Monthly Archives: January 2019

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 92: Circa Revelations and Beyond

It’s the podcast your mother would’ve warned you about had she not been spending so much time planning your intervention!

We’ve jammed a metric hell-ton of Vegas into this episode, so flair yourself a frosty cocktail, kick back and indulge in a buffet of Sin City scoop.

The announcement of Circa Las Vegas (formerly the 18 Fremont project) grabbed all the headlines this week, and we’ve got an in-depth interview with Circa’s owner, Derek Stevens.

Stevens shares details about how Circa Resort & Casino came to be, including a jigsaw puzzle of deals that made the improbable project possible.

Circa Las Vegas

This ain’t your grandpa’s downtown.

Despite the fascinating interview with Derek Stevens, we still manage to deliver yet another disappointing installment of the podcast, complete with puerile humor and reckless speculation.

We’ve got the latest about the sale of Bonnie Springs Ranch, drama surrounding the closure of “A Mob Story” at Plaza, the next chapter in the feud between Resorts World and Wynn Resorts, Raiders owner Mark Davis’ new home (with its nine bathrooms) and more.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

Bonnie Springs Ranch was fun while it lasted, and it lasted a long, long time. The place was originally built in 1843.

Naturally, we round up the latest casino and restaurant news, including items about Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower, the 60-foot sculpture coming to the pool at Palms, plus a cavalcade of updates about shows both new (“The Naked Magicians”) and making moves (“Magical Dream”).

Our “Listicle of the Week” reveals which slot machines have the lowest casino holds, giving you the illusion of control over your gambling destiny.

Listen and learn. Or probably just that first thing. You know how you are.

Circa Resort & Casino: Name, Details Revealed for New Downtown Resort

It’s been a long time coming, but now we know the name of the new casino resort coming to downtown in 2020: Circa Resort & Casino.

The owners of Circa, Derek and Greg Stevens, revealed the name and details of the resort at their Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. The Stevens also own The D and Golden Gate casinos.

Here’s a good look at Circa, and it’s about time!

Circa Las Vegas

Boom as the kids say. Not very many of them say that, but some.

Not going to lie, we got warm feelings in our special places when we first saw that rendering, and it’s just the beginning.

Ready to experience some warmth?

Circa Las Vegas

Circa will be the tallest building in downtown Las Vegas. “Circa” comes from the Latin, “circum,” so you might say it will be circum-sized.

The new resort, expected to cost in the neighborhood of $1 billion, will sit on the former site of the Las Vegas Club, Mermaids casino and the Glitter Gulch strip club.

Circa casino is touted as the first ground-up resort development since 1980. That was the Sundance, which later became Fitzgerald’s and then The D.

The name Circa is meant to “celebrate the timeless spirit of the city while leading the charge for a bold new era with game-changing guest offerings.”

Here’s a slick video about this new Vegas offering.

According to the official news release, Circa “will mix the glamour of vintage Vegas with modern luxuries and cutting-edge technology, honoring the golden age of the city. Guests can expect top-notch entertainment while enjoying honest, attentive and friendly service.”

Shockingly, we actually love the name and we hate everything.

Circa Las Vegas

We’re just going to keep sharing renderings until you make us stop.

The only moment of pause we had when we first heard the name (after which we were sworn to secrecy, and it’s been weeks of agony ever since) is it sounded a little like “Circus Circus,” but the feeling quickly passed. We suspect the chances of confusion between these two casinos will be slim to none.

Now, we’re more interested in diving into what in the hell the Stevens and their team of geniuses have been up to. (Disclaimer: We are friends with many of the aforementioned geniuses, and we also work at Fremont Street Experience downtown, however, our opinions are our own.)

From the renderings, it appears they’ve been up to a lot.

Circa Las Vegas

Here’s the entrance on Fremont Street where Mermaids used to be. Please stop whining about missing the fried Oreos, they were gross. We know because we had the last one ever sold.

Circa will have 777 rooms, “a range of eclectic restaurants” (to be announced later), the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street, a spa (we got to break that one on our podcast in Feb. 2016) and, understatement of the year, a pool.

In our 2016 interview with Derek Stevens, he described downtown as “underpooled,” and it’s clear Circa will seek to remedy that.

The hotel will feature a huge, multi-tiered pool amphitheater, which isn’t something we knew existed until pretty much right now.

There will be six pools and a huge video screen, as well as the anticipated beverages, food, beverages, private cabanas, beverages and DJs. But most beverages. The pool complex will accommodate 4,000 people.

Circa Las Vegas

They’re going to need a really big remote.

But wait, there’s more.

If you know anything about Derek Stevens and his crew, you know they love the sportsball (and the puckball also, especially since the Vegas Golden Knights came to town).

It’s not surprising, then, that Circa will have a multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook. Since it’s Las Vegas, you know it will also have “the biggest screen in sportsbook history.”

Circa Las Vegas sportsbook

Not your everyday man cave.

The Stevens recently announced a partnership with sports gaming media organization Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) to bring an in-house broadcast studio to Circa.

While we’re not a sports person, we’re going to just roll with the punches on this one. Which, it should be noted, is a sports metaphor.

We also snagged this sweet rendering of the casino bar at Circa.

Circa Las Vegas

Longbar at The D is shaking in its boots right about now.

Check out this shot of the Circa Las Vegas casino. It will have two levels, rare in Las Vegas, although The D has a two-floor casino as well.

We suspect a good number of our hard-earned dollars will be devoted to beating the pants off the Stevens brothers. They’ll be fine.

Circa Las Vegas

Dibs on Wheel of Fortune, wherever it might end up.

The D and Golden Gate recently combined their loyalty clubs, and The One card will work at Circa when it opens as well.

As if that’s not enough sensory overload, you should get a load of the parking garage.

The parking garage will be named, wait for it, Garage Mahal. Told you there are geniuses involved. When we shared that scoop back in July 2018, complete with a misspelling, people thought we were kidding. Rude.

Circa Garage Mahal

The Taj Mahal was named for an emperor’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal, making this the most useless caption in the history of ever.

Why tout a parking garage? Or give it a name? It’s because it’s fun. Remember when Las Vegas casinos did nutty stuff just for entertainment value? Well, there you go.

Garage Mahal promises to be state-of-the-art, designed specifically with rideshare in mind.

Circa Las Vegas

Nobody ever thinks to give props to the graphic artist who does these renderings, but we owe them a cocktail.

It will have 1,200 spaces and will be across Main Street between the Plaza and Main Street Station. It will be connected to the main hotel by a bridge. We took a photo of the space awhile back, to help get your bearings.

What’s left to say, other than please dive into the renderings and if you don’t feel things you might be a cyborg.

One final note: Vegas fans will be pleased to know the Stevens have confirmed news we’ve shared previously. The iconic Vegas Vickie statue will be making her way back to Fremont Street as part of the Circa Las Vegas resort.

Vegas Vickie is the counterpart of Vegas Vic, and she once sat above the Glitter Gulch strip club. Read more.

Vegas Vickie will be refurbished and will be a key design feature of Circa’s hotel lobby. Vickie’s coming back, Vegas Vic, so better clean up your act. (Looking at you, Pioneer gift shop.)

Learn more by visiting the official Web site for Circa Resort & Casino Las Vegas.

Update (1/15/19): You heard it here first! The address for Circa Las Vegas will be 8 Fremont Street. Lucky number!

Circa Las Vegas

[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas1.jpg]15020
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas2.jpg]15580
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas3.jpg]13990
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas4.jpg]13800
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas5.jpg]12270
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas6.jpg]12300
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas7.jpg]11790
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas8.jpg]10930
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas9.jpg]12260
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas10.jpg]10840
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas11.jpg]10030
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas12.jpg]10780
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas13.jpg]10860
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas14.jpg]10500
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas15.jpg]10110
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas16.jpg]10130
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas17.jpg]10440
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/circa-las-vegas/thumbs/thumbs_circa_las_vegas18.jpg]10130

Bonnie Springs Ranch Reportedly Sold, Set to Close

A popular Las Vegas attraction, Bonnie Springs Ranch, has been sold and will close.

Upon news of the sale, we contacted the Bonnie Springs Motel and were informed while employees haven’t been officially notified of the sale, the motel won’t take reservations beyond Feb. 2019.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

Bonnie Springs Ranch was a portal to another, much sweatier, time.

According to sources, Bonnie Springs Ranch will be leveled by April, including its zoo and buildings.

Bonnie Springs Ranch is touted as a replica of an Old West town and is located in the Red Rock Canyon area, 20 miles west of Las Vegas.

The ranch spans 63 acres.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

Let’s just say Bonnie Springs Ranch has a lot of old-timey charm.

The “Bonnie” in Bonnie Springs Ranch comes from Bonnie McGaugh, the woman who purchased the ranch in 1952.

McGaugh, a one-time dancer and showgirl, passed away in 2016.

While she purchased the ranch in 1952, the ranch’s history dates back to 1840, or approximately “like a bajillion years ago” in Millennial years.

Fun fact: The zoo at Bonnie Springs Ranch started when the owner took in two two pygmy goats from (wait for it) Wayne Newton.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

Tweren’t nothing fancy, but people seemed to like it.

Wikipedia mentions speculation Bonnie Springs Ranch is haunted, but we won’t elaborate because ghosts don’t actually exist and there’s already plenty of stupidity in the world.

Here’s us talking about the rumored sale of Bonnie Springs Ranch on Channel 8, because we sort of always have to make things about us.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

Racial sensitivity, be damned, we’re having a rootin’-tootin’ good time!

It’s unknown what plans the buyer of Bonnie Springs Ranch might have for the sprawling site, or its zoo animals or Old West artifacts.

Update (1/8/19): A source tells us Bonnie Springs Ranch was sold for $25 million. Following our scoop, NevadaCurrent.com shared plans have been filed with Clark County to divide up the ranch into 22 parcels for residential housing. Documents show the buyer of Bonnie Springs Ranch is Joel Laub, former CEO of Astoria Homes.

Update (1/9/19): Our story has been confirmed by a number of sources. It’s expected the sale will be finalized in March 2019 when demolition will begin, but the buyer has agreed construction will not start until the zoo animals are relocated. Plans call for 20 homes to be built (each 2-3 acres), as well as a 25-room motel and 5,400-square foot event barn, whatever that might actually be.

Update (3/12/19): When will Bonnie Springs close? March 17, 2019. This was shared on the Bonnie Springs Ranch Facebook page.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

Bonnie Springs Ranch is riding off into the sunset.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 91: So Inside Vegas, It May Require Forceps

Fair warning: This isn’t your average podcast. It’s below average. By a substantial amount. But that doesn’t mean it won’t help kill an hour, so there’s that.

In this episode, get exclusive scoop about the upcoming sale of Rio Las Vegas, big changes in store for Hard Rock and the latest in the Wynn Resorts lawsuit against Resorts World.

You’ll also get several earsful of opinions about the opening of the sprawling Eataly at Park MGM.

Eataly Las Vegas

You could call it a food court, but you’d be right.

Of course, you’ll get perfunctory news about Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, “Legends in Concert,” the sale of Therapy restaurant, a new location for Tacos El Gordo, upcoming restaurant changes at SLS and more, but you’ll also hear us winning lots of money at Wheel of Fortune, which sort of supersedes all the rest of that nonsense.

We also snuck into the Liberace mansion, which is a thing.

Liberace bathtub

If Liberace’s tub could talk. That would be weird. It’s an inanimate object.

Enjoy the final episode of the first season of the Vital Vegas podcast and, as always, we apologize in advance.

Britney Spears Pulls the Plug on Park MGM Residency

We broke the story Britney Spears would do a residency at Park Theater following her successful run at Planet Hollywood, but even we didn’t see this coming.

Spears announced she’s canceling her “Domination” residency at Park MGM, presumably due to her father’s illness.

Technically, Spears is claiming the residency is just on hold “until further notice.” The residency was scheduled to start Feb. 13, 2019.

Britney Spears Las Vegas

You know what it means when there’s a red line through something.

When we first learned the string of shows would be canceled, we suspected it might be a case of bailing due to lackluster ticket sales.

Slow ticket sales were reported widely, and it appeared Spears and MGM Resorts may have over-estimated her ability to draw audiences following her stint at Planet Hollywood.

That 248-show run surprised everyone by selling more than 900,000 tickets and pulling in $137 million.

The “I’m dedicating my focus and energy to care for my family” line is, of course, a cliche used by celebrities to step away from their gigs, often taking advantage of outs in their contracts in order to save face as well as avoiding steep penalties for not fulfulling their contractual obligations.

The other feeble go-to excuse when ticket sales are flagging is “exhaustion.” Looking at you, Salt-N-Pepa.

We began to set our skepticism aside with Britney Spears, however, when we learned more about the seriousness of her father’s medical condition. He’s expected to recover.

Spears relationship with her father is a complicated one, to say the least. Her assets have been supervised by her father since her breakdown in 2008. He makes $130,000 a year as her conservator, and Spears can’t make legal or financial decisions without her father’s approval.

Beyond the medical element, we’ve received reliable information her ticket sales weren’t as abysmal as reported. While not as brisk as sales for Lady Gaga and Aerosmith, those are new residencies, so it’s not a fair comparison.

It’s possible Spears will be on the hook for millions in costs related to the cancellation of “Domination.”

At this point, we’re split on whether Britney Spears will return to fulfill her residency commitment at Park MGM.

Cancellations of this type have a huge ripple effect on those involved with the production and the resort involved, as well as surrounding businesses.

Spears had a $500,000-per-show guarantee (even more than Celine Dion makes) for her upcoming Park Theater residency, so even one of the best-paid female artists in the world would find it hard to walk away from that.

Ten Confusing Things About Las Vegas, Unconfused

It’s been awhile since we took some time to unconfuse some confusing Las Vegas things, so this would be a feeble attempt at doing just that.

We’ll call this installment, “What’s in a name?”

See, naming things is hard, so often different venues in Vegas have bafflingly similar names. In other cases, a name might just be misleading. You’ll see what we mean.

1. Grand Bazaar vs. Bazaar Meat

Bazaar Meat is a steakhouse at SLS Las Vegas. The Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s are sort of an outdoor flea market. You can’t miss Grand Bazaar Shops, as they appear to have been decorated by someone who accidentally dropped a Pantone color guide into a blender.

Grand Bazaar Shops

No, they actually intended it to look that way.

2. Parlor Lounge vs. Parlour Bar

If you’re looking for Parlor Lounge, head to Mirage. If it’s Parlour Bar you seek, make your way downtown to El Cortez.

El Cortez Las Vegas

No, we don’t have a photo of the lounge. Do we look like we’ve visited every lounge in Las Vegas? Don’t answer that.

3. Guy vs. Guy

Confusing names aren’t just limited to places. There are two well-known Guys in Las Vegas: Guy Savoy and Guy Fieri. It’s easy to tell them apart, of course. Guy Savoy pronounces his name “ghee,” while the other once said, “I wanna be the ambassador to Chimichanga Flavor Town.” ‘Nuff said.

Guy Fieri

We could either show you a photo of Guy Fieri or hostesses at his restaurant. Thought so.

4. Mr. Chow vs. Chow

Mr. Chow is a restaurant at Caesars Palace. Chow was also a downtown restaurant. That Chow closed in Sep. 2017 to daily customers, focusing on catering instead.

Chow

“Chow” is derived from the term “chow chow,” making this possibly the most useless photo caption, ever.

5. Nobu vs. Nobu vs. Nobu

There’s a Nobu restaurant at Caesars Palace, and it’s on the ground level of Nobu Hotel. Nobu Hotel is inside Caesars Palace (they call such arrangements boutique hotels, just as Four Seasons is part of Mandalay Bay). But those aren’t the only Nobus in Las Vegas. There’s another Nobu at Hard Rock casino. Hard Rock will soon be a Virgin Hotel, which will definitely not be confusing to anyone.

Nobu Matsuhisa

The Nobu in question, Nobu Matsuhisa.

6. Trevi vs. Trevi

Inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, there’s a restaurant called Trevi. It’s near a beautiful fountain. Which isn’t a replica of the Trevi fountain, although many people think it is. Nope. The Trevi fountain replica is outside the Forum Shops. Just to keep guests on their toes.

Trevi fountain Las Vegas

The Trevi fountain is nowhere near Trevi restaurant. There will be a quiz.

7. Le Cirque vs. Cirque

There’s a successful restaurant at Bellagio called Le Cirque. It has no affiliation to Cirque du Soleil, which has a variety of productions in Las Vegas.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

You totally thought “Le Reve” was a Cirque show, admit it.

8. Plaza Bar vs. Plaza

If a friend said they’d meet you at the Plaza Bar, you’d of course make a beeline to the Plaza casino downtown. Well, you’d be screwed. That’s because the Plaza Bar isn’t at the Plaza. It’s at Westgate. Formerly LVH, formerly Las Vegas Hilton, formerly the International. Phew. We need to sit down for a minute.

Westgate Las Vegas

Westgate, the timeshare salesperson of Las Vegas hotels.

9. Royal Rewards vs. Royal Players Club

Yep, two casinos have loyalty clubs named “Royal.” There’s Royal Rewards at the Plaza and Royal Players Club at Four Queens.

Plaza loyalty club

Try to use your Plaza players card at Four Queens and you’re royally screwed.

10. Palazzo vs. Palazzo Suites

You’ve probably heard of the Palazzo hotel. It’s the counterpart to Venetian. What you may not know is Rio has suites of the same name, Palazzo Villa suites. Why on Earth would that ever confuse anyone?

Palazzo

It’s important not to mistakes suites at Palazzo with the Palazzo suites at Rio.

We hope this has helped you remove some of the plex from Sin City’s sometimes perplexing names. We’d love to hear it if other bemusing befuddlements befall you.

And, yes, we use alliteration as a crutch when we can’t think of a clever way to wrap things up. Like you read this far, anyway.