Category Archives: Las Vegas Bars

Stratosphere to Get $140 Million in Renovations, Will Call Itself “The Strat” Like the Rest of Us

The new owners of Stratosphere, Golden Entertainment, plan to invest $140 million in upgrades to the Las Vegas resort over the next three years.

In the process, Stratosphere will start calling itself by the name most of us do, The Strat.

Stratosphere

You sort of can’t miss it.

Golden Entertainment purchased Stratosphere and several other casinos (including two Arizona Charlie’s locations in Vegas) in Oct. 2017.

As part of the Strat renovation, nearly half its rooms (1,100 or so) will be refreshed, the casino floor will be upgraded and a new loyalty program will be rolled out.

Plans are for additional restaurants to come online, too, and the Top of the World restaurant will also be revamped.

Stratosphere

This is easily one of the best views in Las Vegas, which is saying something because we’ve been to strip clubs.

The resort will also get a new gastro-brewery near its sports book, as well as a new steakhouse and a bar “appealing to a younger demographic.”

The Strat will also embrace youth culture with a new casino space called Adrenaline.

There are also plans for a noodle bar (in Las Vegas, it’s the law) and Starbucks (again, the law) and food hall concept.

Renovations and additions will be done in phases to help avoid disruption. In the casino world, of course, “disruption” is a code word for “interruption in revenue generation.”

Included in the first phase of the renovations will be dramatic changes to the Stratosphere’s signage. Plans submitted to the City of Las Vegas show about 20 new additions to Stratosphere’s exterior.

Strat signage

It’s going to be a good year for Yesco.

In renderings, all the signage shows the use of “The Strat,” rather than the full name of the resort.

Here’s a look at the observation tower’s main marquee.

Stratosphere signage

In all the renderings, we could find no use of “Stratosphere” on the exterior of the building. Clean break.

Fun fact: That same marquee got a facelift in Feb. 2016.

The Strat marquee

We have officially taken a photo of everything.

Stratosphere reps haven’t confirmed whether the signage is indicative of a complete rebrand, per se, but we’d wager yep.

The Strat signage

Like a number of attractions in Las Vegas, the thrill rides at Stratosphere are suffering a bit at the moment. Get your act together, Millennials.

Here’s a look at additional upgrades coming to The Strat’s hotel tower.

See? “The Strat” just flows better, don’t you think?

The Strat signage

The “stratos” in “Stratosphere” comes from the Latin “stratus,” meaning “a spreading out.” Seems like a buffet relaunch opportunity right there.

Plans are also in the works for LED strip lighting to raise the visibility of the Strat’s hotel.

Strat signage renovation

We like our Vegas glowy.

The plans for upgraded lighting and signage are pretty slick, although we can never fully get onboard with plans to replace neon with LEDs. We’re sentimental like that.

Of course, there are always a few dissenting opinions when anything new is proposed, but expect the signage upgrades to happen in the next few months.

We quite enjoy our visits to the Stratosphere, especially the happy hour at its 107 SkyLounge, formerly Level 107 Lounge.

The substantial investment by Golden Entertainment shows they are optimistic about activity on the north end of The Strip, including the sale of SLS, the purchase of Fontainebleau, slow but steady work at Resort World and expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Strat logo

Finally, a casino rebrand that will take zero getting used to.

We love new things, so we look forward to seeing what The Strat has in store in addition to its impressive erection.

Oh, like you didn’t see that coming.

Or that.

Do you know this blog at all?

Everything You Need to Know About the $100 Million Kind Heaven at Linq Promenade

Caesars Entertainment, Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell and other collaborators have announced an ambitious, $100 million project for the Linq promenade on the Las Vegas Strip, Kind Heaven.

Since we know how you like to skim, we’re going to cut through the WTF and sum the project up in a way its development team and other publications have not: In English.

Kind Heaven is an Asian-themed walk-through attraction with music festival roots.

Don’t say we never did anything for you.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Prediction: Best-selling item in the Kind Heaven gift shop will be mosquito repellent.

Yes, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the essence of Kind Heaven. The details range from breathtakingly original to laughably absurd.

Kind Heaven is a little bit theme park, a little bit interactive theater, all wildly original for Las Vegas, and the entire concept is based upon a dream. More on that in a moment.

The intention is for Kind Heaven to be a unique experience, and from what’s been shared, it could actually end up being just that. It could also be a colossal disaster, which is part of what makes it so exciting.

Let’s dive into this whimsically weird attraction set to open in 2019 in Las Vegas.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Kind Heaven’s logo features a number of symbols, all of which have growths which should probably be looked at by a physician.

The project is being put together by a powerhouse team of creative minds and Caesars Entertainment. That may have come out wrong.

Aside from Perry Farrell (founder of the Lollapalooza music festival), there’s also Cary Granat, co-founder and CEO of Immersive Artistry. Granat is also the former CEO of Walden Media (which produced the “Chronicles of Narnia” film series) and was formerly the president of Miramax.

Also on the team is visual effects pioneer, Ed Jones. Jones was involved with blockbuster films like “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Indiana Jones” and “E.T.” He’s the president of Immersive Artistry.

So, there are some creative minds at work on the Kind Heaven project.

The driving force, though, is Perry Farrell. He’s the one whose dream inspired Kind Heaven.

Farrell says that in his dream, he “descended upon an imaginary city from the sky and watched a girl pickpocket someone who was passed out on the street.”

It takes a true visionary to have a dream and say, “That’s a $100 million idea right there!”

Whores book cover

Let us introduce you to Perry Farrell, the man once voted “Least Likely to Ever Work With Caesars Entertainment, Ever.”

From there, back in 2014, Farrell tried to develop an “EDM-driven immersive theatrical production” called “Kind Heaven.” That show, which was intended for Las Vegas, never became a reality, but the Kind Heaven dream apparently lived on. Read more in Rolling Stone.

The specifics of Kind Heaven aren’t easy to pin down, but that’s probably because its developers haven’t quite sorted everything out yet.

What we do know is Kind Heaven will be located at the Linq promenade shopping center. The pedestrian mall is anchored by the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, the High Roller. And In N Out.

Kind Heaven will cover a whopping 100,000 square feet of space with 40 food stations and bars. Hint: That’s a lot.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Bonus points if your first thought was “Blade Runner”!

Kind Heaven will “transport visitors to Southeast Asia” via a “virtual train” and is set to feature holographic special effects, streetscapes and holy temples in Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Hong Kong.

According to Cary Granat, the venue will feature music from 130 artists on five stages. Hey, we said it’s whimsical.

Farrell will curate the “audio soundscape” for Kind Heaven, because why would you ever want to just call something what it is? This is art, that’s why.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

When “Jubilee” opened in Las Vegas, there was a worldwide rhinestone shortage. With Kind Heaven, look forward to a worldwide monk robe shortage.

Kind Heaven will be family-friendly by day and adults-only at night. According to Farrell, the adults-only part will presumably include “street walkers, nightclubs and sake bombs.”

We’ll see how much of that makes it through Caesars Entertainment’s notoriously stifling review and approval process.

Perry Farrell has provided some of the most vivid (and confounding) descriptions of the attraction.

He told Billboard, “You’re basically walking through a 90-minute show routed in mythology and original content. When you’re within the complex, you’re free to roam around and discover hidden alleyways, visit nightclubs and eat from Hong Kong-style street food vendors. There will be improvisational actors, musicians, acrobats and comedians, combining elements of sensuality and espionage into an experience that will be a first of its kind.”

Think Fremont Street Experience, but rather than downtown’s casino “theme,” an Asian one.

No, really.

Live musical performances on multiple stages (three on Fremont Street, five at Kind Heaven), street performers, bars and restaurants, roaming and exploring, sensuality and immersion.

Oh, and let’s not forget, ziplines. Caesars Entertainment announced its Fly Linq project back in November 2017.

You think we’re kidding about Fremont Street being the inspiration for Kind Heaven? They even included a vagrant in their rendering!

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Not happening. Unlike Fremont Street, Linq promenade is private property.

Full disclosure: We work in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience, and worked in marketing at Caesars Entertainment as well back in the day. Our opinions are obviously our own, and God, we feel old.

Here are some other notable features of the Kind Heaven attraction:

googie Kind Heaven is specifically intended to appeal to Millennials.

googie It will be cashless. Our first experience with a similar cashless system was at Rock in Rio USA, the music festival held at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds across from SLS Las Vegas. Event organizers love RFID wristband payment systems because they help avoid employee theft and there’s a windfall from the “breakage.” Read more.

googie The attraction will accept digital currencies like Bitcoin.

googie It will feature “wearable tech.”

googie The exact location of Kind Heaven isn’t entirely clear at this juncture, but it’s likely to span the space between Flamingo and the Linq hotel.

googie The attraction will be open to people of all ages from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., close for three hours and re-open for those 21 and older.

googie The venue will have a “Dynamo” stage with a capacity of 1,000 people for concerts.

googie Objects inside the attraction will have RFID tags, and everything will be for sale. Well, almost everything. Farrell says, “Everything that you see, except for my wife, is for sale.”

Kind Heaven Las Vegas bar

Fun game! See if you can spot the drama. Answer below.

googie There may be holographic porn. Farrell says he’d like to have a holographic porn of himself. We are not making this up. Read more.

googie The venue will feature virtual monkeys that wrestle each other, robotic chickens and 20-foot snake. Guests will presumably be able to wager on the matches.

googie It will take 18 months of construction.

googie Kind Heaven will create 200 construction jobs.

googie The attraction will employ 670, exclusive of the holographic monkeys.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

“Honey, she’s a friend from work!”

There have been conflicting reports about how many stories Kind Heaven will take up, ranging from three to five to seven.

Specifics of three levels of Kind Heaven have been shared, though.

Level one is a night market. On this level, at a bar called The Dispensary, guests will be able to order feelings. That is absolutely not a typo. We trust one of the feelings will be “WTF?”

Level two is The Forest, with lost temples and cities, tree houses and lush vegetation. Millennials love their vegetation lush.

Level three is The Sanctuary. This level will be above the Vortex (that colorful, tornado shaped structure at Linq hotel). This area is likely to feature EDM.

And more drama!

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Matt Goss’ girlfriend is not pleased.

And while we’re on the subject, Matt Goss is everywhere at Kind Heaven. Remember that rendering of “The Forest”?

Kind Heaven

The one thing we know for sure about Kind Heaven is Matt Goss is getting a lot of tail.

Yep, Matt Goss and friends.

Kind Heaven

There’s a small chance this isn’t actually Matt Goss. Would it kill you to just play along, or at least pretend you know who Matt Goss is?

As we’re taking a closer look at the Kind Heaven renderings, we would like to also point out there’s more drama lurking in the forest image.

Kind Heaven Linq

You were so busy worrying about Matt Goss, you didn’t notice this situation developing nearby.

And don’t get us started about what else is going on in The Forest!

The jealous confrontation in the bar has apparently resulted in the scorned woman having her leg amputated!

Kind Heaven Linq

When they said there would be danger at Kind Heaven, they weren’t kidding.

That just about covers what we know about Kind Heaven, and we’re exhausted.

So, can a $100 million, Asian-themed attraction based upon a dream thrive on the Las Vegas Strip? We hope so.

Doesn’t Disneyland feels like a dream made real? Come to think of it, doesn’t Las Vegas?

We’ve heard convincing arguments from industry insiders saying Kind Heaven is set to be the biggest game-changing success in the history of Las Vegas. We’ve heard equally compelling arguments Kind Heaven will be the biggest flop in the history of Las Vegas.

Here’s what we think.

Casinos are scrambling to draw the next generation of Las Vegas visitors. Skill-based slot machines, cornhole and eSports are feeble, fruitless attempts at doing so.

With Kind Heaven, Caesars Entertainment is being bold and Las Vegas was built on audacity.

Here’s hoping the dream that is Kind Heaven pays off, because when bold wagers come through in Las Vegas, we all win.

Eureka Restaurant Opens on Fremont East and People Seem to Like It

The opening of Eureka restaurant on Fremont East was bittersweet for many denizens of downtown.

The chain restaurant opened in a space formerly home to the Beat Coffeehouse, a popular haunt until it closed in Sep. 2016.

Eureka restaurant

Downtown is a special place to have patio dining. You’re sure to meet new people, some of whom have little to no need of delousing.

Eureka opened just a few weeks ago (Feb. 12, 2018) and has been doing brisk business since day one.

We don’t exactly get what people like so much about the place, but far be it from us to tell others what to like. We’re Switzerland like that.

To get a feel for Eureka, imagine Claim Jumper, but without the kids.

Eureka Fremont Street

Bonus points if you can guess why Eureka should cross-promote with a Cirque show at MGM Grand. We’ll wait.

The menu at Eureka is made up of a lot of words we didn’t recognize, so we went straight for the Eureka American Cheeseburger.

At $11, the price is a tad aspirational. It’s downtown, after all, where some of the best burgers in Las Vegas reside. Specifically, at Binion’s and El Cortez, where great burgers run around $5.

Eureka

Our medium well burger was decidedly medium, and the meat had a funky aftertaste, but look how pretty we made it, anyway.

Burger aficionados will no doubt want to explore the menu further for items like the Bone Marrow Burger, Bison Burger, Jalapeno Egg Burger, Veggie Beet Burger and Fresno Fig Burger.

To us, that list pretty much represents the five circles of Hell.

We had better luck during another visit to Eureka, where we enjoyed a respectable pair of fried chicken sliders ($13.50).

Eureka Fremont Street

If “perfectly acceptable” is a compliment, then we’re giving Eureka a compliment!

The Mac N’ Cheese Balls are worth a try, and not just because we wanted to make our mom blush while reading this sentence.

Eureka

Think of the cheese as the yin and the macaroni as the yang. No real reason. We just wanted to see if you’d do it.

Other appetizers include Lollipop Corn Dogs, Truffle Cheese Fries, Cauliflower Bites and Crispy Glazed Brussels Sprouts.

Salads, sandwiches and tacos round out the Eureka menu.

The dessert menu is limited to a Bourbon Barrel Cake and American Chocolate Budino, but they looked tempting on their way to other diners.

One of the big draws of Eureka is its hooch.

Eureka boasts 40 craft beers on tap. We have never personally had a beer, but that sounds like a robust selection for those who imbibe in the rocketsauce. Which has to be a legit name for beer because we found it on the Internet.

Eureka Las Vegas

Beer and vaginas have about the same acidity levels. We are not making this up.

Eureka has a welcoming central bar perfect for solo diners who like slow, inattentive service.

Eureka has a slew of signature cocktails we look forward to trying on someone else’s tab.

Signature cocktails run the gamut, which is what we typically say when we don’t have time to actually read the menu.

Specialty cocktails run from $10-15, and the first we’re likely to try is the Electric Butterfly, which features a “buzz button,” otherwise known as a “Szechuan button,” the herb made famous in Las Vegas by the Cosmopolitan’s Verbena cocktail.

Eureka’s happy hour runs from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to closing.

Eureka happy hour

For a mere buck off beer, it’s more of a “mildly amused hour” than a happy hour, but a discount’s a discount.

Overall, Eureka is an adequate addition to the restaurant and bar options on Fremont East. The atmosphere is lively without being too loud (unlike it’s neighbor across the street, Commonwealth, which has been known to implode an eardrum at 100 yards).

In case you’re unfamiliar with the Fremont East district, here’s a better look at one half of it.

Fremont East district

From left, it’s Park on Fremont, Evel Pie, Red, Vanguard Lounge, Therapy and Eureka.

As we said, Eureka is consistently busy, but it remains to be seen if that’s more the result of a honeymoon period than compelling fare or libations.

Our beer-swilling friends swear Eureka has one of the best selections in town, so give it a try and let us know what you think.

Eureka Restaurant at Fremont East

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Troy Liquor Bar Opens at Golden Nugget

A new nightlife offering has opened at downtown’s Golden Nugget casino, Troy Liquor Bar.

The new nightclub and bar replaces Gold Diggers on the resort’s second floor.

Troy Liquor Bar

Liquor bars are our very favorite kind. Of bar. Please try and keep up.

The new bar concept at Golden Nugget isn’t entirely new. There’s another Troy Liquor Bar in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. No, that is not a euphemism. Get your mind out of the gutter for a change.

We are not personally a nightclub person, but we are a liquor person, so we enjoyed Troy Liquor Bar’s selection of signature cocktails.

Troy Liquor Bar

Drinks at Troy Liquor Bar are served in plastic cups because the outdoor patio overlooks the street. Translation: People be clumsy.

Most are $13, which is our least favorite price, but only because we like to gamble and we’re occasionally superstitious.

Troy Liquor Bar

The White Gummy Bear is an epic panty-dropper cocktail that will change your life.

While downtown may be known for its nightlife, it’s not exactly known for being a hotbed for nightclubs, so it remains to be seen if Troy Liquor Bar will catch on.

At the moment, it’s the only nightclub on Fremont Street Experience (where we work in digital marketing as our day job).

There’s no denying one of Troy Liquor Bar’s best assets is its view of Fremont Street Experience. The balcony at Troy Liquor Bar offers a bird’s-eye view of the circus that is Fremont Street. It also provides a sweet view of the Viva Vision canopy.

Troy Liquor Bar

A little bit of throwback, mixed with a little bit of throwforward, if that’s an actual thing.

Beyond the memorable cocktails, we found the music volume and selection to be perfect, big wins in our book.

Troy Liquor Bar also boasts several blackjack tables, so we’re in.

Troy Liquor Bar

Fun fact: Las Vegas nightclubs make about 70% of their revenue from bottle service. Then again, most don’t have blackjack tables.

We’re often asked where one can go dancing downtown, and Troy Liquor Bar certainly qualifies.

The place is a fraction of the cost of clubs on The Strip, and the vibe is unpretentious.

If you’re dining before your dancing, our best tip is to try Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse. The prix fixe menu (it’s not on the in-house menu, you have to download and print a .pdf) is one of our favorite dining deals in town.

Enjoy a few more photos of Troy Liquor Bar and let us know what you think if you give it a try.

Troy Liquor Bar at Golden Nugget

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Redneck Riviera Rumored to Be Closing at Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s

It’s been open for less than a year, but we hear Redneck Riviera is closing at Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s.

Redneck Riviera opened in Feb. 2017, backed by country star John Rich, whoever that might actually be.

Redneck Riviera

Every time a place with country music closes, an angel gets its wings.

The decision to pull the plug on the country-themed Redneck Riviera comes after months of struggling to connect with Las Vegas visitors.

Redneck Riviera featured live country music and a “Heroes Bar,” touted as being “staffed by veterans” and offering military members and veterans their first drink free.

The bar had some distinctive decorative elements, including an American flag fashioned from beer cans, a sequined saddle and creative bathroom fixtures.

Redneck Riviera bathroom

Dibs.

It’s unknown what will replace Redneck Riviera after it closes, expected to happen as soon as the end of the month.

Updated (2/20/18): Our story has been confirmed with the closure of Redneck Riviera at Grand Bazaar Shops.

Mint Tavern Takes Inspiration from Classic Casino and It’s Glorious

A new tavern just off The Strip is turning heads with its signage, a throwback to earlier times in Las Vegas.

The venue’s sign was inspired by a classic casino, The Mint.

Mint Tavern Las Vegas

You sort of can’t miss it.

The Mint opened in downtown Las Vegas in 1957.

In 1988, the casino closed and became part of Binion’s. Guests visiting Binion’s will note a slope in the casino floor, an indication of where Binion’s ended and The Mint began.

Mint Tavern Las Vegas

Did we go back to get a photo during daylight hours, too? You betcha.

The Mint Tavern sits in an unassuming strip mall that features the Golden Steer steakhouse, just west of the ill-fated Lucky Dragon.

The venue was formerly called Red Label Bar & Lounge.

Here’s a look at the original Mint casino.

Mint casino

We want to lick you like a stripper pole. Which, upon reflection, might not be particularly wise, but urges are urges.

The Mint cocktail lounge on Sahara is still a work-in-progress, as evidenced by a sign outside.

Mint Tavern Las Vegas

Winning.

The bar has about a dozen video poker machines, and not much else at the moment. That includes (gasp!) no Captain Morgan.

Given the retro cool of the sign outside, though, we’re willing to overlook that transgression for now.

Mint Tavern Las Vegas

In 1971, Hunter S. Thompson stayed at The Mint hotel during his first visit to Vegas, the same trip depicted in his novel, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

The Mint’s original, distinctive sign was created by someone with whom Las Vegas fans are very familiar: Betty Willis.

Willis is also the designer of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

Mint Lounge

When The Mint was a thing, it boasted three miles of neon tubing. This sign has a tad less.

Perhaps the best-known story about The Mint involved Lee Marvin. Marvin stayed at the hotel in 1966 during the shooting of “The Professionals” (a Western). The actor got hammered and started shooting arrows at the nearby Vegas Vic sign, claiming his “Howdy Podner!” greeting was making too much noise.

Vegas Vic spoke again in the 1980s, but then was silenced for good.

Mint Lounge

The star atop the sign at the original Mint was 16 feet tall and could be seen 30 miles away.

Kudos to Mint Tavern for creating such a lovely homage to a beloved part of Las Vegas history.

We’re pretty sure Binion’s owns the Mint trademark, but hopefully the new sign won’t cause a legal kerfuffle.

The Mint Tavern’s sign is sure to become a must-see photo op for Las Vegas devotees.