Category Archives: Vital Signs

Vegas Vic Neon Sign Gets Much-Needed Repairs

An iconic Las Vegas neon sign, Vegas Vic, was recently repaired following months of neglect.

The Fremont Street fixture, first erected in 1951, looks better than ever thanks to the efforts of the YESCO sign company. (Before you point it out, we understand “YESCO sign company” is redundant, as YESCO stands for Young Electric Sign Company, so it’s like saying “ATM machine.” We love your freakish attention to detail.)

Here’s a look at Vegas Vic following his rejuvenation surgery!

Vegas Vic Las Vegas

The neon king of smokin’ and cow-pokin’ is back! Speaking of cowpokes, awkward fact: Bestiality was legal in Nevada until 2017.

Vegas Vic made his debut in 1947, first at the Chamber of Commerce building. Shortly thereafter, he began to stand watch over the Pioneer Club.

Vegas Vic neon sign

Don’t be alarmed if you experience southerly moistness after gazing into Vegas Vic’s piercing blue eyes.

The Pioneer Club casino closed in 1995. Now, it’s a gift shop.

In fact, it was the Pioneer gift shop owner, Haim Gabay, who paid to have Vegas Vic repaired. Gabay is the former owner of the Bonanza Gift Shop, touted as the world’s largest gift shop. He sold Bonanza for $50 million in 2016.

Technically, the responsibility for maintaining Vegas Vic falls to the owner(s) of the building, in this case Schiff Enterprises. The owners have apparently been unresponsive to ongoing requests to get Vegas Vic back up to snuff. Duly noted, Schiff Enterprises.

Vegas Vic Fremont Street

When Vegas Vic first went up, he was the biggest neon sign in Nevada.

While the 40-foot-tall Vegas Vic is looking infinitely better than in recent months, he’s not the man he used to be.

Originally, Vegas Vic had a moving arm (it stopped moving in 1991) and featured audio saying, “Howdy Podner,” among other things.

In addition, a portion of Vic’s cowboy hat was trimmed away when the Fremont Street Experience was build in 1995.

Vegas Vic

Look closely and you can see where Vic’s hat was trimmed to accommodate the curve of the Viva Vision video screen.

Worth noting: The red circle in Vic’s pocket is a Durham Tobacco tag hanging from a yellow string. Vic presumably rolled his own.

Vegas Vic’s repair has sparked questions about his counterpart, Vegas Vickie.

Vegas Vickie was taken down in July 2017 (see below), and was recently transported to YESCO for a renovation. Vickie will return to Fremont Street in the new Circa Las Vegas resort in December 2020.

Vegas Vickie

Oh, like we were going to miss a chance to share this photo. Do you know this blog at all?

Vegas Vic and Vegas Vickie were married in 1994. We can’t wait to see the pair reunited again following their legal separation.

Big thanks to the entities, governmental and otherwise, who kept the pressure on to get Vegas Vic back to his former glory.

Vegas Vic is an irreplaceable part of Vegas history, like the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and it warms our cockles to see him looking so sharp again.

Downtown Las Vegas to Get New Welcome Arch, Probably

The City of Las Vegas recently revealed plans for a welcome arch to greet visitors to downtown.

The announcement of the “Las Vegas Gateway” project has caused a lot of confusion, so please don’t skim this story for a change.

A location for the downtown Las Vegas gateway arch hasn’t been determined yet, but it’ll be fancy.

Downtown Las Vegas gateway arch

Thankfully, Las Vegas drivers are known for their alertness and competency, so no worries about a dazzling welcome arch distracting them. Whatsoever.

The arch rendering was released following a City Council meeting where $60,000 was approved for property rights for the project, but not the arch part. Told you it’s confusing.

Additional confusion has resulted from the fact the artist that did the Las Vegas Gateway rendering took some liberties with the time-space continuum.

Here’s a look at the site in the arch rendering, described as a “work in progress” by those familiar with the project.

Downtown Las Vegas gateway arch

Nice try, renderer.

Officials don’t know where the arch is going, but it won’t go where the artist put it.

The most logical location for the arch is at the symbolic “entrance” to downtown from the Las Vegas Strip, at Sahara Ave. near the Bonanza Gift Shop.

Currently, there’s banner that runs across Las Vegas Blvd. welcoming people downtown.

Downtown Las Vegas welcome banner

Locals refer to this banner as Bruce. You wouldn’t like it when it’s angry.

So, that’s the arch part of the project.

The second component of the project is a display located a few blocks away from the current welcome banner, at the spot where Las Vegas Blvd. and Main Street meet.

This is not, as widely reported, the site of the former “Welcome to Downtown Las Vegas” sign. That sign was demolished by a drunken asshat in July 2016.

Let’s break this down, because the alternative is to have a life.

First, let’s look at the former site of the “Welcome to Downtown Las Vegas sign.” It’s boring, but could end up being where the new arch is installed. It’s at South 4th Street and Las Vegas Boulevard.

Downtown Las Vegas gateway arch

It’s rare when our photos capture so much not much.

Next, let’s look at the second part of the gateway project. It’s an homage to Las Vegas, featuring showgirls, chips, dice and a roulette wheel.

This display is definitely going where South Main Street and Las Vegas Blvd. connect. The address is 1830 S. Las Vegas Boulevard.

Downtown Las Vegas welcome sign

Quick, name the first five things you think of when you hear “Las Vegas,” including the words “Las Vegas.”

The funds approved by the City of Las Vegas were to acquire property rights for a corner of a Denny’s parking lot.

Yes, we took a photo. Do you know this blog at all?

Downtown Las Vegas gateway arch

Seriously, the things we do for you.

Here’s an overhead view of the site. The City has thoughtfully highlighted the space it’s purchasing the right to use for this new welcome display.

Downtown Las Vegas gateway arch

We are now, officially, boring ourself.

Now, here’s a map of where everything is in relation to everything else. Farthest north is the site of the former “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. In the middle is the future site of the welcome display with the showgirls. Farthest south is the current welcome banner.

Downtown Las Vegas gateway arch

Thanks for helping us clear this up, Google Maps.

That’s where the downtown Las Vegas gateway project stands at the moment.

We’ve been told the designs for both the arch and the sidewalk display have been approved, but there’s no word on when they might be installed.

While these new welcome signs may not become iconic like the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign on the south end of The Strip, we’re a big fan of the concepts for the arch and over-sized gambling paraphernalia, so we can’t wait to see the finished product.

Suck it, drunken asshat.

Not you, the one who knocked over the welcome sign.

We asked you not to skim.

Slots-A-Fun Casino Dangles Sexy Marketing Ploy

Slots-A-Fun at Circus Circus, one of the most adorable casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, has come up with a clever marketing strategy to grab the attention of passersby.

The casino typically urges guests to “Play, Win, Drink,” but the strategic placement of a video screen on its facade conveys a different, more enticing message.

Slots-A-Fun Las Vegas

Now, that’s how you Vegas.

“Lay, Win, Drink” isn’t the typical order of our Las Vegas activities, but when it Vegas, it’s smart to be flexible.

If you get our drift.

Beware the Deceptive CNF Charge at Beer Park, Hexx Kitchen at Paris Las Vegas and Others

The Budweiser Beer Park has opened and Paris Las Vegas, but we’ll never be back.

Why? The new restaurant and bar is the latest Las Vegas venue to ding customers with the deplorable CNF charge, also known as the “Concession and Franchise Fee.”

Beer Park Paris Las Vegas

A perfectly good rooftop bar ruined by WTF.

The CNF charge is also in effect at Beer Park’s downstairs neighbor, Hexx Kitchen & Bar.

The CNF charge gouges customers 4.7% on every check. Most customers don’t even know about the charge until they get their bill.

Essentially, the “Concession and Franchise Fee” is like a resort fee, but unlike with resort fees, you get absolutely nothing for your money. At all. Whatsoever.

Beer Park Paris Las Vegas

Remember the name so you can remember to forget to go there.

This disgusting charge means if Beer Park served a liquid cure for cancer served from vaginas made of gold, delivered by dolphins, we would never, ever go there again. And we are a big fan of dolphins. And vaginas, come to think of it.

We’d love to be able to talk about the Beer Park space, the social games it provides (like pool and cornhole), the selection of beer, the food menu. But the CNF charge sends us into such a rage, we honestly don’t care about any of that. Gratuitous, slimy, devious charges negate any positives, plain and simple.

Beer Park's CNF fee, like it's pool tables, requires lots of balls.

Beer Park’s CNF charge, like it’s pool tables, requires lots of balls.

Why do we call the CNF charge “devious”? Because, as we mentioned, the vast majority of customers are unaware of the charge until it’s too late.

Here’s a look at the Beer Park menu. The giant red arrow isn’t on the actual menu, although that would be a step in the right direction.

Beer Park Las Vegas menu

Beer Park reserves the right to have a blatant disregard for honorable business practices.

Oh, yes, there’s a mention of the 4.7% CNF charge but in microprint, at the end of a blurb about the dangers of eating undercooked food.

Las Vegas CNF charge

It would be funny if it weren’t so infuriating.

This has “deceptive business practice” written all over it.

So, you know what? Screw you, Beer Park, and we’re going to do everything in our power to keep people away from your despicable den of deception. We’re so worked up, we’re breaking out in alliteration.

Same goes for you, Hexx.

Hexx Kitchen CNF charge

No one has ever been able to provide a legitimate reason for this fee, but it’s always entertaining when they try.

It’s worth noting the “Concession fee” also applies to retail items purchased at Hexx. Thanks to @pbechervaise on Twitter for that tidbit.

Beer Park and Hexx aren’t the first Las Vegas establishments to screw guests over with these hidden charges. (Thanks to reader Jon Nichols for alerting us to the CNF charge at Beer Park, by the way.)

Also guilty of this shameless, shameful money grab are Cabo Wabo Cantina at Planet Hollywood and Rhumbar at Mirage. Read more.

Update (2/28/18): We’re pleased to report Señor Frog’s at TI has discontinued its CNF charge. The venue still charges a live entertainment tax during periods where there’s, you know, live entertainment.

The only good news about this fee, if there is any, is unlike with other fees (such as paid parking), we have the power to do something about it.

The solution to the growing problem of CNF charges is easy: Don’t go to these places. Run, don’t walk, to establishments that appreciate you and your patronage.

What can you do if you’re presented with a bill that includes a CNF charge you didn’t know about? Refuse to pay it. Talk to a manager, demand the charge be reversed and raise holy hell. Tell everyone you know to stay away. E-mail. Tweet. Comment on Facebook. Rant. Rail. Fight back.

Let these venues know we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it in the cornhole anymore.

Here’s a list of restaurants and bars that have a CNF (concession fee) in Las Vegas:

  • Cabo Wabo Cantina at Planet Hollywood
  • Hexx at Paris Las Vegas
  • Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas
  • Alexxa’s Bar at Paris Las Vegas
  • Chayo Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar at Linq Promenade
  • Flights at Miracle Mile Shops (“service charge”)
  • Blondie’s at Miracle Mile Shops (“Food/Non-Alc Tax”)
  • “Blanc de Blanc” at Sahara (“service charge”)
  • Light Nightclub and Daylight Beachclub at Mandalay Bay (“service fee”)
  • Encore Beach Club and XS nightclub at Encore (“service fee”)

Update (5/6/18): It seems guests are having some success disputing this charge. From Candice in our blog comments, “Just ate at Hexx last night and noticed the CNF charge and asked the waitress about it. She gave a strange explanation then said she could remove it if we wanted, uh, yeah, please remove, and she did!” Fight the power

Update (6/28/19): Rhumbar at Mirage was on our CNF charge list for a long time, but we hear management has been taken over by MGM Resorts, and customers no longer get the CNF charge.

Udpate (7/19/19): Hexx and Beer Park have raised their CNF charges from 4.7% to 4.85%. We are not making this up.

CNF charge Las Vegas

Adding injury to WTF, note the menu design. A rubber band covers up the CNF charge. Seriously shady.

Update (10/25/19): MGM Resorts says it discontinued service fees on drinks in Sep. 2019.

Update (11/7/19): The L.A. Times did a great story about CNF charges and fees, and not just because we were featured in the story. Shockingly, a rep for Hexx and Alexxa’s boldly told the publication, “Should a guest be uncomfortable with the surcharge, our policy is to explain it and, if appropriate, remove it.” So, as we’ve said for some time, if you’re “uncomfortable” with these asinine CNF and other fees, have them removed.

With Downtown Grand’s “Casino” Sign, Three Time’s a Charm

When Downtown Grand opened in downtown Las Vegas in October 2013, its “Casino” sign stood as a testament to renewal and high hopes.

A company called CIM Group bought the former Lady Luck for $100 million and invested another $100 million in renovating the resort.

Downtown Grand

Downtown Grand’s first “Casino” sign, in 2013. Neon over LEDs for the win.

The casino’s second sign was a variation of the first, with tweaked colors.

To us, the sign was a symbol of the reality check Downtown Grand and its management, Fifth Street Gaming, faced as the resort struggled to find success.

Downtown Grand

Like the hotel-itself, Downtown Grand’s sign was a work in progress.

Recently, Downtown Grand replaced its “Casino” sign yet again.

This time, the sign better reflects the resort’s branding and we’ve decided to take the latest change as a sign the resort is going to find its groove, continue to improve its offerings and meet its potential as a stand-out Las Vegas destination.

Downtown Grand Las Vegas

Now, we’re getting somewhere.

We’ve poked some fun at Downtown Grand in the past, but ultimately, we’ve come around to the idea we’d rather have a Las Vegas casino rather than not-a-casino, any day. So, we’re going to try some cheerleading for awhile.

In the meantime, we’re going to visit more often (geography helps, as we work at Fremont Street Experience), imbibe more often (no-brainer) and play more often (there’s a revamped player’s club, too) at Downtown Grand.

Because it’s a great resort, because taking jabs doesn’t help keep dealers dealing, bartenders tending and chefs cheffing, and maybe if we play there more, if we all try to, we can help keep Downtown Grand’s neon neoning.

Little Darlings Strip Club Makes Dramatic Play for Asian Tourists

The love affair between Las Vegas casinos and Asian gamblers has been well-documented.

For example, Chinese travelers stay longer in Las Vegas than other international gamblers and when they’re here, they spend more (about $3,200 per person, per trip). Recently, the Bellagio even went so far as to mount a multi-million dollar theatrical production to woo Asian tourists.

Now, a Las Vegas strip club has made an ingenious move to attract Asian customers. Little Darlings, an all-nude strip club just off The Strip, has altered its name (or at least its signage) to appeal to Chinese tourists.

Little Darlings strip club

In Chinese, the name Ling can mean “spirit” or “chime,” either of which would make a solid stripper name, come to think of it.

Las Vegas seems to have an insatiable appetite for big spenders from Asia, so this move by Little Darlings comes as no surprise to seasoned Sin City observers.

The jury’s still out about whether Little Darlings plans to permanently change its name to “Little Lings,” and some question whether such blatant marketing gimmicks will have their intended effect.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment if you’d like to wèi in.