Category Archives: Las Vegas

Donny and Marie Osmond End 11-Year Las Vegas Residency

Donny and Marie Osmond ended their Las Vegas residency at Flamingo on Nov. 16, 2019 after an impressive, and unexpected, 11-year run.

When the siblings began their residency in Sep. 2008, nobody really thought it would last long. Donny and Marie have defied expectations, and then some, performing 1,730 shows during their time at Flamingo.

Donny & Marie

According to Donny, the pair’s original contract with Flamingo was for a six-week run.

Donny and Marie Osmond are moving on to new projects, solo, as they’d prefer. Long story.

Marie Osmond recently snagged a co-hosting gig on “The Talk,” whatever that might be.

Donny Osmond is expected to release his 62nd studio album soon.

Their stint at Flamingo has been exceptionally profitable for both the pair and the Flamingo (owned by Caesars Entertainment).

During a nasty lawsuit with their producer, it was learned Donny and Marie Osmond are each paid a base salary of $1.6 million a year, plus 40% of the box office gross.

Donny & Marie wrap

It’s a wrap. Get ready to see this one replaced with a big-ass RuPaul.

The next show lined up for the Osmonds’ former showroom is “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” Which is, for the record, just about the most opposite thing of the “Donny & Marie Show” as is humanly possible.

New Sportsbook at The D Las Vegas Means Five Shows Are Done

Sports are a big deal, and a big draw, at The D. So, it’s not all that surprising to hear the downtown casino will turn its showroom into a proper sportsbook.

The closure of The D’s second floor showroom means its five resident shows will be out as of Jan. 5, 2020.

The D showroom

The curtain’s falling on The D’s showroom. Oh, like you didn’t see that coming.

The five shows closing at The D are: “Marriage Can Be Murder” (dinner show, never saw it), “Laughternoon” (entertaining, family-friendly show featuring Adam London), “Friends, The Musical Parody” (valiant effort, but forgettable), Jokesters Comedy Club (missed this one, too) and “Defending the Caveman” (the only show we’ve ever seen that was so bad, we walked out, then saw it another night with a different actor, just so we could walk out again).

“Marriage Can Be Murder” recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, with more than 6,000 performances under its belt. The dinner show originally opened at the Showboat Hotel & Casino.

The announcement of a new sportsbook at The D comes on the heels of a recent retooling of The D’s diminutive sportsbook not too far from the showroom. The unveil of that sportsbook happened in conjunction with a renovation of our home away from home, Vue Bar.

Vue Bar

Please don’t disturb us at Vue Bar. We already have carpal tunnel from all the autographs.

The showroom at The D never seemed an especially good fit for the casino. Downtown is much more about drinking and gambling than it is about theatrical productions.

Aside from the current crop, the only other show we can remember seeing in The D’s showroom was “Ja-Makin-Me-Laugh,” a show so awful it made “Defending the Caveman” look like “The Book of Mormon.”

Oh, and “Aussie Hunks” may have been there for a minute. Otherwise, we have no explanation for having taken this photo in 2015.

Aussie Hunks Las Vegas

Not to be mistaken for “Thunder From Down Under” or “Aussie Heat,” probably.

The new sportsbook at The D follows the recent launch of Circa Sports, a sports betting venture from brothers Derek and Greg Stevens.

The Stevens own The D, Golden Gate and the under-construction Circa Las Vegas resort. Circa is expected to open in Dec. 2020. (Note: We work in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience as our day job. The D is a partner casino.)

We trust a couple of the shows displaced by the closure of The D’s showroom will find new homes. Hopefully, not all of them. Because life’s too short for entire shows centered around losing TV remotes and leaving the toilet seat up. All due respect to toilet seats.

Kaos Dayclub and Nightclub Closes at Palms

In the biggest Las Vegas implosion since the Riviera, Kaos dayclub and nightclub at Palms has closed.

Palms officials announced the closure following months of drama surrounding the venue that’s been bleeding cash since it opened in March 2019.

Here’s the official statement.

Kaos closed

“Taking time to reassess.” Otherwise known as “the last words you hear before somebody breaks your heart.”

Kaos was part of a $679 million renovation of Palms, an investment we personally consider to have been “a smidge on the batshit crazy side.”

The reasons for the failure of Kaos are many, but ultimately it was simply a matter of math.

The venue paid ungodly amounts of money for talent, and even on its busiest nights, Kaos failed to make a profit.

Marshmello, for example, snagged a deal for $60 million. Cardi B was paid $300,000 for each of her 15-minute performances. Simply unsustainable.

Kaos closed

Fun fact: We broke the news Kaos would be named Kaos. Which doesn’t seem all that much fun now for some reason.

Frank Fertitta, CEO of Red Rock Resorts, the company that owns Palms, said nightclub customers “did not have spendable money, we didn’t see the crossover into the casino.” Read more.

We are not an economist, but we’re fairly sure businesses prefer, and often require, the spendable kind of money.

Red Rock Resorts is writing off $28.2 million in losses from Kaos, with more on the way. Over the next six months, it’s expected they’ll have to write off another $16 million to $22 million.

The Kaos debacle has resulted in the ousting of a number of high profile executives. Recent departures include Jon Gray, G.M. of Palms, and Las Vegas nightlife heavy hitters Ryan M. Craig and Ronn Nicolli.

One twist to this story, generally not mentioned in coverage of the Kaos closure, was that time Tao Group bailed on a partnership to manage the nightlife at Palms in late 2018. It was a big red flag at the time, and entirely possible Tao Group saw the writing on the wall.

Had you been following us on Twitter, you would know all this because we’ve been chronicling the whole Kaos debacle in excruciating detail for months. We’ll wait while you follow.

Waiting.

Kaos Tweets

We like to think of Twitter as our quicker, snarkier “blog.”

What’s next for Kaos? As mentioned in the official statement above which you didn’t read completely because it was boring, the venue will be used for private meeting space and special events, “in addition to everyday resort pool operations.”

Most costly collective cringe, ever.

What does the Kaos saga mean for nightlife in Las Vegas? Nobody knows!

What other heads might roll at Palms? Nobody knows!

Is this the end of the bad news out of Palms? Nobody knows!

Are we just asking questions because we can’t think of a clever way to end this blog post? Absolutely!

We’ll close by saying we hope the folks working at Kaos find gainful employment elsewhere quickly, and we continue to root for Red Rock Resorts to win its gamble on Palms despite it being a longshot.

11 Reasons You Need to Visit The Strat Again

There’s a lot more to love about The Strat since the last time you visited.

Golden Entertainment bought Stratosphere back in 2017, and a $140 million renovation and rebrand ensued. Now, Stratosphere is The Strat, which totally spoils the surprise of item number one on our list. Oh, well.

Please enjoy our hastily slapped-together list of wildly compelling reasons you need to go back to The Strat.

1. Stratosphere is The Strat

Stratosphere became The Strat in Feb. 2019. Lots of folks already called it The Strat, but the rebrand made it official. Golden Entertainment saved a ton of money by giving Stratosphere a streamlined name rather than having to start from scratch with an entirely new one.

Strat casino sign

The Strat’s official new name is The Strat Hotel, Casino and SkyPod. The “SkyPod” is just the tip. And, yes, some photo captions write themselves.

2. Sexy New Chips

Along with the resort’s new name came a roll-out of some fancy new casino chips. We love them, and yes, we understanding loving a casino chip is a little weird, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Worth noting: Your previously-issued Stratosphere chips expire on Dec. 9, 2019, so cash ’em if you got ’em.

Strat chips

We can only afford to collect the $1 chips. We are not an Adelson.

3. Sparkly Table Games Area

Golden put its money where its casino is with the unveil of a new casino table games area. We hit the new table games area on the day it opened, being the first person to roll the dice on a beautiful new craps table. Over the next 24 minutes, we personally contributed financially to the renovation of The Strat. Note: We’ve since made it back, and much more, on video poker.

Strat casino

Light blue is associated with health, tranquility, understanding and doubling down on blackjacks, or at least those first few things.

And adjoining section of the casino has a different look. We try not to play favorites.

Strat casino

The Strat has its groove back.

4. Enlightened Selfie Policy

While The Strat has a lot of great changes happening, this is one of our most beloved: You can take photos in the casino. Shocker, right? The Strat is one of the few casinos in town that has an actual clue when it comes to allowing guests to take selfies at the tables. It says so right on the felt, and it’s a huge step in Las Vegas casinos moving away from outdated policies that only serve to annoy customers. Bravo, bigtime, Strat.

Strat selfie

Common courtesy still applies, of course. No photos of guys with their mistresses.

5. Blvd. & Main Taphouse

We’ve been working our way through the menu at Strat’s new Blvd. & Main Taphouse restaurant and we’ve yet to have anything that wasn’t great. We look forward to tapping that again soon.

Strat Blvd. & Main

The fish and chips are consistently fleek. Stop rolling your eyes, we’re using “fleek” ironically.

6. View Lounge

We’re not entirely sure how the new View Lounge became one of our favorite places to play in all of Las Vegas, but it has. This casino bar and lounge not only looks great, but the machines feel loose, the bartenders are top notch (and visually appealing) and you can get anything on the Blvd. & Main menu at the bar. There’s honestly no reason to leave View Lounge, ever.

View Lounge Strat

Your video poker and hooch needs are handled: It’s View on The Strip (at The Strat) and Vue downtown (at The D).

7. Remix

As if one great casino bar and lounge weren’t enough, The Strat built two. Behold Remix.

Remix

You can never have too many casino bars. Or just bars, come to think of it.

Remix made its debut very recently and, again, the video poker machines feel generous and the drinks are far better than they have to be. The signature cocktails are well worth exploring, including this gorgeous purple thing called the Jumping Empress.

Remix

The sacrifices we make to bring you all the latest cocktail news.

8. Top of the World Revamp

The Top of the World restaurant at Strat has long been on the short list of must-do restaurants in Las Vegas. The restaurant recently got an overhaul, including an entirely new menu. Combined with the stunning views, and Messermeister steak knives (whatever those might be), Top of the World isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience, and it’s not to be missed.

Top of the World

Our photography is so good, we should start a blog of some sort.

9. “Celestia”

Simply put, “Celestia” is a Cirque-style show without the Cirque-style price (tickets start at a ridiculously low $29). This show, in a 30,000-square-foot tent, features dozens of acrobats and variety performers and bendy people. It also has the “Wheel of Death,” which is worth the price of admission on its own. The show has mercifully little clown, is unburdened by a plot and is a great night out for the whole family. Here’s the official Web site.

 

10. Free Parking

No, free parking isn’t new at The Strat, but it’s worth mentioning because, well, free parking.

Strat free parking

The Strat’s doing a lot right, and it starts and ends with free parking.

11. Make Sahara Mad

This reason to visit The Strat isn’t something new, it’s just something fun. See, Sahara has started positioning itself as one end of The Strip. They’re even using a new tagline, “The Strip starts here.” Hooey. The Strip isn’t based upon legal boundaries, it’s based upon what structures are depicted on keychains. The Strat is part of The Strip. So, when you visit The Strat, you’re sending a clear message to Sahara (formerly SLS) to get over itself. We love that.

Strat Las Vegas

Sorry, Sahara, The Strip begins (or ends) right here.

While our list covers our favorite new things, there are actually quite a few more.

The resort unveiled its “Elevate” room, a complete remodel of 311 rooms with new decor, furniture and amenities.

Strat also recently opened Strat Cafe & Wok, its 24-hour restaurant which replaced Roxy’s Diner.

Strat Cafe Wok

Roxy’s had singing. ‘Nuff said.

The Strat also has a shiny new sports book, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Also new is The Strat’s Link Lounge, named for Aristocrat’s “Link” game series, which will make fans of Lighting Link, Dragon Link and Liberty Link very happy.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention 108 Eats and 108 Drinks, two new venues on the hotel’s 108th floor. These spots are courtesy of chef James Trees, our culinary hero because of his Esther’s Kitchen downtown and Ada’s in Summerlin.

Oh, and we can’t forget the Strat’s sweet new carpeting. We probably should’ve done a top 20 list, but we are often both drunk, lazy or both.

Strat carpet

One for the casino carpet fetishists, and they are legion.

The bottom line: It’s time to visit The Strat again. Let us know what you think of all the upgrades and we’ll see you at The Strat.

MGM Resorts Sells Bellagio to Blackstone Group

MGM Resorts has sold the iconic Bellagio resort in Las Vegas to Blackstone Group (technically, Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust) for $4.2 billion.

The Bellagio sale is what’s called a “lease-back” deal.

While Blackstone owns Bellagio, MGM Resorts will continue to manage it and will pay Blackstone $245 million a year in what amounts to “rent.” MGM Resorts will get a 5% ownership stake in Bellagio as well.

Bellagio art

For $4.2 billion, you also get some sweet artwork.

The sale of Bellagio is believed to be the biggest sale in Las Vegas history.

There are a couple of questions most people seem to ask about the sale of Bellagio.

First question, why did MGM Resorts sell Bellagio?

Answer: It’s a lot of money. The sale will allow MGM Resorts to pay down some of its massive debt.

Second question, how will the sale affect the typical guest?

Answer: Not at all, really.

MGM Resorts announced the sale of Bellagio at around the same time it announced the sale of Circus Circus for $825 million to TI owner Phil Ruffin.

Circus Circus Lucky clown

MGM Resorts has sold off its pride and joy as well as its red-headed stepchild.

The sales of Bellagio and Circus Circus are expected to close by the end of 2019.

That’s a lot of change in Las Vegas casinoland in a relatively short period of time, but even more Las Vegas resorts are expected to change hands in the near future.

It’s been reported MGM Grand is also likely to sell (another leaseback), and MGM Resorts has also said it’s considering selling Aria and Vdara.

Strap in, there’s more to come.

Tacos El Gordo Original Strip Location Closes, But Don’t Freak Out

The original Strip location of Tacos El Gordo, a restaurant with a cult-like following, has closed. But don’t freak out.

Luckily, there’s another Tacos El Gordo a mere 300 feet away.

Here’s a look at the closed location fans know and love.

Tacos El Gordo

Following your crushing disappointment, walk 12 seconds to the other Tacos El Gordo. It’s good to work up an appetite.

This isn’t the first time this location of Tacos El Gordo has closed. It closed in Nov. 2014 and returned a year later.

Tacos El Gordo has long battled with the management of the strip mall where it’s wrangled some serious drunchies for years.

Recently, Tacos El Gordo has operated two Strip locations simultaneously, a testament to the popularity of the brand.

Now, the newer of the two locations has prevailed.

Tacos El Gordo

“Tacos El Gordo” is Spanish for “The Gordo Tacos.” We are a blog, not a universal translator.

Here’s more about the gloriousness that is Tacos El Gordo. Find the menu, as well as information about other locations, on the official Web site.

What makes the place special? Well, for one thing, we love it and we are not even really a taco person.

The address you seek is 3041 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas. If you’ve never tried Tacos El Gordo before, you’re welcome.