Category Archives: Things to Do in Las Vegas

Cat’s Meow Karaoke Club Opens at Neonopolis and It Could Be a Thing

There’s something we need to communicate right up front: We are not a karaoke person.

That said, we’re pretty sure the new Cat’s Meow karaoke club at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas is going to make a killing.

Karaoke is a Japanese word meaning “Yeah, you did that in public.”

While Cat’s Meow is new to Las Vegas, it’s anything but new. The original location in New Orleans has been going strong for 30 years.

Cat's Meow

Pick a song and throw caution to the wind. You’re in Vegas. We specialize in caution-throwing.

We popped into Cat’s Meow Las Vegas about three minutes after it opened, and there were already signs this new venue is going to be a winner, despite what has traditionally been a challenging location.

Neonopolis has struggled for years to find the right mix of tenants, but Cat’s Meow seems a perfect fit, both for the shopping complex and Fremont Street.

Cat's Meow Neonopolis

Cat’s Meow sits atop the International Eatery. It’s fairly important you don’t eat here.

Cat’s Meow is expected to overcome one of the challenges of being in Neonopolis (access) with a shiny new escalator.

Management says the escalator has been approved and will be installed in August. It will deliver guests from Fremont Street directly to the venue’s front door. This is sure to be a godsend for another nightlife business on the second floor, The Nerd, as well.

Cat's Meow

Who cares about an escalator? Cat’s Meow, that’s who. It’s a trek without one.

Cat’s Meow comes from the owners of the Deja Vu strip club chain, so they know a little about crowd-pleasing entertainment.

Among the many attributes of Cat’s Meow: Two bars.

Cat's Meow

Cat’s Meow is determined to give your photoreceptors a workout.

A lot of time, money and thought has gone into the interior design of Cat’s Meow, including the restroom, with its unisex washroom area.

Cat's Meow karaoke Las Vegas

Destination restroom right here.

The furniture is plentiful and quirky.

Cat's Meow Las Vegas

Built for cool, not comfort.

Cat’s Meow is massive, and the karaoke club takes up only a portion of the available space.

Rumors abound a second development phase of the space is in the works, and when we asked if it might be a strip club, we didn’t get a “no.” We trust there will be some hurdles if that’s the plan, but downtown hasn’t seen a strip club since Glitter Gulch was demolished to make way for Circa Las Vegas.

Here’s a security breach of the space that’s still in the works.

Cat's Meow

Two words: Topless karaoke. Just saying.

But back to the karaoke!

Even minutes into Cat’s Meow being open, the energy was palpable. This probably has to do with the DJs in the booth and the emcee on the stage.

The emcee keeps the flow of the show going, livening up the performances of even the least talented karaoke participants.

Cat's Meow Las Vegas downtown

There’s a good chance this guy gets Red Bull intravenously.

As with any karaoke venue, you occasionally get singers you suspect must be ringers, but aren’t. They’re just the right kind of singer with the perfect song and liquid courage to spur them on.

From what we can tell, the staff at Cat’s Meow were auditioned for their singing chops, because they frequently jump onstage between songs by guests.

This keeps the overall karaoke quality high, and seeing one’s server onstage belting one out makes the whole experience more fun and interactive.

Cat’s Meow provides a curated song list. This helps the energy level, too, as it prevents unfortunate song choices that can be a buzzkill.

Here’s a look at the Cat’s Meow song menu: Part one and part two.

Note the ingenious $50 “cut the line VIP pass.” Pricey, but we get the feeling Cat’s Meow knows its customers and their priorities. When you’re on vacation, time is valuable, so it’s a relatively small price to pay to expedite one’s moment in the spotlight.

Costumes and music props add another level of silliness to the proceedings and help differentiate Cat’s Meow from the competition. Although, in Las Vegas, there’s not a lot of competition. For karaoke on The Strip, it’s Ellis Island. Downtown, it’s pretty much Cat’s Meow.

We’re not telling you about anywhere else as it might encourage you to sing in public.

karaoke Cat's Meow Las Vegas

Choose your warbling accoutrement.

As you might expect, the libations are plentiful at Cat’s Meow. The pours are a little strict, but we suspect bartenders were following the rules closely during the soft opening.

The official grand opening of Cat’s Meow is July 18, 2019.

Our lone criticism of Cat’s Meow is a service charge tacked into drinks. Nuisance charges are a hot button topic in Las Vegas at the moment, so we weren’t thrilled to see this one.

Cat's Meow karaoke club Vegas

Just a dozen more Captains and diet and we’d have been up on that stage!

To the credit of Cat’s Meow management, we heard back from them immediately about our concerns.

The company says the service charge is, in effect, a bonus for employees. Per Nevada law, service charges must be distributed to employees and can’t be retained by the employer, according to the club rep.

Management also says service charges aren’t subject to Nevada sales tax since they are distributed to employees, thus saving the venue money. Management of Cat’s Meow felt the service charge “would allow employees to share in the success of the business.”

We don’t get it, but we’re also not investing a bajillion dollars in a new business venture. We figure if it’s akin to a 10% auto-gratuity, we’ll adjust our tip accordingly. Management says they’ll be posting signage and training staff to explain the service charge to help avoid confusion.

On the bright side, a specialty cocktail menu is in the works. The Cat’s Meow in New Orleans is famous for its 3-for-1 drink specials, so expect that to be offered during the happy hour at Cat’s Meow Las Vegas.

Overall, Cat’s Meow looks and feels like a concept tailor made for the circus that is Fremont Street.

Cat's Meow Vegas

What happens in Vegas gets streamed live, so fair warning.

The party atmosphere at Cat’s Meow hits all the right notes, giving guests permission to check their inhibitions and unleash their inner Gaga.

Because, as we once said in our incredibly popular Twitter feed, “Las Vegas isn’t just a place to go, it’s a vacation from ourselves.”

Yes, we just quoted us.

If you hit Cat’s Meow karaoke club at Neonopolis, tell us what you think.

Cat's Meow Las Vegas

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Fremont Street Experience Finishes First Section of Viva Vision Upgrade

Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas recently completed work on the first portion of a $32 million upgrade to the world’s largest video screen, Viva Vision.

The renovation started May 6, 2019.

The first completed section, near the Golden Gate casino, was tested on June 5, 2019.

Viva Vision upgrade testing

The technical term for this visual display is “big-ass test pattern.”

The Viva Vision upgrade is being done in eight 150-foot sections to avoid disruption to the nightly light shows.

When fully renovated, Viva Vision will be four times the resolution and up to seven times the brightness of the current screen.

This is the second time the screen has gotten a facelift. It opened in December 1995, and got an LED upgrade in 2004 at a cost of $17 million.

Here’s a close-up look at one of the new LED panels. The holes allow sunlight to shine through during the day.

Viva Vision LED module

The renovation will involve 67,456 of these bad boys.

The new Viva Vision screen will have 49,299,456 LEDs. Probably. We sure as hell don’t have time to count them. We are very busy being a smart-ass.

When completed, the new screen will have 16,433,152 pixels. Ditto what we said about the counting thing.

What does all this mean? Well, for the first time in the history of the attraction, Viva Vision can show content during daylight hours.

Here’s some video of the daytime testing of the first section of the canopy.

The fully upgraded Viva Vision screen is scheduled to debut on Dec. 31, 2019, on New Year’s Eve.

Visitors will get a sneak preview of the newly upgraded canopy during the reveal of a new light show featuring Steve Aoki on June 13, 2019.

The Aoki light show is the second new show in recent weeks. Another, with the music of The Chainsmokers, debuted May 31, 2019.

Chainsmokers light show

We weren’t particularly familiar with The Chainsmokers, but have come to love them because their Viva Vision show features a hell-ton of neon.

Because the new canopy be used 24/7, a substantial amount of new content will be created in the months to come intended to make the most of the screen’s dramatically increased resolution.

The Viva Vision renovation is a big deal for downtown, as surveys show most Las Vegas visitors make their way downtown because of Fremont Street Experience and the light shows. Hit the official site for more information.

It’s also worth noting we work at Fremont Street Experience in digital marketing as our day job and we can personally confirm many people visit downtown specifically to buy us a Captain Morgan and diet. Hint, hint.

Viva Vision upgrade

If this is how it looks during the day, bring on the night.

The Viva Vision screen renovation is moving along at a brisk pace, so stay tuned for more updates.

Hakkasan Grid is an Eye-Opening Wonder of Science and Art

If Vegas knows anything, it’s dazzle, and the new Hakkasan Grid at Hakkasan Nightclub takes dazzle to a whole new level.

The multi-million dollar light installation made its debut during EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival, May 17-19, 2019), and delivers on the promise of a sensational new reason to visit Hakkasan inside MGM Grand.

Hakkasan Grid

You’re going to wish you had more eyes.

The Hakkasan Grid is a marvel of technology. The ceiling light installation is made up of 57 individual triangles that can be turned into a virtually unlimited number of shapes, colors and configurations.

Here’s a look at some of the technology involved in making the Hakkasan Grid such a stunner.

Hakkasan Grid Las Vegas

Only slightly less complicated than brain surgery.

The overhead display undulates and pulses, intensifying the impact of the music, creating an ever-changing visual feast for nightclub-goers.

Hakkasan Grid

The 57 triangles are moved using 169 winches, which is 2.964912280 winches per triangle, which can’t be right, but we are a blog, not a mathematician, so let’s move on.

Yeah, you sort of have to see it in action. Behold the Hakkasan Grid.

It’s like a space ship, a kinetic sculpture and a neon factory had a threesome and the Hakkasan Grid is the offspring.

The thing is straight-up amazing, and we aren’t even a nightclub person.

If you’re a light installation nerd, it’s worth noting the Hakkasan Grid is 30 feet wide, and each of the triangles was custom-designed and 3-D printed. The display features pixel mapping and color-mixing technologies as well.

Hakkasan nightclub Las Vegas

Hakkasan is a Japanese word meaning, “You have no chance with that girl, so stop pestering her, you big dope.”

Hakkasan opened in 2013, making it 104 in Las Vegas nightclub years.

Given its substantial investment in the new light installation, Hakkasan clearly isn’t resting on its laurels and intends to stay relevant as the nightlife landscape continues to evolve in Las Vegas.

Hakkasan nightclub Vegas

The exterior of Hakkasan got some digital mapping since your last visit. You need to get out more.

The venue boasts world-class DJ talent, including Tiesto, Zedd, Steve Aoki and others. Such residencies are the bread-and-butter of nightclubs, but it can’t hurt to have a mind-blowing light show in the mix as well.

Hakkasan Grid Las Vegas

Hakkasan it the place to let your geometry freak flag fly.

We’ve added the Hakkasan Grid onto our list of must-see attractions in Las Vegas, right up there with the Bellagio fountains, the new Eiffel Tower light show, the Viva Vision canopy on Fremont Street, the Mirage volcano and us in a thong.

That’s weird. People usually don’t read this far. Good luck unseeing that.

Wynn’s Popeye Statue to Set Sail for Encore Boston Harbor

A famous statue of Popeye at Wynn Las Vegas is about to set sail for Encore Boston Harbor, so catch it while you can, matey.

Or whatever.

The Popeye statue, made by renowned sculptor Jeff Koons, will reportedly be packed up in the early morning hours of June 4, 2019.

Wynn Popeye statue

Sun’s out, guns out, or whatever the kids are saying now.

The statue will be in place at Encore Boston Harbor in time for its opening on June 23, if all goes according to plan.

The Popeye stands in front of the Wynn Theater, not far from the self-parking garage, which is free again, so you have no excuse to not visit the resort before Popeye’s departure.

Wynn Popeye

Popeye is incarnated with Brancusian reflectivity in the artist’s signature material: Stainless steel. Which we totally didn’t steal from the Sotheby’s Web site.

The Popeye statue has a long and storied history we didn’t have time to research.

We do know it was purchased for $28,165,000 in 2014. It’s rumored Wynn Resorts turned down an offer of $60 million for the statue at one point.

If you’re an art person, don’t fret that Popeye won’t be at Wynn much longer. You can pop into the Wynn Plaza and snap a selfie with another impressive piece of art, Smiling King Bear by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel.

Wynn Plaza

Our photography is occasionally fleek.

Please take care of our Popeye statue, Encore Boston Harbor. We sort of want it back, eventually.

Downtown Grand to Open New Showroom, The Spare Room

Downtown Grand is getting into the comedy game with the opening a new showroom dubbed The Spare Room.

The new showroom hasn’t officially been announced yet, but give it a minute.

Downtown Grand

You can find Downtown Grand downtown. Hence, why were are considered a Las Vegas expert.

The new showroom will be located in the former Mob Bar space, just across the street from the Mob Museum.

For the showroom launch, The Spare Room will feature two shows, “Hypnomania” and “Delirious.”

“Hypnomania,” a comedy-hypnosis show featuring 20-year comedy veteran Don Barnhart, runs at 7:00 p.m.

“Delirious,” with traditional stand-up comedy, happens at 9:00 p.m.

The showroom will be open Wednesday through Sunday.

The Spare Room will have a full bar, thankfully, and a capacity of around 100 people.

Comedy fans will be able to find tickets at the official Downtown Grand Web site once they go on sale.

Downtown Grand has faced some challenges in the past due to its location, but the resort has recently perked up with the beginning of construction of a new hotel tower.

Downtown Grand construction

Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower is coming along nicely.

If you’re checking out the new showroom at Downtown Grand, we recommend making it dinner and a show by stopping in either at Pizza Rock or Triple George, a few steps away.

Update (6/20/19): Our scoop has been officially confirmed, of course. Learn more at the official site.

Your Perfunctory Raiders Stadium Construction Update

Apparently, Las Vegas is getting another professional sports team, the Raiders.

As NFL teams need a place to engage in their copious concussions, Las Vegas agreed to help build the Raiders a sportsball theater experience.

We are not a sports person, so we don’t tend to blog about sports too much, but Raiders stadium is hard to ignore, so here’s an update!

Raiders

All due respect, Oakland, you can’t touch this.

As Las Vegas can get warmish (think a “kiln” you can’t turn off except for two weeks in early January), the Las Vegas Raiders stadium will have a translucent roof. Retractable roofs are so 2012.

The roof will be made from ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a fluorine-based polymer. And, yes, we knew that off the top of our head.

Raiders stadium will have 52 truss columns, each weighing about 65 tons, or about what your brother-in-law weighs after a visit to a Las Vegas buffet. Give or take a ton.

Raiders Stadium truss

These things weigh a lot, truss us on this one.

That roof will be 200 feet up and supported by trusses, which are being installed right now.

Raiders stadium update

T-Mobile’s slipping lifts into its shoes right about now.

It’s expected the stadium will be completed in August 2020.

Here’s a video that shows what’s gone into building this massive structure. Bonus: It’s narrated by Mike Rowe, the guy from “Deadliest Catch.”

The stadium will have 65,000 seats.

It’s been reported the Las Vegas Raiders stadium project will cost $1.8 billion. Although, that’s pocket change in NFL dollars.

Raiders Stadium

Still the worst education system in the country, but damn we’re good at making buildings for sports.

While we may not be the biggest football fan, there’s no denying the Raiders stadium is a big deal for Las Vegas, so we’ll keep an eye on this project, even perfunctorally, which we’re pretty sure wasn’t a word until this sentence.