Monthly Archives: March 2017

Vintage Blue Angel Statue Removed, Restoration Planned

It’s not as well known as the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, but it was created by the same person.

The iconic Blue Angel sign, designed by Betty Willis, has been taken down after six decades of keeping watch over the Blue Angel Motel.

Blue Angel statue

Here’s the Blue Angel in her original upright and locked position.

The Blue Angel Motel was demolished in 2015, but the popular Blue Angel statue endured.

We popped in as the Blue Angel sign was about to be sent to storage, on March 30, 2017.

Blue Angel statue

Well, halo there.

While no timeline has been given, it’s expected the classic sign will be restored and put back in public view near its original location, near Fremont Street and Eastern Avenue in downtown Las Vegas.

Blue Angel statue

The Blue Angel statue sat atop a pedestal, where all women should be put, in our kiss-assy opinion.

The Blue Angel statue is 16 feet tall and has taken a beating over the years.

We got a close look at the statue, and it seems her insides were a frequent nesting spot for birds.

Blue Angel statue

We’ll spare you a closer look at the Blue Angel’s tainted lady parts. Which, come to think of it, would not be a bad band name.

While large and heavy, the Blue Angel was fairly dexterous. The statue swiveled depending upon the direction of the wind.

We feared the owners of the Blue Angel might just be giving lip service to the statue’s renovation and return, but it seems the restoration will be paid for by the city’s Centennial Commission, whatever that might actually be. She’s in good hands.

We’re optimistic about seeing the Blue Angel again. But in the meantime, we weren’t going to pass up the opportunity to improve our luck.

Blue Angel statue

We totally telegraphed this with the “in good hands” thing, by the way. Please try and keep up.

Hey, it works at Cleopatra’s barge!

Oh, all right. Turnabout is fair play.

Blue Angel statue

Please be gentle.

Two of our very favorite Las Vegas things are the new and the classic.

While the Blue Angel doesn’t have any neon, we’re still a big fan. Because of her history. Because of her pedigree. And because, as an inanimate object, she can’t file a restraining order against us. Probably.

Lounge Receipt Whips Up Online Firestorm About “Rocks” Charges

A bar receipt from Indigo Lounge at Bally’s has stirred up heated discussion online, but the outrage, it turns out, is largely misguided.

The receipt, posted by a customer to the Bally’s Facebook page, shows what many have mistaken as $3 charges for ice.

Here’s the receipt in question.

Rocks receipt

The receipt that inspired a thousand Facebook comments and angry reaction emoji thingys.

When we first saw this receipt, we got worked up like everyone else, but quickly realized we are largely an idiot.

It seems the term “rocks” has nothing to do with ice in this context. When a customer orders liquor on the rocks, it’s standard to pour an extra half-ounce of liquor. A standard pour is 1.5 ounces, but drinks on the rocks contain two ounces.

The $3 charge, then, is for the additional liquor, not the ice. A common term for the additional charge is a “rocks bump.”

Apparently, one of the motivations for this practice is 1.5 ounces of liquor doesn’t look like very much alcohol when poured into a rocks glass. Those in the bartending field say customers who order drinks on the rocks are well aware they’ll get a larger pour, and customers tend to feel they’re actually getting a decent deal because they’re getting a third more hooch for a nominal charge.

Captain and diet cocktail

If people would just stick to Captain and diet like we do, things like this wouldn’t happen in the first place. Note: Foliage optional.

It seems listing “rocks” on the receipt is used more as an internal accounting notation than a description of what the customer is receiving. From what we can tell, a customer would be charged the rocks bump for a drink ordered “neat” (without ice) as well.

In many bars, the upcharge for a stronger pour is included in a drink’s overall price, rather than being itemized separately, thereby sidestepping customer confusion and the furor Indigo’s receipt caused.

So, the whole “rocks” thing was much ado about nothing. Nevertheless, there was a definite kerfuffle. How much of one? Check us out on KTNV talking about both the “ker” and the “fuffle.”

Rocks receipt

Told you it was a thing.

Perhaps the bigger story here is how ready people are to believe Las Vegas is giving them the shaft. We’ve certainly contributed to that climate by reporting about paid parking, smaller shot sizes, CNF charges and other changes to the Las Vegas landscape. Such revelations seem to be priming the pump, and many seem to be looking for any proof they’re being nickel-and-dimed, even if they’re jumping to the wrong conclusions about that “proof.”

For now, we’re going with “Don’t shoot the messenger!”

Along those lines, when we referred to “largely misguided,” we left a little wiggle room for outrage. First, man alive, drinks are expensive. In Vegas, $16 is the new $8. Just remember, you’re not paying for a drink, you’re paying for an experience, and that’s the story we’re sticking to.

Second, look elsewhere on the receipt and you’ll find the ominous phrase, “Peak pricing may apply.”

“Peak pricing” amounts to what’s called “surge pricing” in the rideshare world. The greater the demand, the higher the prices.

We wrote about peak pricing awhile back as we noticed more and more Las Vegas restaurants leaving prices off their menus. Restaurants often do this so they have the flexibility to raise prices when it’s deemed necessary, like on Fridays and Saturdays. That means you can have the exact same meal on a Tuesday or Saturday night, but the price you pay could change dramatically.

Peak pricing might not warrant outrage, per se, but it’s certainly worth asking about if you’re making a reservation.

In Las Vegas, we only want happy surprises.

Neon Museum Receives Big-Ass Grant, Begins Demolition for Expansion

One of the best attractions in Las Vegas, the Neon Museum, has received a $425,000 grant for a major expansion.

With some additional cash in its coffers from the city of Las Vegas, the Neon Museum has acquired an adjoining .27-acre parcel, and demolition of the existing structure is under way.

Neon Museum expansion

Adios, gross building next to the Neon Museum’s awesome visitor center that also happens to have been the lobby of the historic La Concha Motel.

Demolition crews should make quick work of the building, the former L.A. Street Market, just south of the Neon Museum.

Here’s a better look at the whole shebang, a term we’re fairly sure hasn’t been used since 1961.

This is the first major expansion of the Neon Museum since it opened in 2012.

The expansion will allow the Neon Museum to display an additional 30-40 signs, currently in storage. The improvements will also include an open-air exhibit and events space. The Neon Museum expansion will be designed by SH Architecture.

Neon Museum expansion

Hey, architectural rendering dude, don’t leave a lovely lady on a bench all by her lonesome. Not cool.

The expansion will feature a covered patio canopied by a solar-paneled shade structure. Why one would need to power a shade structure, we have no idea. Then again we are a blog, not an architectural firm.

And let’s just say some of the signs in storage a fairly epic.

We captured this photo in an off-site storage area and it shows a huge section of one of the coolest Las Vegas casinos, ever, the Stardust. Yes, yes, there’s already a Stardust sign on display at the Neon Museum, but you can never have too many Googie stars.

Neon Museum storage

We told the folks at the Neon Museum we wouldn’t give away the location of this storage area, so this is all you’re getting.

Signs expected to make the migration from storage to public viewing are from the Las Vegas Club, Spearmint Rhino, Longhorn Casino, Sahara Saloon, Opera House Saloon and Riviera.

The Neon Museum is a nonprofit endeavor with more than 500 signs on display. The organization is dedicated to collecting and preserving iconic Las Vegas signs. And they occasionally let one slide that’s not particularly iconic. We’re looking at you, Spearmint Rhino sign.

As a nonprofit, the Neon Museum is often strapped for funding, so kudos to the City of Las Vegas for seeing the value of this invaluable treasure trove of Las Vegas history. Learn more about this must-do Las Vegas attraction.

The Neon Museum is expected to unveil it’s new space later this year, but it’s well worth visiting in the meantime.

The Nerd Nightclub Poised to Open Discreetly at Downtown’s Neonopolis

A new nightclub and bowling venue, The Nerd, is set to open on March 30, 2017, at downtown’s Neonopolis shopping complex.

The Nerd Neonopolis

We grabbed this from a video. There’s a 65% probability it’s not the actual logo for The Nerd.

The Nerd hasn’t really been on the radar to-date, and publicity about the opening has pretty much been non-existent (perhaps intentionally), but this new nightlife concept could very well be a breath of fresh air at Neonopolis.

There’s a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for 11:00 a.m. on March 30, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman is expected to attend.

Here’s the video invitation. Which we didn’t actually receive, officially. We’ll try and get over it.

Not too much is known about The Nerd, except it’s taking over the space formerly occupied by the wildly underrated Drink & Drag nightclub, a bar featuring (wait for it) drag queens.

The space includes a 12-lane bowling alley and dance floor, and The Nerd will presumably take advantage of both.

We caught a glimpse of some of the nightclub’s decor, and it appears “Breaking Bad” will play a part in the club’s decor.

The Nerd nightclub

If your club has a meth-making suit from “Breaking Bad,” you can consider us a fan.

From what we understand, employees had their first day of training on March 28. So, with an opening on March 30, it’s possible the establishment has made a conscious decision to keep its soft opening on the down-low.

We caught a group of servers leaving the venue, and they were universally attractive and dressed in white shirts and black shorts or skirts. Most of the employees sport suspenders to add to the nerdy theme.

The Nerd Las Vegas

Remember, it’s not creepy if you’re taking the photo for your blog.

In fact, The Nerd is going so incognito, there are no signs whatsoever outside the club, other than a legacy sign from Hi Life Lanes from back in the day. We overheard a sign is set to arrive any day now.

In the meantime, we’re honestly excited to have the Drink & Drag space back in action. It’s a challenging location for a business, but there are very few places to dance downtown, and this seems to fit the bill. Word is The Nerd is taking a lot of inspiration from the wildly successful Gold Spike, formerly a casino, but now a nightlife hangout for the cool kids that is pretty much printing money every weekend.

The Nerd is the brainchild of Jonathan Borchetta, owner of the Voodoo Zip Line attraction at Rio Las Vegas.

Here’s our recipe for success at The Nerd: Keep the price points right, adjust the music volume so we can hold a conversation, throw in some decent munchies and we’ll be there will our nerdy friends to drink, bowl and feebly attempt to dance the night away.

NFL Approves Raiders Move to Las Vegas

We should say right up front, we are not a sports person. You might say we are to sports as the Amish are to vibrators.

However, the nation is atwitter (especially on Twitter, ironically) with news the Oakland Raiders will relocate to Las Vegas after getting a 31-1 vote from NFL team owners.

Raiders Stadium

There’s nothing quite like that new football stadium smell.

The sole hold-out in the vote was the Miami Dolphins. In time, the Dolphins will be viewed as either as clueless buzzkills or that Chinese guy who, armed with nothing more than shopping bags, stood before a row of tanks in defiance of tyranny in Tiananmen Square.

In any event, it appears the Las Vegas Raiders are destined to be a thing.

Typically, this would be where we rattle off a litany of reasons this is a horrible turn of events, but we’ve decided to just go along with the jubilation instead.

No matter the claims of naysayers, they’re far outweighed by the fact a Raiders relocation has inspired a Pirate’s Booty Sports Brothel. We are not making this up.

The NFL vote sets a number of things in motion, including building a $1.9 billion domed stadium near the Las Vegas Strip (at Russell Road and Interstate 15, to be specific), but the Raiders will probably play in Oakland for two more seasons. Unless, that is, butt-hurt Oakland gives the Raiders the boot, a distinct possibility.

Whatever the specific timeline for the move, Las Vegas football fans are ecstatic about the Raiders move to Sin City. Optimists have suggested an NFL team in Las Vegas will pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy.

Critics think that assertion is what economists refer to as “hooey,” but again, now is the time to celebrate, not critic. Assuming that’s a verb. Please keep your eye on the ball. See? We can sport with the best of them.

Raiders Stadium

The new stadium’s retractable roof will come in handy during Sin City’s 180-degree summers, which lasts from mid-February through November.

We’re going to set aside the fact the new, 65,000-seat Raiders stadium is being funded with $750 million in public money (some peg that contribution closer to a billion when all is said and done). That’s pocket change in Las Vegas!

Besides, who needs education or public transportation when you can have tailgate parties, cheerleaders and traumatic brain injuries?

While the Raiders won’t be the first professional sports team in Las Vegas, that distinction will be held by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, there’s an undeniable cache to snagging a pro football team.

Las Vegas wasn’t founded on ridiculous notions like “financial viability.” It was founded on optimism and big dreams.

For many, the Raiders moving to Las Vegas is a dream come true.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 45: Burlesque, Pig Masks and High-Tech Casino Security

We’ve got an action-packed episode this week, so whip out that loyalty club card with the Slinky leash and take a listen.

This week, we interview cast members of “Majestik Burlesque,” a saucy striptease show just off The Strip at Royal Resort.

Majestik Burlesque

In this week’s show, we learn the history of the merkin. (Not shown, sadly.)

The “Listicle of the Week” is “Six High-Tech Casino Security Measures,” where we share casino security secrets with mysterious names like Angel Eye, NORA and TableEye21.

Fun fact: Everyone knows casinos use surveillance to monitor slot machines to catch cheaters, but did you know they also monitor guest frustration levels? This surveillance allows casinos to provide a better experience for their guests.

We’ve got the latest scoop about the recent robbery at Bellagio, the newest Chick-fil-A in Las Vegas (opens March 30), the Vegas Golden Knights practice facility, an expansion at the Neon Museum and even some baseless speculation about Sigma Derby at The D and the upcoming demolition (notice we didn’t say “implosion”) of downtown’s Las Vegas Club.

Chick-fil-A Rancho

On March 30, 2017, Las Vegas gets its third Chick-fil-A, just a minute from The Strip. Now, you know where to find us.

In our history segment, we talk about the Gaming Control Board (created on March 29, 1955) and Gaming Commission (created on March 30, 1959). By the time we’re done, you’ll be an expert about which is which and who does what.

We also have a chat with Chris of the Faces and Aces podcast, back in the game after a hiatus and once again telling great Las Vegas stories.

We’re throwing a pantless podcast party, and you’re invited.