Monthly Archives: June 2014

SlotZilla Zoomline Tests Are in Full Swing and We’re Feeling a Little Woozy

The SlotZilla zip line in downtown Las Vegas is testing its upper Zoomline, and if you’ll pardon the technical jargon, holy hell, it’s really, really high.

Currently, SlotZilla’s lower lines (77 feet up) are open, with the upper (144 feet up) Zoomline expected to open sometime this summer.

SlotZilla Zoomline

Zoomline riders take off higher than the Fremont Street Experience’s massive Viva Vision screen, which is 90 feet tall. Mommy, please hold us.

Since this blog’s day job is in the Fremont Street Experience marketing department, we get to bring you an exclusive peek all the latest SlotZilla zip line developments. At least we think we get to. If not, we’ll just file this blog post under security breaches.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the OMFG to come.

The latest round of tests involved sending test dummies of varying weights down the lines.

SlotZilla Zoomline

What is the matter with people?

While SlotZilla’s lower lines land halfway down the Fremont Street Experience (by Four Queens and the Fremont casino), people riding the Zoomline will be taken all the way down the mall, double the distance of the current ride (near Golden Gate and the Las Vegas Club).

SlotZilla Zoomline

The newest Vegas thrill ride lands in front of the city’s oldest hotel. We’re having a moment.

Zoomline riders will travel at speeds up to 30 miles an hour, depending upon their weight.

When the Zoomline opens, tickets are expected to cost $30. Rides on the lower lines are $20. Tickets can be purchased online or at the SlotZilla ticket office at the foot of the new downtown attraction.

SlotZilla Zoomline

Riders are hoisted up to the lines on lifts. The lifts are padded and comfy. Riders can’t see the view of the Fremont Street Experience canopy until a door lowers, partially for safety, but a lot for drama.

As our photos of the test dummies show, riders will take their trip prone, Superman-style, which will make an already intense ride even more extreme.

Las Vegas zip line

Are your palms sweaty? Our palms are sweaty. Although, that could be a gland issue.

Learn more about one of the new things to do in Las Vegas.

Check out more photos of the SlotZilla Las Vegas zip line Zoomline in our exclusive gallery. More news to come.

 

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Squeeze at The Linq Offers a Fresh Twist On Juices and Hooches

Squeeze, a juice bar at The Linq shopping district, recently opened without much fanfare, but is sure to grab the attention of those seeking a fresh alternative to the typical beverages served on The Strip.

Squeeze Las Vegas

Bonus: Aside from fresh juices, Squeeze has a small seating area, perfect for people-watching.

This new offering serves up fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, most of which can be combined with liquor if health isn’t your primary concern. The menu at Squeeze also features mimosas, sangria, margaritas, mojitos and other tempting concoctions.

Fresh juices Las Vegas

Let’s pulverize some stuff.

While this blog is not exactly a juice person, we hear for many visitors this convenient source of fresh-pressed juices is a gift from the Vegas gods.

Customers at Squeeze during our visit also raved about the shop’s sangria, which marinades for a week, giving it an extra kick.

Squeeze juices bar

“Sangria” is Spanish for “I can’t remember where I left my panties.” Bonus: Best I.V., ever.

Guests can either choose signature items from the menu or mix-and-match the various juices to build their own drink.

Drinks come in 12 or 16-ounce sizes. Prices are $9 for 16-ounce smoothies, $7.95 for 16-ounce fresh juices, $9.95 for the build-your own juices, $13.95 for mimosas, $9.50 for the sangria, and about $10 for fresh cocktails.

Squeeze Juice Bar

We don’t exactly know what a “Juice Fusion” is, but we would not mind meeting this Virgin Maria person.

Signature cocktails include drinks like a Watermelon Margarita, the Morning After Mojito, Machete Muddles, Tangerine-Lavender Daisy, Kiwi Blast, Jasmine Collins and Fresh Squeezed Bloody Mary.

A few gluten-free snacks are also available, like a turkey club wrap and Thai mango salad, but the juices are the star of the show.

Squeeze Juice Bar

Don’t you hate it when people seem to actually enjoy what they do for a living? Start being miserable immediately.

Icons on the Squeeze menu are a handy way to see which drinks are “Best for Hydration,” “Great for Health,” “Best Immunity Booster,” “Best Hangover Relief” and other designations.

Squeeze has just about the best possible location at The Quad, just a few feet inside the mall entrance, next to the entrance to Tag Bar at The Quad.

Everyone we talked to was extraordinarily excited about the drinks they ordered, so we’ll take that as a sign there’s a pent-up demand that Squeeze and Caesars Entertainment, the company that owns The Quad and The Linq, are happy to fill.

Squeeze at The Linq

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LVH Will Soon Confirm Conversion to Timeshares, Only Move That Could Make It Even More Boring

Just when you thought LVH (Las Vegas Hotel & Casino) couldn’t be more boring, the troubled hotel is about to prove us all wrong. LVH will soon be sold and its rooms will be converted to timeshare units.

LVH officials have been tight-lipped about the sale, but it’s happening and the hotel’s new owner, Westgate Resorts, will begin selling timeshare units in October, 2014.

LVH

LVH becoming a timeshare hotel means more timeshare salespersons in Las Vegas, we said, slashing violently at our wrists.

Westgate is the same company that operated, and lost, PH Towers Westgate at Planet Hollywood when the economy tanked. PH Towers is now the Elara.

The folks involved with Westgate were featured in a sad, disturbing film, “The Queen of Versailles,” which gives this Las Vegas blog zero confidence in Westgate’s ability to do anything other than bring even more meh to the house Elvis made famous.

The aging LVH hotel was built in 1969, and originally opened as The International. Rumor has it Westgate paid $170 million for LVH. Read more from our buddy Norm Clarke.

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Downtown Grand Las Vegas is Experiencing Significant Shrinkage

There’s a lot of news coming out of Downtown Grand, formerly the Lady Luck, and most of it doesn’t inspire confidence in the future of the floundering downtown hotel-casino.

Almost across the board, venues at Downtown Grand are paring back on hours, often closing down on certain days of the week due to a lack of business.

For starters, the hotel’s much-touted 888 Baccarat pit has shuttered. The tables have been replaced with slots, although the far wall is still adorned with mahjong tiles, a holdover from the failed attempt to woo Asian players.

888 Baccarat

The 888 Baccarat sign has lots its “Baccarat,” just as Downtown Grand appears to have misplaced its mojo.

The hours at the easy-to-miss Commissary Latin Kitchen have shrunk significantly. The restaurant now closes at 3:00 p.m. each day. Ouch. Note: The restaurant was originally called Commissary After Dark. Yeah, not so much.

Commissary

Time for The Commissary to get a new name, preferably something that doesn’t sound like an employee dining room at the Department of Building and Safety.

Once a 24-hour operation, The Spread deli in the hotel’s sports book now closes at 8:00 p.m. There’s still a 24-hour restaurant, Stewart + Ogden, though. A recently-revamped menu at Stewart + Ogden is one of the only bright spots at the hotel, although the price points are higher than what downtown regulars expect to pay.

The Spread

The Spread aspires to make people feel like they’re in a “1930s New York City deli.” No possible room for disappointment there.

The downsizing continues at Red Mansion, the hotel’s Asian dining offering.

The restaurant is now closed entirely on Monday and Tuesday. The rapidly-shrinking hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday are 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Hours on Friday and Saturday are noon to 11:00 p.m. There wil l be a quiz. (We hear you can order Asian food from the Red Mansion menu in Stewart + Ogden when Red Mansion is closed, by the way. Worth a try, if that’s your thing.)

Red Mansion

You’d have better luck just using a blindfold and dart board.

The hotel’s lobby bar, Art Bar, now closes at 7:00 p.m. That one’s a shrinkage shocker. Where are we, downtown Las Vegas or Utah? (Update: The hotel says Art Bar closes at 10:00 p.m. We were there before 10:00, though, and it wasn’t open.)

Art Bar

There’s an art to closing things rather than improving them.

Don’t even get us started about Ninth Island, the hotel’s Hawaiian shaved ice and daiquiri counter. Presumably.

The last time we saw Ninth Island open was a week after Downtown Grand opened. The skuttlebutt is that because the counter serves alcoholic beverages, a real bartender is required, and real bartenders won’t work the counter because business doesn’t warrant it. Are we allowed to say “ouch” again?

The official site says Ninth Island is closed on Monday, with hours of noon to 8:00 p.m. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.

Ninth Island

Even when it is open, trust us when we say the shaved ice at Ninth Island is nothing like Hawaiian-style shaved ice. Head to The Cal for that.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment at Downtown Grand has been its smothering-to-death of what was one of this Las Vegas blog’s favorite places to hang out downtown, Mob Bar.

These days, the once-popular bar is only open two paltry evenings a week, Friday and Saturday, starting at 5:00 p.m.

Mob Bar

Who do we have to whack to get our Mob Bar back?

Here’s an example of the questionable decision-making going on at Downtown Grand. Although the Mob Museum would seem a natural partner or source of customers for Mob Bar, the bar’s two Mob Museum-facing doors are always closed and locked. Access can only be had by making a trek into the hotel lobby.

Mob Bar

We’d like to make your patronage of our establishment as inconvenient as possible.

Mob Bar was originally located across the street, and was connected to Triple George. (This whole block of offerings is owned by Fifth Street Gaming.) It had video poker and food. Now, it has the sound of a lone cricket. And even the cricket seems sort of bored.

There are so many seemingly simple steps Downtown Grand could take to make Mob Bar a destination again. First, bring back video poker! Drinks are even more delicious when they’re “free.”

Bring back food, even if it’s just appetizers. Lose the dueling pianos. If your live entertainment can’t be great, don’t have it. Related: Play good music. Our best advice is to have the person who picks the music for The D choose some music for Mob Bar. The D always feels like a party’s going on, and that’s what’s needed at Mob Bar. (The music advice, by the way, applies to the entire casino at Downtown Grand. It’s a buzzkill.)

Go back to having social media check-in specials. Overall, have better social media. Be real, interact, make it fun. Oh, and make sure there’s fast, free wi-fi.

Lower the drink prices.

It’s called the Mob Bar, do something with that. Officially partner with the Mob Museum. Give the joint a speakeasy vibe. Make people give a password to get in. Or make getting in feel important, like they do in the Laundry Room at Commonwealth.

Have themed nights with organized crime or Las Vegas history trivia contests.

Mob Bar

Taps should be flowing, not playing.

Want more? How about bringing in interesting things to do? Find games most other spots don’t have, the way Gold Spike has cornhole or The D has Sigma Derby. Ping pong. Foosball. Virtual golf or Jarts. Anything.

Steal ideas from Rose.Rabbit.Lie. at The Cosmopolitan, and make it an experience. Listen to what customers want, and give it to them. Including go-go bartenders. (Hey, at least one customer would like those.)

So, what do all these recent changes at Downtown Grand mean? They’re likely to signal upcoming changes in the management team (again).

Downtown Grand Las Vegas

Developments at Downtown Ground have pushed our optimism to its limits.

It’s sad to see this ongoing paring away of guest amenities at Downtown Grand, especially when it held so much promise after it opened.

Casino

Please, Downtown Grand, give us more reasons to call it a “casiyes,” despite the fact that is not currently a real word.

More news to come, and we hope it’s better news next time.

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Today’s Panty-Dropper Cocktail, Plus a Panty-Dropper Pizza for Good Measure

This blog loves it some Pizza Rock! This downtown restaurant never fails to satisfy our cravings, and as a Las Vegas blog, we have a nearly limitless supply of those.

First up, a delicious signature cocktail that’s sure to get your evening off to a seductive start. It’s the Blazin’ Vegas cocktail, with Fireball cinnamon whiskey, Apple Pucker, Crown Royal and Red Bull, for $9.50.

Pizza Rock

Suggested slogan: “We are Pizza Rock, and we shall leave no panties undropped.”

But one does not live by panty-dropping cocktails alone (probably), so here’s an equally stupefying pizza to accompany your beverage.

It’s the Cal Italia pizza, which the restaurant says “won the Gold Medal in Food Network Pizza Champions Challenge.” We have no idea if any of that is true, but honestly, who cares? It’s fantastic, and we’re not typically a person who has a ton of things we can’t pronounce on our pizza. In this case, we’ll make an exception.

The Cal Italia has Asiago cheese, mozzarella, imported Italian gorgonzola, sweet fig preserve from Croatia, prosciutto di Parma (Italian for “don’t ask us to share”), Parmigiano and balsamic vinegar. It all simply works.

Pizza Rock Cal Italia

Just the right amount of fancy.

Of course, no meal at Pizza Rock would be complete without a serving of meatballs. Most people have them as an appetizer, but we enjoy them as both our appetizer and dessert courses. We are not kidding.

Pizza Rock meatballs

Suggested slogan: “If these meatballs don’t cure cancer, nothing will.”

Make sure to add Pizza Rock in downtown Las Vegas to your list of things to do during your next visit, along with “visit the Champagne Room” and “mortgage your house to pay for that visit to the Champagne Room.”

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