Monthly Archives: June 2017

Details Emerge of Las Vegas Club, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch Demolition, Plus Vegas Vickie’s Fate

There’s a lot going on at the Las Vegas Club site in downtown Las Vegas, and we’ve got all the skinny about the upcoming demolition set to clear the way for a new hotel-casino.

See all our coverage of the Las Vegas Club demolition.

Demolition of a one block site at Fremont Street and Main, informally called “18 Fremont,” will begin on or around July 15, 2017.

All the structures on the block will be taken down to ground level, including the closed Las Vegas Club casino and its two hotel towers, Mermaids casino and Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club.

At one time, it was believed the older of the two Las Vegas Club hotel towers would be imploded, but it’s now been decided no implosion will take place.

Las Vegas Club

If you’re a fan of things being “blowed up real good,” sorry. The Las Vegas Club hotel towers are coming down with a whimper, not a bang.

Demolition in mid-July will begin with a small office structure once used as the management offices of Granite Gaming, owners of Mermaids and Glitter Gulch. Removal of that building, along with a couple of smaller buildings (one a power house, another an “annex”), will make way for some heavy duty demolition equipment to set up shop in the middle of the block.

One of the cranes which will be moved into the site is said to be the largest demolition crane of its kind in the world.

Next, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch will bite the dust.

Mermaids casino

This makes Mermaids prettier than it actually was, trust us.

The owners of the property, Derek and Greg Stevens, along with their team, have devoted an extraordinary amount of time creating an inventory of the signage on all the structures involved in the demolition.

Vegas Vickie, for example, will be removed from the Glitter Gulch facade on June 12, 2017.

It’s estimated the Stevens will invest $11,000 just to remove the iconic sign. There are questions as to whether Vegas Vickie can even be removed intact given her deteriorated condition.

Vegas Vickie

It’s unclear whether Vegas Vickie’s removal will necessitate a divorce from Vegas Vic. They were married in 1994. Not kidding.

Vegas Vickie will ultimately be restored and put on display. Exactly where Vickie will end up hasn’t been decided, but early word is that it will most certainly remain in downtown Las Vegas and is expected to be even more accessible for photo ops.

In the meantime, she’ll be packed up and kept in storage until details of a new location can be sorted out.

It’s estimated the cost of restoring Vegas Vickie could be as much as $100,000. Talk about high maintenance.

There are dozens of other signs in and around Las Vegas Club, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch, including another classic sign, a neon beauty which reads Golden Goose.

Golden Goose casino

Golden Goose opened as the State Cafe. Then it was was Buckley’s Casino, and later the Mecca Casino. Oh, like you’re going to remember all this.

Many of the signs will be salvaged prior to the demolition, and Derek Stevens has said some signs and other fixtures in and on the buildings will be given away in casino promotions. Listen to our recent podcast to hear more.

We’ve learned exclusively the giveaways will begin in August 2017, and players will have a chance to win letters from the various “Las Vegas Club” signs at the site. There are 24 letters up for grabs.

Las Vegas Club sign

Dibs on a “V.” Because Vital Vegas. Please try and keep up.

The demolition will continue around the site, with the Las Vegas Club’s street level casino next on the chopping block.

Then, it’s on to a parking structure on the northeast side of the site.

Finally, the older of the two hotel towers (14 stories) will be taken down, then the newer tower (15 stories) will meet its end. The buildings won’t be taken down floor by floor, but in “columns.”

Here’s a look at the various phases of the demolition project at 18 Fremont.

18 Fremont demolition

Here’s the plan. 1. Granite Gaming office. 2. Mermaids and Glitter Gulch. 3. Las Vegas Club casino. 4. Parking structure. 5. Old tower. 6. New tower.

By the way, the band names on the rooftops are remnants of a video used to promote the Life is Beautiful music festival back in 2015.

That’s Fremont Street Experience in the upper right of the photo, where we work in digital marketing as our day job. The D and Golden Gate, part of the Fremont Street Experience, are owned by the Stevens.

If all goes as planned, demolition at the 18 Fremont site will be completed in November 2017.

In an intriguing twist, it’s been announced slot play will return to Las Vegas Club and Mermaids for eight hours each on June 27-28, 2017.

A quirky (and costly) gaming rule requires that slot play be made available to the public for at least eight hours every two years. Yes, it’s a deeply stupid rule, but hey, this blog loves it some quirky. Check out our visit to another temporary casino, Moulin Rouge.

temporary casino

Yeah, not exactly your typical flashy Las Vegas casino. The worst part: No cocktail service.

One of the stranger aspects of the whole temporary casino nonsense is casino owners don’t keep the money played on the machines. The whole operation is set up by a vendor, United Coin Machine.

So, that should provide some idea of what’s going down at the former Las Vegas Club at 18 Fremont. The official name of the new resort has yet to be announced, but trust us, we’re doing a lot of poking around.

The Las Vegas Club opened in 1930 and had the second neon sign in all of Las Vegas (the first at a casino). The Las Vegas Club closed at midnight on August 19, 2015. Glitter Gulch closed on June 27, 2016. Mermaids closed on June 27, 2016.

There’s lots of new and shiny on the way, but first there’s some serious house cleaning to do.

Expect more photos, drone footage and security breaches in the months to come. Allegedly.

Paid Parking Kicks In at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Cosmopolitan resort has joined the ever-growing list of Las Vegas resorts now charging for parking.

Cosmopolitan paid parking

Cosmopolitan instituting paid parking is like finding out your mistress is cheating on you. It doesn’t feel great, but it’s not all that surprising, either.

Paid parking applies to both valet and self-parking. Get the skinny on the official Cosmopolitan site.

Fees are waived if you park an hour or less, but after that, it’s $7 for one to four hours and $10 for four to 24 hours.

And, yep, even guests of the hotel have to pay for parking, although they get in-and-out privileges when they pay the 24-hour self-parking fee while non-hotel guests do not.

Motorcycles are exempt from parking fees, which would be great were it not for the fact people who ride motorcycles have exceptionally short lifespans. Buzzkill.

Here are the parking rates at-a-glance.

Cosmopolitan paid parking

It’s $30 for a lost ticket? They must be printing these tickets on Faberge eggs.

Some members of the Cosmo’s Identity loyalty club can sidestep the parking fees. Those who achieve Sterling, Gold or Platinum status can park free with their Identity card.

Parking fees can be paid at pay-on-foot kiosks on each level of the parking garage. Some machines accept cash and credit cards (levels B2 and B3), while others take credit cards only (B4 and B5).

Cosmopolitan paid parking

Obey. Talk about perfect parking kiosk placement.

While parking fees are annoying, they are becoming the norm in Las Vegas, just as they are in other cities.

Cosmopolitan is one of the most spectacular casino resorts not just in Las Vegas but the world, so paying for parking stings a bit less.

If saving a few bucks is important, remember Cosmopolitan is across from the street from the Miracle Mile Shops, where parking remains free. Parking is also free at the Shops at Crystals.

Yes, it took paid parking coming to Cosmopolitan for us to say something nice about shopping.

Slick Video Marquee Unveiled Outside Forum Shops

An impressive new vertical video marquee has been unveiled outside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

We wouldn’t typically share such news, except for the fact it’s a stunner.

Forum Shops marquee

If you’re looking for a free “show” on The Strip, you might try this new eye candy at the Forum Shops.

While we can’t be sure of the technical specs of the new marquee, we can share some video. We think you’ll agree the graphics are eye-popping.

The new, 80-foot-tall video marquee has a healthy selection of animated segments, and surprisingly few are marketing messages.

The sequences feature creative uses of the Ultra High-Definition (4K) screen with custom 3-D effects.

The company behind the screen is called Acquire Digital. Check out their blog post about this and other screens at Forum Shops.

Come to find out, one of the reasons the video is so distinctive is it was created by Moment Factory, a major player in multi-media and video entertainment. Moment Factory did the video elements for Celine’s production at Caesars, as well as two of the light shows at Fremont Street Experience (Imagine Dragons and Tiesto). Take a look.

You can find the new marquee near the replica of the Trevi fountain at the Forum Shops, between Caesars Palace and Mirage.

Why, here’s the Trevi fountain now.

Trevi fountain Las Vegas

Fun fact: Trevi restaurant inside the Forum Shops is nowhere near the Trevi fountain.

We love shiny new things, and the video display outside the Forum Shops certainly qualifies.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 52: Comp Drinks, New Sigma Derby, 18 Fremont Demolition, SLS Sale and More

How much Vegas can a single podcast episode hold? This much.

In this installment of the grossly overrated Vital Vegas Podcast, we interview Albert Tabola of Ardent Progressive Systems & Games, the company installing comp drink validation systems in casinos across Las Vegas.

Tabola shares that comp drinking monitoring, now on about 1,000 video poker machines in Las Vegas, will soon be coming to casino floors as well.

As an added bonus, Ardent’s developing a new game, Classic Derby, likely to give the beloved Sigma Derby a run for its money.

Ardent Classic Derby

Love Sigma Derby? This is what’s next.

Also in this episode, we catch up with Derek Stevens, owner of The D, Golden Gate and Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.

Stevens shares the latest news about the upcoming demolition of the Las Vegas Club, Glitter Gulch strip club and Mermaids on Fremont Street.

He also provides some insight into the potential fate of the iconic Vegas Vickie sign currently sitting atop the Glitter Gulch strip club.

18 Fremont demolition

A full block, including two Las Vegas Club hotel towers, are coming down. We’ve got all the details.

But wait, there’s more.

Listen in as we share a metric hell-ton of exclusive stories, including more scoop about the sale of SLS Las Vegas. We also clear up a rumor about the demise of the Bellagio fountains.

Our weekly news round-up includes stories about the theft of 30,000 condoms from a Las Vegas sex toy warehouse, new restaurants coming to the Forum Shops (Slanted Door) and Park MGM (Bavette’s Steakhouse) and the shark tank at Golden Nugget.

Our “Listicle of the Week” is inspired by a note from a Brit, Joe, from Birmingham, U.K. We dole out our best tips for people with foreign accents, including our picks of the best happy hour on The Strip, the best buffets and the best hotel for free things to see and do.

107 SkyLounge

You’ll never guess our pick for the best happy hour on The Strip.

Oh, and did we mention we also get to the bottom of how one should pronounce the best gelato flavor, ever?

It’s all this and much, much less in the latest installment of the Vital Vegas Podcast.

Take a listen and you’re pretty much sure to get a thank-you note from your cochlea.

SLS Las Vegas Tweaks Loyalty Club Program, Unveils Club 52

SLS Las Vegas has rebranded its player loyalty program following news the resort is being sold to Alex Meruelo and his Meruelo Group.

The casino’s new loyalty club was unveiled June 1, 2017, and is called Club 52.

While the casino hasn’t officially said what Club 52 refers to, we’ve heard the name reflects the fact the Sahara opened in 1952. SLS Las Vegas, of course, was the result of a massive renovation of that classic Las Vegas hotel-casino.

SLS Club 52

The number 52 not only represents the year Sahara opened, it’s also the number of cards in a deck. It can also represent analysis, introspection and adventure. We are not making this up.

Renaming the player’s club could very well be a hint the resort will undergo its own rebrand, potentially back to Sahara.

Which would quite possibly be the coolest thing, ever.

SLS chandelier

Vestiges of Sahara can be found throughout SLS, including this sweet chandelier made of Sahara door handles.

Fun fact: Keen-eyed reader Mike P. shared that the design flourish inside the Club 52 logo was often used in Sahara artwork and around the Sahara itself during its heyday.

Sahara Buddy Hackett

That’s some serious Vegas throwback action right there.

With the launch of Club 52 at SLS, the tiers and their associated benefits have been rejiggered.

The previous loyalty club, The Code, had tiers named Select, Premium, Elite and Legend.

Club 52 has Preferred, VIP, Elite and Legend.

The SLS Las Vegas Web site lays out the perks of the various Club 52 tiers.

Here’s a look at what play will get you what slot points and tier credits.

Code 52 tiers points

Thank you, screen grab technology, for helping us avoid having to type all this information.

There’s been quite a bit of speculation about what changes are coming to SLS Las Vegas following its sale later this year, including spectacularly insightful ideas like, “SLS needs more casino and convention customers.”

The hope is new ownership at SLS Las Vegas can help a great resort find its footing in a challenging location and keep the legacy of Sahara alive.