Monthly Archives: May 2019

Wynn’s Popeye Statue to Set Sail for Encore Boston Harbor

A famous statue of Popeye at Wynn Las Vegas is about to set sail for Encore Boston Harbor, so catch it while you can, matey.

Or whatever.

The Popeye statue, made by renowned sculptor Jeff Koons, will reportedly be packed up in the early morning hours of June 4, 2019.

Wynn Popeye statue

Sun’s out, guns out, or whatever the kids are saying now.

The statue will be in place at Encore Boston Harbor in time for its opening on June 23, if all goes according to plan.

The Popeye stands in front of the Wynn Theater, not far from the self-parking garage, which is free again, so you have no excuse to not visit the resort before Popeye’s departure.

Wynn Popeye

Popeye is incarnated with Brancusian reflectivity in the artist’s signature material: Stainless steel. Which we totally didn’t steal from the Sotheby’s Web site.

The Popeye statue has a long and storied history we didn’t have time to research.

We do know it was purchased for $28,165,000 in 2014. It’s rumored Wynn Resorts turned down an offer of $60 million for the statue at one point.

If you’re an art person, don’t fret that Popeye won’t be at Wynn much longer. You can pop into the Wynn Plaza and snap a selfie with another impressive piece of art, Smiling King Bear by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel.

Wynn Plaza

Our photography is occasionally fleek.

Please take care of our Popeye statue, Encore Boston Harbor. We sort of want it back, eventually.

Front Yard at Ellis Island is Looking Like a Thing

One of our favorite Las Vegas casinos, Ellis Island, is getting an expansion, The Front Yard.

To put it simply: It took less time to build the Great Wall of China.

Now, however, we are pleased to report The Front Yard is starting to look like a thing and we even have a new timeline for the venue to open. We’ll leave you in suspense as you look at this photo we took.

Ellis Island Front Yard

Hey, if you were a construction worker, would you rush to finish a job six feet from a brewery?

The Front Yard, a two-story dining and entertainment venue, was originally announced way back in July 2017. It was supposed to open in late 2018.

Emphasis on “late.”

Look, Ellis Island is a family-owned casino and not like those monolithic corporate entities on The Strip. It’s one of the reasons we love the place, beyond the fact you can get a beer and a Captain Morgan and diet for $8.

Ellis Island just moves at a different pace, and The Front Yard is no exception. Yes, this expansion has taken forever, but here’s the thing: Ellis Island is sort of in on the joke.

Ellis Island Front Yard

We love this new venue because it’s as far away from Ellis Island’s karaoke lounge as possible.

We asked for a comment from our friend, Christina Ellis, Director of Marketing for Ellis Island, she said, “We’ve been promoting the project for over a year-and-a-half at this point, so it’s no secret The Front Yard has taken a bit longer than expected! When we first started brainstorming the beer garden we were basically just adding a patio, now it’s a huge, beautiful structure that we’ll be able to keep open close to 365 days a year.”

She also shared, “We added a larger kitchen, more seating and some structural changes. All great things, but things that required new permits, new drawings, etc. This is really the first construction project I’ve been a part of, so I’m learning a lot and it’s exciting how eager everybody is for us to open!”

That we are.

Ellis Island Front Yard

Yes, it’s basically the same photo again. Get your own blog if you don’t like it. We’re trying to keep the words from slapping together.

The revised official opening date for the Front Yard is Dec. 6, 2019.

In the meantime, there’s already a lot to love about Ellis Island. There’s the cheap-ass drinks, and the fact they brew beer on the premises.

Ellis Island BBQ is easily some of the best in all of Las Vegas, all at a rare value. Visit their Web site for all the details.

Here’s a model of the Front Yard for good measure.

Ellis Island Front Yard

You can sort of see miniature us being thrown out by miniature security for having too many miniature cocktails.

We can’t wait to have our first Captain and diet at the Front Yard at Ellis Island, and thanks to the utterly lovable Ellis family for their ongoing patience with our drunk Tweets about the construction delays.

We kid because we love! Let’s get this place did, already!

Rumor: Cleo Restaurant at SLS to Close and Everything is Ruined

We knew it was on the horizon, but it didn’t seem real until now.

We’ve heard one of our favorite all-time Las Vegas restaurants, Cleo at SLS Las Vegas, will close by Labor Day.

And everything is ruined.

Cleo SLS Las Vegas

Feeling a little weepy right about now.

This fantastic restaurant has never really gotten the attention it deserves, and it appears Cleo won’t survive the transition from SLS Las Vegas to Grand Sahara Resort.

SLS Las Vegas is in the process of a major overhaul, as anyone who visits the casino can attest.

SLS Las Vegas

The casino at SLS is unrecognizable. Specifically, there are people in it.

Among the changes is a purge of many of the resorts restaurants, specifically legacy restaurants from when SLS was partially owned by SBE Entertainment. (The restaurants are largely SBE brands, and that partnership is costing the new owners of SLS licensing fees better spent elsewhere.)

Katsuya closed in March 2019 to make way for a high limit room.

A new Mexican restaurant, Uno Mas, recently opened in the former Ku Noodle space.

It’s expected Umami Burger’s days are numbered as well. Ditto 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, although few will miss that disappointing offering.

One restaurant will stick around, however, the much-loved Bazaar Meat, which will even get an expansion.

Should the rumor of a Labor Day closing come to pass, we’ll be in mourning about the loss of Cleo.

Cleo SLS Las Vegas laffa

You complete us, laffa.

We have never had a dish like the chicken tagine at Cleo, and don’t get us started about the laffa bread and lebaneh with feta. We don’t even know what those things are, really, or how to pronounce them, and yet we love them so very much.

Here’s more about Cleo Mediterranean restaurant, the best Las Vegas restaurant you haven’t tried yet.

Check out the menus on the official Web site, and get there while you still have the chance.

Update (8/9/19): We’ve now heard Cleo at SLS will close on August 25, 2019. It will be replaced with an Italian restaurant, according to our sources.

Oakville Steakhouse at Tropicana is an Underrated Gem

There are so many steakhouses in Las Vegas, it’s easy for even a great one to be overlooked. That seems to be the case with Oakville Steakhouse at Tropicana.

This unassuming restaurant serves up fare worthy of more attention. So, this would be an attempt at that.

Oakville Steakhouse

Let’s meat.

Then menu at Oakville Steakhouse isn’t the most expansive, but all the bases are covered.

You’ll want to start with a shrimp cocktail appetizer, of course. In Las Vegas, it’s the law.

Oakville Steakhouse Tropicana

Few things are as adorable as shrimp spooning.

As you’re choosing your entree, make sure to dive into the specialty cocktail menu. Here’s a look at the cocktail menu.

Oakville Steakhouse Tropicana

Happy libationing. Which, if it isn’t a word, should be.

The Barely There was recommended by our server, and we owe her bigtime for that one. This immediately made its way into our list of favorite fancy cocktails on The Strip.

The Barely There has Patron Silver tequila, peach schnapps, Apple Pucker liqueur and sour mix.

Oakville cocktail Tropicana

We aren’t a tequila person, but the Barely There says otherwise.

Oakville Steakhouse absolutely nailed our filet mignon. It sort of had to. “Steakhouse” is right in the name of the place.

Oakville Steakhouse Tropicana

Perfectly seasoned, just like we are, whatever that might mean.

While a delicious steak was to be expected, we didn’t expect the mac and cheese side to win our heart. It did.

Oakville Steakhouse Las Vegas

We’re pretty sure this mac and cheese is going to ruin you for other mac and cheeses.

More dranks, as the kids say.

Next, we had intimate relations with the Pineapple Express, with Pineapple Ciroc vodka, pineapple juice, orange juice and cranberry juice.

Oakville Tropicana Las Vegas

You can legitimately say, “I’m not drunk, I’m juicing.”

We were foolishly about to call it a night when our server walked by with a dessert on its way to another table.

We ordered one, and when you see it, you’ll know why.

Our server confided, “When I serve one of these, I serve 10.”

We have no idea what it’s called, but it’s a little bit cake, a little bit ice cream, a little bit chocolate cookie in between and a little bit chocolate syrup just to make the whole thing ridiculously decadent.

Oakville Las Vegas

Dessert: Brought to you by gravity and fusion.

Among the other temptations at Oakville Steakhouse are Australian Tajima Wagyu, fresh seafood and a wine list with more than 150 labels.

Check out the full menu at the official Oakville Steakhouse Web site.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Tropicana has free parking.

Oakville Steakhouse Trop Las Vegas

The Web site says the dress code is business casual. Translation: Just put on pants, freak.

Big thanks to Tropicana for hosting our dinner, and we’re happy to highly recommend it.

While you’re there, stop by their new lounge, Trago. Check out our story about it, and not just because there’s a lot of cleavage. Probably.

Entertainment Rumors Abound at SLS Las Vegas

SLS Resort is undergoing a major renovation, and from some of the rumblings we hear, changes won’t just take the form of new restaurants and a revamped casino floor.

We hear the successful male revue, “Magic Mike Live,” currently at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, will be making a move to SLS Las Vegas in 2020. Word is the show will close at Hard Rock in November 2019.

This is surprising as it’s been reported “Magic Mike Live” would stay on at Hard Rock after the resort transitions to Virgin Hotel.

Magic Mike Live

It’s like we’re looking in a mirror.

Chatter at SLS leads us to believe the resort will make a significant investment (rumored to be in the neighborhood of $10 million) to customize a theater space to showcase “Magic Mike Live.”

Another rumor has it longtime Strip fixture Frank Marino, of “Diva’s Las Vegas,” was eyeing SLS for a residency.

Marino’s “Divas Las Vegas” closed under a cloud of controversy at Linq casino after we reported some shady dealings related to solicitation of charitable contributions which never made it to the charity, among other alleged transgressions. Read more.

The ethical questions plaguing Marino have apparently made it tough for him to find a venue for his show on The Strip. Insiders tell us he was turned down by Westgate, Strat, Mirage and others.

Diva

We figured Frank Marino might throw in the towel, but never doubt a diva.

Update (5/26/19): It’s now sounding like Frank Marino will end up at Hooters. Hey, entertainment news in Las Vegas is fluid. So to speak.

There are also rumors about two existing shows at SLS, comedians Eddie Griffin and Mo’Nique. We hear both these shows will be shown the door, despite them selling well. Experience tells us this could be an effort to tweak the demographics at SLS, but that’s a really awkward subject, so we’ll just move on.

None of the rumors shared here have been announced or confirmed, but don’t be surprised if official announcements are made soon.

SLS Las Vegas is well worth a visit. You’ll want to check out the casino renovation, and make sure to try Cleo restaurant while you still can.

Update (6/3/19): Here’s some fresh scoop! We’re hearing SLS will be renamed (wait for it) Sahara Hotel & Casino. It has been long rumored the hotel would get the name Grand Sahara Resort, but management reconsidered because they thought it might be confused with Grand Sienna Resort, a Reno resort, also owned by Alex Meruelo.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 97: The TMI Episode

Can you ever have too much information about Las Vegas? Let’s hope not, because in this episode of the Vital Vegas podcast, we have enough scoop to rupture your tympanic cavity, whatever that might be.

To whet your appetite, you’ll get our first-hand take on Urth Caffe at Wynn and Chica at Venetian.

Chica Venetian

You can’t see the food from Chica restaurant on the podcast, so we’re sharing it here. You’re welcome.

We’ll also bring you up to speed on the cost-saving measures being implemented at MGM Resorts, including layoffs and the roll-out of surge pricing. Good times.

You’ll also get the inside scoop about Wynn Resorts being fined $35 million, presumably the final chapter of the Steve Wynn sexual misconduct saga.

There’s more drama surrounding Kaos at Palms, the Hunger Games Exhibition at MGM Grand, Hyde Nightclub at Bellagio, the Drew Las Vegas project, Lucky Dragon (which recently sold for $36 million) and the prematurely terminated Yayoi Kusama exhibit at Bellagio’s Gallery of Fine Art.

Lucky Dragon

Lucky Dragon is expected to re-open as a non-gambling hotel. It’s the yawn of a new era.

Listen in for news about the Hard Rock’s transition to Virgin Hotel, a new show coming to Luxor called “R.U.N.,” the Cosmopolitan being up for sale, a doomed Paula Abdul residency and A Little White Wedding Chapel looking for a buyer.

The “Listicle of the Week” is “10 Moments in Vegas History to Remember in May,” mainly because we were too busy to come up with anything clever. Here’s the listicle now!

1. May 3, 1999: Venetian opened.
2. May 14, 1998: Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack. (Let’s be real. He was sort of a dick.)
3. May 15, 1905: Las Vegas officially was founded as a city.
4. May 16, 2011: The Sahara casino closed.
5. May 18, 1956: Fremont casino opened downtown.
6. May 20, 1964: “Viva Las Vegas,” starring Elvis Presley and Ann Margret, was released.
7. May 21, 2010: Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health opened.
8. May 22, 2012: Construction began on SkyVue, the ill-fated observation wheel.
9. May 23, 1955: The Dunes opened.
10. May 24, 1955: Moulin Rouge, the first racially-integrated hotel in Las Vegas, opened.

It’s all the Vegas you could ever need, in a format you’d have difficulty caring less about.

Just push the “Play” button, already. You’ll be able to tell people you exercised.