Monthly Archives: December 2013

Of All the Things Vegas Lost in 2013, We’ll Miss This Most

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

This gorgeous bit of Las Vegas bling went away when renovations began on Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, at the iconic corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo.

Bill's neon

Swoon, followed by a sadface.

Here’s the “after” photo.

Bill's construction

We’re partial to the “before.”

We’re sure the newly-renovated hotel, The Cromwell, will be pretty, too. But, well, neon.

10 Things You Have to Do in Las Vegas

With a new year comes new Las Vegas adventures.

Here’s our thoughtfully slapped-together-at-the-last-minute list of things you simply must to add to your Las Vegas bucket list.

1. Hug a Lion

We fell in love with the kitties at the Lion Habitat Ranch, a few minutes south of The Strip, near the M Resort. The cubs are growing up quickly, but there’s still time to love up on them as part of your Vegas experience.

Lion habitat

The opportunity to interact with lion cubs is a rawr one.

2. Spent $1,000 on a Meal

We’re not going to say it again: You only live once. Save up, and when you’re in Las Vegas, do something huge. Sin City boasts some of the most extraordinary chefs and restaurants in the world, so take advantage, even if it’s just that one time.

It’s not hard to hit that $1,000 mark. Try Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand, Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, Picasso at Bellagio or Aureole at Mandalay Bay.

Aureole wine tower

Aureole’s four-story wine tower. Your hometown has one, too, right?

3. Get Hitched

Quickie Las Vegas weddings are making a comeback, and Sin City remains the undisputed wedding capital of the world. This might be the year for you to take the leap, do something profoundly stupid and create some memories you’re sure to regret for a lifetime, or at least until your quickie divorce.

Vegas weddings

In Vegas, you can even get married from the back of a van.

4. Fight a Busker, Become an Internet Sensation

Think about going viral! One of the best ways to do that is to pick a fight with a busker, one of the costumed characters who beg for tips along The Strip or under the canopy at the Fremont Street Experience.

Just make sure your friends are taping the encounter, and let YouTube do the rest. Oh, important note, make sure to always keep the number of a bailbondsman on you.

5. Prepare for a Zombie Invasion

Vegas has been bitten by zombie fever, and this could very well be the year when things take a turn for the worse. Turn! See what we did there?

Stock up on survival supplies at the Zombie Apocalypse Store, shoot a machine gun at one of the city’s shooting ranges or explore the sexy side of zombies by seeing “Zombie Burlesque” at the V Theater. (We haven’t seen it yet, but how bad can it be? There are zombies doing burlesque.)

Zombie Apocalypse Store

The Zombie Apocalypse Store has a shooting gallery, but it’s a little less bullety than the real ones.

6. Ride the High Roller

The world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller, is a must-ride attraction in Las Vegas. We covered the building of this larger-than-life engineering wonder that gives Vegas visitors an experience they’re unlikely to forget.

High Roller

We’ll be watching you ride from the comfort of ground level, so smile and wave.

7. Get a Tattoo With Your Grandmother

Hey, Vegas isn’t just about you. Get some fresh ink with your Grams. Matching tats will bring you together like never before, and she’ll be able to cross something off her bucket list, too.


Bad decisions have no expiration date.

8. Dry Hump a Little Person

O’Sheas is back at The Linq Hotel (formerly The Quad), and the bar’s mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun, is already stirring up trouble with Vegas visitors. Just remember to make sure any dry humping is consensual, and tipping is always appreciated.


Lucky may be short in stature, but he’s long on romance.

9. Backstroke in a Fountain

Fountains and water features are everywhere in Las Vegas, so why not throw caution to the wind and take a dip? A brisk swim will rejuvenate you, provide some much-needed exercise and help you make new friends, including security guards and members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Mirage fountain

Note that smartphones aren’t more waterproof just because you’re in Las Vegas.

10. Have a Threesome

Oh, come on. You’ve talked about it. If it’s ever going to happen, it’s going to happen in Las Vegas. Plentiful liquor (adios inhibitions), bachelor and bachelorette parties, as well as being a quick elevator ride away from your hotel room, all make for a perfect storm of potential threesome success. Let’s make it a Vegas vacation to remember, times three!


What happens at the Riviera stays at the Riviera. Actual results may vary.

Enjoy all these must-do things to do in Las Vegas, and here’s hoping your stay is full of love, laughter and maybe even a little sin.

Please Don’t Be This Person in Las Vegas

Oh, hell-to-the-no.

Craps Rascal

You’re doing casinos wrong.

Checking in On the Construction at SLS Hotel & Casino Las Vegas

The iconic Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is slowly transforming into SLS Las Vegas. Yes, against all odds, this is actually happening.

The Rat Pack-era Sahara (rhyming sold separately) operated from 1952 to 2011, and many, including this blog, were skeptical when plans surfaced for a new resort at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. We’re pleased to say we were wrong. Just this once.

We recently stopped by to see how the construction of SLS Las Vegas is progressing.

SLS Las Vegas

We miss you, Sahara. Your mustiness, not so much. Trivia: The original casino on this site, built in 1947, was called Club Bingo.

The plans for SLS Las Vegas include 1,600 rooms, restaurants, nightlife, shopping and a convention center. Sorry, no roller coaster.

SLS Las Vegas

The SLS will have a patio area, burger restaurant, beer garden and sports book where the Sahara’s roller coaster, Speed – The Ride, once stood.

Of course, SLS Las Vegas will have a shiny new casino, with 80 table games and 800 slot machines. This Las Vegas blog fully expects to put a hurting on some of those very same games when SLS opens.

The renderings for SLS Las Vegas are impressive (see below), including an upscale facade that’s already starting to take shape at the site.

SLS Las Vegas

Bonus: The SLS will certainly be prepared in case of air raids.

There’s a fairly tall construction fence along Las Vegas Boulevard, but those have rarely been a deterrent when we want to see what’s up inside.

SLS Las Vegas hotel

Nice try, fences.

Soon, all traces of the Sahara will be gone, but as construction takes place, there are still some Moroccan-inspired flourishes visible over the 10-foot-tall fence.

SLS Las Vegas

Your days are numbered, Moroccan-inspired flourish.

Here’s a good look at the entire Las Vegas Boulevard-facing part of the SLS Las Vegas.

The future home of oontz.

The future home of oontz.

The Sahara’s porte-cochere, with a distinctive onion-dome minaret, has long since been demolished, and a new porte-cochere is taking its place.

SLS Las Vegas

An onion-dome minaret sounds delicious right about now, doesn’t it?

Here’s a look at where the porte-cochere is headed.

SLS Las Vegas

This may actually be the Starfleet Academy, we’re not entirely sure.

The high-end SLS Las Vegas is gambling that the north end of The Strip is ready for an infusion of glitz.

The $415 million project, which will have a look inspired by Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip, is expected to open in 2014. Read more about plans for SLS Hotel & Casino Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

SLS Las Vegas

SLS is a palindrome which stands for “style, luxury and service.”

If you’d like to keep tabs on what’s transpiring at SLS Las Vegas, the hotel’s developer has provided a convenient Webcam. Find out more about SLS Las Vegas on the official site.

Here are a few more photos of SLS Las Vegas, soon to bringing style, service and luxury (although not necessarily in that order) to the much-neglected north end of the Las Vegas Strip.

SLS Las Vegas Construction

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Panty-Dropper Cocktail: The Alley Cat at Catalyst Bar

We’re delighted to have discovered another social lubricant at Catalyst Bar inside The Quad. This new bar has a wonderful selection of signature cocktails, made even more wonderful by the fact they’re free when you’re playing video poker.

Get a load of the Alley Cat cocktail.

Alley Cat cocktail

Resistance is futile.

This specialty cocktail, which isn’t on the menu yet, but absolutely should be, has muddled raspberries, blackberries, lemon juice, Ciroc Red Berry vodka, St. Jermaine liqueur, a dash of cranberry juice and a little frothy egg white to pretty it up a little.

To get the Alley Cat, you’ll need to find Tom, one of our favorite Vegas bartenders, as much for his mixology skills as his piercing gaze.

Tom the bartender

Did we say gaze? We meant flair. But whatever. Tom’s cool.

If you haven’t been by The Quad lately, you’ll want to stop in. The casino has been completely renovated since the joint was the Imperial Palace, and the new O’Sheas is open, just off the casino floor.

Whip Your Sin City Hangover With Breakfast at Peppermill Restaurant

The Peppermill is about as Vegas as Vegas gets, and even after 41 years on The Strip this restaurant is ready to serve up the perfect breakfast to take on your world-class hangover.


It’s time for a timeless classic.

The Peppermill is located on Las Vegas Boulevard, between the Wynn and the Riviera.

Big portions are part of the deal at Peppermill, and you’re sure to find all your breakfast favorites like French toast, omelets and burgers. Yes, in Vegas, burgers are a breakfast food.

French toast

Hangover remedy number one: French toast, with the traditional egg, cinnamon and vanilla concoction on Texas Toast.

You can find the full Peppermill restaurant menu on the official site.

Next up is the Marco Pollo omelette, with diced breast of chicken sauteed with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and Provolone cheese, topped with sun dried tomato Hollandaise sauce.


Hollandaise is one of the five sauces in the French haute cuisine mother sauce repertoire, whatever that might be.

With its funky neon decor, including a forest of faux foliage, Peppermill has a throwback vibe like no other restaurant in Las Vegas. The service is old-school, too.


There’s an additional charge for mosquito netting.

Some of the dishes on the menu, like the fresh fruit salad (originally $3.50), date back to when the Peppermill first opened, on Dec. 26, 1972.

Below is the hangover slayer known as Munch’s Breakfast, with peppers, onions, linguica sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes stirred into hash browns, topped with three eggs and finished with cheddar and jack cheeses.

Peppermill restaurant

You will not make it to dessert, promise.

Need another reason to love the Peppermill? Former “Holly’s World” star Holly Madison is a regular.

Adjoining the Peppermill restaurant is the Fireside Lounge, featured in movies like “Casino” and “Showgirls.” Yes, there’s a fire.

Fireside Lounge

Now, you know you’re in Vegas.

The Peppermill restaurant and Fireside Lounge are both open 24 hours a day.

If you’ve never visited, it may be time to put Peppermill’s breakfasts to the test against your Las Vegas hangover. No IV tube required.


Something for everyone.

Even if the hangover wins, you’ll still enjoy a vintage Vegas experience, and you can always try some “hair of the dog” at the Fireside Lounge a few feet away.

Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge

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