The long, winding, sometimes WTF saga of the self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Gift Shop” continues with news the Bonanza Gift Shop has been sold for $50 million.
The massive gift shop sits at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Ave.
It’s on a sign, so it must be true.
A couple of years ago, there were rumors the Bonanza Gift Shop would be sold and closed. We should know because we started them.
In 2015, records showed the property actually was sold, but it’s a little unclear who bought what. The building? The land it sits on? Welcome to the sometimes murky world of Las Vegas real estate.
Now, though, records show the Bonanza Gift Shop was definitely sold to Haim Gabay, a Las Vegas businessman.
That’s a lot of gift shop.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Gabay purchased the gift shop, in part, with proceeds from a sale of two retail shops on Fremont Street. The shops were acquired by Derek Stevens for $13.5 million, and will become part of a new resort currently called 18 Fremont. Read more.
The balance of Gabay’s purchase was in the form of a $25 million bank loan and a $10 million loan floated by the sellers.
Ah, the memories. Sadly, this clever sign was changed the last time the gift shop changed hands.
For the time being, it appears the Bonanza Gift Shop will stay open, so Las Vegas visitors will continue to have a source for their dice clocks, shot glasses and tchotchkes, a word we have to look up every time we write a story about the Bonanza Gift Shop.
Which is pretty farkakte. A word, we should mention, we’ve never seen written out until right this second.
The transition of Monte Carlo to Park MGM has begun in earnest with the closing of The Pub, the hotel’s pool and Street of Dreams shopping promenade.
Break out the Kleenex! And not for the usual reason you break out Kleenex when you’re on the Internet, perv.
Naturally, we poked our nose in to check on the progress of the rebrand.
The Street of Dreams shopping area was eerily quiet, although lots of guests still walk through the rows of closed shops on their way to the tram for Aria and Bellagio.
It’s like “The Omega Man.” (Millennial translation: It’s like “I Am Legend.”)
Yes, all the shops in the Street of Dreams have left the building, including Starbucks and the Big Chill Bar, at least one of those we wish we’d have gotten a slushy drink from, because slushy drinks.
These two weren’t the best roommates, anyway.
Here’s a little walk-through of the closed Street of Dreams. Yes, we refer to it as the “Field of Dreams” at one point. We didn’t say all the liquor options at Monte Carlo had closed, did we?
By far, our favorite closure is that of a gift shop called MC Essentials, mainly because irony is the birth canal whence we were spawned. Or something.
For many, the closing of The Pub is the most bittersweet element of the changes going on at Monte Carlo. Unfortunately, capturing photos of The Pub would have involved a security breach, so we can’t share any here.
You. Are so. Gullible.
Here’s another photo, just to ensure you have time to bid farewell to a beloved Las Vegas watering hole. A watering hole, we should add, which will always occupy a special place in our heart because that’s where we met and hung out for hours with the members of Wang Chung. We are not making this up.
Oh, great, now there’s a seat available.
Just outside, the Monte Carlo pool has closed and it already in the process of being tore up real good. Which is the technical term for it in the demolition world, probably.
You just got spared some melanoma. You’re welcome.
Guests of Monte Carlo still have access to a pool, it’s just at MGM Grand.
The closures of The Pub, the pool and the Shops We Never Visited Because Shopping is Boring are part of a $450 million rebrand of Monte Carlo by MGM Resorts. As mentioned, the new hotel will be called Park MGM. The resort will also have a hotel-within-a-hotel, NoMad Las Vegas.
The renovations and rebrand will be finished in 2018, and will bring lots of new offerings to the former Monte Carlo, including an Eataly marketplace, whatever that might actually be.
We really, really like sharing news about the rebrand of Monte Carlo because we wrote about it a year before anyone else. In the parlance of Las Vegas blogs, neener-neener.
If you’re looking for clues about what’s to come at Park MGM, look no further than the Monte Carlo’s exterior. The hotel has telegraphed its new look by painting a section of the building in what we assume with be Park MGM’s color scheme.
Easiest security breach, ever.
Yes, we broke out the big lens. Somebody had to.
We recommend you keep your curtains closed when staying in a Las Vegas hotel. Just saying.
There’s a lot more coolness to come, and you can rest assured we’ll be all over it like glitter on a stripper.
Change comes fast and furious in Las Vegas, so we thought it time to take another pass at what’s new at Linq promenade. That, of course, it code for security breaches!
First up, we poked our nose over the construction wall and In-N-Out, a long-awaited addition to the Linq mall (located between Flamingo and Linq hotels).
Presumably, the Strip outpost of In-N-Out will open by the end of the year, but at this point, there’s little to see in the way of progress.
Why doth thou torment us so, In-N-Out?
Nearby, there’s another restaurant in the works, Canter’s Deli. Of Canter’s Deli fame.
This establishment, too, is supposed to arrive soon, but at the moment is little more than an empty room with sadness written all over it.
Canter’s will take up residency in the space formerly used by the High Roller Ferris wheel ticket office.
Other parts of the Linq promenade, however, hold a bit more promise.
There’s a new restaurant in the works, Jaburrito, a place for sushi burritos, which we understand isn’t nearly as gross as it sounds.
Former home of a failed lingerie shop, Ruby Blue. There will be a quiz.
Linq promenade is currently decked out in its Halloween finest, including some impressive ghouls and werewolves along the pedestrian mall.
Linq promenade, helping populate your nightmares since 2014.
The monsters at Linq are a fun diversion, and lots of visitors seemed to be taking advantage of the free photo op.
That time it got awkward because your fear was tinged with arousal.
In keeping with the Linq’s practice of refreshing its public art, there’s a new undead-themed mural.
Don’t believe zombies exist? Who do you think approved the Las Vegas stadium deal?
A new addition to the Linq promenade is an exotic vehicle rental stand.
Drunk tourists, lots of traffic and three-wheeled vehicles? What could possibly go wrong?
The rates don’t seem particularly high, but we are a blog, not a Slingshot expert.
Seriously, though, driving The Strip in a vehicle without a roof is a great way to take it all in.
Urban Turban, a popular Vegas restaurant, now has a stand at Linq (sorry, “open-air kitchen”), and it’s fully up and running.
The menu is somewhat limited, but what’s on it looks tempting.
Ripped from the pages of the bestselling book, “How to Open a Restaurant With the Change You Find Under Your Couch Cushions.”
Here’s the Urban Turban menu. What, you thought we were going to leave you hanging?
Finally, a menu so streamlined even we could memorize it.
Nearby, of course, is the High Roller observation wheel. Nothing too new there, but we felt it was a good time to bring up the fact Las Vegas is home to the world’s largest Ferris wheel. It continues to struggle to meet ridership targets, but we shouldn’t take this engineering wonder for granted.
Thanks to the miracle and curse that is the Internet, there’s an easy way to see everything we’ve ever written about the High Roller wheel, and there’s been a metric hell-ton. Warning: Some of it is really weird.
Let’s take a moment to revel in the wonder and remember the High Roller has changed the Las Vegas skyline forever.
And some final newness, just behind the High Roller wheel is a seasonal attraction, The Zombie Escape. It’s a haunted house with zombies. Which we didn’t personally confirm, but what the hell else could it be?
The Zombie Escape felt a little cobbled-together, but we suspect it provides the promised thrills.
The Zombie Escape is $20, with $5 off for Total Rewards members.
That’s about all the news that’s fit to report, especially in a state of advanced intoxication. Allegedly. Here are more pics of the latest developments at Linq promenade. As always, you can thank us in Captain Morgan.
When Wynn Las Vegas announced it would build a new shopping area on The Strip, we sort of ignored it, because shopping. Now, we’ve seen the work-in-progress, and have learned Wynn Plaza could also include new dining and drinking options, so we’re in.
Here’s an exclusive look at the future Wynn Plaza experience.
Yes, our camera probably should’ve been pointing toward Encore Beach Club. Freak.
The idea behind Wynn Plaza is three-fold.
First, Wynn Plaza is intended to make idle space more profitable. Second, it’s designed to give a shopping center across the street, Fashion Show Mall, a little competition. Third, the new two-story structure, which essentially wraps around the Wynn’s self-park garage, will help extend the resort closer to the street. Actually, boulevard, but let’s not get bogged down in details.
You say “backhoe porn” like it’s a bad thing.
From the looks of it, Wynn Plaza will integrate the space formerly occupied by the hotel’s Ferrari dealership, the only one licensed in Nevada. The Ferrari dealership has been at Wynn since 2005.
We’re pretty sure that’s where the Ferraris used to be. Because they certainly aren’t in our garage.
The cost of Wynn Plaza is expected to be about $54 million, or the approximate amount casino mogul Steve Wynn spends on boxer briefs in any given month.
Construction of Wynn Plaza is happening largely out of sight. Until now. Because that’s how we roll.
Wynn Plaza will be about 75,000-square-feet of luxury retail space, because you can never have too much luxury retail space. Wynn Plaza will bring the total amount of retail space at Wynn to more than 173,000-square-feet.
We have no idea what those things are. We are a blog, not a structural engineer.
Wynn Plaza is scheduled to open in 2017 and will feature lots of things you could only afford if your wealthy uncle went into cardiac arrest.
Wynn Plaza is expected to have a skylight rotunda, whatever that might actually be.
Once complete, Wynn Plaza will have sweeping views of a giant dirt lot across Las Vegas Boulevard, called Alon (pronounced “AY-lon,” a French word meaning “resort unlikely to exist thanks to a crackdown on Triads and corrupt Chinese officials”).
Clearly, our construction photo fetish is well under control.
Wynn officials have said Wynn Plaza will have “interactive and experiential opportunities,” at least one of which, we assume, will be having a salesperson sneer disdainfully at you like you’re Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.”
Looking toward Fashion Show, the less aspirational shopping mall just across the street.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about Wynn Plaza. Not as it currently exists, of course. It’s piles of dirt. The future Wynn Plaza. Are you intrigued or shopping averse? What would you like to see at Wynn Plaza? By that, of course, we mean what types of bars?
Before you build, it must be rototilled.™
Jokes aside, Wynn Las Vegas tends to do things right, and this blog certainly loves it some new, even if only for the design eye candy. Wynn Plaza’s design is said to have been inspired by Avenue Matignon in Paris, named after one of our very favorite Musketeers.
What, you thought we meant that things about “jokes aside”? Do you know this Las Vegas blog at all?
To say downtown’s Pawn Plaza is going through a rough patch would be an understatement. A startling four shops have shuttered at Pawn Plaza in just a week’s time.
Pawn Plaza is a shopping complex fashioned from shipping containers, an idea inspired by downtown’s Container Park. Pawn Plaza sits next to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop made famous in TV’s “Pawn Stars.”
It’s like Piet Mondrian humped a container ship. Or something.
It seems Pawn Plaza is going through the same kind of growing pains Container Park experienced, just all at once.
Here’s a rundown of the casualties.
The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop gets a huge number of Canadian visitors, so it made sense to have an eatery featuring this popular Canadian dish. No such luck. Smoke’s Poutinerie was the first of the four shops to close.
We quite enjoyed whatever it was we ate here.
Inna Gadda di Pizza
The closing of Inna Gadda di Pizza came as a surprise because of the restaurant’s pedigree. The shop was run by some of the same folks who opened the popular Pizzeria at Cosmopolitan (often called “Secret Pizza”). The pizza was okay, but given the choice between Inna Gadda di Pizza and the excellent Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ, it was no contest.
“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” translates roughly as “The Garden of Life,” further proof you learn a metric ass-ton of useless stuff writing a blog.
Pawn Donut and Coffee Shop
The Pawn Donut and Coffee Shop was managed by the company behind Inna Gadda di Pizza. The doughnuts were solid and the prices were good. It’s likely this small shop could hold its own, but when Inna Gadda di Pizza pulled up stakes, it was a package deal.
“Folks, we’re closing the shop, so we have to move everything out.” “All right, I’ll get a shoe box.”
Las Vegas Flip Flops
It’s a shock a flip flop store would fail given the huge public demand for, you know, flip flops.
You will be missed, Las Vegas Flip Flops, by both of your loyal customers.
It’s been reported businesses at Pawn Plaza have been struggling overall, with disgruntled shopkeepers claiming the shopping center’s failing to meet their expectations.
Pawn Plaza’s PR team says, rightly, it’s the nature of the business that some stores will survive, others won’t.
The Gold & Silver Pawn shop continues to draw throngs. Just walk over to Pawn Plaza and buy something, people. It’s 14 feet away.
Pawn Plaza says it looks forward to announcing new tenants soon. Then again, what else are they going to say?
Is Pawn Plaza worth a stop? Of course! Did we mention Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ? It has a bar. ‘Nuff said. Bonus: “Pawn Stars” star Rick Harrison even tends bar there most Friday and Saturday nights.
Oh, and try Rita’s Italian Ice and Custard. The frozen custard is amazing, but just make sure it’s custard you’re getting because of the occasional egg shortages. It’s a thing.
First, the custard is spectacular. Second, our future as a hand model is assured.
We’re rooting for Pawn Plaza to find a new batch of shops to fill out its roster. Pawn Plaza is a colorful addition to a blighted part of downtown. It’s just a matter of finding the right mix of shops and not relying solely on pawn shop visitors to support them.
The Park, a mid-Strip restaurant row from MGM Resorts, has been in the spotlight a lot lately. Its four new restaurants are a perfect complement to the new T-Mobile Arena and upcoming Park Theater. Read more.
But the Linq promenade from Caesars Entertainment isn’t going down without a fight.
The Linq promenade, a dining and entertainment mall located between the Flamingo and Linq hotels, is in the throes of a bona fide renaissance, including a slew of intriguing new diversions, edible and otherwise. Even the under-performing High Roller observation wheel is showing
signs of new life!
It’s time to revisit the Linq promenade, end-to-end, to see what’s new and what’s in the works.
1. Center Strip Box Office
This giant box office is adorned with any number of video screens and it quite the eye-catching new addition to the Linq mall. We’re not sure which tickets you can purchase here, but the most prominently-displayed shows are those at Caesars Entertainment resorts. One word of caution:
You may see the word “Concierge,” but beware. In recent years, concierge services are often thinly-disguised ticket hawkers pushing shows that aren’t the best in quality, but rather those that pay the largest commissions. See more of the concierge outsourcing ugliness.
“Caveat emptor,” which is Latin for “keep one hand on your wallet.”
2. Amorino Gelato
A new gelato shop is under construction, taking a spot previously used by a retail shop. This chain got its start in Paris, and has a lot of promise.
This blog loves it some gelato.
3. Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips
This long-awaited new fish and chips shop is finally being built and is expected to open in fall 2016. The space was formerly a Purple Zebra slushy drink store. No, Chef Ramsay won’t be making your fish and chips personally, but he’ll show up occasionally. It’s the law.
Don’t freak out. Purple Zebra slushy drinks are still available inside the Linq hotel.
4. Shadow Dancers at O’Sheas
This is our most exciting exclusive in ages. The exterior of O’Sheas at the Linq hotel now features shadow dancers! Fans of the previous incarnation of O’Sheas (a self-contained casino rather than a casino within a casino) will recall O’Sheas had shadow dancers of its own, in
the windows facing Las Vegas Boulevard. These aren’t quite as R-rated (they seem to be animated, as opposed to using human models), but they’re still worth a peek.
We love this titillating nod to the original O’Sheas!
Oh, all right, here’s some video. Freak.
5. Kitson’s Replacement
It was quite a blow to the Linq promenade when one of its anchor retail shops, Kitson, closed. The Kitson sign hasn’t come down, but there’s a new store in the space. It’s a giant gift shop, not quite as quirky as Kitson, but a seamless replacement in a prominent spot in the mall.
We asked what the name of the Kitson replacement is, but an employee said it doesn’t have one. Let’s get on that.
6. Amazon Locker
We’re not entirely sure what an Amazon Locker is, but the Linq promenade has one. The Internet says Amazon Lockers are a way for Amazon customers to get their purchases without having them shipped to a home or business address. While this seems useful, we’d rather make
some snarky comment about how the whole thing reeks of “How do I get sex toys in Las Vegas without going to a creepy adult store or packing them in my suitcase?”
Oh, great, something new for us to be stuffed into.
7. Virgil’s Real Barbecue
We had such high hopes for the F.A.M.E. Asian market, but it took a nosedive. Virgil’s Real Barbecue will soon take its place. Virgil’s comes from the folks behind Carmine’s, a great Italian place at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Again, this holds promise.
Virgil’s is expected to open in fall 2016, so you know where you’ll find our face, slathered with BBQ sauce, right around that time.
When we broke the news In-N-Out was coming to the Linq promenade, little did we know it would be one of our biggest stories of 2015. Now, construction is under way, and we’re predicting this newest In-N-Out location will provide a much-needed boost to the Linq mall. We feel a little badly for its neighbor, Flour & Barley, but in Vegas, only the strong survive.
Expect lines. Expect friendly service. Expect Bible verses on the bottom of the drink cups. We’re eating there, anyway.
9. Exotic Car Rental
We didn’t see that coming. Apparently, you can now rent exotic cars, including Lamborghinis, at the Linq promenade. A sign says prices start at $399, for four hours. There’s even an exotic car on display on the mall.
Sort of a bummer for Governors.
10. Urban Turban
Boom, another exclusive, and that’s the story we’re sticking to. A popular Indian restaurant in Las Vegas, Urban Turban, will soon open a kiosk at the Linq promenade. The stand will offer a slimmed-down version of the restaurant’s menu, including favorites like lamb, butter chicken, tandoori chicken and others.
We may break stories, but we don’t break details. You’ll figure it out.
The Linq mall has made good on its promise to update its wall-sized murals from time to time. There’s a whole new batch of murals from local artists. They make a great free photo op for the tourists.
Just in time for “Sharknado 4,” three minutes of which took place in Las Vegas.
12. Lines at the High Roller
One of the most surprising new things at the Linq promenade has to be, wait for it, lines at the High Roller observation wheel. The world’s tallest observation wheel has struggled with ridership numbers since it opened, but Caesars Entertainment continues to aggressively promote it, and it appears those efforts may be bearing fruit. While the wheel’s operators won’t admit it, we credit a truly strange story for raising awareness about the High Roller internationally. Hey, whatever works.
Photo & Go isn’t completely new, but we’ll be damned if we’re going to do a listicle with just 14 things on it, thank you very much O.C.D. Photo & Go originally opened in a different location in the Linq promenade as the Polaroid Fotobar. Photo & Go is a downsized version of the store, with a focus on allowing customers to print photos from their smartphones onto a variety of tsotchkes.
If casinos want to appeal to Millennials, they should invent a slot machine that also prints photos from smartphones onto tsotchkes. You’re welcome.
14. C & E Studio
It’s some kind of art gallery, with a selection of upwards of a dozen “urban art pieces” we probably can’t afford. Let’s just say you shouldn’t get too emotionally attached to this shop.
The gallery hosts street artists out front. Spraycan art is surprisingly popular in Las Vegas, with a typical piece selling for $40-50.
15. Canter’s Deli
Last but not least, it’s Canter’s! Yes, yes, we broke the story of Canter’s coming to the Linq promenade last year, too, but not everything has to be about us. Canter’s will take up residence in what was previously a part of the High Roller ticket office. The opening date of Canter’s has been pushed back a time or two, but with everything going on at the Linq promenade, we have high hopes it will open soon.
Canter’s Deli has a long and impressive history we didn’t have time to look up.
That’s it! Everything you need to know about what’s happening at the Linq promenade and probably more.
Given the bumpy history of this very pleasant pedestrian mall, we love all the fresh activity and look forward to trying the plethora of new offerings. And not just because we’ve been waiting two years to use the word “plethora” in a blog post. Probably.