Naked City Pizza Takes Over for Pizza Lotto at El Cortez

Pizza Lotto is out at downtown’s El Cortez casino, Naked City Pizza is in.

Pizza Lotto always hit the spot, even with superior pizza in the neighborhood at Evel Pie and Pizza Rock. Pizza Lotto was never able to deliver on its marketing hook of providing lottery-style scratch-off discount cards, and now we’ll never know what might have been. Pizza Lotto has moved on to that big pizzeria in the sky.

Without skipping a beat, Naked City Pizza has opened in the Pizza Lotto space.

Naked City Pizza El Cortez

We dare you to tell the difference between Pizza Lotto and Naked City Pizza, even with the naked.

By our layperson’s estimates, Naked City Pizza spent roughly zero dollars to move into El Cortez.

Virtually nothing in the space has changed, beyond the removal of a couple of symbolic video poker machines.

Naked City Pizza is a known quantity in Las Vegas. The chain has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

While Naked City Pizza has been well-received at its other Las Vegas locations, our first visit to the El Cortez location was decidedly forgettable. Our cheese slice was 90% cheese, reminiscent of the awful Chicago-style “pizza” at Giordano’s. And not in a good way.

The one benefit of the disappointing pizza was it gave us the opportunity to test the “pull” of the cheese. The cheese pull is a big deal in the pizza world, a long-standing advertising trope where a slice is slowly lifted from a hot pie, resulting in a gooey waterfall of cheese.

Our pal Marc Meltzer, of Edgevegas.com, was along for our Naked City Pizza visit, and he generously volunteered to demonstrate Naked City Pizza’s world-class cheese pull.

Naked City Pizza El Cortez

Marc’s going to need longer arms.

While our first Naked City Pizza slice was underwhelming, we were immediately smitten with the restaurant’s Grandma’s Meatball, a mind-boggling half pound (that’s not a typo) of sheer succulence.

Naked City Pizza meatball

Grandma’s Meatball is a meal for two. At least.

Naked City Pizza’s menu is simple, with some favorites from other locations, as well as original pizzas created just for the El Cortez location.

The new pizza styles include Bugsy’s Bianco, 6th Street, “Freemont” Street and (wait for it) the El Cortez.

Naked City Pizza El Cortez menu

Spelling it “Freemont” is a rookie gaff. It’s Fremont.

Determined to have a slice that’s worthy of Naked City Pizza’s reputation, we visited again, and found just that.

The slice was vastly better proportioned, and if Naked City Pizza can deliver that quality on a consistent basis, we’ll be back.

Naked City Pizza El Cortez

Nice recovery, Naked City Pizza.

Don’t look for Naked City Pizza’s hours on the El Cortez Web site, as Pizza Lotto is still listed (it’s also in the hotel’s on-hold messaging system and featured in its internal P.A. rotation).

Yes, you can pay for your pizza with your Club Cortez player’s club points.

Oh, and Naked City Pizza’s liquor license is still in the works, so head to a casino bar first for libations.

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Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak Live” to Close at Luxor Las Vegas

After a 10-year run that provided a smackdown to his legions of haters, magnificent lunkhead Criss Angel will close his “Mindfreak Live” show at Luxor in 2018.

Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak Live” ends its run, and sometimes strained partnership with Cirque du Soleil, on Oct. 28, 2018, according to reports.

Mindfreak Live

Despite the odds, and a profound lack of personality or talent, Criss Angel survived and, and various times thrived, on the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas Weekly’s Brock Radne was the first to share the surprisingly successful show is closing.

Angel’s show opened as “Believe” in Oct. 2008 to scathing reviews. Sorry, “BeLIEve.” Trust us, the weird “lie” affectation was the least of its problems.

While the removal of Cirque elements improved the show somewhat, production costs and declining ticket sales forced Angel and his team to close “Believe” on April 17, 2016.

A trimmed down “Mindfreak Live” opened May 11, 2016.

The revamped show didn’t exactly win over Criss Angel’s haters, but it allowed the show to continue through the end of his contract with Cirque du Soleil.

Criss Angel

No, we didn’t take this at Madame Tussauds. Criss Angel is just a really odd dude.

We saw “Mindfreak Live” and, beyond the random, pointless shouting of its star, we thought the show was reasonably entertaining. Angel seemed to enjoy himself, and his use of self-deprecating humor was refreshing given the annoying onscreen persona he’d cultivated on
the long-running A&E “Mindfreak” TV show.

“Mindfreak Live” also has one of the most impressive illusions we’ve ever seen in a Las Vegas show, a levitation that’s worth the price of admission. Yes, you know it’s wires, but that doesn’t take away from the sheer WTF of it all.

A 10-year run for a Las Vegas magic show must be deemed an unqualified success.

Criss Angel casino chip

Undeniable.

Back in 2016, it was being reported more than four million guests had attended “Believe” since it opened in 2008.

Because “Mindfreak Live” doesn’t close until late 2018, there’s still time to see it again if you’ve seen it, and to trash talk it if you never will.

In a ridiculously awful interview, Criss Angel has said he’s opening another show following “Mindfreak Live,” at another Las Vegas venue, and the cliche-spewing egomaniac reminds us all why he’s so easy to loathe.

Whether you love Criss Angel or hate him, he pulled off what many considered an impossible feat, a decade-long run on the Las Vegas Strip.

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Survey Reveals Park MGM’s New Sports Bar Concept

A survey sent to MGM Resorts customers has provided a first look at Park MGM’s new sports bar.

Park MGM, of course, is the new name of the Monte Carlo, currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and rebranding.

Park MGM sports bar

So pretty, you’ll be tempted to lick it. Feel free to use that in your advertising, Park MGM.

The survey describes the new bar: “The sports bar will be a social hotspot for guests seeking the best in sporting entertainment in a refined, casual environment. The space emanates a classic American sports bar aesthetic, complete with a brass and marble bar, vintage leather booths, and an eclectic array of seating that allows for great views from every angle.”

Here’s to bars that emanate a classic American sports bar aesthetic!

The description continues: “The kitchen will offer a variety of bar-style food and freshly prepared salads, as well as arguably the best burgers in town. The adjoining lounge area offers alternative entertainment options such as billiards and duckpin bowling, and sports betting is available throughout the day so you don’t need to travel far to double down on your favorite teams.”

While the “arguably the best burgers in town” is a tad aspirational, Park MGM’s new bar sounds like a comfy spot to enjoy various forms of sportsball.

Here’s another rendering included in the top secret survey.

Park MGM sports bar

“Find the pinball machine” is the new “Where’s Waldo?”

The survey also shares some possible names for the new bar. Options include: Park MGM Sports Bar, The Money Line, The Spread, The Line Sports Bar, Pony Up and The Dark Horse.

Park MGM tips its hand with the name, as survey recipients who don’t choose The Spread get the message: “We noticed that you did not select the name The Spread for this sports bar. What is you reaction to this name overall?”

“The Spread,” of course, can refer to food, but it’s also a gambling term we were recently forced to learn about.

In sports betting, see, it’s not always about just picking a winning team. That would make it “intuitive” and “popular.” Nope, sports books use something called the “point spread.” Think of it as spotting one of the teams (the underdog) points so there’s a relatively equal chance of either team winning. Sports books can lose a lot of money if too many people bet on one team.

The point spread, then, is a minimum margin of victory.

Say you place a bet on a team that’s a 10-point underdog (written as +10). That means even if the favorite wins the game, they have to win by more than 10 points for you to lose your bet. That’s right, your team can lose, but you can still win your bet with that 10-point buffer.

And, yes, sports nerds, we know you can sometimes just pick a winner in a game. It’s called a “moneyline” wager. We have access to the Internet, too, you know.

Back to something we’re actually interested in: Bars.

We like a few of the potential bar names, but Pony Up is our pick. It’s a reference to horse racing, but it also means “pay up,” which suits Park MGM because they’re going for a more upscale guest than the typical Monte Carlo customer.

Look forward to hearing more about the new sports bar at Park MGM.

Whatever the name ends up being, we love new things, so we might even endure a sport to check it out when it opens.

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Fizz Lounge to Close at Caesars Palace

It looks like a high-end lounge at Caesars Palace, Fizz, won’t live to see 2018.

The champagne lounge and bar will close Dec. 25, 2017.

It seems Fizz fizzled.

Fizz was created by Colosseum regular Elton John’s partner, David Furnish. The pair have been married since 2005.

The $3.2 million Fizz, billed as “the epicenter of chic,” featured lots of fine art (including photographs from Elton John’s personal collection, valued at a cool million bucks) and security personnel committed to not letting us take photos inside the swanky lounge. Thankfully, this blog DGAF.

Fizz lounge Caesars Palace

Never got to Fizz? Congrats on still having money in your bank account!

Big thanks to Twitter tipster @FYMYAWF for letting us know about Fizz’s demise.

Fizz was located just off the casino floor at Caesars, close to the entrance to the Forum Shops.

Fizz Las Vegas

At least they didn’t have to give out too many refunds.

It’s interesting to note that when Fizz opened, we wrote: “Our overriding impression of Fizz would have to be, ‘Who is this for?'”

Fizz

Yeah, that’s never a good sign.

There’s no word on what might replace Fizz at Caesars Palace, but Vegas has a way of always making more new.

Update (12/22/17): We’re hearing Fizz will be rebranded and Caesars Entertainment will continue operating the venue. Fizz will re-open on Dec. 30, 2017, and will get a new name in early 2018.

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Las Vegas Strip’s First Spanish Language Show, “Ilusion Mental,” to Open at Planet Hollywood

Well, it’s about time.

Given the 41 million Spanish-speakers in the U.S. alone, and multitudes of Spanish-speaking Las Vegas visitors from other countries, it’s about time The Strip had a Spanish language show.

“Ilusion Mental,” featuring Santiago Michel, opens at Sin City Theater inside Planet Hollywood on Dec. 28, 2017.

Santiago Michel

Santiago Michel knows what you’re thinking, and has alerted the authorities accordingly.

“Ilusion Mental” is, as the name implies, a mentalism show.

Mentalism, or “mind reading,” isn’t for everyone (including this blog) due to the fact mind-reading doesn’t actually exist, but it’s perhaps helpful to think of it as a magic show and everyone loves a Las Vegas magic show.

Besides, Spanish!

Ilusion Mental

If you speak Spanish, you’re freaking out right now.

The show features Santiago Michel, a 24-year-old, charismatic performer who has performed in more than 10 countries.

Here’s a look at Michel in action.

The 65-minute show is family-friendly and takes place Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $49.99.

Find out more about Santiago Michel at his official site. Welcome to Las Vegas, Santiago.

Fun fact: Las Vegas is a Spanish term meaning, “I hope you brought your morning after pill.”

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Demolition is Underway on Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo

It seems like ages since we first shared Diablo’s Cantina would close at Monte Carlo.

Nearly a year after our initial story, the popular restaurant and bar is being demolished. It closed Nov. 7, 2017.

Diablo's Cantina

Whenever a bar closes in Las Vegas, a showgirl loses her pasties. Which, upon reflection, may not be a bad thing.

Diablo’s Cantina is one of many venues closing at Monte Carlo as the Strip resort transitions into Park MGM.

We’ve got a look at all the changes at Monte Carlo. Sorry, Park MGM. That’s going to take some getting used to.

Here’s another look at the current state of Diablo’s Cantina.

Diablo's Cantina

Ah, if this rubble could talk.

For a decade (it officially opened in Oct. 2007), Diablo’s Cantina thrived with an innovative strategy: Have attractive women serve liquor.

Now, it’s thought the boisterous atmosphere of Diablo’s Cantina could clash with the more upscale Park MGM customer. That customer doesn’t exactly exist yet, but MGM Resorts hopes it will once the resort’s renovations are complete.

Why, look, Diablo’s Cantina has a new drive-through window.

Diablo's Cantina

You say “demolition fetish” like it’s a bad thing.

While we were checking out the Diablo’s Cantina demolition, we got a peek at other changes being made to the exterior of the resort.

Monte Carlo

Down with the Monte Carlo signs, up with the room rates.

The Monte Carlo sign is undergoing work, too.

Monte Carlo

Don’t get too sassy, you’re next.

In 2018, Monte Carlo is expected to be unrecognizable. Work continues on the hotel’s facade.

Monte Carlo

Today’s job we don’t want. That’s 32 floors up.

Thanks to Twitter follower Xhaust for letting us know work has begun on demolishing Diablo’s Cantina.

Diablo’s Cantina was a beloved party spot for many Vegas visitors, and many will miss the sexy devil statue that has kept watch over the venue for years.

At one time, we heard Diablo’s Cantina might move next door to The Park, but there’s been no such chatter for some time.

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