Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Whirlwind of Security Breaches, Newness and Unqualified WTF at The Quad

As far as we know, The Quad Resort & Casino is still The Quad Resort & Casino, although it will become Linq Hotel & Casino on October 30, 2014. Read more.

Many things have changed since the hotel was the Imperial Palace, and the hotel and casino are still in flux. We made a recent visit, peering into private spaces and generally digging up everything new at The Quad. Let’s explore.

First, the exterior of The Quad is getting an overhaul. And by “overhaul” we mean “Sweet mother of god, what are they thinking?”

Quad exterior

It’s a little like a color wheel ingested too much Fireball whiskey then went on a roller coaster.

It’s almost as if The Quad is trying to use up all the leftover paint from every other hotel renovation in Las Vegas, ever.

Quad Las Vegas exterior

It’s entirely possible they’re not using these colors ironically.

The new exterior is just one part of a $223 million renovation which includes a much-needed retooling of the hotel’s rooms and an extensive renovation of the casino. We haven’t been able to sneak a look at the room renovations, but we’ve seen just about everything else, so let’s get on with it.

As we reported back in May 2014, the hotel’s shopping promenade, including Betty’s Diner, has been shuttered to make way for, wait for it, a fancier shopping promenade.

Quad Las Vegas

The people who put up construction walls are making a killing at The Quad.

All the doors have been kept locked along the promenade, making security breaches difficult.

Happily, there are holes at strategic points in the construction walls, as you can see in the photo above. If the holes were caused by a vandal, we want to make it clear we don’t condone their actions. Of course, the fact we condemn vandalism doesn’t mean we’re not going to poke our camera in the openings. It’s Las Vegas. You can condemn and poke at the same time.

The Quad shopping

There’s a whole lot of not much going on in the shopping promenade at The Quad.

It’s weird so little has been accomplished at these new shops, as people are clamoring for more shopping in Las Vegas. The same way people in Las Vegas clamor for more heat in August.

Quad shopping

Even more not much.

Check out our photo gallery for more photos of empty rooms that will some day pretty much have the same stuff they did before the shopping promenade renovation.

Moving toward the casino, we note the hotel’s Fat Tuesday daiquiri bar has closed. Which, in Las Vegas, is akin to taking a stake to the heart.

Fat Tuesday Quad

We trust there are one or two other places to get slushy drinks on The Strip.

Across from The Quad’s snazzy Catalyst Bar is another walled-off area (see below).

We recently learned this will be the location of the hotel’s new Diamond Lounge, for qualifying members of the Total Rewards casino loyalty club.

Quad Diamond Lounge

Future Diamond Lounge, and currently the home of a sad, lonely Big Six wheel.

Just across from this area is a construction area in the heart of the casino.

Quad center bar

It’s the thingy on the right.

We’ve been watching this center section for awhile now, and there are finally some signs of life! Hello, unlocked door.

Quad center bar

Stuff!

We even fired up our drone and got a shot over the construction wall (and that’s the story we’re sticking to). How excited were we to see a bar taking shape, especially given the shape is roughly that of the Millennium Falcon?

Quad bar

It might not look like much, but there have been many months of much less, trust us.

From what we’ve heard, this new lobby bar will be called the Living Room. There is likely to be gambling, but much like at the hotel’s new Tag Bar, the table games will be automated (no human dealers).

The Living Room will cost a hefty $2.7 million, much of which hasn’t been spent yet, obviously.

Living Room The Quad

This sort of looks like our own living room, only neater.

The Living Room’s hook? According to the hotel, “The upcoming lobby bar will be one of the hotel’s signature elements. Unlike your typical lobby bar, it will offer a board game menu that allows you to reserve your favorite board games. You can play here, or even bring it up to your room.” Translation: “We have no idea where we’re going with this fancy new bar, other than wanting to attract younger, more affluent customers, so for the time being, we’re just going to wing it.” Read more.

What else is going on at The Quad?

The casino continues to be rejiggered. As we mentioned recently, the hotel’s popular dealertainers are no more.

The games in the casino are being moved around, and the craps tables have been uprooted, as shown below. (This is the area where the quirky Rapid Craps once lived, too. We don’t think that will be back.)

Quad casino

The casino shuffle continues.

But wait, there’s more! There’s something happening in this area. We’d be more specific, but that would involve “research” or “asking someone.”

Quad construction

We have no idea what this is, and we don’t care who knows it.

One of the more fascinating juxtapositions at The Quad involves the new elevator wraps. They tout the hotel becoming the Linq Hotel & Casino, but the accents above the elevators are remnants of the former, Asian-themed Imperial Palace.

Quad elevators

Told you there would be some WTF.

More new (at least it’s new to us) WTF is found at the nearby cashier cage.

Apparently, you can purchase a “commemorative Frank Marino’s Divas $25 chip to celebrate Frank Marino’s 25,000th performance on the Las Vegas Strip.” So, you buy a $25 chip. And you take it home. And The Quad keeps your $25. Just so we’re clear.

Divas Las Vegas chip

We asked someone at the cage if anyone’s ever purchased these chips, and the answer was a resounding “yes.” Shows how much we know.

Before we end our tour of The Quad, we can’t leave without a mention of an unfortunate victim of the hotel’s renovations. Specifically, the hotel’s “Pet Relief” area.

As with other Caesars Entertainment resorts on The Strip, The Quad is marketed to pet owners as being pet-friendly. There was a small “Pet Relief” area not too far from the hotel, but the location had to be changed because it was beneath work is being done on the rooms.

To get there, you need a GPS device, hiking boots and exceptional endurance. On the bright side, the walk (shown below) will allow you and your pet some quality bonding time.

Quad pet relief area

We wouldn’t exactly call this the scenic route.

Once you arrive at the relief area, well, just adjust your expectations.

Quad pet friendly

Honestly, your pet will be most relieved if you never drag it to The Quad again.

To the hotel’s credit, it isn’t pushing its pet-friendliness much anymore.

All-in-all, it appears more surprises are afoot at The Quad hotel, soon to be The Linq hotel, formerly the Imperial Palace hotel. To-date, there have been hits (O’Sheas, Tag Lounge and Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar), some misses (Chayo Mexican Kitchen, the poker “room,” the untimely end of the dealertainers) and lots of stuff where the jury’s still out.

We can’t wait to see what’s next! Especially if what’s next is behind a door somebody at The Quad forgot to lock.

Security Breaches at The Quad and More

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Hard Rock Cafe Serves Up Kitty Litter at Drag Queen Brunch

The Hard Rock Cafe at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has a new take on brunch. The restaurant is set to host “Rouge & Booze: A Drag Brunch.”

The gathering is touted as the only one of its kind in Las Vegas, featuring entertainment by a local drag queen named Kitty Litter and friends.

“Rouge & Booze: A Drag Brunch” happens the last Sunday of every month, starting Sep. 28, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for $20 per person.

Hard Rock Cafe

In guitar playing, a “strum” is a quick drag of the pick across the strings. Ah, the circularity of the universe.

Guests will get bottomless mimosas and special menu items like New Orleans-style chicken and waffles, biscuits with country gravy and the restaurant’s vaunted hazelnut brandy French toast. We don’t actually know for a fact the French toast is vaunted, but we needed an excuse to use the word “vaunted.” If you don’t like it, get your own Las Vegas blog.

The drag queens will take the stage at 11:00 a.m., presumably lip-syncing to popular songs. Because that’s sort of how drag queens roll. Hey, we watch “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.”

drag queen Las Vegas

This is not one of the drag queens in the Hard Rock Cafe show, but this photo is the best we could do on short notice.

Kitty Litter is one of the featured performers in What a Drag, which calls itself the “longest-running drag show in Las Vegas.” Although you probably don’t want to say that to Frank Marino at Diva’s Las Vegas at The Quad, or there’s likely to be a catfight.

The news release about this new offering says you can find out more at the official Hard Rock Cafe site. Good luck with that.

We’re betting “Rouge & Booze: A Drag Brunch” is going to be a blast. First, you can’t go wrong with bottomless mimosas. Second, the vast majority of drag queens are wildly entertaining. Third, it’s Las Vegas, so loosen up and brunch with some shade-throwing crossdressers, already.

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Exclusive: “Transformers” Sequel Secretly Being Filmed in Downtown Las Vegas

Remember, you heard it here first!

Filming of the next installment of the blockbuster “Transformers” franchise has been kept top secret, until now. We recently caught an exclusive glimpse of the “Transformers” set in downtown Las Vegas.

Transformers Las Vegas

The latest “Transformers” film is rumored to be targeting a more mature demographic.

Few details are known about the “Transformers” sequel, but rumor has it the film’s title will be either, “Transformers: Age of the Rascal” or “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Who Can’t Get Up.”

As for details about the film’s storyline, director Michael Bay refuses to comment officially, but has been quoted saying, “We haven’t had any scripts up to this point, and we have no intention of changing that just because we’re in Las Vegas.”

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Siren’s Cove is Back at TI, Sans Sirens, But With Some New Industrial Park Flair

The “Sirens of TI” lagoon has experienced some shrinkage in recent months, but it’s looking good, and even boasts a few modest water features. It’s no Bellagio, but it’ll do in a pinch.

TI lagoon

Since the closing of the “Sirens of TI” show, the Las Vegas Strip has 91% less siren.

Treasure Island closed its popular “Sirens of TI” show back in November, 2013.

While the show attracted crowds of visitors, it apparently didn’t attract the kind of visitors that stick around and spend money.

Here’s a hastily slapped-together video of the downsized Sirens Cove at Treasure Island.

Given the high cost of producing the pyrotechnic-heavy “Sirens of TI” show, with little to show for it, TI decided to drain its Buccaneer Bay and lop off a third of it to make room for a three-story, 48,000-square-foot shopping complex.

TI’s new shopping mall has all the glitz and glamor you’d expect from a Las Vegas hotel, as long as you define “glitz and glamor” as “looking like something you’d find in an industrial park.”

TI shopping mall

We’re pretty sure TI is trying to make this blog weep openly in public.

We’re having trouble thinking of another development project on The Strip that’s inspired more “meh” than this architectural tumor.

TI shopping

Please, just push us into traffic, already.

The proposal for the project may have oversold it, as the original proposal said, “The facades of the building show varying geometrical shapes and depths, with exterior colors consisting of vivid hues.” Define “vivid.”

The new shopping complex will presumably host a pharmacy, retail shops, restaurants and possibly an auto dealership. This is the point where most people yawn so powerfully they come close to dislocated their jawbone.

TI show

All hope is lost.

The shopping area at TI follows a recent Las Vegas trend, using shopping to generate revenue where there previously was none. Other shopping developments are happening at Bally’s Las Vegas (Grand Bazaar Shops), New York-New York and Monte Carlo (The Park promenade) and Tropicana.

While the lagoon appears to be finished, TI’s shopping mall has a long way to go, at least according to this photo we snapped during our security breach.

TI shopping mall

It appears tenants are as excited about this as we are. Cue the crickets.

We can’t help but pine for the TI’s over-the-top pirate show, an iconic Las Vegas attraction ever since TI opened in 1993. The story was paper-thin and the dialogue was so bad it seemed to have been written by dropping a wet cat on a keyboard, but still, it was free, it was loud and fleshy, and about as Las Vegas as Las Vegas gets.

TI lagoon shopping

Behold the precise place where Las Vegas past and Las Vegas future intersect.

TI’s new shopping complex is expected to open soon, followed almost immediately by what we assume will be a dramatic increase in reports of dislocated jawbones.

 

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Like Anyone Turning 21, the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival Will Do It Up Big in Las Vegas

The Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival is one of the most colorful, convivial and cringe-worthy events that takes place in Las Vegas, and this year the annual event turns legal.

Dust off your codpiece because the 21st annual Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival happens at the city’s Sunset Park, Oct. 10-12, 2014.

renaissance fair las vegas

Blameth this blog not if thou dost contracteth a communicable disease. ‘Tis a renaissance faire, verily.

The festival features knights, maidens, minstrels, wenches and the largest collection of horrible English accents you’ll find anywhere in the continental United States.

The event features more than 50 shows per day, including awkward historical enactments, with more than 100 artisans on-hand to make things you’ll never in your life use.

Renaissance fair

Now you know what Trekkers do on their days off.

Oh, and there are perfume blenders. Which is an actual thing.

The only thing you’re unlikely to find at the Chivalry Renaissance Festival is dignity.

Age of Chivalry Las Vegas

It’s like being in Elizabethan England, but with better personal hygiene for the most part.

One of the highlights of the Chivalry Renaissance Festival is the abundance of cleavage.

Age of Chivalry Las Vegas

Falcons. Abundance of falcons. That’s what we meant.

And don’t miss the medieval barber demonstrations, another thing we’re absolutely not making up.

The festival is open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $13 per day in advance for adults, $8 per day for seniors 60 and older, and children 5-12. Kids four and younger are free. Day-of tickets are a couple of bucks more.

Age of Chivalry festival

Best not to giggle and point around certain costumed characters. We’re just saying.

While we lovingly kid about this event, it’s always a blast, and there’s a whole subculture of people who are really, really into this stuff.

Each year, we make a concerted effort to just get over ourselves and revel in the peculiar spectacle of it all.

Learn more at the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival’s official site. See you there! We’ll be the one leering at the falcons.

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Yong Kang Street Opens at Paris Las Vegas, Plus a Bonus First Look Inside Martorano’s

A new restaurant, Yong Kang Street Dumpling & Noodle House, has opened at Paris Las Vegas.

Yong Kang Street

According to the Internet, “Yong Kang” translates as “Yong Kang.” The Internet can be a real smartass.

The new dining option was inspired by a restaurant district in the Chinese city of Taipei. Taipei, we have learned, is the capital of Taiwan. Which we thought was its own country, until we learned Taipei is in China, which we’re pretty sure is also a country. China, of course, can refer to the Republic of China or the People’s Republic of China, two separate things.

This is just one of the reasons we are a Las Vegas blog and not a political science or geography major. Learn more.

Yong Kang Street

There’s a chance these were inspired by Chinese sky lanterns. If not, just play along.

Geopolitical issues aside, Yong Kang Street comes from the same folks that brought the F.A.M.E. Asian food court to the Linq shopping promenade, HIG Management.

Yong Kang Street

In America, we play “Where’s Waldo?” In Asia, they play “Where’s Bruce?” Unless that’s culturally insensitive, then nevermind.

The menu features dim sum, dumplings, Taiwanese noodles, noodle soup, congee (rice porridge), barbeque and roast dishes as well as a variety of vegetables.

We have very thoughtfully provided you a way to see both the front and the back of the menu, because that’s how we spring roll.

Yong Kang Street

Yong Kang Street is intimate, but if it’s a hit, we suspect it will expand. Never look a gift dim sum in the mouth, we always say.

Yong Kang Street at Paris Las Vegas sits in what was part of Café Ile St. Louis, between the hotel’s buffet and what remains of the Café Ile St. Louis, pictured below.

Cafe Ile St. Louis

The French cafe is just around the corner from Yong Kang Street, proof all nations can live together in harmony. Probably.

The photo below shows the former cafe entrance, before it was Yonged-upon.

Paris cafe

We took this photo in 2010, figuring it would go away some day. If you wait long enough in Vegas, you’ll always be right about things changing.

The decor at Yong Kang Street isn’t lavish, and the restaurant’s retooling was clearly done on a tight budget. (In casino parlance, it’s known as “value engineering.”)

Yong Kang Street Paris Las Vegas

This photo shows the Yong-Kang Beef Noodle Soup Restaurant, open since 1963. You get to the original Yong Kang Street by getting off at Dongmen Station. We repeat, Dongmen. We would make a joke, but would prefer not to cause an international incident.

The restaurant boasts an open kitchen, filled with a good number of actual Asian people busily making delicacies by hand.

Yong Kang Street Paris Vegas

Many Asian gamblers are superstitious about the number four, so customers should know only one item on the menu has a price with a four in it, the Japanese Tonkotsu Ramen ($14.88). Disaster averted.

Yong Kang Street’s hours will be Sunday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Friday, Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to midnight.

We’ll be back to try some food as it looked tasty as hell.

Yong Kang Street

Our favorite anagram of Yong Kang Street? Tong greets Yank.

A few steps away, the new Martorano’s Italian restaurant appears to be nearing completion.

Martorano’s comes from Steve Martorano, the self-proclaimed “Godfather of Italian American Cooking,” whose other Las Vegas restaurant (of the same name) is at Rio Las Vegas. Try the meatballs.

We decided not to wait for the unveiling of the new Martorano’s, so a security breach ensued.

Martorano's Paris Las Vegas

What’s Italian for “We’re not invited to media night”?

Martorano’s is expected to open at Paris Las Vegas later this month (September, 2014).

We love us some Vegas newness, and there’s obviously a lot cooking at Paris Las Vegas. Let us know what you think.

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