New signs of life at the long-delayed Resorts World project site have been received with cautious optimism by Las Vegas observers.
Resorts World recently erected its first construction crane, sparking hope the project is moving forward as promised by the Malaysia-based Genting Group behind the $4 billion resort.
Well, hello, sexy.
Resorts World sits on the site of the abandoned Echelon Place project. Before that, it was home to the Stardust.
Before the economic downturn, cranes dotted the Las Vegas skyline. Now, not so much.
Let’s take another look at this bad boy.
Quite tall, but suited to light work. We’ll take it.
Genting officials had promised cranes this summer to start on the casino’s “podium” and hotel towers. It’s expected 1,000 construction workers will be on-site in 2018.
The company also claims a good deal of work has been done at the site already, including installing utility lines and building a parking garage.
Here’s a look at the site from the Circus Circus side. It’s full of not a lot happening.
Resorts World is still shooting for a 2020 opening, but that date has been pushed back several times, causing concern Resorts World might fall victim to the same financing challenges that killed the Alon project and continue to plague the All Net Resort and Arena.
Genting Group has a long track record of successful projects, and was founded back in 1965. The company hired a casino veteran to help the project, Edward Farrell, president of Resorts World Las Vegas. Farrell helped open the Mirage in 1989.
The Resorts World Las Vegas team works out of Genting’s offices in Miami, Florida.
There’s a new way to get around downtown Las Vegas, and it’s free.
The Downtown Loop shuttle service is a six-month pilot program paid for by the City of Las Vegas.
The service runs daily, and bumps uglies (probably not the official term) with seven stops in downtown Las Vegas.
The folks at Pawn Plaza and the Mob Museum must know a guy.
The Downtown Loop stops at Bonneville Transit Center, The Arts District, Pawn Plaza, Fremont East (on Las Vegas Boulevard, south of Fremont Street), the Mob Museum, Fremont Street Experience (Main Street, south of Fremont) and Las Vegas North Premium Outlets.
The free shuttle runs from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sundays. The 19-passenger buses hit their stops about every 20 minutes.
The new shuttle is a great way to explore parts of downtown you might not otherwise venture to, especially Fremont East, the Mob Museum and Pawn Plaza.
The shuttle costs a pretty penny, $550,000 ($275,000 for the first six months with an option to extend), but would likely be continued if deemed successful, based upon ridership and economic impact.
It remains to be seen what the interest level is. It’s likely the City of Las Vegas will want businesses benefiting from the shuttles to pay for them if they become a permanent offering.
In this week’s podcast, we chat up Rino Armeni, owner of Tipsy Robot. Tipsy Robot recently opened at Miracle Mile Shops, with two robotic bartenders.
Don’t think of them as robot bartenders. Think of them as buzz delivery systems.
We’ve also got the latest scoop about all things Las Vegas, including activity at Resorts World, the pop-up casinos at Las Vegas Club and Mermaids, openings and closings and everything in between.
There’s a metric hell-ton of Sin City news, including stories about Smooth Eats and 7th & Carson opening downtown, Bally’s getting minigolf and a new convention center, the new Downtown Loop shuttle (route below), Level Up’s virtual reality attraction, a pipe leak at Planet Hollywood and the weed shortage in Las Vegas.
The free Downtown Loop shuttle travels in a route inspired by the Mob Museum’s faux electric chair. Probably.
You won’t want to miss our “Listicle of the Week,” featuring “10 Surprising Things About Las Vegas Strippers.”
Podcasts are the new reading books, so shove us in your earholes, already.
Norm Clarke is a legend in Las Vegas journalism circles, so it was only a matter of time before we sat him down for a nice, long chat.
We have proudly been stealing Norm’s scoops for years.
Clarke began his “Vegas Confidential” column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1999, then departed in 2016 citing health concerns.
During his time as a “man about town” columnist at the Review-Journal, Clarke set the standard for shaking stories loose, building a network of inside sources and maintaining a singular reputation for accuracy and integrity.
A pair of robotic bartenders have created some serious buzz since a new bar, Tipsy Robot, opened inside Miracle Mile Shops at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas resort.
“Kuka” is a German word meaning, “Bow before your new robotic bartender overlords.”
Tipsy Robot is billed as the “first land-based robotic bar.” There’s another pair of robot bartenders on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise liner, but these are infinitely better, because Las Vegas.
You can’t spell “tipsy” without “tips,” and, ironically, robot bartenders don’t accept those.
As marketing gimmicks go, this is one of the best we’ve ever seen, and crowds were gathering to watch the robots mix drinks even before the venue opened to the public.
We were utterly mesmerized as the dynamic duo deftly delivered drinks. See for yourself in our hastily slapped-together video.
That adorable little dance, though.
So, here’s all the Tipsy Robot skinny.
Guests place orders via one of 33 tablets. There’s a robust list of 18 signature cocktails, but guests may order custom-built drinks, too.
Park it at a tablet and make some mechanical mixology magic.
For an existing drink, it’s just a matter of making a selection and providing a name and e-mail address.
For custom drinks, guests can choose from virtually unlimited options, from the kind of liquor (Tipsy Robot boasts 172 bottles, or 59 different brands) to exact proportions of liquor and mixers and ice.
There are 14 “portions” in all. For example, we ordered a rum and Coke with two parts rum, six parts Coke and six parts ice. We really like ice.
Tipsy Robot serves Captain Morgan Silver. We’re trying to get past it.
Once an order is placed and paid for with a credit card (drinks are $14 for a standard drink with one shot of alcohol), it goes into a queue. That’s a fancy European term for “line.”
The robots take anywhere from a minute to 90 seconds to prepare a drink, so the virtual line moves quite quickly.
A fun part of the process is that video displays keep track of where your order is in the queue, and you can tell when your specific drink is being made.
Analytics! See where you are in the queue, the most popular drinks being ordered and trends related to the consumption of various drink categories. You are officially a world-class nerd.
While a drink is being prepared, an e-mail is sent to the address given when the order was placed.
The e-mail contains a QR code which, when scanned, “unlocks” the drink. This ensures nobody can abscond with a cocktail.
Set your drink free with your QR code. QR codes are like bar codes. Emphasis on “bar.”
The robots prepare drinks element by element, grabbing ice from a dispenser, extracting liquor from bottles hanging overhead, slicing fruit, shaking up the drink and pouring the cocktails ever-so-carefully into plastic cups.
What don’t the robot bartenders do? They don’t take breaks, they don’t accept tips and they don’t provide straws.
There are attendants in space-aged uniforms to handle the straw thing.
The robot helpers are called “Galactic Ambassadors.” Just play along.
During our visit, we chatted up Rino Armeni, owner of the 2,500-square-foot Tipsy Robot and Chairman of Robotic Innovations. He said, “I’m very proud that Las Vegas finally has something different, new, and most importantly, ahead of its time.”
Armeni is a charismatic Italian whose enthusiasm is contagious.
“In food and beverage,” Armeni says, “I think we’ve been asleep at the wheel lately. It’s been a matter of recycling, rather than being inventive.”
Yes, he actually said “sleeping on the wheel,” but we know what he meant.
Armeni continues, “We want to be almost like the fountains of Bellagio, the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign. We want people to come and experience this kind of entertainment.”
Owner Rino Armeni greets Tipsy Robot guests, assuring them he’s never heard the word “Skynet” before.
Armeni is careful to point out he considers the robot bartenders entertainment, rather than a replacement for actual bartenders.
In fact, Tipsy Robot has a “Human Bar,” with humans serving up the libations.
The robot bartenders aren’t fully autonomous, of course. A human being is still tasked with replacing the liquor bottles.
When we asked an insider how much the robots cost, the answer was along the lines of “a metric ass-ton.”
Humans and robots have many things in common, including an ongoing need for lubrication.
Tipsy Robot is looking to crowdsource the names of the robots. Siegfried and Roy leap to mind. Find out more on the Tipsy Robot Facebook page.
Tipsy Robot is open from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10:00 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Here’s another look at these modern marvels. You may not be able to tell these robot bartenders your problems, but you’ll always know the precise size of your pour.