Category Archives: Nightclubs

Plug Pulled on Tao Group Nightclub and Restaurant at Palms

Boom. We did not see this one coming.

Seemingly out of the blue, Tao Group and Red Rock Resorts announced they’re bailing on plans for a massive nightclub and restaurant at the off-Strip Palms.

The companies made the announcement in a joint statement. (Las Vegas translation: They have to play nice in public.)

Here’s the entire statement, as there’s not a lot of other information about this sudden change of course at Palms.

“Red Rock Resorts, Inc. and Tao Group announced today that they have jointly agreed to terminate the agreements previously entered into by the parties in connection with the dayclub/nightclub and a restaurant that are scheduled to open around the end of the first quarter in 2019 at the Palms Casino Resort. The terms of the agreements are confidential, but no payment will be required of either party under the agreements.”

Palms

This marquee came down as part of the Palms overhaul, probably in an attempt to make us openly weep.

Crazy, right?

Palms has been trumpeting its partnership with Tao Group for some time now, and a substantial investment has already been made in the nightclub space.

The 29,000-square-foot nightclub will presumably move forward at Palms, just without Tao Group as a partner.

Tao was also slated to bring its Vandal restaurant brand to Palms. The original Vandal has been a trendy smash in New York City, and was highly-anticipated in Las Vegas.

Tao Group

It’s pronounced “dow,” no matter how many people insist upon mispronouncing it.

So, that’s all the hard news about this turn of events. The rest is mostly conjecture, and our usual sources are being tight-lipped about the divorce between Palms and Tao, although it’s fairly obvious it was due to “irreconcilable differences.”

There’s a chance Tao got cold feet. Palms is in the midst of a $620 million makeover, and Tao was going to play a significant part.

But Palms already has a nightclub, Apex Social Club. Sources tell us Apex has struggled since opening in the former Ghost Bar space. Reports are mixed about the hotel’s new steakhouse, Scotch 80 Prime.

Did Tao Group lose faith in the new “From Dust to Gold” direction of Palms? See more.

Palms dust to gold

Wasn’t this the plot of a James Bond movie?

Tao Group, of course, sold a majority interest to Madison Square Garden in 2017 for about $180 million. The Madison Square Garden Company has gained a higher profile in Las Vegas with the development of the Sphere at Venetian.

Is there a chance Las Vegas Sands, owner of the Venetian, wasn’t thrilled with Tao Group (and by extension, it’s Sphere partner) playing in somebody else’s sandbox?

There have also been rumblings related to Tao’s Marquee nightclub at Cosmopolitan (rumors it would close have been denied by Cosmopolitan and Tao reps) and Tao Beach at Venetian (we’ve heard its planned expansion was stalled until news of the Palms deal fell through).

We’ll keep poking around to see what we can dig up about what we’re sure is some juicy drama!

Unknown bar Palms

The new Unknown bar at Palms recently joined our list of offbeat Vegas photo ops.

At the moment, it seems Red Rock Resorts and Palms are in need of a dayclub/nightclub partner.

On the restaurant side, there’s no time to cry over spilled hot pretzel steak tartare, whatever that might be. Bottom line: There are tons of exciting new restaurant offerings in the works at Palms.

New concepts on the way include restaurants from Michael Symon (BBQ), Marc Vetri (Italian) and Bobby Flay (seafood). We’re literally getting hungry typing that sentence.

There’s also a new buffet, AYCE (All You Can Eat), a new cafe (Lucky Penny) and a new noodle bar (Send Noodles).

That’s just for starters. Check out our list of 22 New or Renovated Things Coming to Palms.

Venue Fees: The Newest Ways Las Vegas Nightclubs Are Screwing You

We’ve long railed against insidious, often deceptive, CNF charges (or “concession fees”) at Las Vegas restaurants.

It seems Las Vegas nightclubs are getting in on the customer screwing action with a snaky new revenue-generating surcharge we haven’t seen before: Venue fees.

An alert tipster informed us about a 7% “venue fee” tacked onto all bills at XS Nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas.

XS Nightclub venue fee

By the way, those numbers on the right are in U.S. dollars. The mind reels.

One of the reasons we haven’t seen this fee before, and why we can’t definitively say it’s new, is we would rather dive headlong into a pool full of piranha while wearing bacon manties than set foot in a Las Vegas nightclub.

So, what’s a “venue fee”?

We’d say it’s a resort fee for nightclubs, but with resort fees, hotels at least pretend you’re getting something in return for your money.

Venue fees, like CNF charges, get you absolutely nothing as far as we can tell. Nightclubs charge it because they can, plain and simple.

The 7% venue fee at XS Nightclub may not sound like a lot until you see the prices at the club, then it really starts to sting.

A 7% venue fee on an $8,000 table is $560. For nothing, as far as we can tell. Even for a lower tier table (the closer you are to the dance floor, the higher the cost), the venue fee for a $4,000 table is $280.

XS Nightclub

Las Vegas has a never-ending supply of WTF.

We tried computing the venue fee on the cost of table and a $300,000 bottle of Ace of Spades Champagne, but our calculator melted.

Learn more surprising things about Las Vegas nightclubs.

The great news, of course, is nightclubs are still free for groups of attractive young women. So, there’s that. Do expect to be asked by a club promoter for photos of you and your girls before you get your comped table, and expect you’ll be joined later by male customers with deep pockets.

Chances are you visit nightclubs a lot more often than we do, so we’d love to hear if you’ve seen this new venue fee elsewhere. We suspect XS isn’t the only offender.

XS Nightclub

Somebody has to pay for all the untz.

We’ve seen mentions of venue fees in reference to Tao, Hakkasan and Omnia.

Club-goers don’t seem deterred by the price of tables or venue fees, so we’ll add it to our list of “Things We Don’t Get About Las Vegas.”

You know, like Criss Angel, eSports and the ban on lotteries.

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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22 New or Renovated Things Coming to Palms Resort

The owners of Palms, Red Rock Resorts (Station Casinos), is going all-in on the resort with a planned $485 million investment in a metric hell-ton of renovations and from-scratch offerings.

The sheer amount of newness is dizzying, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of changes at the Palms for your convenience. By “comprehensive,” of course, we mean “as comprehensive a list as we can muster while hammered.”

Palms

Love the Palms marquee? Spoiler: Don’t get attached.

1. Nightclub

Palms is partnering with Tao Group in a big way. For starters, Tao will operate a 29,000-square-foot nightclub in the former Rain space.

2. Dayclub Pool

Dayclubs are like nightclubs, but with more sunscreen. The dayclub at Palms, also operated by Tao Group, will be 70,000-square-feet and accommodate 5,000 people, most of whom will be sucking in their gut. The new dayclub will presumably be open year-round.

3. Lounge

Palms is bringing in another partner, Clique Hospitality, to operate a lounge. Think Clique Lounge at Cosmopolitan. Yes, that’s the lounge where O.J. Simpson behaved so badly he was banned from the Cosmopolitan for life. Let’s hope Palms upholds the policy.

Palms

Alize closes at the end of 2017, too. Hint: You’re probably pronouncing it wrong.

4. Bobby Flay Restaurant

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay will slap his name on a seafood and raw fish restaurant at Palms. His Bobby’s Burger Palace on The Strip is meh, but Mesa Grill has done well for Caesars Palace, and Flay knows his way around a chermoula, whatever that might be.

5. Mark Vetri Restaurant

Mark Vetri is apparently a legend in Philadelphia, and he’ll bring an Italian restaurant to Palms. When it comes to cuisines, there’s Italian and everything else, so we’re really looking forward to this one.

6. Michael Symon Restaurant

Yes, we broke this story weeks before anyone else, but we’re not about gloating, we’re about newness. Michael Symon is co-host of “The Chew” and will hopefully make Palms one of the few spots you can get decent BBQ in Las Vegas.

Michael Symon

Michael Symon has a successful BBQ restaurant in Cleveland, a city very similar to Las Vegas. And if you managed to read that sentence without laughing, we’re truly impressed.

7. Vandal Restaurant

It’s another Tao Group collaboration, and this one has a record of success in New York. Vandal is known as a hotspot, despite mixed reviews about its food. Vandal’s been described as “specializing in mini-ramen, mini-burgers, mini-knishes and an assortment of ostensibly edible things that have been fried into balls.” They say that like it’s a bad thing!

8. High Limit Rooms

One of our favorite hangs at Palms is the high limit slot room, so we’re excited to hear it will be getting a revamp. There will also be a new high limit room for table games. Casinos have tried combining high limit slots and tables, but not successfully, so Palms is on the right track.

Palms

That wall is the former high limit slot room. Just trust us on this one.

9. Noodle Bar

Strolling through Palms, it’s obvious the resort has many, many Asian customers. They are coveted by casinos like Palms, and Gold Coast just across the street, so a noodle bar is sort of a required amenity.

10. Steakhouse

While Palms has always had a great steakhouse, we’re sort of happy we’ll never have to type “N9NE” again. That affectation aside, we enjoyed the place, but it was a leftover from an earlier era at Palms, and it’s time for some fresh meat.

Palms N9NE Steakhouse

Oh, all right, one last time: N9NE.

11. Front Desk Registration Area

It’s not the most glamorous part of a Las Vegas resort, but anything’s going to be better than the temporary space where guests are currently checking in.

Palms check-in

These are what’s known as “aspirational stanchions.” Which would also make a great band name.

12. Renovated Casino

At the moment, the casino at Palms is 80% construction wall. The entire casino is getting an overhaul, and this blog loves it some new casino smell.

Palms

Palms is doing construction walls right.

13. Center Bar

It seems like only yesterday (four years, to be exact) the Social cocktail bar at Palms made its debut. Well, it’s out with the not-that-old and in with the new because Palms is getting a new center bar.

14. Hotel Rooms

Apparently, when the Fantasy tower at Palms went up, they neglected to finish 60 of the rooms. Well, they’re finishing them now.

15. Room Renovations

Palms plans to renovate 282 rooms and luxury suites. Fun fact: If you slept in one room every day, it would take you 282 days to sleep in all of the newly renovated rooms at Palms. We are a blog, not a fun fact machine.

Palms

China House says “Zàijiàn!” Hey, we’ve traveled. (To Google Translate.)

16. Spa

Palms has announced it will soon get an all-new spa with 16 treatment rooms. Currently, Palms has Drift Spa and Hammam. The Hammam at Palms, a co-ed Turkish bath, was the first in Las Vegas. We like our Turkish baths just “ed,” thank you very much.

17. Pearl Theater Overhaul

In the mix of all the renovations will be a refresh of the 2,600-seat Pearl Theater. We hear that when the theater opens after its renovation, guests will receive necklaces. We’ll wait.

18. Rooftop Social Club

Ghostbar was a blast, but it’s time for a new take on this popular rooftop haunt. Clique Hospitality will operate the new social club, which is different from a nightclub in that the word “social” seems to resonate with the kids, along with “fleek,” “bomb” and “allowance.”

Palms casino

No, you’re not getting bigger, the Palms casino is getting smaller. It’ll pass.

19. Buffet

If you’re spending $485 million to give your Las Vegas resort a facelift, it had better include the buffet. Bistro Buffet at Palms is getting retooled after closing in June 2017. During our visit, a guest was kvetching about receiving a direct mail piece with a buffet coupon. You’ll get your buffet soon enough, buddy, as will we all.

20. Covered Parking Spaces

Again, not glamorous, but 525 new covered parking spaces are nothing to sneeze at when summer temperatures in Las Vegas are comparable to the surface of Mercury.

21. Hotel Marquee

Hey, it’s not all good news. We love the Palms marquee. We’re hoping the new marquee keeps a lot of neon tube benders busy for years to come.

22. Porte Cochere

“Porte cochere” is a fancy way of saying “that place where you pull up to a hotel in your hooptie.” We’re only about 20% confident that word means what we think it means.

That’s about it! All the Palms renovations and new venues should debut in late 2018 or early 2019.

Our Captain Morgan-fueled list only covers what’s on the way, not what’s already happened.

For example, Palms recently opened a new cafe, the Lucky Penny.

Palms

Pennies are only considered lucky if you find them face up. Some things are non-negotiable.

The food at Lucky Penny was mixed bag, with some of the most exceptional Asian food and boozy shakes we’ve had anywhere.

Palms

Given the incredible Oreo-M-G shake (featuring Stoli vanilla vodka) at Lucky Penny, maybe you are getting bigger after all.

The veggie burger was a crushing disappointment, as was a dish called “Almost Boneless Chicken.” Really, if you’re going to do “almost boneless,” just go boneless. It’s an extra two minutes of preparation time, and well worth the effort to avoid lawsuits.

The desserts, though.

Palms

Nothing says “We need to wrap this up” like sharing a gratuitous dessert photo from Lucky Penny just to please the Pinterest gods.

A temporary dining option, Social Table, opened in the former Hooters space. Social Table goes away at the end of 2017.

The 14-screen movie theater complex at Palms is set for a massage.

We did leave planned meeting and convention space (18,000-square-feet worth) off our list, but only because it’s extraordinarily boring.

Red Rock Resorts seems confident its massive investment in Palms will pay off, calling it a “destination hybrid,” intended to appeal to both locals and tourists.

Palms

No word on whether the mushroom caps are staying or going. We predict going.

The company points to a strong economy in Las Vegas, and a growing population, as reasons the company is spending more on improvements to Palms than it cost to purchase it in the first place ($313 million).

Whether Palms can regain its former glory remains to be seen, but damn, we’ve got a lot to look forward to while we wait to find out.

Palms Las Vegas

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Gold Diggers Nightclub at Golden Nugget to Close and Get Renovation, Rebrand

Gold Diggers Nightclub at Golden Nugget will soon close for a renovation. Halloween is expected to be its final night of operation before a hiatus.

Rumor has it the night spot will get an overhaul that includes a name change.

Fremont Gold Diggers

Gold Diggers, seen upper right, provides one of the best views of the circus that is Fremont Street.

The club sits on the second floor of the resort, with a balcony overlooking Fremont Street.(Golden Nugget is a member casino of Fremont Street Experience, where we work in digital marketing as our day job).

Gold Diggers is one of the few dance clubs downtown, it’s next closest competitor being Gold Spike, a former casino but now a hotspot for millennials.

Details about the nature of the Gold Diggers rebrand are being kept under wraps at the moment, but expect a “new nightclub experience.” Hey, scoop’s scoop, no matter how vague.

Vegas beer tap handle

If the Gold Diggers renovation involves swapping out these awesome beer tap handles, we call dibs.

It’s expected Gold Diggers, or whatever it’s called next (see update, below), will re-open relatively quickly, even as soon as November 2017.

If you want to know some skinny about Las Vegas nightclubs, we’ve got this.

Update (10/26/17): We’ve learned the new venue will be named Troy Liquor Bar, a brand owned by Landry’s with an existing outlet in New York City’s Meatpacking District.

Troy Liquor Bar Golden Nugget

Troy Liquor Bar will featured a large video wall and will have a new focus on the lounge’s patio overlooking Fremont.

More details to come, so check back hourly for the latest scoop.

Wynn Resorts Expected to Pull the Plug on Surrender Nightclub at Encore

The nightclubs at Wynn and Encore have traditionally been huge moneymakers for Wynn Resorts, but rumors are Surrender and Intrigue haven’t been meeting expectations, so one has to go.

As a result, we hear Wynn Resorts will close Surrender Nightclub.

XS Nightclub

We’re fairly sure this is XS, not Surrender, but you get the picture. Pretty people. Over-priced hooch. Oontz.

Surrender Nightclub celebrated its seventh anniversary in June 2017.

While we are not a nightclub person, we can certainly appreciate the popularity of nightclubs and their impact on the culture of Las Vegas and the financial well-being of its resorts.

In Las Vegas years, Surrender had a solid run at Encore. We imagine the Wynn Nightlife folks will now focus more attention on the struggling Intrigue which opened in April 2016. Intrigue operates in the former Tryst nightclub space.

We personally suspect Intrigue is struggling because of its “social media-free zone,” but we’re probably biased.

Encore

We’re quite sure this is Encore. Hey, at least we’re batting .500. Babe Ruth only hit .342.

From the Surrender Web site: “Surrender Nightclub has upheld Wynn Nightlife’s expectations of only the highest levels of service and luxury since it opened its doors. There have been so many copies of the multi-award winning venue, yet no one has come close to truly duplicating this storied hotspot. This is due to Surrender continuing to evolve and redefine itself over the years to meet the needs of the ever changing Las Vegas nightlife scene.”

As with so many “storied hotspots,” it appears Surrender’s time has come and gone.

It’s unknown what might replace Surrender Nightclub, but we’re fairly sure it won’t be turned into an eSports arena as Luxor plans to do with its LAX nightclub space. Steve Wynn might be eccentric, but he’s no fool.

There’s been buzz the closure of Surrender is more a pause than a hard stop, and the club is being rebranded as Encore Beach Club at Night, as it occupies the same space at Encore Beach Club.

If you’re bored, and you clearly are because you’re visiting this Las Vegas blog, take a look at our 10 Surprising Things About Las Vegas Nightclubs.