Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Announces Restaurants and Bars

There are some questions about when Virgin Hotels Las Vegas might open following a major overhaul from its Hard Rock days, but when it does, the place will be teeming with food and hooch options.

Virgin’s eclectic mix of restaurants, some familiar to longtime Hard Rock fans, should satisfy a wide range of appetites. Let’s dive headlong into what’s coming up when Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opens its doors.

Night + Market

Night + Market features what’s described as “Thai drinking food.” Virgin already has our attention. Night + Market is an import from L.A., the brain child of chef and owner Kris Yenbamroong. The restaurant’s mission is “to make the most delicious and authentic Thai food to facilitate drinking and fun-having amongst friends.” (Or, in Thai, “Aharn glam lao.”) Learn more.

Virgin restaurants

Fun fact: The restaurant’s owner and chef has a film degree from New York University. Related: Las Vegas needs good Thai food more than it needs “Batman” remakes.

Nobu

Nobu’s back and will be getting an update, including fresh decor and an expanded bar area, which is never a bad thing. Pretty much everyone’s familiar with chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, or “Nobu” for short, because he had a role in “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” Oh, and he’s also a bigtime restaurateur who pals around with Robert De Niro.

Nobu movie

Classic.

Kassi Beach Club

Kassi Beach Club comes from Nick Mathers, creator of Elephante in Santa Monica and L.A.’s Kassi Club. This “European-style restaurant and ultra-lounge will combine coastal Italian flavors with the spirit of the Mediterranean.” We can only hope “European-style” means topless, but that was sadly not confirmed in the news release.

Kassi Club

We’re already a huge fan of Kassi Club. You’ll never guess why.

Then again, you may have guessed.

Kassi Club

Good eye! Here’s to living like a 17th-century Welsh privateer.

Casa Calavera

Hakkasan Group created this new cantina concept for Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. Casa Calavera fills the gap left by Pink Taco.

Casa Calavera

“Calavera” means “skull” in Spanish, so the logo wasn’t a huge leap.

MB Steak

MB Steak is sticking around for the unveiling of Virgin Las Vegas, from David Morton and Michael Morton. The restaurant will sport a new look, including an expansion. This well-liked, old-school restaurant should benefit from renewed interest in this resort, and we look forward to trying it for the first time.

MB Steak

This never felt especially inviting, so we’ll say that’s the reason we never tried it out.

Money, Baby

Money, Baby will be the Virgin sportsbook, a spot for watching and betting on sports, along with interactive games, food and cocktails. Money, Baby will have indoor and outdoor patios, with easy access to the resort’s pool complex. No rendering, but you know what a sportsbook looks like.

Afters Ice Cream

This is the first location of Afters Ice Cream outside Southern California. We like ice cream a lot, and the venue’s signature Milky Bun doughnut ice cream sandwich (ice cream stuffed into doughnuts, of course) sounds right up our alley.

After Ice Cream

These give us feelings.

Pizza Forte

Another returning offering, Pizza Forte is one of Sin City’s longest-running family-owned and operated Italian restaurants.

Olives

Chef Todd English returns to Las Vegas with Olives, featuring Mediterranean cuisine.

Olives Virgin Vegas

Don’t get us started about Todd English.

Next up, a collection of venues Virgin refers to as its Commons Club.

The Shag Room

Best. Name. Ever. The Shag Room will serve as a lounge and private event space. It looks awesome, including some sweet-looking and possibly alien stools.

Shag Room Virgin

Props for calling a space Shag Room at a hotel named Virgin.

The Kitchen at Commons Club

This restaurant is described as “a contemporary American eatery laced with British Brasserie sensibility.” It’s the hotel’s 24/7 cafe.

Kitchen Commons Virgin

Maybe not too much British influence on the menu, all due respect.

The Bar at Commons Club

You can never have too many bars at a Las Vegas casino. The Bar at Common’s Club will have multiple gathering spaces and live entertainment, assuming we get to have that again someday.

Bar at Commons Club

We’re getting a little Mos Eisley cantina vibe, but that’s probably just us.

Funny Library Coffee Shop

The Funny Library Coffee Shop is a communal workspace, with coffee, pastry and other snacks. The coffee shop will serve Laughing Man, the coffee brand co-founded by actor Hugh Jackman, best known for his performance in “Real Steel.” Let’s fact it, most people are skimming right now and will never know that film credit we gave for Hugh Jackman.

Virgin coffee shop

This is not your grandpa’s Las Vegas.

Virgin’s got a something-for-everyone line-up of restaurants and bars in store, and we accept the challenge of trying every single one to let you know what to look for during your first visit to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

As mentioned, an opening date for Virgin Vegas hasn’t been finalized due to challenges posed by the pandemic. More details about a reopening timeline should be available in mid-September.

Hear more from the CEO of JC Hospitality (owners of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas), Richard Bosworth, on our podcast.

We can’t wait to eat, drink and carouse our way through all the offerings at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Vegas could really use some new and shiny and delicious and potentially topless right about now.

Drew Las Vegas Renderings Tease What Might Have Been

Hopes were high Drew Las Vegas could be a thing.

The purchase of the abandoned Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a widely-ridiculed eyesore, held the promise of new money, new ideas and a shot at bringing a “new” resort to the Las Vegas Strip.

Yeah, not so much.

Still, the team at Drew Las Vegas has released a batch of renderings, so we can get a glimpse at what might have been. We love the optimism!

Drew Las Vegas rendering

Las Vegas was built on optimism. And denial. But mostly that first thing.

Fontainebleau was purchased in mid-2017 for $600 million by two investment companies, Witkoff and New Valley.

The Drew gets its name from the son of Witkoff’s CEO, bajillionaire Steve Witkoff. Drew Witkoff died of a drug overdose in 2011.

Drew Las Vegas renderings

Drew’s lobby seems to have about the same capacity as Allegiant Stadium. Shout-out to May-December romances.

We were fairly skeptical about the Drew project from the beginning, given the massive investment needed to complete and open the new resort. And that was before the COVID-19 crisis.

The owners and management continue to insist the project is viable, but mounting legal challenges say otherwise. Lawsuits by contractors and former employees (many who jumped ship at Resorts World for the promise of lucrative contracts only to find the project had stalled) continue to pile up.

But rather than all that drama, we’d rather gaze upon Drew Las Vegas renderings.

Renderings aren’t just renderings. They’re dreams waiting to be realized.

Drew Las Vegas rendering

Epic pool complex, complete with social distancing.

This particular batch of renderings was found on a Web site for meeting planners.

Big thanks to Twitter follower Jesus V. for pointing us toward this treasure trove of Drew renderings.

Drew Vegas meetings

Every brandable pre-function space should have a tightrope walker.

Should Drew Las Vegas ever move forward again, by some miracle, at least we have a better idea of what it will look like inside.

The hotel is massive. It’s 63 floors, and at 735 feet tall, it’s the second tallest building in Nevada. The Strat is first.

Drew is set to have 3,780 rooms. That’s a lot of new rooms, especially when Las Vegas visitation was flat for two years prior to the pandemic.

Also a big number: Drew Las Vegas would have 550,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.

Plus, apparently, a Hospitality Garden.

Drew hotel rendering

We’re defining “garden” a little loosely here.

As with so many Las Vegas projects, the situation at Drew Las Vegas is “fluid.”

We’re rooting for the place, but the completion and opening of the Drew (Steve Witkoff continues to insist it’ll happen in 2022, despite a $3.1 billion cost) is the longest of long shots.

Here’s a sexy night shot.

Drew Vegas rendering

It’s like somebody at the club before the lights are turned up.

Enjoy more renderings, including rooms, a Batcave-inspired porte cochere, meeting spaces and other goodies.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 113: Virgin Update, Discopussy, Lucky Day and More

It’s been a minute since our last podcast episode, but we’re making it up to you with another action-packed installment we can’t really recommend because we have taste.

While we may be unlistenable, our guests are always awesome!

In this episode, we chat with Richard Bosworth, CEO of JC Hospitality and head honcho at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (formerly Hard Rock casino).

Bosworth and his team are in the throes of trying to open a new casino resort in the middle of a metric ass-ton of uncertainty. While Virgin’s renovation and rebrand are on schedule, questions remain about the timing of the new hotel’s debut.

Richard Bosworth

Richard Bosworth shares the inside scoop about Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Yes, there’s just one. Don’t get us started.

We’ve also got an illuminating chat with someone we’ve dubbed the Mayor of East Fremont, Ryan Doherty.

Doherty, the driving force behind the popular Commonwealth and Park on Fremont, gives us a tour of two new venues, Discopussy and Lucky Day.

Get all the inside scoop on these two new spots on Fremont East (in the spaces previously occupied by Red and Vanguard Lounge), as well as what’s in store across the street, including a new entertainment space, Cheap Shot, and bar-slash-ice-cream-shop, We All Scream.

Discopussy

We were going to show you Discopussy’s octopus, but we opted for the restroom because it’s awesome.

You can also catch Ryan Doherty on the Plaza’s podcast, “On the Corner of Main Street,” where he’s given the time and professionalism he so richly deserves.

As always, we’ve got a cavalcade of Las Vegas news, some of it not depressing.

Fill your earholes with the latest about Caesars Entertainment keeping the change, Cheetah’s strip club being stripped of its signage, the downtown welcome arch, reopening dates for Mirage, Trop and Cromwell, Circa’s bars, the Stardust app, MSG Sphere’s construction, the closure of Vickie’s Diner, LVCVA’s eyeballing of the monorail and a lucky bastard’s $3.9 million jackpot at Bellagio.

It’s all the Vegas you can handle, with an extra dose of awkward related to that thing we aren’t at liberty to talk about at the moment.

Take a listen!

She’s Back: Mirage Resort Announces Reopening Date

An iconic Las Vegas resort, Mirage, has announced it will reopen August 27, 2020.

Mirage has been closed nearly five months due to the COVID-19 crisis, and we never realized how much we’d miss her.

Yes, Mirage is a her.

Mirage

Vegas isn’t Vegas without the Mirage.

We can actually only think of a few Las Vegas casinos that aren’t a “her.” The Strat, for example. If you get our drift.

Caesars Palace is a “he.”

Also on the male list: The D. No-brainer on that one.

We look forward to a long and heated discussion about the gender designations of Las Vegas casinos sometime, but right now let’s get back to the great news Mirage is reopening!

Mirage volcano

Of course, everyone misses the Mirage volcano show. Drawing crowds isn’t in the cards at the moment.

There are definitely some androgynous casinos. Bally’s. Excalibur. Harrah’s. Linq. Westgate. Slots-A-Fun.

Paris is a tough one. It looks masculine (paging Dr. Freud), but feels feminine.

Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower

Talk about mixed messages.

It’s interesting so many Vegas casinos have a feminine vibe, because all the ones we can think of had male architects.

Also, women weren’t really the target customer of casinos back in the day. Casinos wooed male customers (“real gamblers” who played at the tables), while wives and girlfriends were relegated to playing slot machines. Women were almost an afterthought.

In time, slots became the biggest moneymaker in Las Vegas casinos, and women got the woo they so richly deserved.

Now, several Las Vegas casinos exude feminine energy. Cromwell. Wynn and Encore. Bellagio. Cosmopolitan. Venetian.

Venetian, of course, is right across the street from Mirage, which is reopening August 27, 2020, according to MGM Resorts.

Mirage

When Mirage reopens, we finally get our good luck charm back!

While news about the reopening of Mirage was welcomed by employees and visitors, it was bittersweet because we also learned another MGM Resorts hotel, Park MGM, has no reopening date.

Still, Mirage! If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we need to stop taking all our favorite Las Vegas things for granted. Related: The Killers’ new album, “Imploding the Mirage,” will be released on August 21, 2020.

Mirage isn’t going anywhere, The Killers, and we can’t wait to see the old gal again.

Quirky Artisan Hotel Up for Sale

The Artisan, a boutique hotel in Las Vegas, is up for sale.

The Artisan is perhaps best known for the fact you can rent out the entire hotel for about $8,500.

The asking price to purchase the Artisan is $11 million, according to the listing company, Sun Commercial Real Estate.

Artisan hotel Las Vegas

Yes, you can rent out an entire Las Vegas hotel for about the price of a bottle of Gray Goose at a dayclub.

The Artisan is located at 1501 West Sahara Avenue, not far from Palace Station casino.

Artisan’s building size is given as a petite 41,905 square feet. The hotel has 64 rooms and was built in 1979.

A listing for the Artisan mentions the hotel includes a “newly remodeled European-style pool, salon and wedding chapel.”

“European-style” means topless, in case that requires translation.

Artisan Las Vegas

Thanks to the listing agent for providing some sweet pics of Artisan.

The Artisan is described as an “attractive non-gaming property with potential to be rebranded to a gaming or cannabis use.” Now, you have our attention. (The gaming thing, not the cannibis thing, but to each their own.)

Artisan lounge

Artisan calls it an “ultra-lounge,” because everything just sounds cooler with “ultra” in front of it.

Until it’s sold, if it’s sold, the blissfully adults-only Artisan offers some great room deals. Midweek, rates hover in the $40 range.

Bonus: The hotel’s lounge is smoke-free.

We trust if you’re shopping for a boutique hotel in Las Vegas, and you’re not obsessed with “making a profit,” Artisan is an excellent value.

We trust there’s no rush to submit your offer for the Artisan, as we’re not entirely sure the Artisan isn’t just perpetually for sale.

Sahara Las Vegas Says Closure Rumors Unfounded

Sahara Las Vegas and its legal representatives say a rumor we shared about the resort closing later this year is unfounded.

Which is why you won’t find the original article here, because while the story was clearly framed as a rumor, life it too short to talk to lawyers.

How you “retract” a rumor, we aren’t entirely sure, but consider this that. Because we really like drinking and playing video poker at Casbar Lounge.

Sahara to close

We love Sahara’s new Casbar Lounge, and we’re not just saying that to make the lawyers go away.

In case we haven’t said it often enough, we share news on our site, but we also share rumors, speculation, opinions and industry chatter.

We clearly state when rumors are rumors. Rumors don’t always turn out to be true. Often they do. If this one turns out to be true, we trust Sahara will retract its denial and send us an edible bouquet.

Here’s another photo of Sahara’s casino.

Sahara casino closing

We retract our former photo caption where we noted how empty Sahara is.

For posterity, here’s Sahara’s denial of the closure rumor. via its Twitter account.

Sahara closure denial

Trust us, this isn’t the first time we’ve disappointed someone.

It’s never our intention to knowingly share false information, and Sahara is adamant this rumor has no validity. Which would mean we just made the whole thing up, for no reason and based upon no information whatsoever. That’d be weird, but let’s go with it.

We definitely apologize if this rumor caused employees any unnecessary concern. Trust us, they hear rumors long before we do.

This isn’t our first dance with Sahara and it won’t be the last.

Update (8/3/20): We’ve been told Sahara has pulled the plug on its baccarat discount and incentive program.

Update (8/8/20): Apparently, Sahara wasn’t satisfied with removal of our original post and this update/retraction. We’ve been sued by Sahara (Las Vegas Resort Holdings). The news coverage has been extensive, find stories at Channel 3, Channel 5 and the Las Vegas Sun. The story by Channel 13 contains the full complaint. We aren’t going to get into why we believe this legal action was misguided, but here’s what we have said to media outlets: “This was a rumor clearly presented as such. Threatening legal action to try and intimidate and silence writers is so 2001. It doesn’t really fly in 2020. How is the rumor that a struggling casino is struggling even more during a pandemic surprising or controversial?” More to come.