Category Archives: Race & Sports

Transformation of The California Continues With Opening of Sports Book Bar

There’s been a steady stream of changes and renovations at downtown’s California casino,
including the unveiling of a new sports book bar.

Emphasis on bar.

California hotel sports book bar

A new place for dog players, futures, exotics, chalk eaters and other terms we don’t know the meaning of.

The new sports book bar includes a relocation of The Cal’s, wait for it, sports book. The sports
book was previously on the casino’s second floor, and it was sad. The former sports book is
expected to become additional meeting and banquet space.

The just-revealed sports book is shiny and new and happy, and is just inches away from a new casino bar, complete with eight video poker machines, comfy seating and hooch.

California sports book bar

It’s like the den you’d have if you had an uncle named Sheldon.

The Cal’s new sports book lounge has 18 video screens, with wiring telegraphing plans for two
more.

The new sports book bar is easily accessible, right on the casino floor.

We’re putting this among the best sports books downtown, right up there with Golden Nugget’s. Despite the fact we don’t do sports. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

The Cal sports book bar lounge

We are not keeping track of all the remotes.

The new sports book bar is part of a major overhaul of the California, which opened in
1975. Estimates of the hotel’s renovations put the investment in the $40 million range. The Cal cost $10 million to build.

The sports book bar follows the opening of another casino bar, the Holo Holo Bar, in the
space previously occupied by the San Francisco Pub.

Holo Holo Bar at California

Holo Holo means “to go out and have adventures” in Hawaiian. About 80% of guests at The Cal are from Hawaii.

The Cal’s entire casino has undergone a renovation over the last year or so. Read more
about the “mystery pillar” that no longer qualifies as a mystery.

The casino has gotten a serious facelift, including new carpeting, new lighting fixtures,
new detailing and paint. The whole place, described as “Hawaiian colonial,” looks brighter
and more modern.

This is where the transformation of The Cal’s casino began.

California casino renovation

Out with the old, in with the colonial.

Upstairs at the California, Aloha Specialties restaurant also got a refresh.

Aloha Specialties

Nothing too flashy, but new is new.

The hotel’s Redwood Bar & Grill, pictured below, has closed for a renovation, too.

Redwood Bar & Grill

Only in Vegas do we renovate things that don’t really need renovating.

Signs on the Redwood Bar & Grill encourage guests to visit a temporary home, at the Pullman
Grille inside Main Street Station. We haven’t tried it, but we have tried a relatively new restaurant at The Cal, California Noodle House, which gets ridiculously high praise from us, so save yourself some walking.

California Noodle House

We’ve yet to find anything we don’t like at California Noodle House, and we hate everything.

Chances are if you haven’t been to the California in awhile, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the breadth of the changes.

The Cal is one block north of Fremont Street Experience. (Full disclosure: We work in marketing for Fremont Street Experience, and The Cal is one of its partner casinos. Our opinions are our own. Except for the ones we got from 1990s sitcoms. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Prices for food and drink at The Cal are downright cheap, even by downtown standards, so with all the newness, it’s a great time to stop by and check it out.

California hotel casino Las Vegas

Bonus: No resort fees. Unless you’re into the kind of thing.

While you’re there, of course, don’t forget to grab a cone at Lappert’s Ice Cream on the second
floor. Yes, they recently cut their ice cream selection in half (our beloved chocolate chip fell victim to the downsizing), but what’s left is still some of the best ice cream in Las Vegas.

Lappert's Ice Cream

If only [bring back] subliminal messages [our damned chocolate] worked [chip].

If you drop by The Cal, we’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment, Tweet us or send a message via carrier pigeon. Note: We only mentioned that last thing to confuse the Millennials.

California Newness

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Cosmopolitan’s Two Kick-Ass New Offerings: Clique Lounge, Race & Sports Book

Already one of the most popular and appealing resorts in Las Vegas, Cosmopolitan continues to unveil new offerings. Most recently, Cosmo opened Clique Bar & Lounge, followed by a new Race & Sports Book.

We’ve got all the scoop, as well as so many photos the world may soon experience a pixel shortage.

Clique Bar & Lounge Las Vegas

Clique Lounge is mere feet from the Cosmo’s new high limit slot parlor. We call them parlors to make them sound fancier.

Clique Bar & Lounge was created in partnership with Clique Hospitality in the space formerly occupied by Cosmo’s Book & Stage.

The lounge’s interior is understated by Las Vegas standards, managing to feel upscale without being ostentatious, exuding a vibe welcoming even to those who may not love the more pretentious aspects of Sin City’s nightlife scene.

Cosmo Clique lounge

We’re getting to the cocktails. You should really try and keep that drinking problem  of yours in check.

Clique (pronounced “click,” not “kleek,” by the way) is a lot about the exceptional cocktails and serious mixology, a claim made by most, if not all, Las Vegas lounges and bars.

Clique fulfills its promise, making it a stand-out in a town famous for its innovations in the realm of libations.

Clique Vegas

These are the Don Sandia shooters. Edible shot glasses for the win.

Bargain-hunters may feel a bit of sticker shock at Clique, but $18 specialty cocktails are quickly becoming the norm on the Las Vegas Strip.

Ultimately, that’s not the price of a cocktail so much as the price of an experience, and Clique delivers one guests are unlikely to soon forget.

Clique Cosmopolitan

Bonus points for adorability.

Some of the more remarkable cocktails at Clique are prepared tableside by expert bartenders. Sorry, mixologists. It doesn’t matter what you call them. They facilitate the happy.

Clique mixologists

Mixologists Justin and Anthony may very well have degrees in chemical engineering.

Each cocktail presentation is more dramatic than the last. The tableside cocktails break down into three groups: Barrel Smoked ($30), Table Infused ($25) and Caramelized ($25).

One of the more entertaining presentations is for the Bow Street Banana, which includes capturing smoke in your glass. It’s hard to explain. Just go with it.

Clique mixology

You thought we were making this up?

Please note there are some rules around these tableside cocktails, including the possibility there may be a one drink minimum for each person in your party. At $25 to $30 a pop, that can add up.

Clique mixology

We’re pretty sure they can’t put “Barrel Smoked” on the menu unless there are actual barrels involved.

Here’s the full menu for Clique Bar & Lounge.

A delicious diversion at Clique is the other menu, the food, or “Table Snacks.” Food is served from 5:00 p.m. to midnight.

Recommended are the Pizza Pockets ($14) and Mini Sliders ($18), the perfect complement to your drink of choice.

Clique Pizza Pockets

One of our few quibbles with Clique involves not being able to dip a square Pizza Pocket into a round sauce cup. Related: We needed an excuse to use the word “quibbles.”

You won’t want to leave Clique without having the heavenly Deep Fried Oreos ($9) with vanilla anglaise sauce.

Clique deep fried Oreos

Tried to limit ourselves to a dozen of these. Failed.

The staff at Clique is as memorable as the beverages and food.

The bartenders all appear to be models, and that also goes for the cocktail waitresses. The team at Clique seems to be able to balance good genes with a high degree of menu knowledge and ability to hold a conversation.

Clique waitress uniform

Hey, we had to share the cocktail server uniform. The things we do for you.

Here are more photos from Clique Bar & Lounge at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

Clique Lounge at Cosmopolitan

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But wait, there’s more! It’s Vegas, after all.

Also new at Cosmopolitan is a sparkly new Race & Sports Book. Even if you’re not all that into races or sports (we aren’t), we suspect you’ll find this new venue enticing (we did).

Cosmopolitan Race & Sports Book

It’s sort of the way you’d want your den to be if you had a couple million bucks sitting around.

Cosmo’s new Race & Sports book has a lot to love, including comfy chairs, an epic hell-ton of TV screens, and even some Millennial-friendly games like tabletop shuffleboard and pool.

Cosmo sports book

The aforementioned comfiness.

Social spaces with non-revenue-generating games are a thing in Las Vegas at the moment, so cut them some slack.

Cosmopolitan Race & Sports Book

A little race, a little sports, a little blackjack, a little foosball. What’s not to love?

Near the Race & Sports book is a collection of table games, the kind that actually make casinos money.

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Cosmo’s nailing it.

The new Race & Sports Book is just inside the Cosmo’s Las Vegas Boulevard entrance, near Chandelier Bar. Which we swear we’re not just mentioning so we have an excuse to share this photo we took.

Cosmopolitan Chandelier Bar

Don’t just sit there, pin something.

There’s still some construction going on in the adjoining Lucky Cat space. That’ll be a small Starbucks in time.

Cosmopolitan’s Race & Sports Book has its own specialty cocktails and food items, several of which can be seen in the photo below, because we’re all about giving you the tools you need to get the most from your Las Vegas sojourn. The legal ones, anyway.

Cosmo Sports Book menu

The Race & Sports Book cocktail menu references six sports and a legally non-binding agreement.

The Race & Sports Book at Cosmopolitan has a little something for everyone, and it’s well worth a stop.

Cosmo sports book

Choose your source of adrenaline.

Both Clique Bar & Lounge and the Race & Sports Book are wins in our opinion. Along with the casino’s renewed focus on gamblers, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas remains one of our favorite places to drink, play and people-watch. Let us know what you think.

Cosmopolitan Race & Sports Book

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Caesars Entertainment Tests the Waters With The Spread Sportsbook and Beer Hall and Garden

Caesars Entertainment has sent out a survey to its customers, testing two new concepts for its Las Vegas casinos and beyond.

Caesars is all about analysis and numbers, so doing market research is a big part of its strategy for rolling out new offerings.

It’s latest survey sends customers down one of two survey paths, one asking for feedback about a sportsbook concept and another for a dining concept.

Caesars survey

Whenever we get these surveys, we’re giddy as a schoolgirl. Nothing against schoolgirls. Or giddy people. Or similes.

First up, The Spread Sportsbook. Here’s how the potential offering is described:

“The Spread Sportsbook–a network of physical sportsbooks located in casinos, primarily on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as in other locations in Nevada such as Lake Tahoe, Reno, and Laughlin. At any The Spread Sportsbook location, players may bet on sports and horeseracing, watch both on large high-definition screens, and enjoy food and beverage (including alcoholic beverages).”

So, a lot like a sportsbook.

But the next element is new, at least at Caesars Entertainment resorts.

Caesars slogan

We love the new Caesars tagline!

The new thing is described like this: “We will also be launching www.thespreadsportsbook.com, a mobile betting app where anyone 21 years and older who is located in Nevada can bet on sports directly from their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets). Customers will be able to wager on in-play events happening in real-time, such as betting the spread, moneyline, and over/under, which update throughout the game. Customers will also be able to bet on a variety of markets that currently do not exist such as ‘the highest scoring quarter,’ ‘will an individual player exceed a certain number of points scored,’ and ‘which team will score a certain number of points first,’ all in real-time while games are in-progress.”

This is no doubt an intriguing idea for those who, as insiders call it, “give a rat’s ass about sports.”

The mobile betting app hasn’t lauched yet, but this one seems far enough along that it’s likely to down the road.

If a survey recipient expresses no interest in sports, they’re asked about another potential venue, a Beer Hall and Garden.

Questions about the Beer Hall and Garden are prefaced by this disclaimer: “We would like to show you a description and images of a new venue that may be opening in Las Vegas.  Because we are still in the very early stages of planning and design, the descriptions are broad and the photos/images are stock, on purpose. We want your reactions to some initial ideas being considered.”

Caesars survey

Sadly, stock photos give us no indication where the Beer Hall and Garden will be. Other than in close proximity to lots of white people.

And here’s what it says about the Beer Hall and Garden:

“Beer Hall and Garden–a restaurant where you’ll find an extensive selection of domestic and import beers, and food (e.g., sausages, pretzels, etc.), all served in generous portions, for sharing. The atmosphere will be very social, a great place to hang out with friends or make new ones.  Entertainment (e.g., local performers, DJs) will be available nightly.”

So, a lot like a beer garden. And hall.

Assuming existing Caesars respond positively to these potential offerings, they’re likely to arrive at your favorite Caesars Entertainment resort soon.

We’re always up for some Vegas newness.

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