not going to censor myself today. I’ve had way too much coffee for that.

FUCK THAT

There, it’s out of my system. Thank you for letting me vent. People don’t visit Las Vegas to not do awesome things. People visit Vegas for three things.

  1. Gamble
  2. Drink
  3. Eat
  4. Repeat

Sure there are other things in between those activities, but those aren’t why people visit Las Vegas. Look at lions, tigers, dolphins? Sure I’ll look, but not if I’m on a hot streak at the blackjack table. However, I’d stop playing blackjack to grab a steak and bottle of wine. I don’t know anyone that says let’s stop gambling to walk so we can walk out and watch the Bellagio fountains. No men or women I know from back east would ever do such a thing. Because of this I tend to brush off lists of other things to do in Vegas.

However, my parents are visiting me and while I’m busy taking care of business they’re going to be lost old people in a new land. They don’t gamble. They are not my people. For them, I’m looking at these lists looking for old people things to do.

So, I’ll tell them to walk up and down the strip for some exercise. I’ll make sure they catch the Bellagio fountains and conservatory. That’s their kind of thing. I’ll make sure they check out the pirate show at TI. Hey, it’s free. Let’s be straight, they’re not here to visit Las Vegas. They’re here to visit their son who happens to live in the land of eat.drink.gamble.repeat.

Let me also be straight about myself. Since I moved to Vegas I don’t attack the city like I did when I was a tourist. Sure I still take vacations in Vegas. I did in July around the Queens of the Stoneage concert and I’m planning my annual December trip. However, in between raging I’m living a normal life that sometimes takes me to these other activities. Case in point – my drive through Red Rock Canyon. That’s not something I would have done as a tourist, but living here is entirely different. Still, when I’m vacationing here I’m visiting eat.drink.gamble.repeat. If you follow me on twitter you may have just noticed me go kind of crazy about eat.drink.gamble.repeat. I’ll blame Styx and Helmet for that.

Anyways, back to the subject at hand. I don’t know anyone that visits Las Vegas to do anything on these “Things to do in Las Vegas” lists. The people I know come to vegas for three things. To eat, drink and gamble.

Queens of the Stoneage
Queens of the Stoneage

Worlds Largest Margarita? Too Bad It’s Not Grey Goose

I rarely see a press release that seems ECG (AC2LV) worthy, but the Flamingo in Las Vegas is opening the Margaritaville casino next week and coinciding with that they will attempt to make the worlds largest margarita for the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s a fitting and fun promotion.

After six months of planning, the mixing of the colossal 8,500 gallon beverage, appropriately named “Lucky Rita”, will begin on October 11, 2011…it will take over 300 man hours working around the clock to mix the concoction, concluding with the public “Topping Off” ceremony on October 14, 2011. Surpassing the previous record holder by 873 gallons, Lucky Rita will feature 2,125 gallons of Margaritaville Gold Tequila, 708 gallons of Triple Sec, 5,667 gallons of Margaritaville Margarita Mix and Lemon-X sour mix and 22,667 Lime Wedges. Lucky Rita will sit at 30 feet tall and will serve over 181,333 margaritas from October 14th to October 23rd coinciding with the 7th annual Margaritaville street party.

I don’t drink tequila (bad things happen) so this sounds disgusting to me. I love vodka, but I don’t think I’d even drink vodka that has been sitting for 10 days. As nasty as the drink sounds this is a very appropriate and fun promotion idea. Whatever the case, I look forward to checking out the new casino.

If you’re bored you can watch the building of Lucky Rita. Or buy this frozen concoction maker.

Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker
Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker

 

Oktoberfest is Headed to the Tropicana 

Vegas, a city not typically known for quality brews but rather bottle service and expensive alcohol, is starting to embrace beer culture.  A while back, a year-long beer festival was announced for the empty land behind Flamingo (it has since been postponed), Vegas 7 just hosted a beer festival, and now Oktoberfest is coming to the Tropicana.

Now, Oktoberfest is typically held in September not October, but that isn’t stopping the Tropicana.  From October 20 to October 30, Oktoberfest will be alive and well on the Las Vegas Strip.  As you can see by the website, details aren’t announced and with the event only a month away, I can only presume that it is because this is being planned late.

I am going to be in Vegas anyway on the weekend of October 22, so you better bet I will be attending this.  I am hoping for many many liters of beer, lots of pretzels and maybe even some lederhosen.  I’m also excited this is happening at the Tropicana, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots on the strip.

Even more important, it is NOT being held at the very lame Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas (which is nothing like the real-deal in Munich).  Let me know if you plan on attending!  Prost!

Top 10 Non-Gambling Things to do in Vegas

I do a few things when I’m in Las Vegas vacationing.  I eat, I drink, I gamble.  I repeat those a few times throughout the day and that’s how I roll.  I’m pretty simple.  You can switch coffee for vodka as AM turns to PM.  I saw a list of the “Top 10 non-gambling activities to do in Vegas” and since I do things differently I figured I’d pass on the list to people that may roll differently than I do.

By the way, even though I live in Vegas now I still take some vacations in Vegas because it’s still fun.

10. Shoot a machine gun
9. The rides at the Stratosphere
8. The New York-New York Hotel & Casino roller coaster
7. Shop till you drop
6. Visit the Pawn Stars store
5. Hit the pools
4. Neon Museum Boneyard
3. Wynn Buffet
2. Signature Vegas attractions
1. Wander up and down the Strip at night with a large alcoholic beverage

The one activity I’ve done on this list is shop till I dropped. I like to treat myself to some things every now and again and there is plenty of shopping in Vegas for a guy or a girl to do.  Even now I hit the strip to explore the shops a little.  After all, the Apple stores are located on the strip.

Sometime soon I will check the Neon Museum, which looks cool and even though I’m not very nostalgic or into much touristy stuff it seems like fun.  There are a lot of NEVER on this list for me and I’m surprised that there is no “Take a day to visit downtown” on this list.  That’s always a top recommendation I have as it was something I almost always did on my trips to Vegas.  You can check the whole list here.

Out With The Old In With The New

There have been a bunch of restaurant and bar closings in Las Vegas over the past few weeks and the latest is, no surprise to most Vegas nerds, Silk Road at Vdara.  Here are some of the details from Tasting Las Vegas, who was the first I saw to pass on confirmation of this long talked about rumor.

Boo!  The much speculated closing of Silk Road at the Vdara resort at CityCenter is finally coming to fruition.  I’m bummed.  It was a fabulous restaurant in a horrible location; horrible location meaning the Vdara resort.  However, before its closure, the much anticipated Market Café Vdara is scheduled to open on March 1st.  Finally, the so-called residentially-friendly CityCenter is going to have a grocery store.

In addition to Silk Road closing Fontana Bar at Bellagio and Alex at Wynn Las Vegas among others are all closing.  From what I’m seeing most of these places are being replaced with newer, similar facilities.

This is Vegas and this happens – a lot.  Nothing lasts forever.  However, there is only one place I don’t want to every see closed or change and that’s Petrossian Bar at Bellagio.  Petrossian has great drinks and great people watching as well as a great location!

Get Beer Faster in Las Vegas

Mandalay Bay and 8 other bars & pubs in Las Vegas recently added a product called DRAFTMASTER.  Draftmaster allows beer drinkers to pour their own pints of draft beer.  You buy credits in advance and pour until you can’t pour no more.

International beer distributing company Diageo performed the installation of each table at some of Las Vegas’ most popular locations, including 9 Fine Irishmen, McFadden’s, and Mandalay Bay sports book, among others. The units were installed throughout the week of July 12, and became operationally functional on Friday, July 16.

Novelty, like this, gets me almost every time. It won’t take over for bartenders, and I’m all about getting my beer faster.  This can’t be a bad idea to test as long as the beer is good.  Please keep the macro American beers away.

See the video below to see what I mean about fun and novelty.

Coffee at The Palazzo

I love coffee.  If you follow me on twitter, you see me talk about it just about every day.  So, with that being said, I always have an eye out for coffee when I travel.

Back in September I was listening to one of my favorite Las Vegas podcasts, Five Hundy By Midnight, when I swear I heard a caller say that there weren’t any places to get coffee at the Palazzo.  Needless to say this sent me into a mini tizzy with a trip upcoming.

I’m happy to report that coffee options were good and plentiful!

My first stop and the place I would get coffee from most was The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  There was a location right at the room elevators.  Great location.  This is just a walk up location so there wasn’t anywhere to sit down.  I stopped here at least once per day.

One of my favorite ways to nurse a hangover is with iced coffee.  It goes down so easily is very refreshing.  They combination of caffeine and ice does wonders.

Of course, my first night in Las Vegas I drank way too much and mixed too many different drinks.  I needed more than the iced coffee above.

It took so long for a cocktail waitress to wander over to my where I was playing 5 cent Double Diamond slots that I ordered two cups of coffee.  A few notes here:

1. Palazzo cups of coffee are pretty large.  I lost my $20 before I could finish the 2nd and 3rd cups.
2. Palazzo coffee is damn hot.  Like damn hot.  Consider yourself warned.
3. Casino coffee usually isn’t great and these cups were no different.
4. This was the only time I had an extended wait for a cocktail waitress in my 4 days at Palazzo.

One morning I was wandering in the casino and came across Espressamente Illy in the walkway towards the Venetian.  I like Illy coffees so I stopped in for a large latte and banana nut muffin.  Both were good, but the $11 price tag was sticker shock.  That started me off on a bad foot and a losing morning of gambling.

Since I woke up from a nap and lost my friends I decided to wander the Shoppes.  That’s where I found Cafe Presse.  They provide Lavazza coffees and have a nice selection of muffins and sweets.  Cafe Presse is located right outside of the room elevators on the second floor.  There are a couple of tables out in the the mall and I believe they get free wifi.

In order to get my head together I had a latte and banana nut muffin.  The price was more reasonable than the Illy coffee and the muffin were both fantastic.  Unfortunately, this place was out of sight and therefor was out of mind.

The final coffee I had was in my room.  No the Palazzo suites do not have coffee makers.  I ordered a wonderful breakfast from room service on my last morning.

The Palazzo serves Starbucks coffee with room service.  I didn’t expect anything special and this wasn’t.  However, it was good enough that I drank the whole pot.

Overall, there are plenty of choices to grab a cup of coffee at the Palazzo and, outside of the casino coffee, they are all pretty good.  Being that you’re at a casino don’t be surprised when you are paying more than you normally would pay for coffee.

Coffee At The Venetian and The Palazzo

While I was having a relaxing Sunday evening, licking my wounds from a brutal weekend of college and NFL parlays, I heard a disturbing call into a favorite Las Vegas podcast – Five Hundy By Midnight.  I may have misheard the caller; but I can swear that the person said:

THERE IS NOWHERE TO GET A CUP OF COFFEE AT THE PALAZZO

This sent me into a frenzy trying to find out if this is true.  Suddenly my chill night of podcasts and NFL highlights went away and my laptop and iPhone got fired up.

Before I get into anything else:

THERE ARE PLACES TO GET COFFEE AT BOTH PALAZZO AND VENETIAN

I’ll be staying at the Palazzo on my next trip to Las Vegas and I would not stay at a hotel that didn’t have a coffee shop.  Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Dunkin Donuts, whatever.  After throwing the question out to my twitter folks and pulling up The Palazzo website I found that there are multiple locations.  Whew!

logoCoffeeBean

There is a Coffee Bean at each hotel.  This is a west coast staple with good coffee.  There is also an illy location called espressamente illy at Palazzo.  There’s an illy location at the Borgata and Harrah’s in Atlantic City.  The coffee is nice, but add some espresso and you are rocking!

After about 15 minutes my nerves were calmed, but now I feel like I’m jacked up on Mountain Dew…like the kids from “Talladega Nights.”  I’m going to chill out for the night.