Monthly Archives: April 2017

O’Sheas Casino Has Been Gone Five Years, But It’s Not Forgotten

The beloved O’Sheas Casino closed at noon on April 30, 2012. Five years later, diehard fans of O’Sheas still feel the sting of saying farewell to what had been a 23-year run on the Las Vegas Strip.

O'Sheas Las Vegas

O’Sheas was old-school Vegas, baby. Yes, including the venereal diseases.

O’Sheas Casino was closed to make way for the Linq Hotel & Casino. On its closing day, O’Sheas customers came out in force to knock back one last beer, play a final hand of “Strip Poker” and wish Lucky the Leprechaun good luck.

O'Sheas closes

They called it “Strip Poker” because it was played, literally, 10 feet from the Las Vegas Strip.

O’Sheas opened in 1989 and was a rare stand-alone casino on the Las Vegas Strip. It wasn’t part of a resort and didn’t have a hotel.

O’Sheas was known for its cheap eats, low table minimums, live music and beer pong.

O'Sheas closes

O’Sheas may have been beat up by the time it closed (note the duct tape), but at one time, it was ready for its close-up. In fact, O’Sheas was featured in “Vegas Vacation.”

In time, a new O’Sheas would open in the Linq. The new O’Sheas opened Dec. 27, 2013, and has become the most profitable part of the Linq Hotel & Casino.

Still, it’s not the original O’Sheas. Although, Lucky the Leprechaun (his real name is Brian Thomas) returned, so, in a way, the O’Sheas legend lives on through his mischievous exploits.

O'Sheas closes Lucky

Fun fact about Lucky (Brian Thomas): He rarely shakes hands. To avoid catching colds via visitors from around the world, he prefers to fist bump.

Many memories of the closing day of the original O’Sheas Casino are still surprisingly vivid.

Longtime customers said “goodbye” to their favorite dealers.

Lucky poured free shots from atop the bar.

Guests signed a memory wall that was supposed to be put up at the new O’Sheas. (It never was.)

O'Sheas Casino

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Gamblers made their bets on the final spin of the roulette wheel. The very last number called at O’Sheas Casino was 31, black.

Emotions ran high as customers were ushered out of the building and employees wondered about their jobs. Most moved on to other Caesars Entertainment resorts in town.

O'Sheas Lucky

At the time, Lucky’s future with Caesars Entertainment was anything but certain. The outpouring of love was a sight to behold.

Our most vivid memory was of a reflective moment with Brian Thomas. As the doors closed at O’Sheas, it all began to sink in, and all the hugs and fist bumps in the world couldn’t keep the tears at bay.

O'Sheas Lucky

Of all the Las Vegas photos we’ve taken over the years, this ranks as one of our favorites.

Five years on, the number of low roller-friendly casinos on The Strip has dwindled, and the closing of O’Sheas feels like a turning point in many ways. Yes, the old girl was run-down, but for its devotees, O’Sheas was a bastion of value and unpretentious, shot-fueled good times they’ll always remember.

Enjoy a few more photos from the closing of O’Sheas, below.

Did you see a freak show or big cat magic show at O’Sheas? Did you ever rub the belly of the frog statue at Burger King for good luck or grab a taco at El Gringo Loco? Did you get a tattoo or have your fortune read there? We’d love to hear your O’Sheas memories.

The Original O'Sheas Casino Closes

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Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen Restaurant to Open at Caesars Palace

Long-standing rumors have finally been confirmed with the official announcement Gordon Ramsay and Caesars Entertainment will open Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at Caesars Palace.

Ramsay’s new Las Vegas restaurant is expected to open by Dec. 1, 2017.

Gordon Ramsay

Fun fact: If you combined all the discarded soap from all the hotel rooms in Las Vegas, there wouldn’t be enough to wash out the mouth of Gordon Ramsay.

The new Hell’s Kitchen restaurant will move into the space formerly occupied by Serendipity 3, and its placeholder replacement, Stripside Cafe & Bar.

As this blog was the first to report, because we have nothing more interesting going on in our life, Serendipity 3 closed in January 2017, then re-opened shortly thereafter as Stripside.

Hell's Kitchen restaurant

Serendipitously, when Serendipity 3 closed, its ceiling was decked out in the same colors of the Union Jack, a popular design in Ramsay’s U.K.-themed restaurants like Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips at Linq.

Hell’s Kitchen restaurant will be celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s fifth collaboration with Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas.

The other restaurants are Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris, the recently-renamed Gordon Ramsay Burger (formerly BurGR) at Planet Hollywood, Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips at Linq promenade and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace.

It’s unknown if Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill will continue to operate at Caesars Palace, but we have the sneaking suspicion it won’t given it ranks at the bottom of the otherwise stellar list of Ramsay offerings in Sin City.

Hell’s Kitchen restaurant will be inspired by (wait for it) “Hell’s Kitchen,” the reality TV cooking competition show on Fox.

Hell's Kitchen restaurant

Gordon Ramsay has little in common with his intense “Hell’s Kitchen” persona. Doubt that? Watch “Masterchef Junior.”

A number of past “Hell’s Kitchen” winners have taken positions in Las Vegas restaurants, with varying degrees of success. “Hell’s Kitchen” has been on the air for an impressive 16 seasons and was recently renewed for two more.

Hell’s Kitchen restaurant will be the first-of-its-kind and will have seating inside and out for about 300 people. The restaurant will boast a daily themed brunch, dinner and bar menu.

Hell's Kitchen restaurant

We have consumed any number of cocktails on this patio. Hopefully, Hell’s Kitchen restaurant will make the most of it.

Hell’s Kitchen restaurant will “shine the spotlight on many of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ cast and chef recipes and dishes featured on the show, including many of Chef Ramsay’s signature dishes.”

The new restaurant space will be designed by Jeffrey Beers International, whomever that might actually be.

As is required by law in Las Vegas, the restaurant is being billed as “an experiential and immersive destination restaurant.” Guests will “feel transported to the studio set, as if they are participating in the globally popular television show.”

We’re a huge fan of chef Gordon Ramsay and “Hell’s Kitchen,” so this new dining offering on the Las Vegas Strip is a welcome addition.

Serendipity 3 closed

No word yet on what might happen to the giant Tiffany lamp.

Ultimately, of course, Gordon Ramsay will have virtually zero to do with the day-to-day operation of the restaurant. The chef gets a five percent cut of each restaurant’s gross sales in exchange for showing up for photo ops at least one day a year. (Ramsay says he was in Las Vegas 18 times in 2016.)

Thankfully, the mojo is strong with the food and beverage folks at Caesars Entertainment who ultimately manage the Ramsay collaborations.

We trust Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant will be “spot on,” as the chef likes to say. Along with “You donkey,” but mostly that first thing.

Commissary Restaurant at Downtown Grand Closes, Converts to eSports Lounge

The long-struggling Commissary After Dark restaurant at the Downtown Grand resort has closed.

The space is still being used, however. The restaurant’s tables and chairs have been removed, and now the space has been reconfigured as the Downtown Underground eSports Lounge.


Out with the underperforming restaurant, in with the millennials playing first person shooters.

The eSports lounge could once be found in the former high limit slot room in the casino at Downtown Grand.

Moving the eSports lounge across the street makes some sense given the fact eSports tends to draw a younger crowd, but only those 21 and older can be in a casino. The move to the former Commissary space means another, even younger, crop of video game competitors and enthusiasts can join in the fun.

The Downtown Underground eSports Lounge hosts events and tournaments Fridays and Saturdays, 4:00 p.m. to midnight.

Downtown Underground eSports

For better or worse, everybody in Vegas is jumping on the eSports bandwagon, but Downtown Grand was way ahead of the pack.

You can stay abreast of all things eSports at Downtown Grand on the official Facebook page of the Downtown Underground eSports Lounge.

Downtown Grand had big plans for Commissary After Dark when it opened, including using the space as a nightlife venue. In recent months, the restaurant had been reduced to serving coffee and snacks for a few hours each morning.

There are tons of great dining options in the immediate vicinity of the closed Commissary, including Freedom Beat inside Downtown Grand, the reliably excellent Triple George Grill and the incomparable, must-try Pizza Rock.

Who knows if eSports is going to be a thing for Las Vegas casinos. If it is, though, now it has a new place to be it. A thing, that is. Please try and keep up.

Circus Circus Expands Pool Complex, Including 50-Foot Waterslide

Circus Circus has begun an expansion of its pool complex, including the addition of what professionals in the waterpark industry call a “big-ass waterslide.”

Circus Circus pool expansion

Do not let your kids see this or they will badger you about it for the rest of your life.

The towering, 50-foot waterslide will give guests three distinct experiences. There’s a “speed slide,” an “aqua tube” and a four-lane “mat racer.”

Here’s a closer look at the slide and its various parts.

Circus Circus waterslide

1. Aqua tube. 2. Mat racer. 3. Speed slide. Take care to not hit your head on the numbers on the way down.

The slide is just the beginning of the Circus Circus pool expansion, however.

There will also be a “Splash Pad” area, including water features like water cannons, “splash falls” and “tilting buckets,” whatever those might actually be.

The expansion will also have shade structures, lounge chairs, cabanas and personalized lockers.

The pool will also have its own food truck. With food. Please try and keep up.

Circus Circus waterslide

The pool expansion abuts the current pool area at Circus Circus. Again, don’t let your child learn the word “abuts” or expect to hear it approximately 47 million times.

The pool’s existing snack bar will be refurbished, and new showers and restrooms will be added to the pool complex.

Circus Circus pool expansion

Restrooms, lockers, showers. Who knows? We are a blog, not a building psychic.

A highlight of the Circus Circus pool expansion will be an area reserved for guests 18 and older. Because hallelujah.

A news release about the pool expansion said the project will be completed in the second quarter of 2017. In terms human beings use, that’s June 2017.

Circus Circus pools

Despite the lack of diving boards, the pool complex at Circus Circus is surprisingly well-maintained and welcoming. Thanks a lot, lawyers.

There’s one caveat about the expanded pool at Circus Circus. It will be available only to hotel guests.

We’ve enjoyed our stays at this underrated Las Vegas resort, and there’s a lot to love about Circus Circus, including the fact parking remains free.

Here are a photo gallery of the new waterslide at Circus Circus, mainly because it’s much too late in the game for us to get a life at this point.

Circus Circus Pool Expansion

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World’s Largest Hooters to Close at Palms Resort

Rumors we’d heard back in January 2017 appear to be true. The world’s largest Hooters restaurant is set to close at Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas.

Hooters restaurant opened at Palms Las Vegas in June 2015, and is expected to close May 14, 2017.

At 15,200-square-feet, the Palms location was touted as the world’s largest.

Hooters at Palms

Don’t freak out. Las Vegas still has a good number of Hooters.

Hooters management and employees were given a 30-day notification of the restaurant’s closure around April 11, 2017.

Following this story, representatives of Palms confirmed the restaurant will close, stating “Hooters will be closing in the coming weeks to make way for exciting new enhancements we are planning for The Palms.”

The closure of Hooters doesn’t come as a huge surprise, and not just because of rumors it was struggling.

Hooters at Palms Vegas

Any excuse to share a photo of Hooters girls works for us.

In May 2016, Palms was purchased by Station Casinos (Red Rock Resorts, Inc.) for $312.5 million, and a number of restaurant and venue rebrands are in the works at the resort.

There’s no word on what will replace the world’s biggest Hooters, possibly the best sentence we’ve ever written, to be honest.

Thanks to Jeff G. for the tip on this scoop.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 48: Circus Circus Makes a Splash, Dean Martin Croons

Are you ready for some Vegas? Oh, you will be.

In this week’s dog and pony show, we share what gets us in the mood for Sin City, including one of the most Vegas songs, ever. Thanks, Dean Martin.

We also share an update from the Circus Circus pool expansion site, including details about a five-story-tall water slide that almost makes us want to step outside. Almost.

Circus Circus pool expansion

The 50-foot tall water slide being built at Circus Circus is three slides in one. They’re going to have to pay gravity some serious O.T.

This week’s news includes stories about the Las Rageous “music” festival, All Net Resort, cornhole and darts tournaments at major Las Vegas casinos, “Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Straight Man” coming to Paris Las Vegas and rumblings Amazon might pull the plug on Zappos.

Zappos headquarters

Not going to lie, downtown’s Zappos headquarters is a little on edge right now.

This week’s history segment covers Elvis Presley’s first stint in Las Vegas, in 1956, considered by many to be an unmitigated flop.

We’ve also got a listicle, “10 Things Infinitely More Entertaining and Profitable Than eSports.”

Help your earbuds fulfill their destiny and take a listen to the Las Vegas podcast your mother would’ve warned you about were it not for the fact she has a life and doesn’t have time to listen to podcasts.