Monthly Archives: April 2014

High Roller Las Vegas Officially Named World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel

The High Roller observation wheel at The Linq shopping district in Las Vegas has been touted as the world’s tallest since its construction began. Now, the nearly 550-foot wheel has been given the official stamp of approval by the team at Guinness World Records.

High Roller wheel

The High Roller also holds the record for the tallest Ferris wheel this blog has ever felt woozy in.

The High Roller kicked the metaphorical ass of the London Eye and Singapore Flyer to grab the world record.

There’s no telling how long the Sin City’s wheel will hold this distinction, as another wheel in New York is nipping at its heels.

For now, the High Roller takes its rightful place as the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. Because Las Vegas, that’s why.

Oh, and one of the great things about the High Roller’s Guinness World Record was the certificate. While Caesars Entertainment, the company that built the wheel, has insisted the wheel not be called a “Ferris wheel,” that’s exactly what the Guinness World Record folks called it on the official certificate. Told you it’s a Ferris wheel.

High Roller

In addition to its immense height, the High Roller Ferris wheel also has some of the most impressive balls in the world.

The anal retentive measurers-of-things at Guinness World Records also confirmed the wheel isn’t 550 feet tall. The High Roller is actually 549.54068 feet tall. That’s going win you a bar bet someday. (Then again, the official Guinness World Records Web site has a typo claiming the High Roller is 594 feet, 8.4 inches tall. That could win you another bar bet. You’re welcome.)

Check out our extensive archive of all things Las Vegas Ferris wheel, and see what it’s like to ride this bad boy.

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Cowgirl Up Cantina Opens at Binion’s

As we were the very first to report, via Twitter, the Cowgirl Up Cantina outdoor bar at Binion’s has opened.

Cowgirl Up Cantina

The construction of the new bar resulted in the loss of a little vintage neon, but not too much.

The new Cowgirl Up Cantina is so-named because it sits just a few feet away from the Cowgirl Pit at Binion’s, featuring dealers dressed as (wait for it) cowgirls. Not real cowgirls. Cowgirls as they would be dressed by casino executives, but you get the idea.

Cowgirl dealer

Exclusive! This is how cowgirl craps dealers check their make-up.

Update: A few days after Cowgirl Up Cantina opened, these sweet saddle bar stools were installed.

Cowgirl Up Cantina saddles

Please, no side saddle. You’re downtown.

The Cowgirl Up Cantina follows on the heels of a newly-renovated Binion’s Cafe (see below) and an upgrade of the casino’s carpeting, among other improvements.

Binion's Cafe

The new Binion’s Cafe. Also known as this blog’s other home.

Binion’s is one of our favorite places to drink, eat, drink, gambling and get our free photo taken with a million dollars cash. We sometimes also have a drink there.

Here are some photos of the revamped Binion’s Cafe, including its awesome burger, easily one of the best in Las Vegas.

 

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10 More Free Things to Do in Las Vegas If You Have a Short Attention Span

It seems everyone is talking about our 10 Best Free Things to Do in Las Vegas If You Have a Short Attention Span, assuming our mom qualifies as “everyone.”

Here are 10 more free things to do in five minutes or less. Remember, pace yourself.

1. Train Cars at Main Street Station

Downtown’s Main Street Station is a treasure trove of fascinating finds and delicious discoveries, as well as, apparently, alliteration. Just outside Main Street Station, there are several fully-restored train cars, including the Blackhawk which once served as the personal car of dignitaries including Buffalo Bill Cody, Theodore Roosevelt and Annie Oakley. Total time required: Four minutes.

Main Street Blackhawk

Main Street’s full name has “Brewery” in it, so don’t spend all your time looking at trains, if you get our drift

2. Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Even if you don’t know a thing about architecture, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is worth a visit. The building looks like it’s melting, and was designed by Frank Gehry, an architect so famous we can barely stand to confess we’ve never heard of him before. According for former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, the building got its shape from a piece of paper. Total time required: Three minutes.

Lou Ruvo

Everyone knows you’re not supposed to put metal in a microwave.

3. Sewing Machines at All Saints

We must have walked by the All Saints store at the Cosmopolitan 50 times before noticing the incredible collection of about 1,100 antique sewing machines. Walk along the window displays, or stroll inside to see sewing machines large and small. Total time required: Three minutes.

antique sewing machines

The All Saints display window doesn’t appear to be anything special, but things aren’t always as they seam.

4. Ivory Tusk at Treasure Island

We never visit Treasure Island without stopping for another look at this incredible artifact, an intricately-carved woolly mammoth tusk. It’s located near the casino’s cashier cages, and is believed to have taken several generations to complete. Total time required: Five minutes.

TI tusk

This tusk took so long to carve, it shows how weaponry evolved between generations.

5. One Bar at Golden Gate

Golden Gate is the oldest casino in Las Vegas, but a stop by its outdoor One Bar is a reminder of why fun never goes out of style. Bartenders do double duty as dancers, and if you’re into into that, you can catch flair bartenders at the casino’s Stage Bar a few feet away. Total time required: Five minutes, although you’ll want to stay longer.

Golden Gate casino

We were totally pretending to take a photo of the band. We’re adorable!

6. Noodle-Making at Beijing Noodle No. 9

The talented chefs at Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Caesars Palace make fresh noodles throughout the day, and the process is a wonder to behold. Total time required: Three minutes.

Beijing Noodle No. 9

They should sell tickets. (Give it time.)

7. Meet Penn & Teller

Love comedy-magicians Penn and Teller? Well, you can meet them. They hit the lobby to schmooze with fans after every show. How is this a “free thing to do”? Well, nobody says you have to see the show. You should, but it’s not required. Total time required: Five minutes.

Penn & Teller

Unlike some jerks in Vegas, Penn and Teller don’t make guests pay for a meet-and-greet.

8. El Portal Theater

Under the canopy at downtown’s Fremont Street Experience, you’ll find what remains of the city’s first movie theater, built in 1928. El Portal Theater has the distinction of being the first building Las Vegas to install air-conditioning. Total time required: Two minutes.

El Portal Theater

Political correctness? This is Vegas! It’s an “Indian” arts and crafts store, so suck it.

9. Mechanical Bull at PBR Rock Bar

Of course we don’t recommend actually riding a mechanical bull! We just mean it’s fun to watch other people get thrown off them. You can also see people risking traumatic brain injuries at Gilley’s at TI and Chayo Mexican Kitchen restaurant at The Linq. Total time required: Four minutes.

PBR bull

You’re more likely to get carpal tunnel filling out all the release forms than you are to be injured by the bull.

10. Flame-Throwing Mantis at Downtown Container Park

It’s big, it’s loud and it’s a true crowd-pleaser. The giant, fire-breathing praying mantis at the Downtown Container Park is fiery fun for all ages, and since you’ve made the trip, visit the Container Park. It’s the quirkiest mall in Las Vegas. Total time required: Two minutes, much like making love to this blog.

Container park mantis

The mantis is 40 feet long and was originally built for Burning Man, a festival devoted to victims of gonorrhea. Probably.

If you finish this list, you’ll want to check out our 12 Things You Absolutely Must Do in Las Vegas and 10 Things You Have to Do in Las Vegas in 2014.

Or just sit there and gamble your face off. In Las Vegas, you’re the boss of you.

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Rose. Rabbit. Lie. and “Vegas Nocturne,” Just the Right Amount of OMFG

In Las Vegas, hype often overshadows reality. Ever taste real Kobe beef? Meh.

In the case of Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, however, we’d submit there hasn’t been nearly enough hype, because at this utterly unique nightlife venue, every possible expectation is surpassed.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is equal parts quality, charm, creativity and humor, the melding of which results in a remarkable dining, entertainment and nightlife experience.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

It’s sort of like the Bat signal, but for contortionists and cocktails.

That said, we should start with an obvious question: “What, exactly, is it?”

Yes, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is a weird name, granted. Too many periods. But let’s get past that. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is, simply, a venue at The Cosmo. Within the venue is a restaurant, bars, a show called “Vegas Nocturne,” and later in the evening, a nightclub. Knowing what it is, though, doesn’t do it justice.

This sort of does it justice: You will simply not find a more captivating, memorable evening out in Las Vegas. Or, what the hell, anywhere.

Vegas Nocturne

We hope we don’t leave anything out. Nocturnal omissions are embarrassing.

Every moment of a visit to Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is masterfully orchestrated. Or more accurately, curated. Every detail is expertly concocted to provide surprise after surprise, resulting in a level of satisfaction you can’t easily put a value on. Shows are shows. Food is food. But, somehow, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. and “Vegas Nocturne” bring together an experience where the service is extraordinary, the food is on par with any of the finest in the city, the atmosphere is electric and contagious, and the entertainment will leave you ravenous for more.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Much of the offerings at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. can be done as a package or a la carte (French for “we don’t speak French, sorry”). You can just have dinner. You can just see “Vegas Nocturne.” You can just do a bar or the nightclub. To get your full measure of euphoria, you should do the whole thing, starting with dinner.

When you arrive, you encounter a series of doors, five in all. Each of the doors leads to a different room. Each one serves a different purpose, and each one has a distinctive vibe. Those rooms are the Library, Music Room, Swimming Pool, the Study and the Ballroom where “Vegas Nocturne” happens. (More photos below, of course.)

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

If this were a TV game show, no matter which door you picked, you’d win.

Dinner is served in the Library. Nobody seems to know why it’s called that, as there is not a single book to be found.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie. serves up fine dining without pretense. Every dish manages to remind us mortals how common and forgettable our everyday food is.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

Seriously uncommon caviar tacos.

The menu is divided into these sections: Herbivore’s Delight, From the Sea, Plates Around the Table, Pearls for a Spoon and Feast. The bulk of the menu consists of small plates, with prices ranging from $5 to $35. (In the Feast section, there’s an indulgent Whole Roasted Giant Alaskan Red King Crab for $1,200, just to ensure the high rollers have a way to show off their bankroll.)

Heavenly eggs

Heavenly Eggs, with black winter truffle and egg custard. Just dip something in it, already. And don’t eat the decorative salt, heathen.

Each dish seems to have been devised by a team of culinary masterminds. Every single dish is meticulously prepared, served by knowledgeable servers who, gasp, seem to be enjoying what they do.

We love small plates because you get to avoid committing to anything. There’s so much to love here, we can’t begin to pick any favorite dish. From the herb brioche rolls to the Waldorf salad and lobster cocktail, from the gnocchi to the caviar tacos (don’t freak out, they’re just $15 each), each bite is better than the last.

Caviar flatbread

The caviar flatbread has a 63-degree egg, bacon and thyme. It’s so much better than it sounds.

The salads are super fresh and full of surprises, like everything else at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. The Crispy Oyster Rockefeller made us reconsider our lifelong ban on anything even remotely the texture of oysters.

Oyster Rockefeller

They had us at “house-cured bacon.”

There was no way we had room for dessert, but those offerings are intriguing, too. Oeufs a la Neige, Pine Nut Mousse, Valrhona Caramelia Chocolate, Black Truffle Ice Cream Sundae, a Chocolate Terrarium and more. Do we know what half of those are? No? Do we trust Rose. Rabbit. Lie. to deliver something great? Of course.

The cocktails at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. are extraordinary, too. We might not know a fricassee from a torchon, but we know a little something about hooch.

Our waiter recommended the Monkey Gland, so we went with it. Tanqueray Malacca gin, pomegranate nectar, lime, Absinthe and orange foam. Crazy good.

Monkey Gland cocktail

No actual glands were used in the making of this cocktail.

In terms of price, the cocktails are a bit of a knee to the nads, in the $16 range, but we’re talking excellence in mixology here, so indulge, pace yourself and savor every sip. There are cocktails on draught, the Moscow Mule and La Paloma, as well as cocktail flasks ($45), especially useful if you’re taking a cocktail in to the show.

We may also have had a Fuzzy Navel. A couple of drinks in, one’s note-taking suffers a bit.

Fuzzy navel cocktail

We’re a little fuzzy on whether this was the Fuzzy Navel. Whatever it was, it rocked.

We should mention the wine list at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has several hundred selections, so again, pace yourself.

At this juncture, we should talk about the atmosphere. While dining, guests are treated to some incredible live music. In an adjoining room (the Music Room), a small band plays jazz versions of top 40 songs. Amazing.

Jazz

Ask these guys to play Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Unbelievable.

Also, at various points, roaming entertainers who also appear in “Vegas Nocturne” roam into The Library and Music Room to perform snippets of their acts. This free-flowing blend of food and drink and music and variety performances is what gives Rose. Rabbit. Lie. much of its mystique and appeal.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

When in doubt, get on the piano. Or an organ. Whatever, it’s Vegas.

There are three performances of “Vegas Nocturne” at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Each of the performances is different, with variety acts rotating between them. A lovely touch is if you’re dining, a staffer will actually seek you out to make sure you get into the show on time.

Vegas Nocturne

It’s showtime.

Until recently, “Vegas Nocture” showed at 8:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and midnight, but now the shows take place at 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and midnight. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. calls these different shows “cantos,” but feel free to give them a fancy label of your own. Chapters? Movements? Steve. You could just call them Steve.

“Vegas Nocturne” is what you’d expect from the masters of mayhem behind the successful “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. It’s irreverent, and the acts are truly top-notch.

Vegas Nocturne

You were always on my mind.

The quirky performers range from contortionists to acrobats to balancing acts and aerialists. The shows are hosted by a cast of eccentric characters.

A stand-out was Captain Frodo, a hysterical physical comedian whose entire act consists of putting his body through tennis rackets. Again, doesn’t do it justice. Brilliant.

Captain Frodo

Captain Frodo is probably not an actual Captain, but in our heart, he’s the Admiral of Funny.

After the show, guests get to explore rooms they may not have seen and try more of those delicious signature cocktails.

So, as we said, dinner is served in the Library.

The Library

You won’t want to leave the Library, but try.

The Music Room has (wait for it) music and occasional entertainment.

Music Room

The Music Room can get a little wild.

The Study is an intimate bar.

The Study

The correct guess is Captain Frodo, in the Study with a tennis racket.

The Swimming Pool room is probably our favorite. It’s named that because the floor is covered with tile from, wait for it again, a swimming pool. Here, you’re in a lounge that’s actually the backstage area for “Vegas Nocturne.”

Swimming Pool room

We could just hang out here all night. Or all week. Whichever.

A stage revolves, taking acts out to where the show is being performed. Besides being a fascinating look at the inner workings of “Vegas Nocturne,” the performers do snippets of their act before they go on, so again, entertainment blends with nightlife.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

Like a Lazy Susan, but with variety acts instead of condiments.

We didn’t stay for the nightclub to unfold, as we’re not particularly a nightclub person, but we have no reason to believe it’s not a good time, too.

Vegas Nocturne

Oh, and we can’t leave out this bendy woman. More OMFG.

Overall, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has raised the bar almost impossibly high in terms of Las Vegas nightlife. Find out more at the official site.

It’s touted as being a “social experiment.” We’re not sure what that means, because it’s hardly an experiment. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has dining, libations and entertainment down to a science.

Call Rose. Rabbit. Lie. what you want. We call it a revelation.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie. and "Vegas Nocturne"

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Riverboat Roulette at Golden Gate Lends a Colorful New Twist to a Classic Game

A new take on roulette was recently unveiled at Golden Gate casino, downtown, called Riverboat Roulette. We’re pleased to say we were momentarily able to divert our eyes away from the go-go dealers to give it a whirl.

Riverboat Roulette

Let’s gamble and stuff.

This “new” version of roulette isn’t exactly revolutionary, as the basics of the game remain intact. Riverboat Roulette does provide some interesting new side bets, as well as an eye-catching layout (above) and tricked-out ball “pockets.”

Riverboat Roulette

Behold, the first overtly LGBT-friendly roulette wheel in Las Vegas.

We were the first-ever customer to make a bet on the live game at Golden Gate (where it’s available exclusively), so from here on out, please treat us with the respect we so richly deserve.

Riverboat Roulette made its first appearance at the 2012 Global Gaming Expo and was named one of the “Top New Table Games of 2013” by Casino Journal. No, really, they didn’t just make that up.

So, here’s the deal.

Beyond the basic game of roulette, Riverboat Roulette offers color-coded side bets that pay varying amounts based upon the color. Bet blue, if blue hits, you win. Same with the other colors, except for white. If you bet on a color other than white, and white hits, you lose your bet. There are eight white spaces.

Riverboat Roulette

We’d do the math, but you know, Captain Morgan.

But here’s the cool part. If you bet blue and teal hits, your bet doesn’t go anywhere, it’s a “push.” That’s what makes this a “multi-spin” game. If you hit another color, other than blue, the bet keeps going. That cycle continues until you hit your color (win!) or white (not so much!).

Riverboat Roulette

People with too much time on their hands will note there’s no chip under the marker. It was a re-enactment.

When you bet on white, it’s a one-spin bet. Any other color sends your bet home crying to its mommy.

Riverboat Roulette

We’re 99% sure you’ll never need to know this unless you get a much better job.

The payouts are as follows: Blue and orange pay 7-to-5, purple and pink pay 8-to-5, teal and yellow pay 2-to-1. White pays 7-to-2.

We’d love to get into the nitty-gritty of these payouts and house edges, but we have things to do, so we’ll just say, “The odds aren’t particularly in your favor.” Then again, you know, casino.

Riverboat Roulette

We just like to blur backgrounds sometimes.

Other than that, Riverboat Roulette adds a little flair to a classic game, and while we didn’t have much success, we suggest you give it a try because it’s at Golden Gate, and the Golden Gate is the best thing since sliced bread, although if you think about it, sliced bread doesn’t provide epic free cocktails and eye candy. So, suck it, sliced bread.

Golden Gate Las Vegas

Golden Gate trivia: The Golden Gate was assigned the first phone number in Las Vegas. The number was 1.

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