Griddle Cafe At SLS Las Vegas Out, Northside Cafe In

Griddle Cafe At SLS Las Vegas
RIP – Griddle Cafe At SLS Las Vegas

When I stayed at SLS Las Vegas in December the Griddle Cafe became my favorite restaurant. $20 was a little pricey for breakfast but the food and coffee were fantastic. Griddle Cafe is closing and will reopen as Northside Cafe which will be operated by the casino.

Griddle Cafe was the one restaurant at SLS Las Vegas that was consistently busy. This closure isn’t a reflection on the restaurant. Rather it’s a reflection on the financial state of the property as a whole. There are a lot of rumors about bad things happening at SLS Las Vegas and I don’t know what to make of them all. One thing is for sure, this won’t be the last change.

If nothing else, they’ll be keeping pressed coffee on the menu. Here’s the press release with more enough spin to make you vomit.

January 29, 2015 – SLS Las Vegas today announced the Feb. 1 opening of Northside Cafe. With breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night menus inspired by Las Vegas’ classic coffee shops, Northside Cafe will be open 24/7 and serve as a property hub for SLS guests, players and locals alike.

Northside Cafe will occupy the centrally located space formerly home to The Griddle Cafe. Jodi Hortze, Founder and Owner of The Griddle Cafe, made the decision last year to close the restaurant and operate The Griddle Cafe brand in-house. Jodi added, “The unilateral decision to close The Griddle Cafe at SLS was a difficult one, but ultimately my focus is on growing the brand in new markets, operating as I have successfully for the past 15 years on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. Being part of SLS was a great learning experience, one I will always have with me.”

“We experienced great success with The Griddle Cafe and wish Jodi only the best as she grows her incredible brand in new locations,” said Scott Kreeger, President and COO, SLS Las Vegas. “With Northside Cafe, we’ve created a casual 24-hour dining concept that will serve as a gathering spot for locals and guests in the heart of our property.”

Northside Cafe will serve up generous portions of delicious, home-style comfort food made to order. Breakfast favorites will be available around the clock, in addition to salads, burgers, sandwiches, authentic street tacos, pastas, steak, and seafood—along with French-press coffee, fresh juices, and quality cocktails.

Checking Out The Hotel Rooms At SLS Las Vegas

SLS Las Vegas Desk
SLS Las Vegas Desk

I’m finally getting to go in depth on the hotel rooms at SLS Las Vegas. I’ve covered just about every angle on the casino floor (click here to see) but it was brought to my attention last week that I’ve never shared my thoughts on the rooms. I’ve stayed in the World Tower twice and had two different sized rooms with similar, but different, experiences and I think I have enough info for a detailed review.

The rooms are highly designed by Philippe Starck (I’m told that he’s famous) to make them feel bigger than they are. The rooms in the World Tower are 360 square fee and are a mix of comfort and discomfort with a lot of really cool touches.

Let’s first look at the King room in the World Tower. This was my favorite of the two rooms. The single bed made the room feel spacious.

SLS Las Vegas King Bed
SLS Las Vegas King Bed

Not shown here are the two lighted (is that the right word) mirrors that also add the appearance of a room that feels larger than 360 square feet. The entire room is white with black highlights. This helps to create the appearance of more depth. The bed itself was very comfortable and the 4 pillows were great. It can be a little uncomfortable sitting upright with the window right behind the bed if you don’t use those pillows wisely.

The couch was crazy slippery any time I tried to get comfortable. Good thing the cushion is strapped in because I would have busted my butt. Twice. The couch and similar chair were fine to sit on to get dressed but they felt as though they were made for appearance, not comfort.

The end table to the right had multiple USB and normal outlets while the end table to the left had none. That was strange but fine as I was on a solo trip.

Last week I stayed in the Double bed room in the World Tower which felt much less spacious than the King room.

SLS Las Vegas Double Beds
SLS Las Vegas Queen Beds

The room with the double beds felt much smaller than the King room even though it’s the same size. The rooms are laid out almost exactly the same with more beds, less end tables and that strange awning above the window.

Continue reading “Checking Out The Hotel Rooms At SLS Las Vegas”

Don’t Stand In Line To Sign Up For The SLS Las Vegas Players Club

SLS Las Vegas Players Club
Sign up at the slot machines

 

I don’t like lines. I don’t do lines. If a business wants me to wait I’ll usually take my money elsewhere. That’s how I roll.

I think SLS Las Vegas understands people like me. Since SLS Las Vegas is still new the lines for the players club have been extremely long. Here’s how skip the lines to sign up for their players club, The Code.

You can sign up at any table game, video poker or slot machine or the cashier. There are constantly SLS reps walking the casino floor looking to sign new players up for The Code. It’s very convenient.

I signed up for The Code online before visiting and getting a card took about 1 minute at the cashier’s cage while they verified my information. Nice n smooth.

This isn’t a new concept. You can get a players club card at table games at most casinos. Some properties have rovers around the machine games like SLS to make you a card on the spot too.

I just figured I’d give you a heads up in case you weren’t aware of these tricks. There’s nothing worse than wasting time in lines in Vegas.

Best Video Poker At SLS Las Vegas

Royal Flush Video Poker at Red Rock Resort
Royal Flush!

It’s been a while since I did a video poker check but since SLS Las Vegas is new and is supposed to have good video poker games I figured that I’d take a look.

On first glance there are some really good video poker options available at SLS Las Vegas according to vpFREE2.

Best Video Poker At SLS Las Vegas
Best Video Poker At SLS Las Vegas

When you look deeper into the pay tables you’ll see that most of the best video poker games at SLS Las Vegas are available on just 4 video poker machines. The best 8 video poker games are only available on these 4 low limits video poker machines (5¢, 10¢, 25¢) located between Sayers Club and Sportsbook Bar along the aisle.

Bonus Poker and the games below it on the chart above are available throughout the casino. You can see specific locations and denominations on vpFREE2.com.

I’m personally happy that there is 8/5 Bonus Poker available. That’s my second favorite video poker game. I don’t mind that the single games are $1 and up or that the 3-play games are 25¢ but it would be nice if they had some one line quarter games available.

Overall SLS Las Vegas has a good selection of video poker for the Vegas Strip but it isn’t better than many Downtown Vegas or Off-Strip casinos.

More on SLS Las Vegas and locals later this week or early next week.

2nd Umami Burger Was Even Better Than The First

Lunch At Umami Burger At SLS Las Vegas
Lunch At Umami Burger

If you follow me on twitter or facebook you know that I had lunch at Umami Burger at SLS Las Vegas the other day. This was my second visit to Umami Burger. My first visit was on the first day SLS Las Vegas was open. While I really liked the first burger and fries I wasn’t paying close attention to the food. I was busy drinking, chatting, playing video poker and just looking around. This time around I was alone and more focused on my burger than checking out the new restaurant/sportsbook/beer garden.

On my first visit I split half of the Manly Burger and really enjoyed it although I thought it was almost too flavorful. The beef flavor was almost overpowered by the beer-cheddar cheese, bacon lardo and smoked salt (fried) onion strips. Not to mention a mustard spread and house ketchup on the side.

A wise man recommended that I try one of the truffle burgers. I went into lunch with this and mind but was in the mood for bacon. None of the truffle burgers on the Umami Burger menu have bacon so I went back to the Manly Burger you see in the picture above. I added the off the menu cheesy tater tots for $5. Before diving into the burger I just want to say that you should ALWAYS ORDER THE TATER TOTS.

This Manly Burger tasted a bit more mellow than my first one. This time the ingredients we much more in balance than the first burger. If we were running this burger through a photo editor the beef flavor was enhanced, the cheese was dialed down and the bacon and onion rings provided a perfect accent. The flavors of the burger and toppings were in perfect harmony. I had a Rogue Dead Guy ale which complimented all of the flavors perfectly.

Looking back at both burgers I think that the sharpness of cheddar cheese is what was a little shocking on the first burger. Keep that in mind if you have a gentle tongue. The burger with less cheese spread really tasted much more like a burger. Call me crazy but when I order a burger I want to taste the burger.

Video Poker at Umami Burger Straight Flush
Thanks for lunch Umami Burger!

I ate at the bar because I wanted to play a little video poker and have a couple of beers. The restaurant side of the bar only had the 3 play machines (the casino side has a few 1 line games). While waiting for my burger to arrive I snagged this sweet straight flush. The straight flush covered my lunch bill which was under $20 ($13 burger, $5 tots) and gave me a couple more dollars to spend on my next visit.

As I mentioned in my full overview of the Umami Burger restaurant/sportsbook at Vegas Chatter playing video poker while you eat allows you complimentary drinks. Not only did I make a few bucks with the straight flush but I had a couple “free” $9 beers.

It’s a nice touch that the bar on the restaurant side has more bar space to eat in front of the video poker machines. It makes eating easier than on the casino side although the video poker is a bit far.

I find it hard to choose a best of any food category but the burgers at Umami Burger are definitely among the best on the Vegas Strip. The service at the bar is great and I really like the sportsbook/sports bar setup. Umami Burger has definitely become one of my new hangouts on Vegas Strip.

OMFG, SLS Las Vegas Has A Monkey BMW!

Monkey BMW At SLS Las Vegas
Monkey BMW At SLS Las Vegas

I’m currently in a state of euphoria. This BMW has monkeys all over! Honestly I haven’t read what this SLS Las Vegas designated driver deal is. I’m lost in the fact that this car has monkeys all over it.

The blog post is below and you can see more on their blog.

Las Vegas isn’t nicknamed Sin City for nothing. With countless nightclubs, even more casinos, and bars overflowing on and off the strip there’s more ways to get into trouble than one here. And the last thing you want to be thinking about while in the “Entertainment Capital of the World” is how you’re going to get safely from one fabulous locale to the next—that’s what a designated driver is for. We’ve rounded up the best ways to get around Vegas in style—with someone else behind the wheel.

Use an SLS House BMW
Leave it to creative mastermind Philippe Starck to design the coolest looking BMW for your Vegas experience. This sleek sedan, above, with playful little chimps on the exterior is available to hotel guests at the new SLS Las Vegas to reserve. Great for monkeying around the strip.

Hire a Limo
Complete with chauffeur, hiring a limo is one of the most luxe ways to keep safe and avoid the headaches of parking. Stretched limousines, Hummer limos and luxury sedans are available for hire by the hour or specific pick up and drop off times.

Download the app
Get the stearclear app, guaranteed to find you a sober ride home.

Give someone else the keys
Didn’t organize anything in advance and have your car with you? With Designated Drivers, you can book a reliable ride to pick you and your vehicle up and drop you home for a flat fee of $60

Cab it
Go old-school and call 702-888-4888 to book a Las Vegas Taxi.

Dude, There Are Monkeys Everywhere At SLS Las Vegas

Blackjack Monkeys Everywhere
Blackjack Monkey

SLS Las Vegas has monkeys everywhere. I love monkeys. There are 5 different monkeys on each blackjack table and the dealers wear vests with monkeys on the back. There’s no way that someone who loves monkeys like me won’t go a little crazy after looking at them for a while.

Bad (fun) things can happen with the combination of too many moneys and too much scotch. A friend emailed a conversation that I’ll very likely have…because there’s a monkey everywhere you look.

Marc: “c’mon, (sitting on an Ace), hit me a MONKEEEE…BLACKJACK, FUCK YEAH MONKEY!” 
Pit Boss: “Sir, you can’t use that language here…”
Marc: “Dude, There are Monkeys everywhere, it’s ok” 

This will happen in a couple of months. Here’s another Blackjack Monkey.

Blackjack Monkey At SLS Las Vegas
Blackjack Monkey

SLS Las Vegas Preparing For Douchebaggery

SLS Las Vegas Men's Room Sign
Men, read this.

Yesterday when I shared my first impressions of SLS Las Vegas I mentioned the following.

Since the casino is so tight (spatially) the mix of testosterone, booze and drugs seems like a toxic mix for disaster.

I forgot that I took this picture in the men’s room on Friday. Maybe it was sitting in my subconscious. Clearly SLS Las Vegas is aware that the nightclubs will bring a certain element to the casino and is preparing for the worst case scenario.

I’m going to guess that this sign is a signal that we won’t be seeing Johnny Football partying at LiFE or one of the other nightclubs.

 

First Impressions Of SLS Las Vegas

SLS Las Vegas Carpet
SLS Las Vegas Carpet

My first impression of SLS Las Vegas is positive but not perfect. Nothing is perfect as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already detailed some of the flaws from the first few days of business in a separate post.

1. The Setup

The pre-opening moniker SLS Las Vegas used to describe the property was “affordable luxury”. That set up for the hotel to be fancy on a budget. For example there’s no way to make Ikea furniture feel luxurious but it can look nice. With that in mind I went in with limited expectations.

2. Casino Layout

SLS Las Vegas Casino
SLS Las Vegas Casino

I care more about the casino than most of SLS Las Vegas. The floor plan is only 60,000 square feet. If you ever visited Sahara this is 20,000 square feet less. The floor plan is small, which is fine but there are choke points that make it almost impossible to go to certain parts of the casino. The high traffic walkway by table area near the players club and The Griddle is tight and will always be busy. There are similar choke points on the slot floor that will be impossible to walk through because machines are packed so closely. Just scope out areas before sitting down at a table or machine.

Layout aside there are ample 3:2 blackjack games for $5 and $10. Craps has $10 minimums. There is decent video poker and all new slot machines. I dig all of this and wouldn’t mind gambling here. US Poker has a breakdown of most of the games.

Parts of the casino floor seem dark and that can make the tight casino feel almost claustrophobic on busy nights. This feels like a casino I’d visit during the day more than at night.

3. Umami Burger – Sportsbook – Beer Garden

Umami Burger Entrance At SLS Las Vegas
Umami Burger Entrance

This is the part of the casino I was most looking forward to. A sportsbook that serves good burgers and good beer? This might be heaven. It is and it isn’t. This isn’t a sportsbook.

Umami Burger a sports bar/restaurant with a patio and a place to bet on sports. Burger prices are between $12 and $15. Not too bad for the Vegas Strip. Draft beers are around $9-10 and bottles start at $5. There are no drink tickets from William Hill for sports bets as of opening but I think that will change. If you drink/eat at the video poker bar your drinks will be comp’d while you have money in play.

Umami Burger Bar At SLS Las Vegas
Umami Burger Bar

I really like this as a restaurant. Like I said in Vegas Chatter this is a good sports bar/restaurant but it’s not a traditional sportsbook. It should be packed with sports fans for big events but expect to see kids and families in the mix on other days. Even thought it’s not a traditional sportsbook this is my favorite spot at SLS Las Vegas.

Note, you can still sit and watch games without spending any money. However, if there are paying customers for Umami Burger you’ll politely be asked to leave if you’re not spending money.

4. Dining and High Priced Drinks

Continue reading “First Impressions Of SLS Las Vegas”

SLS Las Vegas Carpet Is Pretty Awesome

SLS Las Vegas is a highly stylized and designed property. The casino and hotel combine to have some of the most outrageous and intriguing carpeting that you’ll see anywhere in Las Vegas.

Here are 5 samples of carpet you’ll find throughout the property. This is only a fraction of what you’ll find throughout )I have are a few more on Facebook).

1. Frank Sinatra – You’ll find this when you enter the hotel from valet. This is awesome.

Frank Sinatra Carpet At SLS Las Vegas
Frank Sinatra

2. Welcome To Las Vegas Postcard – This is located towards the hotel rooms. It’s pretty cool to see a vintage postcard as carpeting.

Welcome To Las Vegas Vintage Postcard Carpet at SLS Las Vegas
Welcome To Las Vegas

3. 26th Floor – This is just general hotel hallway carpeting. It’s not what you’d normally see on the floor of a casino hotel.

26th Floor Carpet At SLS Las Vegas
26th Floor Carpet

Continue reading “SLS Las Vegas Carpet Is Pretty Awesome”