Here’s a quick way to spot an unlucky blackjack table in a Las Vegas casino.
Here’s a quick way to spot an unlucky blackjack table in a Las Vegas casino.
It seems everyone is talking about our 10 Best Free Things to Do in Las Vegas If You Have a Short Attention Span, assuming our mom qualifies as “everyone.”
Here are 10 more free things to do in five minutes or less. Remember, pace yourself.
1. Train Cars at Main Street Station
Downtown’s Main Street Station is a treasure trove of fascinating finds and delicious discoveries, as well as, apparently, alliteration. Just outside Main Street Station, there are several fully-restored train cars, including the Blackhawk which once served as the personal car of dignitaries including Buffalo Bill Cody, Theodore Roosevelt and Annie Oakley. Total time required: Four minutes.
2. Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
Even if you don’t know a thing about architecture, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is worth a visit. The building looks like it’s melting, and was designed by Frank Gehry, an architect so famous we can barely stand to confess we’ve never heard of him before. According for former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, the building got its shape from a piece of paper. Total time required: Three minutes.
3. Sewing Machines at All Saints
We must have walked by the All Saints store at the Cosmopolitan 50 times before noticing the incredible collection of about 1,100 antique sewing machines. Walk along the window displays, or stroll inside to see sewing machines large and small. Total time required: Three minutes.
4. Ivory Tusk at Treasure Island
We never visit Treasure Island without stopping for another look at this incredible artifact, an intricately-carved woolly mammoth tusk. It’s located near the casino’s cashier cages, and is believed to have taken several generations to complete. Total time required: Five minutes.
5. One Bar at Golden Gate
Golden Gate is the oldest casino in Las Vegas, but a stop by its outdoor One Bar is a reminder of why fun never goes out of style. Bartenders do double duty as dancers, and if you’re into into that, you can catch flair bartenders at the casino’s Stage Bar a few feet away. Total time required: Five minutes, although you’ll want to stay longer.
6. Noodle-Making at Beijing Noodle No. 9
The talented chefs at Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Caesars Palace make fresh noodles throughout the day, and the process is a wonder to behold. Total time required: Three minutes.
7. Meet Penn & Teller
Love comedy-magicians Penn and Teller? Well, you can meet them. They hit the lobby to schmooze with fans after every show. How is this a “free thing to do”? Well, nobody says you have to see the show. You should, but it’s not required. Total time required: Five minutes.
8. El Portal Theater
Under the canopy at downtown’s Fremont Street Experience, you’ll find what remains of the city’s first movie theater, built in 1928. El Portal Theater has the distinction of being the first building Las Vegas to install air-conditioning. Total time required: Two minutes.
9. Mechanical Bull at PBR Rock Bar
Of course we don’t recommend actually riding a mechanical bull! We just mean it’s fun to watch other people get thrown off them. You can also see people risking traumatic brain injuries at Gilley’s at TI and Chayo Mexican Kitchen restaurant at The Linq. Total time required: Four minutes.
10. Flame-Throwing Mantis at Downtown Container Park
It’s big, it’s loud and it’s a true crowd-pleaser. The giant, fire-breathing praying mantis at the Downtown Container Park is fiery fun for all ages, and since you’ve made the trip, visit the Container Park. It’s the quirkiest mall in Las Vegas. Total time required: Two minutes, much like making love to this blog.
Or just sit there and gamble your face off. In Las Vegas, you’re the boss of you.
In Las Vegas, hype often overshadows reality. Ever taste real Kobe beef? Meh.
In the case of Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, however, we’d submit there hasn’t been nearly enough hype, because at this utterly unique nightlife venue, every possible expectation is surpassed.
Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is equal parts quality, charm, creativity and humor, the melding of which results in a remarkable dining, entertainment and nightlife experience.
That said, we should start with an obvious question: “What, exactly, is it?”
Yes, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is a weird name, granted. Too many periods. But let’s get past that. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is, simply, a venue at The Cosmo. Within the venue is a restaurant, bars, a show called “Vegas Nocturne,” and later in the evening, a nightclub. Knowing what it is, though, doesn’t do it justice.
This sort of does it justice: You will simply not find a more captivating, memorable evening out in Las Vegas. Or, what the hell, anywhere.
Every moment of a visit to Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is masterfully orchestrated. Or more accurately, curated. Every detail is expertly concocted to provide surprise after surprise, resulting in a level of satisfaction you can’t easily put a value on. Shows are shows. Food is food. But, somehow, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. and “Vegas Nocturne” bring together an experience where the service is extraordinary, the food is on par with any of the finest in the city, the atmosphere is electric and contagious, and the entertainment will leave you ravenous for more.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
Much of the offerings at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. can be done as a package or a la carte (French for “we don’t speak French, sorry”). You can just have dinner. You can just see “Vegas Nocturne.” You can just do a bar or the nightclub. To get your full measure of euphoria, you should do the whole thing, starting with dinner.
When you arrive, you encounter a series of doors, five in all. Each of the doors leads to a different room. Each one serves a different purpose, and each one has a distinctive vibe. Those rooms are the Library, Music Room, Swimming Pool, the Study and the Ballroom where “Vegas Nocturne” happens. (More photos below, of course.)
Dinner is served in the Library. Nobody seems to know why it’s called that, as there is not a single book to be found.
Rose. Rabbit. Lie. serves up fine dining without pretense. Every dish manages to remind us mortals how common and forgettable our everyday food is.
The menu is divided into these sections: Herbivore’s Delight, From the Sea, Plates Around the Table, Pearls for a Spoon and Feast. The bulk of the menu consists of small plates, with prices ranging from $5 to $35. (In the Feast section, there’s an indulgent Whole Roasted Giant Alaskan Red King Crab for $1,200, just to ensure the high rollers have a way to show off their bankroll.)
Each dish seems to have been devised by a team of culinary masterminds. Every single dish is meticulously prepared, served by knowledgeable servers who, gasp, seem to be enjoying what they do.
We love small plates because you get to avoid committing to anything. There’s so much to love here, we can’t begin to pick any favorite dish. From the herb brioche rolls to the Waldorf salad and lobster cocktail, from the gnocchi to the caviar tacos (don’t freak out, they’re just $15 each), each bite is better than the last.
The salads are super fresh and full of surprises, like everything else at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. The Crispy Oyster Rockefeller made us reconsider our lifelong ban on anything even remotely the texture of oysters.
There was no way we had room for dessert, but those offerings are intriguing, too. Oeufs a la Neige, Pine Nut Mousse, Valrhona Caramelia Chocolate, Black Truffle Ice Cream Sundae, a Chocolate Terrarium and more. Do we know what half of those are? No? Do we trust Rose. Rabbit. Lie. to deliver something great? Of course.
The cocktails at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. are extraordinary, too. We might not know a fricassee from a torchon, but we know a little something about hooch.
Our waiter recommended the Monkey Gland, so we went with it. Tanqueray Malacca gin, pomegranate nectar, lime, Absinthe and orange foam. Crazy good.
In terms of price, the cocktails are a bit of a knee to the nads, in the $16 range, but we’re talking excellence in mixology here, so indulge, pace yourself and savor every sip. There are cocktails on draught, the Moscow Mule and La Paloma, as well as cocktail flasks ($45), especially useful if you’re taking a cocktail in to the show.
We may also have had a Fuzzy Navel. A couple of drinks in, one’s note-taking suffers a bit.
We should mention the wine list at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has several hundred selections, so again, pace yourself.
At this juncture, we should talk about the atmosphere. While dining, guests are treated to some incredible live music. In an adjoining room (the Music Room), a small band plays jazz versions of top 40 songs. Amazing.
Also, at various points, roaming entertainers who also appear in “Vegas Nocturne” roam into The Library and Music Room to perform snippets of their acts. This free-flowing blend of food and drink and music and variety performances is what gives Rose. Rabbit. Lie. much of its mystique and appeal.
There are three performances of “Vegas Nocturne” at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Each of the performances is different, with variety acts rotating between them. A lovely touch is if you’re dining, a staffer will actually seek you out to make sure you get into the show on time.
Until recently, “Vegas Nocture” showed at 8:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and midnight, but now the shows take place at 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and midnight. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. calls these different shows “cantos,” but feel free to give them a fancy label of your own. Chapters? Movements? Steve. You could just call them Steve.
“Vegas Nocturne” is what you’d expect from the masters of mayhem behind the successful “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. It’s irreverent, and the acts are truly top-notch.
The quirky performers range from contortionists to acrobats to balancing acts and aerialists. The shows are hosted by a cast of eccentric characters.
A stand-out was Captain Frodo, a hysterical physical comedian whose entire act consists of putting his body through tennis rackets. Again, doesn’t do it justice. Brilliant.
After the show, guests get to explore rooms they may not have seen and try more of those delicious signature cocktails.
So, as we said, dinner is served in the Library.
The Music Room has (wait for it) music and occasional entertainment.
The Study is an intimate bar.
The Swimming Pool room is probably our favorite. It’s named that because the floor is covered with tile from, wait for it again, a swimming pool. Here, you’re in a lounge that’s actually the backstage area for “Vegas Nocturne.”
A stage revolves, taking acts out to where the show is being performed. Besides being a fascinating look at the inner workings of “Vegas Nocturne,” the performers do snippets of their act before they go on, so again, entertainment blends with nightlife.
We didn’t stay for the nightclub to unfold, as we’re not particularly a nightclub person, but we have no reason to believe it’s not a good time, too.
Overall, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has raised the bar almost impossibly high in terms of Las Vegas nightlife. Find out more at the official site.
It’s touted as being a “social experiment.” We’re not sure what that means, because it’s hardly an experiment. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has dining, libations and entertainment down to a science.
Call Rose. Rabbit. Lie. what you want. We call it a revelation.
A new take on roulette was recently unveiled at Golden Gate casino, downtown, called Riverboat Roulette. We’re pleased to say we were momentarily able to divert our eyes away from the go-go dealers to give it a whirl.
This “new” version of roulette isn’t exactly revolutionary, as the basics of the game remain intact. Riverboat Roulette does provide some interesting new side bets, as well as an eye-catching layout (above) and tricked-out ball “pockets.”
We were the first-ever customer to make a bet on the live game at Golden Gate (where it’s available exclusively), so from here on out, please treat us with the respect we so richly deserve.
Riverboat Roulette made its first appearance at the 2012 Global Gaming Expo and was named one of the “Top New Table Games of 2013″ by Casino Journal. No, really, they didn’t just make that up.
So, here’s the deal.
Beyond the basic game of roulette, Riverboat Roulette offers color-coded side bets that pay varying amounts based upon the color. Bet blue, if blue hits, you win. Same with the other colors, except for white. If you bet on a color other than white, and white hits, you lose your bet. There are eight white spaces.
But here’s the cool part. If you bet blue and teal hits, your bet doesn’t go anywhere, it’s a “push.” That’s what makes this a “multi-spin” game. If you hit another color, other than blue, the bet keeps going. That cycle continues until you hit your color (win!) or white (not so much!).
When you bet on white, it’s a one-spin bet. Any other color sends your bet home crying to its mommy.
The payouts are as follows: Blue and orange pay 7-to-5, purple and pink pay 8-to-5, teal and yellow pay 2-to-1. White pays 7-to-2.
We’d love to get into the nitty-gritty of these payouts and house edges, but we have things to do, so we’ll just say, “The odds aren’t particularly in your favor.” Then again, you know, casino.
Other than that, Riverboat Roulette adds a little flair to a classic game, and while we didn’t have much success, we suggest you give it a try because it’s at Golden Gate, and the Golden Gate is the best thing since sliced bread, although if you think about it, sliced bread doesn’t provide epic free cocktails and eye candy. So, suck it, sliced bread.
The Las Vegas Science and Technology Festival happens April 25 to May 3, and while we have no idea what that is, we do know one of its events provides rare access to some of Sin City’s most renowned attractions. Free. Which is really the best possible way to learn about science or Las Vegas, come to think of it.
On one day of the festival, “Science is Everywhere” day, April 27, 2014, multiple attractions around the Las Vegas valley open their doors for behind-the-scene tours.
Featured tour locations include the National Atomic Testing Museum, the Bellagio fountains, Vegas PBS, Las Vegas National History Museum, the Silverton Casino aquarium, Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, the Mirage volcano and others.
If we had to pick our top three can’t-miss behind-the-scenes tours, they’d be the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Neon Museum and Fremont Street Experience.
At the Bellagio Conservatory, guests get to see what it takes to create the hotel’s elaborate seasonal floral displays.
The Neon Museum tour will provide an opportunity to learn about the technology involved in operating and rescuing Las Vegas’ iconic neon signs.
Fremont Street Experience offers one of the more in-depth tours during Science is Everywhere.
Guests will get an inside peek at Viva Vision, the world’s largest video screen, including the Fremont Street Experience control room, as well as a look at the creative and logistical steps involved in creating the Viva Vision light shows. This blog actually works at Fremont Street Experience, and even we haven’t had a tour of the control room!
While the tours are free, space is limited, and some require registration, so jump on that.
Find out all about the Science is Everywhere tours on the official site. The tours are suitable for all ages, making them a great thing to add to your list of “family-friendly things to do in Las Vegas.”
Although this blog tends to avoid anything related to “learning” or “personal growth,” we are not against getting special access to Vegas attractions, so we’re going to be busy when Science is Everywhere rolls around.
We are seriously not making this up. A company in Las Vegas now offers couples the opportunity to join the Mile-High Club without having to sneak a quickie in a cramped airplane lavatory. Not that we’d personally know anything about that, other than that one time. In our dreams.
Love Cloud offers a variety of packages which include a flight in a twin-engine Cessna 421 named the “Golden Eagle,” although, honestly, we could have come up with approximately 17,450 better names.
The basic service costs $799 for 40 minutes, so about a third of the time this blog would require.
No worries if you need more time, it’s available for an additional charge. Fly for an hour for $999 or one-and-a-half hours for $1,299. Wedding packages are also available, although why you’d want to ruin an otherwise awesome sexcursion, we have no idea.
Thanks to Love Cloud for the pics.
The Love Cloud service has a sightseeing component, although we’re not sure who’d have the time or energy to actually look out a window. During the day, flights tour Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Meade and The Strip. At night, flights stick to the Las Vegas area with a final low pass of The Strip.
The plane makes sure to hit a cruising altitude of 5,280 feet, exactly one mile. Hey, we weren’t kidding about the Mile-High Club thing.
The interior of the six seat Cessna is customized with a custom foam mattress and a Liberator Heart Wedge, which we didn’t know about until right now, but which appears to be one of the best inventions, ever.
Bonus: Your pilot wears a noise-canceling headset, so have at it.
For the germaphobes, have no fear. After every flight a crew boards to do a thorough cleaning, including replacing sheets, pillow covers and towels, so everything’s ready for the next flight.
We haven’t heard any reviews yet, but this new service is making worldwide news, for obvious reasons. Get all the details here.
We’ll let you know how it goes. Just as soon as our rich uncle kicks the bucket. Until then, the lavatory it is.
Remember that 1997 flick, “The Game,” starring Michael Douglas as a bajillionaire whose brother (played by Sean Penn) gives him a birthday present that takes him on a wild ride blurring the lines between fiction and reality? Well, there’s a company promising to do just that, with a Las Vegas spin.
The service is called Las Vegas: The Game, and customers are invited to choose one of three “interactive experiences” designed to provide an unforgettable time in Sin City while pranking friends and loved ones in the process.
Here’s how it works.
Las Vegas: The Game’s team of pranksters orchestrates a night on the town that seems to unfold naturally, but which is actually scripted. “Game engineers” work with clients to customize their experience, with events culminating in a “reveal” of the shenanigans at the end of the night. The services of Las Vegas: The Game are especially suited to groups such as bachelor and bachelorette parties and corporate events.
The first of three “games” is “Night Out,” a nightlife tour for up to 30 guests that begins under the guise of a standard pub crawl (hosted by a fictitious tour company). The game introduces revelers “to the shady, strange and outrageous world of Vegas,” and includes a cast of characters, luxury transportation, complimentary drinks and VIP club access. This package lasts about three hours, and the cost is $149 per person. Get the details.
“Prank A-La-Carte” is a one-off gag that can fit into an existing itinerary. The company gives these examples, “Let’s say your brother gets arrested by a bounty hunter or your best friend marries a girl he just met.” Gags include “Mistaken Identity,” “Hit & Run,” “Dinner Disaster,” “Secret Admirer,” “Your Very Own Hangover” and others. These one-off pranks start at $500. Details here.
“BeSpoke” is the third game, and is described as an “immersive, interactive production built around the personalities and background of each party.” Las Vegas: The Game gathers details from your target’s life and designs an experience using professional actors and a script. No price is provided for this game, so we take that to mean “alarmingly expensive.” Learn more.
The guys behind Las Vegas: The Game are Chad Hardy and Justin Oswald of Hardy Oswald Entertainment. We have no idea who they are, but we appreciate the creativity required to at least attempt something other than yet another cookie-cutter VIP nightclub deal.
Find out more about this new service at the Las Vegas: The Game official site, or follow them on Twitter. Here’s the official news release because, in Las Vegas, those are always awesome and understated.
The jury’s still out on this quirky enterprise, so please let us know if you give it a try.
We love this vintage sign at downtown’s Fremont Street Experience. But, truth be told, there’s no such place as Trader Bill’s.
The Trader Bill’s souvenir shop went away some time ago, but the gorgeous, distressed sign remains. It points to a Harley-Davidson shop.
One of the sexiest, and certainly the weirdest, variety acts in “Absinthe” (arguably the best show in Las Vegas) is no more.
Angel Perrino has parted ways with “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace just a few weeks shy of her third anniversary with the award-winning adult carnival.
In “Absinthe,” Porrino tap danced topless (pasties were involved), inside a giant balloon. Yeah, so, a lot of subtext and character arc were involved.
Angel Perrino snagged her part in “Absinthe” after a stint in the reality show “Holly’s World,” following the exploits of Holly Madsion, who snagged her part in the now-closed “Peepshow” after a stint in the reality show “The Girls Next Door.” Ah, the circularity of the universe. Perrino’s first day on the job at “Absinthe” was April 19, 2011 (her last was March 26, 2014) and her segment of the show quickly became one of its most buzzed-about.
The reasons for her departure from “Absinthe” are a little cloudy. We asked why she’s no longer with the show, and she was nice enough to respond, “No reason was given! We just outgrew each other!”
We then asked “Absinthe” why she’s no longer with the show, and were told, “We can confirm that Angel Porrino is no longer performing in ‘Absinthe.’ We wish her the best of luck in future endeavors.”
So, yeah, PR-speak for “fired, possibly difficult.”
Since we’re left filling in the blanks for ourselves, here’s our best guess: At the time Porrino was hired, “Holly’s World” was getting quite a bit of buzz, and Porrino was sort of a draw. She was probably getting a nice chunk of change for five minutes of work per show, too. As time has passed, her value as a marketing tool has declined, and “Absinthe” seems to have a virtually limitless supply of excellent variety acts, so Porrino’s services were unnecessarily expensive and no longer needed.
The luster wore off, time to move on.
We’ll be interested to see what’s next for Angel Porrino. She probably deserves to be known for something beyond riding her estranged friend Holly Madison’s coattails (they no longer speak) and tap dancing topless. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo has begun offering guests a new backstage tour of one of the quirkiest, most entertaining shows in Las Vegas.
The 90-minute “Onstage Experience” costs $299 per person and is hosted by members of the show’s cast and crew. (So, it’s a backstage tour, onstage. Please try and keep up.)
The tour includes taking a closer look at Blue Man Group’s inventive instruments and props, as well as a music lesson on the show’s PVC instruments. Guests will also try their hand at the show’s memorable marshmallow toss.
The “Onstage Experience” package includes a Premium View ticket to any available performance (you don’t have to attend the show on the day you take the tour), a post-show meet-and-greet, a free cocktail, T-shirt and souvenir.
The new tour happens every Sunday at 2:00 p.m., and packages must be purchased by noon the Friday before the tour.
Find out more about this tour we suspect will be awesome, because it’s flipping Blue Man Group, on the show’s official site.