Category Archives: Las Vegas Shopping

Progress Report: Las Vegas Arena, The Park and Monte Carlo Theater

There’s a dizzying number of new things coming to the space between New York-New York and Monte Carlo, so we thought it about time to share some photos, video and a few words to keep those things from slapping into each other.

First up, here’s a look at the current state of the Las Vegas Arena, also called the T-Mobile Arena. This 20,000-seat gem is going to be a magnet for sports and concerts, and it looks like a million bucks.

Las Vegas Arena

Actually, the Las Vegas Arena looks like $375 million bucks, but who’s counting?

The arena’s seats have been installed, a far cry from just a few months ago when we popped in to take another metric ass-ton of photos.

Now, a mesh video screen is being installed on the arena’s eastern face.

Las Vegas Arena video mesh

That one dude, though.

Here’s a closer look at both the mesh installation and the dude.

Las Vegas Arena

Hero move.

We caught the first test of the Las Vegas Arena’s video screen at night, and it was very what you might call “T-Mobile magenta.”

T-Mobile, of course, snagged naming rights to the arena. We just like the sound of Las Vegas Arena better.

Las Vegas Arena

Motion graphic designer’s like, “Done!”

The Las Vegas Arena opens April 6, 2016, with a show by The Killers as a kick-off.

Here’s a peek behind the arena.

Las Vegas Arena

At this point, you may be obsessing over a construction site a tad too much. Somebody needed to say it.

Note that there’s a new ramp jutting out of the New York-New York parking lot (at left) to help ease traffic congestion.

There’s another bridge connecting the parking garage and the arena.

Las Vegas Arena

You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to scaffold ’em.

Outside the Las Vegas Arena, concrete is being poured.

The Park Las Vegas

We trust these wooden thingys are where concrete is being poured. For all you know, they could be called “thingys,” so don’t get snippy.

The Park is beginning to look more like a park.

The Park, of course, is a pedestrian promenade that runs from Las Vegas Boulevard to the arena.

The Park could very well mark the return of promenading, once popular with square dancers. Oh, like you’re reading all this gibberish, anyway. Just look at the pictures.

The Park Las Vegas

MGM Resorts has invested a lot of time and money creating a diverse collection of desert-adaptive plants people will soon stroll right by on their way to the hooch.

Seriously, though, MGM Resorts has spent a lot of time thinking about all this.

The Park will have “breathtaking monumental shade structures, theatrical lighting, dynamic water features and meta-quartzite stone sourced from a local quarry.”

The Park promenade

How we’ve managed to enjoy the Las Vegas Strip prior to it having some meta-quartzite stone, we’ll never know.

The Park will be lined not only with trees and shade structures (more on those in a minute), but also shops and restaurants and bars, especially bars.

The Park

The Park will have a gourmet waffle restaurant, Bruxie, a sushi restaurant, Sake Rok, a beer garden and other dining and drinking options.

The Park will also boast a Robert Mondavi Jr. Wine Experience, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row and Cuba Libre, a Havana-style restaurant and bar. Read more about the Las Vegas newness.

Check out our photo gallery below for more photos of the storefronts.

Before we move on, MGM Resorts has finally gotten around to confirming some news we reported exclusively a few weeks ago. A 40-foot-tall naked woman will soon be erected in The Park. The sculpture is called Bliss Dance, and “erected” is right. Read more.

Bliss Dance Las Vegas

That’s a palm tree. She’s not European.

The Bliss Dance sculpture is the work of artist Marco Cochrane and was originally created for the Burning Man Festival. It weighs about 7,500 pounds, took 10,000 hours to build and will be lit up by 3,000 LED lights.

The Bliss Dance statue will be installed at The Park on Feb. 29, 2016, making future anniversaries of the installation few and far between.

Now, about those shade structures. They don’t appear to have an official name, but they’re a distinctive element of The Park.

The ear trumpet structures were built by IHC Studio Metalix in the Netherlands, a ship-building company. Each structure took an astonishing 2,000 hours to complete. Naps and smoke breaks are apparently very popular in the Netherlands.

The Park Las Vegas

The 16 flower-inspired colander cones range from 55 feet to 75 feet in height. Hey, one of these names is going to stick, and we’d prefer it be ours.

Each of the botanical bugles has about 1,200 holes, which are intended to cast patterns on the ground.

Shade is going to become a critical part of The Park experience, especially given the fact Las Vegas becomes a massive kiln during the summer months (typically, March 1 through November 30). Which is why outdoor spaces are a relatively recent phenomenon in Las Vegas. Because things tend to shrivel up and blow away there. The good folks at MGM Resorts haven’t talked about that too much in their news releases, for some reason.

That said, the holey tulips are striking, and truly come to life at night. Take a look.

The Park shade

The average weight of each structure is between 12 and 20 metric tons, depending upon where it had lunch.

At night, the structures will glow, and the colors will change on the quarter hour, commonly known as “every 15 minutes,” or about the time it takes this blog to have sex 15 times.

The Park Las Vegas

While already lovely, the thousands of LEDs that will illuminate the structures haven’t even been installed yet!

These impressive structures should be a popular new photo op on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Park is set to open April 4, 2016, a couple of days before the Las Vegas Arena debuts.

Here’s a little video to help give you an idea of where everything is. Please note the large steel structure attached to the side of Monte Carlo. We’ll be talking about that next.

While much of the focus has been on the arena and The Park, quick work is being made of a new 5,000-seat theater at Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo Theater

The new Monte Carlo theater is about the size to give The Colosseum at Caesars and Axis Theater at Planet Hollywood a run for their money.

Here’s another look at the Monte Carlo theater (whose existence was first reported in this very blog, of course), although it won’t be called the Monte Carlo theater when it opens in late 2016. Monte Carlo is getting a new name, so the theater will follow suit.

Monte Carlo Theater

Monte Carlo’s new theater necessitated Blue Man Group getting the boot to Luxor, which necessitated Jabbawockeez getting the boot to MGM Grand. Never a dull moment in Vegas.

Monte Carlo’s new name remains a delicious Las Vegas mystery.

Please feel free to dive headlong into our gratuitous, showboaty photo gallery of pics from the Las Vegas Arena, The Park and Monte Carlo theater. We can’t wait to see our first shows at the arena and Monte Carlo theater, and are truly looking forward to promenading at The Park in the shade of giant, honeycombed cactus blossoms. Or whatever.

Arena, Park and Monte Carlo Theater Update

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MGM Resorts Hauls Ass Toward April 4 Opening of Dining and Entertainment District, The Park

MGM Resorts has set April 4, 2016 as the opening date for The Park, its new dining and
entertainment district between New York-New York and Monte Carlo.

The Park at Monte Carlo

You go, two billion construction dudes.

How fast are things moving? Two weeks ago, that structure on the left didn’t exist.

The Park Las Vegas

Vegas magic.

The entire area in and around The Park, including the new Las Vegas Arena and Monte Carlo
Theater, is bustling with activity. Thankfully, the New York-New York parking garage
provides a great vantage point to capture photos of the all the latest developments.

The Park Las Vegas

This area outside the Las Vegas Arena will have live music. Several repeater towers were pilfered from the Rock of Rio USA site.

MGM Resorts is touting The Park as the “Las Vegas Strip’s first park,” although that’s
only really true if you have a short memory. There was actually a park outside Bally’s,
complete with trees, foliage and a water feature. That park was demolished to make way
for the spectacularly repugnant Grand Bazaar Shops.

The Park at the Las Vegas Arena (official name: T-Mobile Arena, but we don’t like the
sound of that as much) will have a mix of restaurant and bars, as well as live
entertainment.

Some of the offerings won’t be opening April 4, but there should be enough to make The
Park worth a visit, with more venues opening in the weeks and months to follow. The
20,000-seat Las Vegas Arena opens April 6, 2016.

Las Vegas Arena

A new ramp from the New York-New York parking garage back on Jan. 10.

Here’s the new ramp now.

T-Mobile Arena

The Las Vegas Arena cost $375 million, or basically what this Las Vegas blog spends on Captain Morgan each month.

A distinctive element of The Park are its signature trumpet-shaped sculpture thingys.
(Not the technical name. They don’t seem to have a technical name.) At night, the
sculptures will “emit marvelous LED sequences from high above, captivating guests below.”

Never change, Las Vegas news releases. Never, ever change.

Park Arena Las Vegas

To our highly-trained eye, these art pieces resemble the trumpet-leaf pitcher plant, or “Sarracenia flava.” And by “highly-trained,” of course, we mean “drunker than an Amish teen on Rumspringa.”

MGM Resorts has ponied up a list of restaurants opening by April 4, including Shake
Shack, Beer Garden, California Pizza Kitchen, Sake Rok and Bruxie.

The vastly over-hyped Shake Shack opened at New York-New York on Dec. 29, 2014. From the
looks of MGM Resorts’ announcement, there will be an affiliated location inside The Park district somewhere.

The Beer Garden, currently a thing in Las Vegas (there’s another Beer Garden opening at
Paris Las Vegas on Jan. 30, 2016), will offer “farm-to-table meats” (also currently a
thing in Las Vegas), “an impressive regional craft brew list” (also a thing), live music
(always a thing) and games like darts, bocce ball and ping pong (so much of a thing it’s
not even funny).

The Park New York-New York

We have no idea how we’re going to get photos of the buildings at The Park. Thanks a lot, trees.

The reliably good California Pizza Kitchen should also be open by April 4. The CPK at The
Park will have an outdoor patio, easily the most popular kind.

Sake Rok will serve up Japanese cuisine. At night, “Sake Rok will transform into a high-
profile social dining extravaganza, immersing guests in an experience part culinary, part
performance and completely unexpected.” And you know what? We’re going to go there,
anyway.

Oh, wait, interactive servers will “double as entertainers, spontaneously breaking into
dance and lip-sync serenades.” Well, we’re definitely going to the Beer Garden!

Las Vegas Arena

There’s a lot of new on the Las Vegas Strip. NHL expansion team announcement soon, too, promise.

There’s also Bruxie, a fast-casual, gourmet waffle restaurant. The description of the
food sounds delicious, and reviews are good for the California locations. Looking forward
ot this one.

Beyond the dining and drinking, MGM Resorts has spent a good deal of time thinking about
the landscaping at The Park. Visitors into horticulture should enjoy discovering all the
various plant life including santolina, apache plum, mormon fir, red yucca, torch lily,
desert bear grass, Mexican feather grass, orange sedge, blue agave, golf tooth aloe and
horsetail. Our keyboard’s copy and paste function has rarely come in this handy!

The Park Las Vegas

Eat. Drink. Perambulate. Repeat.

All kidding aside (don’t count on it), The Park should provide lots of delicious new diversions on the Las Vegas Strip.

As if the new arena and The Park weren’t enough, Monte Carlo is building a fancy new theater. The long-awaited announcement of a new name for Monte Carlo should be coming soon. It’s telling the Monte Carlo name has been removed from a marquee at the arena site.

Monte Carlo rebrand

Don’t get all weepy. You’ll cause a short in your electronic device.

Here’s a closer look at the Monte Carlo Theater construction area.

Monte Carlo Theater

The 5,000-seat Monte Carlo Theater was formerly home to Blue Man Group. They’re back at Luxor, once voted “Most Uncomfortable Las Vegas Hotel to Sit On, Ever.”

The new name for the Monte Carlo is one of the most closely-guarded secrets in Las Vegas at the moment, but the investment in The Park means it’s not unreasonable to think “Park” will be part of the name, despite parking being a touchy subject at MGM Resorts at the moment.

Monte Carlo Las Vegas

Monte Carlo’s days are numbered. Because every day has a number. Hence the popularity of calendars.

Learn more about The Park restaurant and entertainment district at the destination’s fancy new official Web site.

Enjoy a relative slew of photos from The Park, the Las Vegas Arena and the Monte Carlo Theater. It’s an exciting time for Las Vegas. Which is why we’re not standing up at the moment. Thanks for making it awkward.

The Park, Monte Carlo Theater and Las Vegas Arena Update

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In-N-Out Burger, Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips and Canter’s Deli Coming to Linq Promenade

The Linq Promenade is already a fairly kick-ass place to eat, drink and make sweet love on the world’s biggest Ferris wheel, but it’s about to get even better.

A cavalcade of new offerings are happening soon at Linq Promenade (between Flamingo Las Vegas and the Linq Hotel-Casino), including In-N-Out Burger, Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips and Canter’s Deli.

Please let us know when you’re done swooning so we can continue.

In-N-Out Linq Promenade

You have no idea how many brains just ‘sploded hearing In-N-Out will have a location center Strip. We are not cleaning that up.

For those unfamiliar with In-N-Out Burger, what rock have you been hiding under? In-N-Out Burger has legions of rabid fans, and is considered a must-visit for many Las Vegas visitors.

The chain is known for the quality and freshness of its ingredients, and the service is universally prompt and friendly.

Las Vegas has a number of In-N-Out Burger locations, but this will be the first on the Las Vegas Strip.

The restaurant’s allure includes a “secret” menu, but in fact it’s about as “secret” as “Secret Pizza” at Cosmopolitan (so, not very). Some “Not-So-Secret” options include “Protein Style” (lettuce instead of a bun), “Animal Style” (mustard-cooked patty, extra spread, grilled onions), “3×3” (three patties), “4×4” (take a wild guess) and the grilled cheese sandwich. Read more.

The new In-N-Out Burger is expected to be on the lower level of the wildly popular Brooklyn Bowl, and will be the perfect addition to the already-great dining options at Linq Promenade.

Next up, rumors of the demise of Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips appear to have been premature, something about which we know a great deal, thank you very much.

Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips was put on hold as some existing Linq Promenade businesses struggled to find a footing, but plans for Ramsay’s new restaurant are once again in motion.

Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips Linq

Gordon Ramsay fans were disheartened to hear the project might be nixed. Now, they can be heartened again, if that’s an actual thing one can be.

The restaurant is described as “grab-and-go British comfort food,” and will be the fourth Las Vegas restaurant for the “Hell’s Kitchen” star. Gordon Ramsay’s other restaurants are BurGR at Planet Hollywood, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace.

Gordon Ramsay

Chef Gordon Ramsay isn’t yelling at you, he’s spurring you on to greatness. There’s a difference.

As the name implies, fish and chips will take center stage at Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips, but other English pub-style fare will also be available such as bangers and mash, sausages, seafood chowder and chicken planks.

And who doesn’t enjoy a good plank when they’re in Las Vegas, if you get our drift?

Also on the way to the Linq Promenade is the return of a Las Vegas outpost of Canter’s Deli, the famed Jewish-style delicatessen in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California.

Canter's Deli Linq Las Vegas

Canter’s serves what’s referred to as a “metric ass-ton” of meat in its sandwiches.

Canter’s Deli originally opened in 1931 in New Jersey and has been frequented by many show business luminaries. We would provide the names of some of these celebrities, but that would require “effort” and “research,” and if you think we’re doing either of those things, you don’t know this Las Vegas blog very well at all.

The Canter’s in California is a 24-hour joint, although it’s unclear whether that will be the case when Canter’s comes to the Linq Promenade.

This isn’t the first time Canter’s has had a location in Las Vegas. A previous location at Treasure Island closed in 2012, the result of some changes to the hotel, rather than any lack of success.

Canter’s is known for its large portions and variety of traditional Jewish foods, including lox and bagels, corned beef and matzoh ball soup. Think Carnegie Deli at the Mirage or Du-Par’s at Golden Gate. You know, a deli type restaurant thingy.

An interesting part of the existing Canter’s is the Kibitz Room, a cocktail lounge with an epic history of live entertainment. This would seem to have some serious potential in Las Vegas, but specifics of the restaurant aren’t available yet, so whether the restaurant will feature entertainment remains to be seen. Fingers crossed.

Our friends at Eater Vegas are reporting Virgil’s Real Barbecue will be joining the restaurant line-up at Linq Promenade in summer 2016.

Virgil's BBQ Linq

Virgil’s comes from the team behind Carmine’s, the Italian joint at the Forum Shops inside Caesars Palace.

All these new restaurants mean there’s going to be a flurry of construction activity at Linq Promenade in 2016, and In-N-Out Burger, Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips and Canter’s are expected to open mid-year. How far the Linq has come since it opened in March 2014.

High Roller Las Vegas Ferris wheel

The High Roller Ferris wheel at Linq Promenade is truly a work of art, but unlike many works of art, you can drink inside it, which makes it even more awesome. Get with it, other art.

The Linq newness doesn’t stop there. Also in the planning stages are new crepe shop and Amorino Gelato, the latter in the former Koto space.

Watch for more changes in the retail and bar landscape (Kitson will close, Purple Zebra will be downsized, Polaroid Fotobar has become Photo & Go, AmeriCAN recently opened), and other surprises are also expected in 2016.

Linq Promenade is clearly upping its game, including bringing in a new management team to roll out the new restaurants in the pipeline.

The addition of In-N-Out Burger, Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips and Canter’s will certainly generate buzz for the shopping and dining district, and buzz equals increased foot traffic and foot traffic equals giving The Park, the competing shopping and entertainment district under construction down the street between Monte Carlo and New York-New York, a run for its money.

More news to come, so check back often. But not too often, that’s stalkerish.

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Tacos El Gordo to Re-Open Its Las Vegas Strip Location

When Tacos El Gordo abruptly shuttered its Las Vegas Strip location in November 2014, there
was a collective freak-out. Now, there’s likely to be another one, because the popular
restaurant is re-opening at its former location in mid-November 2015.

Overnight, the restaurant is sporting a new sign, and work is being done to restore Tacos
El Gordo to its former glory.

Tacos El Gordo is back! How do you say "Pavlovian response" in Spanish.

Tacos El Gordo is back! How do you say “Pavlovian response” in Spanish?

When Tacos El Gordo closed, to the dismay of its legions of fans, the odds of it returning
to the same location were somewhere between “remote” and “when Hell freezes over.”

At the time, we reported on all the behind-the-scenes drama, specifically a long-simmering
feud between the general manager of the Gold Key Shops mall (in the shadow of the Encore
hotel, at 3049 Las Vegas Blvd.) and the ownership of Tacos El Gordo.

Now, clashes have been unclashed, a truce has been called, Hell has frozen over and it’s full steam ahead for the re-opening of this beloved eatery.

Tacos El Gordo

Tacos El Gordo may seem to translate as “the fat tacos,” but if that were the intention, it would’ve been called “Los Tacos Gordos.” The name most likely means “tacos by El Gordo,” whomever that might actually be.

News of the re-opening of Tacos El Gordo is good news not only for diners, but also for
other businesses in the Gold Key Shops shopping center. Apparently, when Tacos El Gordo
closed, traffic at the mall nose-dived, and surrounding businesses suffered. While some of
the conflicts that caused the restaurant to close revolved around traffic caused by the
restaurant’s popularity, busy equals money, and it’s infinitely better to have problems
related to drawing too many customers than not enough.

This time around, Tacos El Gordo is set to deal with the challenge of large crowds and long
lines. (No word yet on whether the restaurant will have an outside tent for overflow as
it did prior to its closure.) If wait times warrant it, the restaurant will shuttle
customers, at no cost, to an alternate restaurant location, at 1724 Charleston Blvd.

Tacos El Gordo

You thought we were kidding? Tacos El Gordo is really, really popular.

Tacos El Gordo is a family-owned and run company. The company’s first restaurant opened in 1972 in San Diego, California. The first Las Vegas outpost opened in 2010.

The Tacos El Gordo menu boasts a dizzying array of options. Warning: Attempting to read the following list of featured items may cause salivation and deep-seated cravings—carne asada, adobada, suadero, cabeza, buche, lengua, tripa, sesos, chorizo, azteca and mulas.

We have no idea what most of those words even mean, but seriously, let’s get this place open again, inmediatamente. Here’s the official Tacos El Gordo site.

Thanks to ever-vigilant taqueria fan @LasVegasLocally for tipping us off to this news.

We look forward to welcoming a Las Vegas institution, Tacos El Gordo, back to its Las Vegas Strip location! And by “welcoming,” of course, we mean gorging ourselves until we require an industrial forklift to get back to our car.

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Epic Las Vegas Arena is Going to Drop Jaws, Change Games

Two of our favorite Las Vegas P.R. buzzwords are “jaw-dropping” and “game-changing.” We’re happy to report the under-construction Las Vegas Arena is set to both drop jaws and change the game.

Las Vegas Arena

Boom! This blog isn’t about foreplay. It’s about boom.

The new Las Vegas Arena (currently seeking a naming rights partner, so expect it to be
called something else), has reached a turning point in its construction. The “rough”
construction of the 20,000-seat venue is nearing completion, and the project is moving to
the “finishing” stage. The arena’s seats, for example, will be installed in November 2015.
The arena’s final steel beam was put into place on May 27, 2015.

The Las Vegas Arena, a partnership between MGM Resorts International and AEG Live, is
expected to open in April, 2016.

Las Vegas Arena

This is probably more of the foreplay. Just ignore the way we jumped right into the boom. That never happens.

It’s hard to describe the splendor that is the Las Vegas Arena, so we took some photos
which also don’t really capture the splendor, but they’ll have to do for the time being.

While much has been written about the arena itself, some of the most compelling aspects of
the project are around it. An entirely new entertainment and dining district, The Park is
being built between Las Vegas Boulevard and the arena.

The Park originally was going to have several more retail and dining concepts, but MGM
Resorts decided to build a 5,300-seat theater instead (reported first on this very blog,
because that is how we occasionally roll).

Las Vegas Arena

This model shows the project before the theater addition. Those little trees are adorable.

Those distinctive reddish things are pieces of art that will also provide shade for visitors to The Park, between the Monte Carlo and New York-New York resorts. Monte Carlo will get a new name soon, by the way, which we’d mention was also reported first in this blog, but we prefer not to dwell on such things due to our extraordinary modesty.

The Park Las Vegas

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren (who has stated publicly he doesn’t read this blog, and we can’t blame him) got the inspiration for those reddish shade structures from Holland.

Outside the arena, there will be a two-acre area called Toshiba Plaza, with entertainment
programming before, during and after major arena events. Oh, and also on days when there’s
nothing happening at the arena.

Las Vegas Arena

One of the outdoor stages will be under this balcony thingy.

Toshiba Plaza will hold between 5,000 and 7,000 people and will have three stages. One
stage, the “Plug’n Play,” will set on the ground floor outside the arena. Another stage
will be in front of the New York-New York parking structure and a third, a movable stage,
will be on the opposite (north) side of the plaza.

The Las Vegas Arena itself will have 30 entrances.

When completed, the exterior of the arena will have a giant LED video mesh screen. Probably something along these lines. Below, you can see where the video mesh will attach.

Las Vegas Arena video mesh

The video mesh allows people inside to see out, surely the result of witchcraft.

The Las Vegas Arena is set to host about 100 events a year, including 50 concerts, 25
sporting events (including 15 UFC boxing matches) and five award shows.

So far, just a couple of events have been confirmed at the arena, including a string of
shows by George Strait, a May 14, 2016 concert by Janet Jackson and the PBR World Finals
(Nov. 2-6, 2016).

The arena will also be the home of a new NHL expansion team, so fans can anticipate 41-43
hockey games per season. The new team won’t take up residence in the Las Vegas Arena until
2017.

Las Vegas Arena

This is the main lobby. It’s spacious and umpteen stories high. “Umpteen” is shorthand, of course, for “We failed to take notes.”

Are we having fun yet? Because we had a blast seeing the Las Vegas Arena, even in its
unfinished state.

Las Vegas Arena

Once the arena opens, please use a coaster. Don’t make them cover everything in plastic.

We honestly had no idea what a thing arenas have become. It’s an experience far beyond
what’s onstage or on the ice.

For example, the Las Vegas Arena will feature a number of lounges and Tower Clubs. The
Tower Clubs are a wonder to behold. They’re 100 feet up and jut out over the seats below.
Each Tower Club has a 125-person capacity.

Las Vegas Arena Tower Club

If you look closely, you can see where the Tower Club will be. It looks like the front of an Imperial Battle Cruiser.

The arena’s two Tower Clubs will be run by a Las Vegas nightlife operator that hasn’t been
officially announced yet. There aren’t all that many, so you have about a 50/50 shot at
guessing it.

Las Vegas Arena Tower Club

This is the view from one of the Tower Clubs, soon to be a must-have photo op in Las Vegas.

There’s also a bridge spanning the arena with a lounge that will accommodate 150-300
people.

We’re not sure how the success of an arena is measured, but it has to be a huge win that
every single one of the Las Vegas Arena’s 42 luxury suites has already been sold. They go
for about $200,000, so that’s no small feat. There’s even a waiting list in case anyone’s
check bounces. Assuming people still writes checks, which we’re fairly sure they don’t.

Las Vegas Arena suite

Each suite comes with 12 tickets per event. When you get a suite, you commit to a five, seven or 10 year contract. That’s a commitment of a million clams, minimum.

The scale of the $375 million Las Vegas Arena is overwhelming. About 2,500 construction
workers are making the arena a reality.

Here’s another angle on the model of the arena and the adjoining New York-New York parking garage.

Las Vegas Arena

If you look closely, you can see a new ramp coming out of the parking structure, as well as the pedestrian bridge between the parking garage and the arena.

The fifth floor walkway will span the two structures, below.

Las Vegas Arena

That square area on the arena wall is likely to be where the bridge goes. Note: We are a blog, not an engineer.

The new arena is going to wow even the most jaded Vegas enthusiasts, and logistical
concerns (like parking) will fall by the wayside when the Las Vegas Arena and The Park
become the new heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas Arena

All right, make that jaw-dropping, game-changing and breathtaking.

Enjoy more exclusive photos in the gallery below, and join us in our unabashed, borderline annoying, gleeful expectancy as we giddily anticipate the opening of the jaw-dropping, game-changing, breathtaking Las Vegas Arena. Or something.

Las Vegas Arena Construction Progress

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10 New Things You Might Want to Know About Linq Hotel and Promenade

There’s been a lot going on at the Linq Hotel (formerly the Quad) and its adjoining pedestrian promenade (formerly an alley). Let’s do a little catching up.

1. New Bar Coming to Blvd. Cocktail Space

The shuttered Blvd. Cocktail piano bar will soon be given new life. Fine Entertainment is expected to open up a bar featuring beer from around the world, all served in cans. Fine Entertainment is the same group behind PBR Rockbar at Planet Hollywood, Rockhouse at Venetian and Chayo Mexican Kitchen at the Linq. No word on when the new offering will open, as it hasn’t even been announced yet. (Update 12/11/15: It’s AmeriCAN.”)

Blvd. Cocktail Co.

It’s hard to go wrong with more beer and less piano.

2. New Executive Team for Promenade and High Roller

The Linq promenade continues to struggle, but there’s a glimmer of hope in the form of a new management team. Caesars has brought on Shaun Swanger as V.P. and General Manager of the promenade and High Roller Ferris wheel. Swanger has an extensive background in shopping center development and operations. Other new hires are a Managing Director of Sales for the High Roller, Ron Drake; G.M. of the Linq promenade, Tonia Chafetz (formerly of Tivoli Village, another struggling shopping center here in Vegas, but don’t hold it against her); G.M. of the High Roller Eric Eberhart; and Director of Marketing for the promenade and High Roller, Lindsay Sanna (we worked with her at Caesars, she was nice and was the one who first floated the name The Quad, but don’t hold it against her). It’s been frustrating to watch such a squandered opportunity at the Linq promenade, so here’s hoping some new blood shakes things up for the better.

Linq promenade

Please try and reach your full potential, Linq promenade.

3. Nook Cafe Opens

It opened under the radar (possibly for fear of it competing with restaurants on the promenade), but the Nook Cafe has opened inside the Linq Hotel in the former Betty’s Diner. There’s a quickie version, Nook Express, nearby. The Nook Cafe serves up salad, pizza, sandwiches and other standard cafe fare.

Linq hotel Nook Cafe

Slogan: “You’re tanked, what do you care if we’ve gotten a James Beard award or not?”

Here’s a look at the Nook Cafe menu, in all its “20% more than you’d like to pay” glory.

4. Vortex Level is Hosting Events

It’s a glorious, underutilized space, but the Linq’s vortex level has been seeing some action recently. Caesars has been looking for a partner to create a permanent venue, but no luck so far. Aside from the sweet light funnel experience (photo below), the area provides one of the best views on The Strip. There have been rumors a Playboy Club is coming to The Linq, and we’re hoping this will be the spot.

Linq Vortex elevators

You might say the Vortex is sort of a very public secret at the moment.

For today’s security breach, here’s the impressive light fixture atop the Linq hotel. It’s even cooler at night.

Linq Vortex

Concerts, events, weddings, square dances. Let’s make this a thing.

5. The Poker Room Lives

The poker room at at the Linq has been nomadic for some time now, closing and re-opening in different locations around the hotel. After being closed for six months, the poker room has yet another new home, near the southwest entrance, just across from the Flamingo.

Linq poker room

The poker room feels temporary (again), so don’t get emotionally attached.

6. Mat Franco Moves In

Magician Mat Franco recently opened his new show at the Linq hotel, “Mat Franco – Magic Reinvented Nightly.” We’ve heard exactly zero about it, despite a major showroom renovation to accommodate the “America’s Got Talent” winner. Come to find out, it wasn’t a huge gamble on the part of the Linq or Caesars Entertainment, as NBC paid for the lion’s share of the renovation, presumably so it could say one of its winners snagged a bigtime show on the Las Vegas Strip. The best review of the show we’ve heard so far was from another Strip magician, who said, “It wasn’t bad, but he’s not reinventing anything.” The Linq’s “Divas Las Vegas” show remains at the hotel, but comedy-juggler Jeff Civillico has moved to Flamingo Las Vegas.

Mat Franco Las Vegas

With all the reinventing going on, the U.S. Patent office must love Mat Franco.

7. Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips Is Out

We were so excited when it was announced celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay would be opening Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips at the Linq promenade. For months now, however, we’ve heard nothing about the restaurant and it appears the restaurant isn’t happening. It’s always possible the project could come back to life if the promenade turns around, but until then, we’ll have to made due with Ramsay’s three other Las Vegas eateries, two of which are excellent (Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris and BurGR at Planet Hollywood). Ah, what might have been.

Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips Las Vegas

Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips opening now would take an act of cod.

8. Flour & Barley Has Incredible Meatballs

So, it’s not exactly new, but it was new to us. While the pizza at this Italian restaurant wasn’t memorable, the meatballs sure were. They’re our favorites on The Strip, and there are a lot of great meatballs on The Strip (Old Homestead Steakhouse at Caesars comes in a close second). Our favorite meatballs in town are still the ones at Pizza Rock, but Flour & Barley’s are worth a try.

Flour & Barley meatballs

Loved them, even though there’s green stuff on them.

Flour & Barley has an open kitchen and the bar carries Captain and diet. And all was right with the world.

Flour & Barley Las Vegas

The folks that run Flour & Barley, Block 16 Hospitality, have strong pedigree. They also run Holstein’s at Cosmo and Public House, wherever that is, we were probably drunk there, too.

It’s worth noting the Linq promenade is making a big push to lure Las Vegas locals, so just about every restaurant and bar, including Flour & Barley, offers locals discounts (typically 15-20%) when you show a Nevada I.D.

9. Off the Strip Restaurant Unveils New Menu

To start, Off the Strip isn’t. It’s on The Strip, and it’s one of the best restaurants at the Linq promenade. The restaurant recently launched a new menu that features brunch dishes served from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There are things like jumbo shrimp cocktails, pancakes, yogurt parfaits and chicken and waffles. The dinner menu has been updated, too, including a build-your-own burger option. We love the place, and we’d love to know what you think.

Off the Strip restaurant

The patio is lovely when it’s not 140 degrees out. So, basically, one week in November.

10. High Roller Finally Embraces Sex on the Wheel

Some time ago, we wrote a story providing tips for having sex on the High Roller observation wheel. It was far more popular than we ever anticipated. We intended it to be tongue-in-cheek, but now it’s clear even the folks at the High Roller are seeing the marketing opportunity of a “550-Foot High Club.” Check out this wrap touting the High Roller as a place to get some horizontal refreshment on the vertical. No, it’s not Photoshopped!

High Roller fun comes full circle

Saucy! The High Roller has finally figured out how to make back some of its erection costs on the back end.

That’s about it from the Linq Hotel and promenade. Yes, there have been more changes to the Linq than Terry Fator’s Facebook relationship status, but we love all the new, all the next and we definitely love all the WTF. So, keep it coming! If you get our drift.

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