Category Archives: Las Vegas Bars

Alto Bar Opens at Caesars Palace With Virtual Reality On the Menu

Caesars Palace recently unveiled its new Alto Bar, replacing the decade-old Seahorse Lounge.

Alto Bar Caesars Palace

Replacing the Seahorse Lounge at Caesars was especially good news for the seahorses. Let’s just say they went through a lot of seahorses.

Alto Bar is the result of a multi-million-dollar renovation, and the bar is located adjacent to Omnia Nightclub and Searsucker, a restaurant you never hear anything about, which is always a good sign.

Alto Bar Caesars Palace

Officials haven’t said what inspired the name “Alto,” but recent bar names (Vista, Apostrophe and Fizz) have intentionally steered clear of the resort’s Roman Empire theme.

Alto Bar is the biggest bar at a resort with lots of great bars.

Booths throughout Alto have adorable TV screens because god forbid you go 15 minutes without access to sports.

Alto lounge Caesars Palace

There are six people on staff just to keep track of all the remotes.

The bar has 18 video poker machines. The machine we played was looser than our sister, but your results may vary. With the machines. Our sister is pretty much a sure thing.

The cocktail menu features wildly overpriced drinks, and by that we mean sort of typical prices at Strip resorts these days. Remember, you’re not just paying for a drink, you’re paying for an experience!

Alto Bar Caesars Las Vegas

We don’t know what all those symbols mean. We are a Las Vegas blog, not an Egyptologist.

We had the expertly-prepared Alto Margarita. Hey, $16 is the new $8, but it was delicious. The margarita features Caesars Select Patrón Reposado tequila, Cointreau liqueur, agave nectar, lime juice and a floater of Grand Marnie, whatever that might actually be.

Alto Bar Las Vegas

In awesome news, video poker players can get the signature drinks comped when they play (drinks up to $16). This baby definitely qualifies as a panty-dropper cocktail.

There’s a small selection of draft beer ($9), bottled beer ($8), wine and non-alcoholic offerings.

There are also snacks, including mixed nuts ($7), classic ketel chips ($7) and a “Chef’s Selection” of meats, cheeses and heath breads. Psst, it’s not about the snacks.

The best thing about Alto Bar at the moment is the virtual reality lounge!

The adjoining Oculus Virtual Reality Lounge is easily overlooked and a complete and utter blast.

Alto Bar virtual reality

Oculus Touch, owned by Facebook, uses a pair of tracked hand controllers that give you the feeling the virtual hands are your own. It’s freaky and addictive. Sorry, it’s fire. Or possibly lit. We have trouble keeping up.

If you haven’t tried VR yet, now’s the time, and not just because it’s free. Although, that certainly doesn’t hurt. (Ads for the Virtual Reality Lounge say it’s free with the purchase of a cocktail, but tell them we sent you and they’ll probably let it slide.)

Basically, VR requires that you don a goofy headset and wear two hand controllers. Motion sensors track the movement of your body and create a virtual interaction with your surroundings.

The VR lounge at Alto Bar offers several demos, including The Unspoken, The Climb, VR Sports Challenge and Bullet Train.

Alto Bar Caesars Palace

We’d say virtual reality is the best thing, ever, but we’ve been with actual women. Yes, plural, thanks to a little something called red wine.

The VR lounge won’t be there forever, so take full advantage before March 28, 2017.

Alto Bar is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m and 24 hours Friday through Sunday.

Alto virtual reality lounge

Caesars doesn’t seem to be heavily promoting the VR lounge, so that means more playtime for you.

The virtual reality lounge operates from 4:00 p.m. to midnight during the week and stays open until 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Guests must be 21 or older to use the virtual reality system.

Kudos to Caesars for giving guests some added value at Alto Bar. Virtual reality is mesmerizing, and once you’re in, you’ll never want to stop. Trust us on this one!

Caesars Palace Las Vegas

When you’re at Caesars, check out the swanky new carpet. It definitely doesn’t steer clear of the Roman theme.

Expect to see more VR cropping up at Las Vegas casinos. There’s a new VR Adventures shop at Linq promenade, and MGM Grand has been promoting its “Ka” show with virtual reality stations in its lobby.

It’s only a matter of time before there’s a virtual reality strip club in Las Vegas. Not that anyone would be interested in something like that. At all. Especially not this Las Vegas blog. Ever. Probably.

Alto Lounge at Caesars Palace

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El Cortez Classes Up the Joint With New Bar and Lounge

As we wrote about months ago, El Cortez has its eye on a crowd it’s not known for catering to: Millennials.

Hoping to capture some of the youthful energy of downtown’s Fremont East District—bars like Commonwealth, The Griffin, Therapy and Park on Fremont keep it hopping, especially on weekends—El Cortez has unveiled its renovated casino bar.

El Cortez casino bar

We love us some Vegas newness.

When we first heard about the bar, the intention was to call it Imbibe. However, no new name has been officially announced. Now, we’re hearing it could be called Ike’s Bar, after the name of the company that owns El Cortez, Ike Gaming, Inc. (I.K.E. comes from the initials of Irving Kenneth Epstein, owner of the hotel-casino.)

El Cortez casino lounge

Let’s chill. Or Netflix. Or whatever the kids are doing.

The new bar, with its dark wood appointments and metallic ceiling tiles, doesn’t try to be The Dorsey at Venetian or Clique Lounge at Cosmopolitan. There’s no pretense, and the drinks are still dirt cheap, just the way we like them. The $5 Patron margarita looked especially enticing.

The bar’s footprint has been expanded to include a wood floor, which presumably could be used for dancing.

At the moment, the area is full of plush chairs and couches, perfect for hanging out with friends.

El Cortez casino lounge

Oh, just sit on something.

Thankfully, El Cortez hasn’t gone full Gold Spike, and there’s not a single game of cornhole or Jenga to be found.

Our favorite part of the new social area is a long table with chips from the now-closed Thunderbird and Western casinos embedded in the tabletop.

El Cortez casino bar

We have got to get us one of these.

No, really, it’s our favorite thing. Right behind the bottles of Captain Morgan at the bar, of course. Priorities.

El Cortez bar chips

The Western casino closed in 2012 and in its declining years held the distinction of inspiring more “Silkwood” showers than any other Las Vegas casino.

If that’s the Thunderbird we’re thinking of, it was originally the Silverbird, then El Rancho. It holds the distinction of being the place Judy Garland made her final Las Vegas appearance in 1965. Sweet nod to Vegas history, El Cortez.

El Cortez is trying to liven up this portion of the casino by loudly playing popular music through exactly six of the casino’s speakers just above the bar. We suspect this won’t land very well with the typical El Cortez customer, but we’re all going to have to learn to play nicely.

Ike’s Bar (it’s a coin toss at this point) has 19 video poker machines, 11 on one side and eight on the other.

The bar also features 10 flat screen TVs.

El Cortez casino bar

Cheap hooch, friendly service, video poker, mellow vibe. That’s our kind of Vegas.

The new casino bar at El Cortez is located near one of the entrances off Fremont Street, and sits next to the keno lounge and excellent Pizza Lotto restaurant. Pizza Lotto never did get those promised scratch-off lotto cards, but the solid pizza makes up for it.

You can still score freebies by visiting the Pizza Lotto Web site.

Cheers to El Cortez for investing in a more modern bar while retaining some old-school charm, including bartenders wearing old-timey garter on their sleeves.

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The Dorsey Lounge Replaces Bourbon Room at Venetian

A swanky new lounge has opened at Venetian, The Dorsey.

The new lounge sits in the former Bourbon Room space. Bourbon Room was a lounge themed to complement the hotel’s departed show, “Rock of Ages,” which relocated to Rio Las Vegas. “Rock of Ages” closes, once again, on Jan. 1, 2017.

There will be a quiz.

The Dorsey Venetian

The Dorsey. Just the right amount of fancy.

The Dorsey does a 180 from the “rockin’ loud” Bourbon Room, delivering a more refined experience in well-appointed surroundings. (The 180-degree change is punctuated by the fact the bar no longer has video poker.)

The Dorsey Venetian

The Dorsey cost $2.5 million and was worth every penny.

The Dorsey’s signature cocktail menu is replete with unique libations “designed by award-winning barman Sam Ross of New York City’s Attaboy fame.” We are clearly a dim-witted muttonhead because we have no idea what an “Attaboy” is or why it’s famous. However, we can attest to the fact Sam Ross knows his hooch.

We tried the Banana Hammock and our socks were blown.

Off.

Related: Punctuation is hard.

The Dorsey Venetian

The Banana Hammock features two rums, lime, banana, orgeat and cinnamon. It was infinitely better than it sounds. Especially the orgeat thing. Which you’ll be Googling in three, two…

Here’s The Dorsey cocktail menu in a resolution that won’t make you squint like an albino in a tanning booth. Here are more cocktails (including “Stirred & Boozy,” “Shorties” and “Punch Bowls”). Look here for the champagne, wine and beer.

Signature cocktails run in the $18 range, which may cause some Las Vegas regulars sticker shock. But $18 is the new $8, so it’s best to just settle in and enjoy the creativity of the cocktails.

Or the ambiance.

If you get our drift.

The Dorsey Venetian

Your elevated heart rate is duly noted and completely warranted.

The model-servers are friendly and helpful, as are The Dorsey’s bartenders.

The Dorsey is 4,500-square-feet, in case square footage somehow adds to your enjoyment of a lounge. You freak.

The space is warm and as comfortable and sophisticated as The Dorsey’s news release claims. There’s a lot of oak and brass and leather and marble.

There are two areas in The Dorsey that provide a semi-private feel, the Cage and the Library.

The Dorsey Venetian

If you guessed this isn’t the Library, you’re right. Your future as a detective is assured.

The Library, lined with hundreds of books, has a sweet fireplace. It blows smoke and it lit in a way that makes the smoke look like fire. It’s cozy, trust us.

The Dorsey Venetian

You remember books. It’s how people occupied themselves before memes and Facebook stalking.

The walls of The Dorsey are lined with digital displays featuring the work of a number of artists whose names we don’t recognize, such as Marilyn Minter, Poyen Wang and Jason Salavon.

The Dorsey is on par with Clique at Cosmopolitan and Skyfall Lounge at Delano.

The Dorsey Venetian

Beyond its dreamy bar, The Dorsey also has a DJ booth. We won’t hold that against it.

If you’re looking to knock something back on the cheap (ditto slamming or chugging), this probably isn’t the place. The Dorsey is, however, a place with an air of class, memorable cocktails and waitresses who will make you feel like the most interesting, attractive person in the world.

The Dorsey Venetian

Let’s infuse something, already.

The Dorsey is open nightly from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. It’s located just off the main floor of the Venetian’s casino, near the hotel’s restaurant row.

The Dorsey at Venetian

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Virgil’s Real BBQ Debuts at Linq Promenade

The Linq promenade in the center of the Las Vegas Strip has a new restaurant offering to add to its already strong line-up, Virgil’s Real BBQ.

Virgil's Real BBQ

Let’s smoke something.

Virgil’s comes from a company called Alicart, the folks behind Carmine’s, an excellent Italian restaurant in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

The original Virgil’s opened in 1994 in Times Square in New York City.

Virgil’s Real BBQ takes over the space formerly occupied by the F.A.M.E. Asian food court at Linq promenade, a shopping center between the Flamingo and Linq hotels.

Virgil's Real BBQ

Virgil’s is a spacious, two-level venue, seating around 450 people, most of them wishing they’d been seated farther from the band. Related: Get off our lawn.

There are two bars at Virgil’s, and the full menu is available at the bars, which works well for solo diners.

We tried the Virgil’s Old Fashioned, mainly because Virgil’s doesn’t serve Captain Morgan. As you might suspect, that’s a cardinal sin in our book, but we forged ahead. The things we do for you.

Virgil's Real BBQ

The Old Fashioned comes in a “flask” customers can keep. We’re still a little foggy on how a flask is different from a bottle.

So, how’s the barbecue at Virgil’s? Well, it didn’t blow us away, but we aren’t a barbecue expert.

Las Vegas is notoriously weak in the barbecue realm, and we suspect Virgil’s won’t do much to move the needle in that regard.

The official Web site for Virgil’s says the “meats are smoked at a low temperature over indirect heat for up to 10 hours with a unique mix of hickory, oak and fruit woods in order to impart the most flavor and to keep the meat from drying out.” We’ll take their word for it.

Virgil's Real BBQ

Yes, there are vegan and vegetarian options, but let’s get real, it’s not about the veggies.

The big selling point of Virgil’s is that it pulls together local styles of barbecue, such as Texas beef brisket (the high point of our meal), Carolina pulled pork and Memphis pork ribs and chicken.

Portions are ample, and there’s a healthy selection of about 10 sides, including baked beans, cole slaw, cheddar cheese grits, pickled beets and the like. We tried the buttermilk biscuit and mac and cheese, and neither were particularly memorable.

Virgil's Real BBQ

The bar for mac and cheese in Las Vegas is very high, so this falls firmly in the “meh” category.

The Virgil’s menu features salads, burgers, sandwiches and a solid roster of appetizers, including chicken wings, “Trainwreck Fries,” crab cakes, popcorn shrimp, onion rings and Texas chili.

The food prices aren’t outrageous for mid-Strip, with combination platters providing some of the best values. Our “Pick 2” combo, with “Trash Ribs” and sliced Texas beef brisket (along with two sides) ran us $24.95, and could’ve easily fed two people.

The drink menu is strong on variety, serving up whiskey drinks, “Porch Rockers,” margaritas, slushies and other tourist-friendly libations. Most drinks run in the $12 range. Our Old Fashioned was $15.

Virgil's Real BBQ

A little second floor action.

The service wasn’t stellar at Virgil’s, and at the bar it took ages to have our plate taken away after we finished dining. The food also wasn’t piping hot, possibly caused by some confusion about where the food was supposed to be delivered. The restaurant is still new, so it’s possible some of those service issues will be hammered out in the weeks to come.

As for the atmosphere, Virgil’s had live music during our visit, of which we are not a personal fan. We know, everyone loves live music, everywhere. It helps avoid having to “converse,” we get it.

Thankfully, Virgil’s is so big, you can make your way to the far end of the place (or upstairs), so it’s not as intrusive.

Virgil's Real BBQ

Virgil’s is so big, it’s like four restaurants, and two bars, in one. It’s important to always have an emergency back-up bar.

Virgil’s is yet another restaurant that’s fallen victim to the practice of having rock-hard chairs, making it clear you’re not expected to hang out for too long.

Overall, Virgil’s should fare well at Linq promenade. It’s not destination dining, but the liquor is strong and the food is adequate. Which is probably not a blurb they’ll be using in their advertising anytime soon.

Virgil's sign

We stand corrected.

If you’ve tried Virgil’s and had a great experience, please share. We’d love to hear about your experiences with their meat.

Virgil's Real BBQ

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Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo Expected to Close in 2017

While it hasn’t been officially announced, word has it Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo, a popular Las Vegas Strip fixture, will close in April 2016.

The restaurant and bar is likely to be replaced with another venue more in line with the Monte Carlo’s rebrand to Park MGM in 2017.

Diablo's Cantina Las Vegas

“Diablo” is the Spanish name for the devil. The devil also goes by Beelzebub, Lucifer, Satan and Criss Angel.

It’s possible Diablo’s Cantina may not go away completely. There have been discussions internally about moving the establishment to a vacant spot in the nearby Park promenade, a restaurant row near the T-Mobile Arena.

Diablo's Cantina

Oh, hey.

Diablo’s Cantina’s two-story, Mexican restaurant and bar concept may have been deemed too rowdy for Park MGM’s new, higher-end vibe which employees have described as aspiring to be “more along the lines of Aria.”

Read more about the Monte Carlo rebrand to Park MGM.

Diablo's Cantina wheel

If you’re a fan of Diablo’s Cantina, its margaritas and “Wheel O’ Sin,” you may want to stop by before April.

As we said, this closure hasn’t been confirmed, but it would be wise to drink up while you can.

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Security Breach: El Cortez Begins Creation of Imbibe Bar

Way back in Jan. 2016, we caught wind of a new bar coming to El Cortez, the classic hotel on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

At last, the hotel’s current casino bar has been closed and Imbibe bar is in the works.

El Cortez Imbibe bar

Yes, even if it’s just a curtain, it qualifies as a security breach. You’re quite the stickler, aren’t you?

The hotel has made no official announcement about the bar, it’s closure, any expansion
or even the bar’s name. Just go with it, anyway.

Naturally, we had to peek behind the drapes to see what’s up inside.

El Cortez Imbibe bar

The future home of Captain Morgan spiced rum and possibly other kinds of liquor we care much less about.

Presumably, the new Imbibe bar will try to appeal to a younger crowd. From what we hear, there’s already a strong millennial presence on Fridays and Saturdays. El Cortez benefits from all the surrounding restaurants and bars (think Gold Spike and Commonwealth) in the Fremont East District.

We did a walk-through of Fremont East so you can get your bearings.

Staffers say not only is the bar being renovated, but it’s expanding beyond the current casino bar’s footprint, and could potentially swallow the area where the keno parlor resides. (The keno desk would then be relocated to the hotel’s sports book area.)

El Cortez Imbibe lounge

Cornhole and foosball in 3…2…

We’ll keep an eye on the new bar at El Cortez, of course, but in the meantime, you’ll want to take advantage of a new promotion at the historic casino.

Here’s a thingy because we’re too drunk to relay the details.

El Cortez promotion

We refuse to do math unless it directly benefits us. This is that.

So, that’s cool, right? You’re making a withdrawal from the ATM, anyway, so why not get some free slot play?

Once you make your ATM withdrawal, head to the casino cage. There, you’ll be given a certificate for free play. Take the certificate to the loyalty club desk, and the free play is put on your club card.

El Cortez promotion

Vast fortunes have been won in Las Vegas with $15. Actual results may vary.

Now, win something and stick it to The Man. Winning with free play is even sweeter than the regular kind of winning, promise.

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