Sweet Picture Of The High Roller And Random Facts

High Roller (Photo: Caesars Entertainment)
High Roller (Photo: Caesars Entertainment)

I wanted to share this sweet picture of the High Roller at The Linq and thankfully Caesars Entertainment provided some useless random facts about the ferris wheel.

If you’re in Vegas today you can ride the High Roller for free if you’re one of the first 100 people to show up. On to the facts:

During its first 100 days in operation, the High Roller has set records, reached milestones and attracted riders from all walks of life. Key highlights since its opening include:

·         The High Roller has made roughly 3,870 full rotations.

·         The oldest visitor to ride the High Roller was 99 years old.

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Fireworks Return To Red Rock Resort And Green Valley Ranch On July 4th

Fireworks at Red Rock Resort Las Vegas
Fireworks at Red Rock Resort

ICYMI, people love fireworks.

Station Casinos brings in the heavyweights of fireworks, the Grucci family, to do their 4th of July fireworks show. “If you’re not going to hire the Grucci’s to do your fireworks show you shouldn’t bother”, says the guy who grew up with the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show in New York City.

Fireworks will go for 9 minutes at 9pm a both Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch. Caesars Palace has done 4th of July fireworks on the Vegas Strip in the past but hasn’t made an official announcement yet.

Caesars Entertainment is probably too busy cleaning up the poop pipes that broke at The Linq over the weekend. I’ll just tweet that info when it comes out. Enjoy the best of the Red Rock fireworks video I could find on the YouTube.

Update: Stratosphere announced that will have fireworks at 9:15 sharp.

Photo: Vegas News

The Case Grows To Stay Away From The Middle Of The Vegas Strip

Grand Bazaar Shops Bally's Las Vegas
Grand Bazaar Shops

I love Vegas but I don’t love masses of humanity in my way. I’m a New Yorker and always in a rush even when I don’t have somewhere to be. The Vegas Strip is already too crowded with slow walkers and tourists just stopping for no reason. Blech.

As details about the Grand Bazaar Shops in front of Bally’s continue to emerge my desire NOT to be near that part of the strip grows too. You may know that from a blog post from last year about the Grand Bazaar Shops.

Vegas Chatter dug up some of the fancy flea market vendors that will be at the Grand Bazaar Shops and they’re exactly what you might expect from a flea market – jewelry, handbags, sunglasses and other stuff you’d find at a rest stop in New Jersey.

Check out these hideous renderings of the Grand Bazaar Shop.

On a side note, who let Caesars artists into a Bellagio to sketch that point of view?

While people stop on the, already crowded, Vegas Strip to look and decide whether or not to check out the “stores” they’ll just be in standing in the middle of the sidewalk clogging traffic. At least the Park area in between Monte Carlo and New York-New York and The Linq are designed to draw people away from the Vegas Stip.

The sidewalks can’t be widened because there’s already too much car traffic on the Vegas Strip so the human traffic will only get worse. The only way to avoid traffic in the middle of the strip is to avoid it.

Thankfully Delano Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay will complete renovations soon. Some of the hotel rooms at Delano Las Vegas are already finished. We should expect the public spaces to be completed on time. SLS Las Vegas is working 24/7 to ensure that they will be opening at the end of summer. Both of these hotels on opposite ends of the Vegas Strip give a good excuse for someone like me to avoid the middle of the crush of people in the middle.

I understand that not everyone is like me. There are people who actually like to do things other than eat, drink and gamble when they’re in Vegas. GASP! I understand the Vegas Strip’s need to evolve but I’m happy that there will still be new hotels and casinos for people like me to enjoy.

Learn more about the Grand Bazaar Shops here.

MGM Resorts Expands Plans For The Park

MGM "The Park"
MGM “The Park”

If you’ve been to the Vegas Strip over the past year you probably noticed the construction at New York New York and Monte Carlo. The overall vision is to update each hotel and create a park-like environment in between the two which leads to an arena that will be built behind the two. MGM Resorts, which owns both properties has updated the plans for The Park (below). Highlight: there is outdoor drinking for every palate (wine, rum, beer, coffee)

The concept is very similar to The Linq without the cheap airport kiosk type shops selling sunglasses and hats. When complete this should be a really nice addition to the Vegas Strip and just like The Linq it’s a great use of what used to be dead space.

Details, pictures and video below.

Press release highlights:

A Glimpse into The Park:

Experience: The Park re-envisions the traditional pedestrian experience in Las Vegas. It will draw passersby from the hustle and bustle of The Strip into an oasis offering unique opportunities to experience Las Vegas outdoors and at one’s leisure, only steps from one of the largest urban boulevards in the world. Inspired by the iconic plazas, promenades and squares that have served as important public gathering destinations within the world’s great cities throughout history, The Park will offer an array of common spaces for socializing, relaxing, exploring and sampling the surrounding tastes, sights and sounds.

By day, visitors will be able to bask in pockets of sun or enjoy shade beneath mature trees or one of the stunning, tulip-like shade structures towering more than 50 feet above. Patio-style seating will encourage an interactive social environment, while seating alcoves tucked into large planters will provide areas for respite.

Unique water features, including water walls stretching more than 100 feet in length along the entrance will add unexpected visuals, as will dramatic plantings incorporating a variety of beautiful desert blooms. Exploring The Park, guests will encounter spontaneous live entertainers, such as acoustic guitarists and street performers.

As the sun sets, illuminated elements of The Park’s landscaping will create a dramatic setting. The shade structures, a work of art in and of themselves, will emit marvelous LED sequences from high above, captivating guests below. Sounds of live music, clinking glasses and laughter from bordering open-air venues will saturate The Park with energy, giving guests an entirely new way to experience Las Vegas beneath the stars.

Dining Under the Sun and Stars: Not unlike the small cafes and bistros that spill onto iconic promenades, clusters of casual restaurants and bars with outdoor seating will open each resort to The Park creating a colorful patio ambiance. Ranging from fast-casual to mid-level, each offering will be a unique-to-market, up-and-coming brand. Below is a first peek, with additional partners to be announced in the coming months:

· Shake Shack – Boasting patios overlooking The Park and New York-New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, the much-beloved Shake Shack will introduce its first West Coast location when it opens in December 2014. Established in 2004 in NYC’s Madison Square Park, Shake Shack® is a modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its all-natural burgers, flat-top dogs, frozen custard, beer, wine and more. With its fresh, simple, high-quality food at a great value, Shake Shack is a fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal.

· Bruxie – The fast-casual, gourmet waffle restaurant born out of Orange County will serve up its signature takes on The Sandwich. Bruxie’s next-generation sandwiches use a light, airy authentic Brussels Waffle as the “Bold Fold”. The Waffle is crisp, lightly yeasty and not sweet – reminiscent of freshly baked bread. Bruxie Waffles are paired with quality seasonal ingredients, offering both savory choices like Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Chili Honey and Cider Slaw as well as a variety of sweet options such as Strawberry Crème Brûlée.

· Sake Rok – This theatrical hotspot open for lunch, dinner and a late-night bar/lounge, will thrill guests with more than just its array of delicious sushi, Japanese cuisine and private sake label. By night, Sake Rok will transform into a high-profile social dining extravaganza, immersing guests in an experience part culinary, part performance and completely unexpected. Inspired by Japan’s vibrant pop culture and fashion movements, interactive servers will invite guests to partake in restaurant-wide sake bombs while doubling as entertainers, spontaneously breaking into dance and lip-sync serenades. The emcee – a six-foot man dressed in traditional Geisha attire – will keep the energy and the sake flowing late into the night as Sake Rok transitions into a chic bar and lounge.

· Beer Garden – This fun and approachable beer garden will be highlighted by its outdoor spaces and vantage points of all The Park’s activity. Guests will be able to indulge in sustainably raised farm-to-table meats, an impressive craft beer list, live music and, of course, games to get any social gathering started – bocce ball, darts and outdoor ping pong. Central to the design will be the restaurant’s signature open roasting area.

· A Robert Mondavi Jr. Wine Experience – Robert Mondavi Jr.’s restaurant, lounge and wine bar concept will transport guests to Napa Valley, infusing each element of the experience with the signature warmth and inviting essence of the famous sun-soaked rolling vineyards where Mondavi Family wine production originated. Anchored by an extensive wine program, the venue will boast 100+ wines by the glass and a variety of formats including flights, quartinos, carafes, large formats and more, accompanied by gourmet wine country cuisine. Inside, guests will savor the sights and sounds from the partially open-format kitchen, while an open-air patio will evoke the feeling of a festive outdoor dinner party.

· Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row – Country star Dierks Bentley will introduce his contemporary country bar and restaurant concept offering American gastropub fare, plenty of brews on tap, a specialty menu of “Boilermakers” – a shot of whiskey (from a menu featuring more than 40 options) dropped into a glass of beer – and live music by night. The cuisine will feature organic meats, locally farmed produce and a dessert menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.

· Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar – Two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef Guillermo Pernot will heat up Las Vegas with his East Coast sensation Cuba Libre and its Havana-style restaurant, bar and high-energy Latin night spot. The restaurant’s atmosphere will offer a unique combination of Latin flavor, warmth and splendor. Specializing in rum, Cuba Libre will offer more than 100 premium and flavored varieties and specialty cocktails crafted from the freshest ingredients.

Design: The design for The Park is a collaborative effort led by MGM Resorts International with master planner Cooper, Robertson & Partners, leading landscape architecture and urban design firm !melk, and Marnell Architecture. Envisioned as the connective tissue between New York-New York and Monte Carlo, The Park’s unique design elements include:

· Natural landscaping: Landscape design will utilize native and desert-adaptive species of plants, which are able to thrive in hot and dry environments with minimal water. Large planters with inset seating will feature dramatic plant life displays created by the juxtaposition of cloud-like plants (santolina, apache plum, mormon fir, etc.) alongside vibrant shoots (red yucca, torch lily, desert bear grass, etc.), lush grasses (Mexican feather grass, fountain grass, orange sedge, etc.) and spikes (blue agave, golf tooth aloe, horsetail, etc.)

Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar, Now Open at The Quad Resort & Casino

Guy Fieri Las Vegas
Guy Fieri

In case you haven’t heard Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar in now open  at The Quad. Early reviews haven’t been very good and pictures of the food look disgusting but I’m willing to give it a shot. I’ve never said no to Flavor Town before and Guy has actually had good recommendations on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. Besides The Yard House and Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq none of the dining options seem all that interesting.

Here’s the press release:

The highly anticipated Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar is now open at the Quad Resort & Casino. The restaurant opened its doors to customers for the first time on Thursday, April 17, with Fieri at the helm welcoming guests to his new digs.

As the first diners entered, Fieri was at the door greeting guests, thanking them for coming, signing autographs and taking pictures before jumping back into the kitchen for dinner service.

Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar offers guests a taste of Fieri’s signature cuisine, featuring bold flavors and unique twists on traditional dishes. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. for brunch, lunch, dinner and late night dining, the 200 seat restaurant features a delicious blend of casual foods including an extensive variety of burgers, wings, tacos, small bites and shareable food items.

The restaurant’s extensive drink menu features 16 craft beers, in addition to the Sonoma County wine selection and a frozen tap system shot bar that will create a one-of-a kind experience for guests. Instead of having shots strained or mixed with ice, which then run the risk of getting diluted, the frozen tap system bar will dispense eight different shots straight out of iced dispensers.

The 6,500 square foot space features a large outdoor patio and dining area to seat patrons who are able to enjoy the panoramic views of the Las Vegas Strip. The cooking space features a metal, tile, and wood theme that closely resembles Fieri’s kitchen at home. The interior design features an open arrangement with wood and steel elements along with repurposed materials.

Fieri’s tattoos are also incorporated as part of the design elements throughout the restaurant and bar, including coasters, napkins and dishware, as well as memorabilia from his alma mater, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar is open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. The restaurant is adjacent to the popular Carnaval Court and The Quad’s main entrance. Please call 702-731-3311 for more information.

Photo: Vegas Chatter

Looks Like O’Sheas Blackjack Will Be Unplayable

O'Sheas Casino Las Vegas 6:5 Blackjack Installation
O’Sheas 6:5 Blackjack Installation

Judging from the photo above O’Sheas will pay 6:5 on blackjack.

I was never fond of O’Sheas. It was a dump by the time I found Vegas. When I visited Las Vegas I was usually looking to experience the finer things in life. I spent more money on just about everything. For a few days I wanted to experience a life better than I had at home. I wasn’t looking for a cheap place to gamble. O’Sheas was closed to make way for The Linq.

The Linq is for mainstream American’s who just want to do things they can do anywhere. Oh, shopping and mall restaurants. I can’t wait to travel 500 miles for some of that! Eeesh. People are lame. Just like the original O’Sheas – The Linq isn’t for me. I’ll check out The Linq but probably won’t frequent it.

Years ago an MGM Resorts rep said that most people on vacation don’t care about 6:5 blackjack. Most blackjack players were up in arms. How dare they taint the game anyone could afford to play and possibly find an advantage? Looking back, he was right. Just about every casino (not all) on the Vegas Strip pays 6:5 for blackjack under $25. Tourists may care but they’d rather play $15 per hand at 6:5 than $25 per hand to get paid 3:2 for blackjack.

If O’Sheas does pay 6:5 for blackjack (the photo only shows the “5”) it shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is how the Vegas Strip operates. This is just another reason to avoid the Caesars section of the Vegas Strip Mall.

H/T: @DenverGambler for noticing this.

Photo: @KMCannonPhoto 

How Caesars Bankruptcy Can Benefit Everyone

Caesars Entertainment Chapter 11
Caesars Entertainment Chapter 11?

Rumors about Caesars Entertainment filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection gets louder every day. It’s easy to poke fun at a business failing but the ramifications from filing for bankruptcy can be good for both Caesars and casino customers. Read chapter 11 details here, you can read about more debt restructuring here and you can read about their unrealistic projections for Suffolk Downs here.

I want to look at the day-to-day operations that affect me and people like me. When/If Caesars files for bankruptcy they’ll be forced to deal with their outstanding debt problems. The easiest way for them to pay down their debt will be to sell off some of their assets.

Some of the assets that may be sold include Bally’s and Showboat in Atlantic City. These properties have long been rumored to be on the market for years but they may have to finally pull the plug to get some quick cash.

Las Vegas may see Caesars shed a combination of Bally’sParis and Rio. I’d be surprised if Paris was a sold but it’s one of Caesars most valuable non-core Las Vegas hotels and they need cash. I think Flamingo and Harrah’s are too close to The Linq and The Quad to be shed. These properties give Caesars a great chance of capitalizing on the traffic in the area.

I’m not sure about Caesars properties in other markets but you’d have to imagine a few of those will go too. I’m more focused on AC and LV but you probably know that already.

By shedding some properties in AC and LV Caesars will be able to focus on creating a better value for their customers at the properties they still own. In theory a leaner staff would focus on housekeeping and maintenance while corporate focused on creating a better product for the customer.

Additionally by selling properties in each market Caesars will bring in more competition. Competition always benefits the customer. Increased competition will force all hotel operators in each city to be on their toes to stay ahead. Again, that’s theory.

Not only will increased competition in Atlantic City and Las Vegas provide better casinos and hotel experiences but they will also add new players clubs that would link other cities and casinos throughout the United States with Atlantic City and Las Vegas. The new customers will benefit all casino operators – not just the property owners bringing in the customers.

When all is said and done I envision Caesars having the potential to come out of bankruptcy a tighter company able to provide more value for their casino customers. I also envision increased competition in Atlantic City and Las Vegas which will benefit casino customers by cleaning up old properties and offering new players club reward opportunities.

Even though it’s embarrassing it looks like Caesars filing for bankruptcy may be a win-win.

Note: Caesars hasn’t filed for bankruptcy, this is just speculation for when/if they do.

The Linq Gets A Circle!

High Roller Ferris Wheel At The Linq Las Vegas
High Roller Ferris Wheel

When The Linq was introduced a couple years ago I used to joke that it may not be real. Ground breaking was delayed a couple of times and little was happening. Well, The Linq exists. There is construction happening and some empty buildings waiting for some exciting tenants to move in, there’s a website and a huge circle (photo above) that will eventually become a ferris wheel. So they say.

The Linq was rumored to be opening in the summer of 2013 but Caesars Entertainment never confirmed that.

Then The Linq was supposed to open in December of 2013.

Now The Linq will open in phases beginning in December 2013. A few stores will open in December. Some more will open in 2014 and the NAME TBD Ferris Wheel is said to open in the 2nd quarter of 2014.

One day The Linq sounds like it can be a cool mall area to hang out and grab a drink and the next day there’s an announcement about a hat store and this sounds like the corniest place on earth. It’s enough to make a cynic go to a casino and drink soda!

Regardless of how I feel about The Linq…

The giant ferris wheel is big and destined to become the new focal point of the Vegas Strip – for better or worse.

 Photo: Caesars Entertainment

Desperate For Cash Caesars Offering Naming Rights For Ferris Wheel

High Roller at Linq Las Vegas Sponsored By "Word"
High Roller Sponsored By “Word”

Caesars Entertainment is under mounds of debt and keeps losing money. They’re hotel rooms in Las Vegas are in disrepair and have bugs crawling all over and they’re possibly on the verge of filing of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In order to stave off the inevitable Caesars has decided to put naming rights up for sale to any the highest bidder for their precious Linq Ferris Observation Wheel.

“We have already received interest from big brands for the naming rights of this landmark, but given its significance on the Las Vegas landscape, we continue to search for the right brand to feature as the name of the wheel,” said Dan Burgner, executive vice president of Caruso Affiliated (The company in charge of The Linq).

I don’t believe anything the Caesars PR machine churns out so I’m assuming that they’ve received as much “interest from big brands for naming rights” as I have for my car.

Okay, I’ll settle down. In today’s commercialized market there’s no reason Caesars shouldn’t be shopping naming rights for The Linq Wheel. Nobody riding, or making pee pee, in this wheel will care what the name is. All that they’ll be concerned with is how long it takes for the ride to reach the top so they can enjoy views of beautiful Las Vegas.

If anyone wants to start a kickstarter to buy naming rights for the Linq Wheel let me know!

Photo: Caesars 

Aria Marquee Is A Symbol Of The Changing Vegas Strip

Aria Marquee At Night
Aria Marquee At Night

I find a lot of things in the Vegas media funny. Las Vegas is the #42 television market but plenty of people in the media and marketing departments acts as if Vegas is a top 5 market. When I saw press releases and news stories about the Aria marquee I laughed. It’s a sign. In what major market does mainstream (and non-mainstream) media go nuts over a sign? None.

I’ve seen the Aria marquee a handful of times and just thought it was another sign and nothing really special. It’s just a sign but how I thought about the Aria marquee changed a few weeks ago when I was driving to New York-New York to meet a friend for a drink. I was passing the Aria marquee around dusk and it was almost magical.

The mall across the street on the Harmon Corner has a bright huge sign that’s more annoying than useful or interesting since it’s all advertising. I don’t need or want to see advertising that big. It’s distracting and dangerous. The Cosmopolitan has a pretty cool marquee by the boulevard pool but that’s because the content on it is interesting. Sometimes you’ll see ads for the hotel and other times you can see concerts. The concept is great but the marquee is tiny compared to the Aria marquee. You can fit about 4 marquees from the Cosmo inside of the Aria marquee.

The Aria marquee is huge and juts out onto the strip. When I passed by the Aria marquee it was showing casino chips and other cool video snippets like the astronaut above. There was nothing obscene or overly promotional on the sign. It’s just a cool big sign that’s as obnoxiously large as you’d expect from the Vegas Strip (for better or worse).

The Aria marquee isn’t the dawn of the new Vegas strip but it is a sign (pun intended) that a new strip is coming.

Between the giant ferris wheel of The Linq being built across the street from Caesars PalaceThe Quad vortex lighting being installed right now, Gansevoort construction across the street from Bally’s and the park area in between New York-New York and Monte Carlo there is a lot of construction on the Vegas strip. This doesn’t even touch on the north strip construction going on.

The Aria marquee reminded me about all of this and also reminded me that the way see the strip will change drastically over the next few years. Enjoy the memory of the Vegas strip you grew up with because it will be drastically different by this time next year.