Category Archives: Security Breaches

Security Breach: A Peek Inside W Las Vegas at SLS

W Las Vegas, a new hotel-within-a-hotel at SLS Las Vegas, officially opens Dec. 1, 2016. As you might suspect, we couldn’t wait that long.

We poked our nose inside the new hotel to see what’s in store.

W Las Vegas

Judging from the bar above, it appears W Las Vegas will practice safe mixology.

The new entry and reception area of W Las Vegas, called the Living Room, seems just about ready for its big reveal.

W Las Vegas Living Room

The Living Room at W Las Vegas is just like your own living room, just with fewer freeloading relatives.

The Living Room will have a bar, custom artwork, a DJ booth and ridiculous amounts of seating.

W Las Vegas is essentially taking over one of the towers, the Lux tower, at SLS Las Vegas. The W Las Vegas will have its own private entrance and other amenities, including a rooftop pool called Wet.

The W Las Vegas Living Room

Nobody really gets the whole hotel-within-a-hotel thing, so just play along.

W Las Vegas designers appear to be embracing their new Las Vegas home, as a number of casino-themed touches appear throughout the hotel.

For example, there’s an area near the W hotel tower elevators sporting wallpaper with Sahara playing cards.

W Hotel Las Vegas

We’re loving this nod to the classic Sahara. The Sahara closed on May 16, 2011 and opened as SLS on August 23, 2014.

Also nearby is a wall featuring thousands of casino chips.

W Hotel Las Vegas lobby

Oh, all right, we didn’t count them, so, thousands-ish.

Reps of W Las Vegas have teased there will be a W made from 20,000 poker chips. We’re pretty sure the W below is the W in question, but didn’t want to spoil the surprise. We also don’t want to be banned from the hotel before it opens.

W Hotel Las Vegas

No, we didn’t peek. It’s called restraint.

W Hotels & Resorts is a luxury hotel chain owned by Marriott International. The company operates nearly 50 hotels in 24 countries and has some serious marketing clout.

The opening of W Las Vegas, in addition to the recent opening of the Lucky Dragon casino about two minutes away, could signal new life for SLS Las Vegas and the north end of The Strip. Staff members at SLS Las Vegas are being told the opening of W Las Vegas is expected to boost restaurant and casino business at SLS roughly 20%, right off the bat.

The prospects of new business at SLS means that W could very well stand for “win-win.” We’ll reserve judgment until we see if the Living Room bar serves Captain Morgan.

W Las Vegas Sneak Peek

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Let’s Blow Through What’s Going On at Linq Promenade

Change comes fast and furious in Las Vegas, so we thought it time to take another pass at what’s new at Linq promenade. That, of course, it code for security breaches!

First up, we poked our nose over the construction wall and In-N-Out, a long-awaited addition to the Linq mall (located between Flamingo and Linq hotels).

Presumably, the Strip outpost of In-N-Out will open by the end of the year, but at this point, there’s little to see in the way of progress.

Linq promenade In-N-Out

Why doth thou torment us so, In-N-Out?

Nearby, there’s another restaurant in the works, Canter’s Deli. Of Canter’s Deli fame.

This establishment, too, is supposed to arrive soon, but at the moment is little more than an empty room with sadness written all over it.

Linq Canter's Deli

Canter’s will take up residency in the space formerly used by the High Roller Ferris wheel ticket office.

Other parts of the Linq promenade, however, hold a bit more promise.

There’s a new restaurant in the works, Jaburrito, a place for sushi burritos, which we understand isn’t nearly as gross as it sounds.

Linq Jaburritos

Former home of a failed lingerie shop, Ruby Blue. There will be a quiz.

Linq promenade is currently decked out in its Halloween finest, including some impressive ghouls and werewolves along the pedestrian mall.

Linq promenade Halloween

Linq promenade, helping populate your nightmares since 2014.

The monsters at Linq are a fun diversion, and lots of visitors seemed to be taking advantage of the free photo op.

Linq promenade vampire

That time it got awkward because your fear was tinged with arousal.

In keeping with the Linq’s practice of refreshing its public art, there’s a new undead-themed mural.

Halloween zombie mural

Don’t believe zombies exist? Who do you think approved the Las Vegas stadium deal?

A new addition to the Linq promenade is an exotic vehicle rental stand.

Linq exotic car rentals

Drunk tourists, lots of traffic and three-wheeled vehicles? What could possibly go wrong?

The rates don’t seem particularly high, but we are a blog, not a Slingshot expert.

Linq exotic car rentals

Seriously, though, driving The Strip in a vehicle without a roof is a great way to take it all in.

Urban Turban, a popular Vegas restaurant, now has a stand at Linq (sorry, “open-air kitchen”), and it’s fully up and running.

The menu is somewhat limited, but what’s on it looks tempting.

Linq Urban Turban

Ripped from the pages of the bestselling book, “How to Open a Restaurant With the Change You Find Under Your Couch Cushions.”

Here’s the Urban Turban menu. What, you thought we were going to leave you hanging?

Urban Turban menu

Finally, a menu so streamlined even we could memorize it.

Nearby, of course, is the High Roller observation wheel. Nothing too new there, but we felt it was a good time to bring up the fact Las Vegas is home to the world’s largest Ferris wheel. It continues to struggle to meet ridership targets, but we shouldn’t take this engineering wonder for granted.

Thanks to the miracle and curse that is the Internet, there’s an easy way to see everything we’ve ever written about the High Roller wheel, and there’s been a metric hell-ton. Warning: Some of it is really weird.

High Roller wheel

Let’s take a moment to revel in the wonder and remember the High Roller has changed the Las Vegas skyline forever.

And some final newness, just behind the High Roller wheel is a seasonal attraction, The Zombie Escape. It’s a haunted house with zombies. Which we didn’t personally confirm, but what the hell else could it be?

Zombie Escape

The Zombie Escape felt a little cobbled-together, but we suspect it provides the promised thrills.

The Zombie Escape is $20, with $5 off for Total Rewards members.

That’s about all the news that’s fit to report, especially in a state of advanced intoxication. Allegedly. Here are more pics of the latest developments at Linq promenade. As always, you can thank us in Captain Morgan.

Linq Promenade Update, Oct. 2016

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Beat Coffeehouse, Burlesque Hall of Fame Close to Make Room for Eureka Restaurant

Two downtown venues, The Beat Coffeehouse and Burlesque Hall of Fame, have closed to make way for a new restaurant, Eureka.

The Beat Coffeehouse

If you think The Beat Coffeehouse was just another coffee shop, you don’t know beans.

Both The Beat Coffeehouse, a beloved community gathering spot, and Burlesque Hall of Fame, a beloved place to think about boobs, lived on the first floor of the Emergency Arts Building, across the street from the El Cortez casino.

We weren’t going to let these well-liked businesses “go gentle into that good night,” at least not without a send-off security breach.

Burlesque Hall of Fame

The walls of the Burlesque Hall of Fame have been stripped bare.

While The Beat appears to have closed for good, the Burlesque Hall of Fame is relocating. Prior to taking up permanent residence in the city’s Arts District, the Burlesque Hall of Fame will be in a temporary space starting Oct. 7, 2016. The temporary location is 1017 South First Street, not that you’re going to stray that far away from a casino to find it.

The first floor of the Emergency Arts building will soon welcome Eureka, a hamburger restaurant chain based in Hawthorne, California. Sort of makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?

Here’s a final glimpse inside The Beat, a longtime fixture in the Fremont East district.

The Beat Coffeehouse

This building is accustomed to change. It previously housed a J.C. Penney. After that, it was vacant for a decade. The Beat occupied the space for six jittery years.

Eureka is expected to open sometime in 2017. The Beat and Burlesque Hall of Fame will be tough acts to follow.

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Downtown’s Gold Spike Closes The Grill, Fiddlestix Already in the Works

Downtown’s Gold Spike has closed its cafe, The Grill, and is working on a new restaurant concept, Fiddlestix.

The new restaurant is expected to open in early August 2016.

The restaurant concept is, refreshingly, not part of an existing chain. Fiddlestix will feature a variety of breakfast favorites, salads, burgers, sandwiches and alcoholic milkshakes. Especially that last thing.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike

Fiddlesticks are instruments which allow two people to play a fiddle at once. The practice is often called “beating the straws.”

Fiddlestix will also offer breakfast items 24 hours a day, including lighter options like granola and muesli, as well as other things this blog has never personally eaten.

Breakfast offerings will include bagels and “schmears,” pastries, eggs and specialty items like bacon and eggs toast with Fontina cream sauce, smoked salmon toast and cornflake-crusted French toast with Jack Daniels maple bourbon syrup. Especially that last thing.

Fiddlestix Gold Spike

It’s curtains for The Grill at Gold Spike.

From 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. daily, Fiddlestix will offer build-your-own yogurt parfaits and acai bowls. On Saturdays and Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., brunch will be available with a specialty menu and all-you-can-drink mimosas and Bellinis. And especially that last thing.

As for the aforementiond alcoholic milkshakes, they’ll include The Dude (vodka, Kahlua, vanilla ice cream), Cereal Milk (RumChata cream liqueur, Fireball whisky, vanilla ice cream, Cinnamon Toast Crunch), Irish Breakfast (Jameson Irish Whiskey, crispy bacon, crumbled pancake, vanilla ice cream, maple syrup) and Oh Captain, My Captain (Captain Morgan spiced rum, Cap’n Crunch cereal, vanilla ice cream).

Wait for it.

Don’t jump ahead.

Just wait for it.

Especially that last thing!

Fiddlestix Gold Spike

Gold Spike’s interior design pixies are wasting no time in revamping the restaurant. Insert Pixy Stix joke here.

Fiddlestix will seat 50 people, and the center of the room will boast a 20-seat floating fuchsia quartz community table with interactive built-in iPads and Internet access. It’s a Millennial thing.

Fiddlestix will be open 24 hours a day.

Gold Spike, of course, has become the surprise hit of downtown. It was formerly an underwhelming casino, but was purchased by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and the Downtown Project. There’s also the Oasis at Gold Spike, and it’s adorable.

The Gold Spike’s casino closed on April 14, 2013. Usually, that’s where this blog’s interest would end, but on May 6, 2013, Gold Spike re-opened as a bar, restaurant and nightlife party spot.

Gold Spike originally opened as Rendezvous in 1976.

Gold Spike has been a hit with its reasonable prices, communal “Living Room” (think college common area, but cooler, and with better Wi-Fi) and outdoor hangout space, “The Backyard.”

Gold Spike Las Vegas

The Living Room. What’s not to love about dueling pool tables?

Gold Spike provides a refreshing change from the usual downtown haunts and is about the only place in Las Vegas where corn hole, giant Jenga and board games are offered without it feeling like a feeble ploy to get hipsters to gamble.

There’s no question Gold Spike knows its customers, so we expect Fiddlestix will serve up accessible, hearty options at a fair price. We predict it will soon be in our regular lunch rotation.

More to come.

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Seven Magic Mountains Sculpture Adds Splash of Color to Desert Near Las Vegas

A new, larger-than-life public art installation is adding some vibrant color to the otherwise drab desert near Las Vegas.

Take a look at Seven Magic Mountains.

Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas

Each of the boulders in Seven Magic Mountains weighs between 20 and 25 tons, evidence of the fact they hit a Vegas buffet before being stacked.

The art consists of seven mammoth pillars, each between 30 and 35 feet tall, of brightly-colored limestone boulders.

The artwork was five years in the making and cost $3.5 million. It was privately funded, so don’t have a freak-out.

It’s an eye-catching new attraction, and naturally we droned the living hell out of it.

The art project, by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, officially opens May 11, 2016.

Then again, when you wait for something to open officially, it’s not really a security breach. So, screw that.

colored rocks near Jean and Las Vegas

How not to not get noticed.

Seven Magic Mountains (we’re assuming Six Flags isn’t litigious), is easily seen from the I-15 freeway, the main artery connecting California to Las Vegas.

A recent survey by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority says 57% of Las Vegas visitors in 2015 arrived by ground transportation, and 29% of all Las Vegas visitors come from California, so that means a metric hell-ton of people are going to be enjoying Seven Magic Mountains during their drive.

Seven Magic Mountains will be on display for two years. After that, somebody’s going to end up with some pretty epic DayGlo paperweights.

colored rocks near Las Vegas

Deadliest game of Jenga, ever.

The sculptures are already drawing tourists for photo ops, and that’s expected to happen even more when the installation is officially open.

If you’d like a selfie with the Seven Magic Mountains, be forewarned, you can’t get there from here.

Here’s what we mean. Seven Magic Mountains is about 20 minutes from the southernmost tip of the Las Vegas Strip. It’s set back from the I-15 quite a bit, but easily accessible from Las Vegas Boulevard. Yes, Las Vegas Boulevard runs far, far south, parallel to the I-15.

The location of Seven Magic Mountains is most often described as being in Jean, Nevada, but if you’re driving from The Strip, you need to exit much earlier than the Jean exit. Take the exit for M Resort, then drive south 10 miles on Las Vegas Boulevard.

If you’re driving from California on the I-15, you need to take the Jean exit, about 10 miles before you can even see the sculptures.

colored rocks in desert Las Vegas

By our count: Six pink, five yellow, four blue, four red, three orange, three green, three black, three white, two silver. Yes, yes, we have way too much time on our hands.

Once you near the art, there’s a pull-out and parking area. Nothing fancy and no pavement. There’s a path that’s been marked by little red flags. It’s unlikely the path will be paved, so you’re on your own. It’s a desert, so expect to see critters. We did.

There are no restrooms, there’s no bar, there are no food vendors or tchotchke kiosks. Plan accordingly.

Seven Magic Mountains

The path is marked with little red flags. If you hear a rattling sound, probably best to assume it’s not somebody’s baby.

Beyond the where, there’s also the matter of why.

As artists are sometimes forced to do, Ugo Rondinone has tried to explain in human language the intent of his work. He says, “Seven Magic Mountains elicits continuities and solidarities between human and nature, artificial and natural, then and now.”

In the art world, this is what’s called “artsy-fartsy gobbledygook.” Which, now that we think of it, would make a pretty good band name.

Here’s what Seven Magic Mountains really is: It’s an eye-popping jolt of color in an otherwise bleak landscape.

painted rocks I-15 Las Vegas

It’s Las Vegas. We don’t do bleak.

Seven Magic Mountains is a clever take on a practice that’s taken off in recent years, rock stacking or balancing. It’s part art, part discipline, and its practitioners say rock balancing has a calming effect.

Beyond its scale, Seven Magic Mountains differs from traditional rock balancing in that it uses an inner support structure, presumably to help it withstand the desert’s high winds.

colorful rocks near Las Vegas

Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of aragonite, which we’re fairly sure is the only thing that can hurt Superman.

What Seven Magic Mountains does have in common with rock balancing is it is almost certain to spark controversy. Many say they want to experience nature in its “undisturbed state.” Those who dislike rock balancing are pretty much guaranteed to have their heads explode at the sight of the fluorescent Seven Magic Mountains.

It’s jarring. It’s disruptive. And that’s what’s great about it. It’s nature, but amplified.

Seven Mountains sculpture

Dear Los Angeles punks. If you try to tag or otherwise deface our art, we are personally going to shoot you with a high caliber rifle. This is rural Nevada, and that crap doesn’t fly.

When you think about it, Seven Magic Mountains is a lot like Las Vegas. It’s a radiant shock to the system, a glittery jewel in the middle of a barren wasteland.

The Nevada Museum of Art says of Seven Magic Mountains, “The work pays homage to the history of Land Art while also offering a contemporary critique of the simulacra in nearby Las Vegas.”

We have no idea what a “simulacra” is, but it sounds like something hotel housekeeping would need to look for with a black light.

Learn more about this new Las Vegas attraction at the official Seven Magic Mountains Web site.

What do you think? Visionary or absurd? Garish or glorious? Leave a comment with your thoughts, especially if your thoughts include complimenting us on our drone piloting.

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Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho Las Vegas Opens, Could Bring Much-Needed New Energy to Rio

There are a few things you know about Guy Fieri’s restaurants before you even set foot in one, starting with what they’re not.

They’re not pretentious, they’re not understated, they’re not about nuance or gourmet dining.

What they most certainly are is over-the-top, indulgent, audacious and unforgettable. Just like Las Vegas, come to think of it.

Guy Fieri’s second restaurant effort in Las Vegas, El Burro Borracho, opened at Rio Las Vegas on March 4, 2016.

El Burro Borracho Las Vegas

Welcome to Ciudad de Sabor. Which we’re not translating when you have the whole Internet at your fingertips.

“El Burro Borracho” translates as “drunk ass” in Spanish, so we’re not left to wonder what’s in store at this lively spot that’s taken up residence in the former Buzios Seafood space.

If you’re unfamiliar with Guy Fieri, you need to invest in a television. Fieri (real name: Guy Ramsay Ferry) hosts 90% of the shows on the Food Network. He’s the guy a lot of people love to hate, but unless you’re a food snob, his crowd-pleasing Vegas restaurants, including Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at the Linq Hotel, possess a lot to love.

El Burro Borracho, which will inevitably have a nickname, is a long, narrow space, with a bar (pictured below) as well as a long counter area running along an open kitchen.

El Burro Borracho Las Vegas3

You know you’re in for a good time when the hooch is right up front.

The menu at El Burro Borracho is in the realm of Mexican food, although purists are sure to discover a lot of WTF.

There’s a variety of comfort and bar foods in the mix, including nachos and street corn and jalapeno poppers and quesadillas and other favorites.

El Burro Borracho Rio Hotel

The chips are on the house. A lone fried pork rind is included to remind us about the resilience of the human arterial system.

You’ll also find soups and salads, hamburgers, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and chimichangas.

We went with the Al Pastor tacos ($17), with marinated pork shoulder, grilled pineapple serrano salsa, avocado crema, pickled red onion and cilantro. Delicious and filling.

El Burro Borracho drunk ass

Al pastor tacos were inspired by the spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Look how much more worldly you are now than five minutes ago. You’re welcome.

Desserts include house-made churros, fried ice cream, chocolate flan cake and other temptations.

Check out the full El Burro Borracho menu on the Rio Las Vegas Web site.

As for the cocktails, they were plentiful and strong, stealing the spotlight by appearing before the food in the restaurant’s menu. The signature cocktails are priced at $15, and most could easily serve four people.

El Burro Borracho

This is how the burro ended up so borracho.

We went with the Aztec Punch, a true panty-dropper cocktail if ever there were one.

The Aztex Punch has El Jimador tequila, Sailor Jerry spiced rum (regrettably not Captain Morgan, but we’re not entirely inflexible), orange and pineapple juices, peach syrup, strawberry puree and a dark rum float.

El Burro Borracho Rio Las Vegas

Pineapple juice contains bromelain, which is believed to help prevent cancer. You can totally use that as an excuse for having a sixth Aztec Punch.

El Burro Borracho faces the hotel’s pool area, and there are plans to open a “taco stand” in the back portion of the restaurant, accessible to those at the pool seeking munchies and libations in ridiculous quantities.

El Burro Borracho

This “taco stand” area should be hopping as things heat up in Las Vegas.

Currently, Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho is open 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The restaurant is technically in a “soft opening” until the official grand opening, April 1, 2016.

The copious amount of liquor, friendly staff and party atmosphere make for a fun night out at El Burro Borracho.

Rio Las Vegas could certainly use a shot in the arm, with many of its retail shops closing and a large section of its casino floor devoted to timeshare sales. We are not making this up.

The upstairs BK Whopper Bar has closed and will soon be replaced with a Smashburger.

BK Whopper Bar

Out with the old, in with the smashed.

KISS Minigolf will be moving into the former seafood buffet space (zero construction has started yet from what we could see), so that could also contribute a new sense of energy to the resort, as does the hotel’s show (recently relocated from the Venetian), “Rock of Ages.”

We hear a new “high-profile restaurant concept” is yet-to-come, and will sit in the space once occupied by Antonio’s Italian Ristorante.

If a hotel is looking to amp up its vibe, Guy Fieri’s brand seems a good fit. El Burro Borracho is a great place to kick back with friends, numb some brain cells and fuel up for a Las Vegas adventure.

Because when was the last time you saw someone wearing an “I Got Nuanced in Vegas” T-shirt?

Guy Fieri's El Burro Borracho at Rio

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