Rare Las Vegas Fail, Harmon Hotel Tower, is Officially Half Disappeared

The Harmon Hotel Spa and Residences at CityCenter Las Vegas was supposed to be 49 floors of luxury rooms and condos in the center of the glorious Las Vegas Strip. It turned out to be a rare Las Vegas fail of epic proportions. Now, it’s being torn down, floor by earthquake-vulnerable floor.

Ah, what might have been. Behold, the “before” photo.

Harmon Tower

The Las Vegas hotel that never was. On the bright side, no resort fees.

The defective building’s proximity to other buildings meant it couldn’t be imploded, so it’s being dismantled, and the dismantling process has cut the ill-fated Harmon tower down to half its original height.

Harmon tower Las Vegas

Blame it on the crane.

It’s a story that will live in Las Vegas infamy.

The Harmon is the only hotel in the history of Las Vegas that was unceremoniously pulled down, piece-by-piece, before it hosted even one guest or “direct to your room” dance party. Not that we have those in Las Vegas, of course.

Harmon tower Las Vegas

This photo was taken during an early stage of the demolition, just after the building began taking prescription drugs to help with its self-esteem issues.

The unconventional demolition of the Harmon tower is expected to cost $11.5 million plus gratuity. (Hey, it’s a Las Vegas.)

Harmon tower demolition

The Harmon hotel debacle could’ve taken years to resolve in court, but all the parties came to a settlement and now vacation together, sharing backrubs, long walks on the beach and bottomless frozen cocktails. No, wait, that’s the lawyers involved in he case, sorry.

So, as the Harmon disappears before our eyes, the saga of this unfortunate chapter in Las Vegas history is coming to a close. But not before we memorialize the Harmon with this awesome photo we had to wait 20 minutes to take because the Aria digital sign didn’t realize we have better things to do.

Harmon Tower demolition

Reading recent trends in Las Vegas, we predict the Harmon space will be filled with a nightclub, sports arena, pedestrian promenade or burger restaurant with a cult following on the east coast.

Here’s to wrongs righted, to FUBARs rebarred, to buildings being unbuilt and multi-million dollar projects summed up in one simple word: “D’oh.”

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Today’s Panty-Dropper Cocktail, Courtesy of Downtown’s Triple George Grill

We often trumpet the deliciousness of the food at Triple George Grill, but one does not live by chicken parm alone. Probably.

Downtown’s Triple George has a new signature cocktail menu, and we found the Winter’s Kiss ($12) to be a refreshing offering with a pleasing kick.

Winter's Kiss cocktail

Like many great kisses, this one will get you to at least third base.

The Winter’s Kiss has Belvedere Grapefruit vodka, fresh basil, simple syrup and fresh grapefruit. Simple, but effective.

The cocktail was concocted by Marti, one of our favorite Triple George bartenders.

Triple George Grill is located across from Downtown Grand, right next another of our favorite places to dine and cocktail, Pizza Rock.

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Damnit, One of Our Favorite Things at Binion’s Is Gone

Our list of favorite things to do in Las Vegas has always included visiting Binion’s and devouring one of the town’s best burgers while sitting at the counter in the Binion’s Cafe. Note the past tense. Damnit.

Recently, all the bar stools at the Binion’s Cafe counter were removed, we trust to save on labor costs.

Binion's Cafe

Seriously, are you trying to make a Las Vegas blog cry?

Thankfully, the burgers haven’t gone anywhere. You just have to order them at a table. If you like gambling and dining alone, sitting at a table is a lot more awkward, but, yeah, those burgers.

If you’re craving counter seating, you can still find some at the nearby Binion’s Deli. The out-of-the-way restaurant has an abbreviated menu, but service is friendly and quick.

Binion's Deli

You’ll do in a pinch.

On the bright side, Binion’s has some sweet values, no matter where you sit.

Binion's Deli

Those expensive burger joints on The Strip just got schooled.

While our love of Binion’s is unflagging, the removal of the bar stools in Binion’s Cafe, in combination with the casino’s bars no longer stocking bottles of Captain Morgan (oh, the humanityalthough it’s still available at the outside bars), means we’re stopping by less frequently lately. Change in Las Vegas is inevitable, but we reserve the right to hope things can also change back.

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Las Vegas Strip Club Slang You’ll Never Need to Know Until You Do

The world of Las Vegas strip clubs is full of colorful terminology. Here’s some of our favorite strip club slang.

Air Dance. An “air dance” is used to describe a lap dance without contact. It’s not a compliment to the dancer.

Rock. A “rock” is an unflattering description of a customer who nurses his drinks, doesn’t tip dancers onstage and doesn’t get lap dances. Rocks are also referred to as “gawkers.”

Extras. “Extras” describes acts related to prostitution in a strip club. By the way, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas. Which is why it never happens here. Ever.

Las Vegas strippers

About 10,000 exotic dancers make their living in Las Vegas. We’re generous like that.

Raincoater. A “raincoater” is stripper slang for a customer that’s not particularly discerning about a dancer’s looks. He’s more into lots of physical contact.

George. A generous tipper.

Off-Stage Fee. The “off-stage fee” is the fee a dancer pays the strip club to skip dancing onstage (lap dances and VIP rooms are more profitable).

McDance. A perfunctory dance done with an extreme lack of enthusiasm or imagination.

Whale. The term “whale” in a strip club has the same meaning it does in a casino. It’s slang for a customer who spends big and takes advantage of a club’s VIP room, often for long periods of time.

ATF. “ATF” stands for “all-time favorite,” meaning a customer’s preferred dancer.


The Sin City trueness.

Game Boy. What strippers sometimes call a customer’s manhood.

Vulture. A stripper who hovers near the door of a strip club waiting to pounce on new arrivals.

Tip Rail. The “tip rail,” also known as “pervert row” or “sniffer’s row,” is the row of seats around a strip club’s stage. If you sit in those seats, you’re expected to tip frequently.

Bird Dog. A “bird dog” is strip club slang for the bouncer who monitors the private dance room, often called the Champagne Room.

Zoned. This term describes the trance-like state some dancers go into when they’re working. It typically results from  drugs or boredom.

Peeler. “Peeler” is another term for stripper.

7-Up Factory. A “7-Up Factory” is a strip club where all the dancers are particularly attractive, in other works, they rank seven or better on a 1-10 scale.

Beater. A “beater” is a dancer who, while onstage, can’t keep to the beat of the music.

Las Vegas stripper

Stripper pole moves include the Crucifix, Fireman Spin, Pencil, Cupid, Gemini, Angel and Carousel.

Bolt-Ons. Breast implants.

Snaking. “Snaking” is the practice of watching a lap dance someone else is getting. Not popular with dancers, as you can imagine.

House Fee. A “house fee” is the fee dancers have to pay to work in a strip club on a given night.

Chum the Waters. The strategy of tipping generously onto a stage to receive more attention from dancers for the rest of the evening.

Juice Bar. “Juice bars” are strip clubs that serve no alcohol, just soft drinks.

White Knight. This is a pejorative slang term used by dancers when a customer thinks they can “save” the dancer from their life as a stripper.

Civilian. A “civilian” is a woman at a strip club who doesn’t work there.

Hurl Story. An obviously manufactured sob story told by a stripper to elicit a more generous tip, sometimes called a “mercy tip.”

Spiff. A “spiff” is the fee a cabbie gets for delivering a customer to a strip club. (This is why cab or limo driver recommendations are always suspect.)

Blind Lap. Getting a lap dance before seeing the dancer give someone else a lap dance.

Mileage. In strip clubs, “mileage” refers to how much bang you get for your buck. If you get a great lap dance for $20, and another guy gets a terrible lap dance for his $20, you got more “mileage.”

If you’re as endlessly fascinated by this subject as we appear to be, check out our Five Things We Never Knew About Las Vegas Strippers.

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Boneheaded Horse-Drawn Carriage Service Begins in Downtown Las Vegas

The horse-drawn carriage service called “Love Carriage” has commenced service in downtown Las Vegas. The carriage service began operating on Feb. 20, 2015, under the cover of darkness.

It’s not surprising the operator of Love Carriage, MB’s Horse and Carriage Co., wants to keep the service on the down-low, given that the last time such rides were offered (in 2007) four people were thrown from a carriage and injured. After the accident, carriage rides were banned. Because horses in traffic, that’s why. It’s not rocket science.

Horse-drawn carriage

What goes clip-clop-slap, clip-clop-slap? An Amish escort service handbiller. Or something.

The Las Vegas City Council approved horse-drawn carriage services in April 2014, after giving the issue, oh, six minutes of thoughtful consideration.

Why did the City Council approve something so obviously misguided? Presumably, “to promote economic development, bring new jobs downtown and perhaps keep tourists downtown longer.” We’re thinking it may also promote spinal injuries and traumatized animals, but we’re no Las Vegas City Councilperson. Read more.

Love Carriage horse-drawn carriage

Horses and cars are as compatible as Donny and Marie Osmond. Long story.

The launch of Love Carriage services took place near a municipal parking garage across from Downtown Grand. A makeshift red carpet was laid out, and a group of about 20 people were on-hand for the arrival of the carriage.

Yes, we got some video. Please note the first official horse freak-out (30 seconds in), before even a single passenger has ridden.

What could possibly go wrong?

So, a couple of bright spots. At least there was some consideration given to the welfare of the horses involved in the Love Carriage experience. The service won’t be allowed to operate on days which are 90 degrees or hotter. Also of note: The horses must wear horse diapers. Seriously.

Another bright spot is this service may not be in operation too long. When the business was licensed, it was for a one-year term. Again, that was in April 2014. Hopefully, the license won’t be renewed.

The Love Carriage can be found in a “staging area” at the corner of Fourth Street and Ogden. Carriage rides are prohibited on Fremont Street, Las Vegas Boulevard and on Maryland Parkway and Casino Center Boulevard south of Carson Avenue. Wherever those might actually be.

Here’s the pricing and hours of operation.

Horse-drawn carriage

Let’s not and say we didn’t.

Given the low-profile launch of the Love Carriage service, it’s clear the owners want to avoid public scrutiny for a business that never should’ve been approved in the first place.

Let’s hope nobody, human or otherwise, is hurt before this horse-drawn carriage service quickly goes the way of the equally-repugnant Las Vegas Zoo.

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High Roller Pretty Much Lied About FAA Objections to Dimming Lights During Tarkanian Tribute

Right up front, we’ll say two things. We were against the dimming of lights on The Strip to honor basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. (Given the short list of luminaries for whom this honor was previously bestowed, a basketball coach doesn’t make the cut.) Also, we used to work at Caesars Entertainment, the company that owns the High Roller Ferris wheel.

That said, just about everybody on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown played along when there was a groundswell of support (at least among UNLV students and alum) for dimming the lights on The Strip when Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian died on Feb. 11, 2015. Almost everybody.

Watching video of the Strip going dark on Feb. 18, there was one prominent structure that remained fully lit during the Tarkanian tribute. It was the High Roller Ferris wheel. The world’s tallest observation wheel was fully lit and bright red. Watch.

Dimming lights on such occasions is voluntary, of course. So, why is it a big deal that High Roller officials decided to leave the wheel lit? Because when questioned about it, a High Roller representative said, “FAA regulations prevented the High Roller from going dark last night. In lieu of that, we opted to shine Rebel Red to honor the late great coach.”

This is, to put it poetically, utter horseshit.

High Roller wheel

The alleged horseshit.

For months, while the wheel was being built, and before its full lighting array was installed, the structure used what are known as “obstruction” lights to satisfy FAA recommendations. Those are the little red lights you see on buildings and towers.

On the night of the Jerry Tarkanian tribute, High Roller officials could’ve used those lights and dimmed the rest of the wheel. Instead, a conscious decision was made to leave the lights on, creating a rare situation where the wheel would be the most eye-catching part of the Strip for the duration of the widely-reported tribute.

When we inquired with the FAA, the Public Affairs Manager of the FAA’s Pacific Division confirmed what we suspected, “We are not aware of any formal FAA objection to this proposed dimming.”

He went on to explain that while the FAA has marking and lighting recommendations for tall structures, they’re just that–recommendations. The FAA “can object to a proposal to turn off lights or to not light something, but the FAA does not have the authority to enforce lighting or marking requirements.”

So, yeah, had the High Roller wanted to fully take part in the Jerry Tarkanian tribute, it could have dimmed the lights.

To do that, though, according to a High Roller rep, the wheel would have to be “parked,” and no passengers would be allowed on the wheel during the time the wheel was dark. That’s a costly proposition, and in that light, it’s more understandable why the High Roller made the decision it did. While the small “beacon” lights meet the FAA’s lighting guidelines, they won’t suffice when the wheel has passengers.

But let’s be clear: The FAA didn’t stop the High Roller from dimming during the Jerry Tarkanian tribute. It was a business decision.

So, is “lie” the right word? Maybe not. We just can’t think of a better one. We attended a public school.

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