Category Archives: Las Vegas

Peyote Restaurant to Debut Downtown

The restaurant and bar visionary responsible for some of the coolest spots in Las Vegas, Ryan Doherty, has another project in the works: Peyote at Fergusons Downtown Motel on Fremont Street.

Doherty’s newest restaurant and bar concept debuts in Sep. 2021.

Peyote Las Vegas restaurant

Peyote, of course, is a cactus plant with hallucinogenic properties made famous in the Oscar-worthy film, “Young Guns.”

Ryan Doherty is the creative powerhouse behind Commonwealth, Park on Fremont, Discopussy, Lucky Day (all part of the Fremont East district), as well as Oddwood lounge and Museum Fiasco at Area 15.

Fergusons Downtown Motel is in a funky spot downtown, sitting in a sort of a seedy no-man’s land that used to be far seedier. It’s near Bunkhouse Saloon and PublicUs, two places you also
probably haven’t been. Fergusons is about 2,206 feet from Neonopolis and Hennesey’s.

However, Fergusons is well worth a spot because it’s home to Big Rig Jig, easily one of the best pieces of art in Las Vegas.

Big Rig Jig downtown Vegas

Anybody know a good chiropractor?

But we are straying from the point of this story. Thanks a lot, Captain Morgan.

The point is Peyote opens soon, and it is partnering with “a collection of local culinary, cocktail and design architects,” per the news release.

They include Kim Owens and chef Justin Kingsley Hall, the folks behind Main St. Provisions in the Arts District; Jolene Mannina, founder of Secret Burger and Vegas Test Kitchen; and Max Solano, formerly head of whisky education for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits who will act as the restaurant’s cocktail program consultant.

They were going to name the restaurant after Peyote’s scientific name, Lophophora williamsii, but neon ain’t cheap.

We’re especially looking forward to the decor as it’s being done by the artist behind must-see Discopussy and Lucky Day, Keegan Arthur Olton (the most artisty name in the history of art).

Peyote’s patio will have a custom 3D-mapped LED bistro light canvas. According to the release, “more than 1,500 individually addressable lights include full color RGB pixels to work together, creating a glimmering mirage from above that responds to music controlled by custom lighting control software.”

Trust us on this one, it’s going to be badass, they just can’t use the word “badass” in a news release.

Peyote downtown

You are welcome to chill here, but not the way the kids mean it, because even downtown has public indecency laws.

Peyote has already firmed up its menu.

We’re going to rattle off some of the words in the news release as if we understand them.

“Peyote’s upscale dinner menu will offer a decadent arrangement of appetizers, such as an heirloom tomato summer squash tart; mini shrimp toast topped with wild smoked salmon roe; American country ham on toast served with tangy pickled mustard seed, carrot aioli and wild arugula topped with red eye gravy; and more.”

We’re sort of hungry, you?

“Savory main dishes include Carolina Gold rice risotto with grilled corn, sunflower seeds, leeks and almond milk; heritage pig sandwich with grilled pork belly, grass-fed butter, radish, plum mustard, rouge creamery cheese and red pepper pickles; Santa Maria vintage tri-tip grilled on oak served with grilled baby gem, corn salad, pickles, chili preserved radish, butter ball potatoes and fry bread designed to feed three to six guests and more.”

Who doesn’t love a “heritage pig sandwich”? Other than pigs, obviously.

There was more, but we are getting carpal tunnel, so we’ll skip to the hours of operation.

Peyote will be open from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays; noon to 2:00 a.m. Fridays through Sundays.

Ryan Doherty and his team keep knocking it out of the park, so we can’t wait to try his new place when it opens. Props to Doherty for his ongoing faith and investment in downtown Las Vegas.

Rumor: Adele Residency Coming to Resorts World

We shared Celine Dion was doing at residency at Resorts World a full year before it was officially announced, now we’ve got another juicy rumor: Adele is slated for a Resorts World residency, too.

Adele has been circling a Las Vegas residency for some time, having been spotted checking out Park MGM at one point. But we hear Resorts World finally won the prize of working with this award-winning songstress. We understand her residency could start as soon as January 2022.

Adele was once in talks with Wynn resort for a residency, and would presumably have made $500,000 a show. We expect Resorts World has struck an even more lucrative deal.

Adele Resorts World

Adele has sold more than 120 million albums, a feat made all the more impressive given the fact we didn’t realize albums were still a thing.

The Adele residency at Resorts World, the newest casino megaresort on the Las Vegas Strip, has yet to be confirmed or announced.

Back when Resorts World opened, we noted a conspicuous space on a wall promoting the resort’s line-up of headliners.

Now, we know who will join Celine, Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.

Adele Resorts World

There were so many (Photoshopped) clues!

We trust everyone but us knew Adele’s full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins.

It appears Adele has overcome her concerns a Las Vegas residency will affect her voice. She was probably comforted by the fact Celine will share the venue, and Celine’s exacting requirements at the Colossuem included an “atmospheric bubble” that kept the humidity at a consistent 55 percent.

Details of the Adele residency at Resorts World aren’t available yet, but we’re pretty sure she’s going to be belting out all her biggest hits, including “Hello,” “Rolling in the Deep,” “Skyfall” and “Someone Like You.”

Resorts World is swinging for the fences with its residencies, despite the fact the Resorts World theater isn’t finished yet.

Here’s a photo taken inside the 5,000-seat Resorts World Theatre on July 1, 2021.

Resorts World Theatre

Unauthorized photos are some of our favorites.

Adele is sure to be one of the hottest tickets in town, so we wait with bated breath for confirmation of this scoop.

We don’t entirely know what makes our breath “bated,” but we’re pretty sure it could be fixed with a humidity bubble.

Hell-Ton of Table Games Replaced With Machines at Caesars Entertainment Casinos

Caesars Entertainment is in the process of removing entire swaths of table games at its Las Vegas casinos.

The table games are being replaced with electronic table games and slot machines.

At Flamingo, for example, a large table games pit outside Charlos’n Charlie’s is now populated by slots.

Flamingo casino

Simply put, slots don’t need breaks or vacation or health benefits.

The move from table games to machines has flown largely under the radar, but that’s why there’s an us.

We visited several Caesars Entertainment casinos on The Strip and the changes are dramatic.

At each of the casinos we visited, large portions of the casino floor have either already been transformed, or changes are currently being made.

Here’s what’s up at Harrah’s.

Harrah's changes

Harrah’s is currently home to fewer table games and Toby Keiths.

This process is a cost-cutting measure, as machines are much less labor-intensive than table games. While the transition from live table games to electronic slot machines was underway prior to the pandemic, it’s now happening in a concerted way across all Caesars Entertainment casinos.

The accelerated move from table games to machines follows on the heels of the acquisition of Caesars Entertainment by Eldorado Resorts.

Eldorado leaders have made it clear they’re looking to save millions with “synergies.” Reducing table games dealer ranks is one of them.

Loyalty club desks are out, kiosks are in.

Those “synergies” also include closing VIP Laurel Lounges, closing most of the buffets at Caesars resorts and closing a number of entertainment venues.

Cuts have even extended to the liquor realm. Caesars recently reduced its standard liquor pour size from 1.25 ouces to .75 ounces at a number of venues. That one hurt.

At Cromwell, a popular table games area is closed, with machines being moved in.

It doesn’t take a detective to see where changes are happening. Black curtains are the new big, red arrows.

Oh, like we’re just going to show a photo of curtains. Do you know this blog at all?

Cromwell table games

Here’s a peek behind the curtain at Cromwel. Those are slot machine base thingies.

Caesars Entertainment has been up front about focusing on its core business, gambling.

The CEO of Caesars, Tom Reeg, even said the company isn’t reopening its buffets because it’s not the company’s responsibility to feed guests. His quote was, “God forbid they stop at McDonald’s on the way home.”

A visible symbol of the evolution of Las Vegas casinos is the roll-out (pun intended) of Roll to Win Craps. This new game is a fun twist on classic craps, will an illuminated table and terminals giving players full control of their action.

The awkward side of this new game is it only requires one dealer, as opposed to three on the traditional game (four if you include the boxman).

Across town, Roll to Win Craps tables are packed, presumbly because players like the visuals, but actually it’s because table minimums are lower. These new machines aren’t bad, they’re just, well, different.

Roll to Win Craps tables (at left) are now at all Caesars casinos in Las Vegas, right next to old-timey tables (at right).

The use of “stadium style” slot machines has exploded in recent years. These games make it possible for dozens of players to take part, with either one dealer or, if the casino chooses, no
dealers.

Saving money on labor is the name of the game in Las Vegas, and this has been the case for several years now.

The replacement of so many table games with machines, all at once, is a very visible sign of the direction of Las Vegas casinos.

Machines are definitely making moves in Las Vegas casinos.

Electronic games not only save casinos money on labor costs, they are also touted as being more appealing to a younger casino customer. Gambling revenue has declined in recent years, and younger players are a coveted demographic, mostly unfazed by “skill-based” games floated so far.

On the bright side, there are still a lot of tables games available.

At each of the Caesars Entertainment casinos we visited, there were still a huge selection of tables. Essentially, casinos aren’t entirely replacing tables, they’ve just determined there are too many, so send in the robots.

Here’s a quick walk-through of the table games area at Flamingo.

Fair warning: Guests who haven’t visited recently may have some sticker shock at the table minimums, but that’s a reflection of demand, and demand is very strong at the moment.

As there’s unlikely to be a new wave of demand for table games, expect this to be the new normal in Las Vegas casinos.

While we love electronic table games and slots, removing table games can change the vibe of a casino.

Ultimately, the sales pitch continues to be, “There’s something for everyone, and that includes budget.” Table games require bigger bankrolls, so lower cost options are welcomed by value-seeking players.

We’d ask Caesars Entertainment what percentage of its offerings have gone from live to mechanical, but asking Caesars anything is like whistling in a wind tunnel while jamming sporks in your eyes. Yes, sporks.

Cromwell, formerly home to 100x craps odds and low limit single zero roulette. Now, not so much.

You know we’ll report further on this trend as the evolution of Las Vegas casinos continues.

Investors don’t hate Caesars Entertainment’s direction. The stock is up 167% over the past year and 524% over the past five years.

The big picture concern is the Las Vegas experience isn’t all that different from other casino experiences across the country. It’s called “commoditization.” Increased competition, due to the legalization of gambling across the U.S., was a problem prior to the pandemic, and it will be again once the recovery bump subsides.

Remove table games and casinos run the risk of making Las Vegas casinos more like the local places in everyone’s hometown.

There’s a chance Las Vegas is stepping over a dollar to pick up quarters. We’d have said “dimes,” but Vegas doesn’t do dimes. Long story.

Udpate (7/27/21): John Mehaffey, casino enthusiast and owner of VegasAdvantage.com, saw our story and compiled a list of table reductions at Caesars Entertainment casinos. The biggest reductions were at Cromwell (41%), Harrah’s (32%) and Paris (22%). Overall, the number of table games has been reduced by 17% since late 2020.

Resorts World’s Stardust Sign is Absolutely Glorious

The surprises just keep on coming at Resorts World, the newest casino megaresort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Resorts World, which opened June 24, 2021, recently installed a sign that’s an homage to the classic Stardust casino.

Stardust sign Resorts World

This is like an erotic massage for the eyes.

The Stardust sign replica has special significance at Resorts World, because the new hotel was built on the former Stardust site.

Considered one of the worst days in history of Las Vegas, The Stardust closed on Nov. 1, 2006. Stardust was imploded on March 13, 2007, to make way for Echelon Place, a project abandoned in 2008 due to the Turkish lira plunging in value or whatever. We are a Las Vegas blog, not a historian.

Stardust lives on, however, both in our heart and at Resorts World!

As with most things in Las Vegas, the sign is even better when it’s lit. Take a look.

We sort of went into Googie star shock, actually.

Googie stars are, of course, stars designed in the Googie style of art. The futurist art, inspired by the Space Age, was used extensively from the 1950s to the 1970s, and made its mark in Las Vegas.

Shout-out to Steelers fans. This isn’t a sports reference, it’s a Googie reference.

The iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign was influenced by the Googie architectural style, as was the La Concha motel lobby (now the visitors center for the Neon Museum).

The original Stardust sign, though, was the most Googie thing, ever, and we fell in love with it during our first visit to Las Vegas.

The new Stardust sign replica at Resorts World does a solid job of rekindling that love.

Don’t be one of those people who points out they spelled it “fampus.” Those people are annoying.

The original Stardust sign cost $500,000 and was designed by Paul Miller of Ad-Art. The roadside wonder was installed in 1968.

The six figures-plus Stardust sign was made for Resorts World by a company called Kevin Barry Art Advisory. The L.A.-based company “is a collaborative team of advisors and artists that curate, create, and implement visual storytelling for global clients.”

And the story of the Stardust is a great story to tell.

Among its star turns, Stardust was featured in the movie “Casino,” although in the film it was called The Tangiers.

Stardust was also the setting of a spectacularly bizarre TV series, “The Frank Rosenthal Show,” hosted by mobster “Lefty” Rosenthal. Check out some weird facts about a colorful dude.

The Stardust was mobbed up until the Boyd family bought it in 1985.

But back to the Stardust sign!

Stardust’s official advertising slogan in 1983 was, “Yeah, we’re skimming, what you gonna do about it?”

The Stardust sign at Resorts World has 1,500 LED lights and boasts more than a mile of wiring.

“LED” is Latin for “less sexy than neon, but it’ll do in a pinch.”

At 2,800 pounds, the sign was a bear to transport and had to be disassembled for installation.

The sign is located near the Las Vegas Blvd. entrance to the resort and sits near Red Tail sports lounge and Fuhu restaurant, or Venue Fuhu as they call it at Resorts World. It’s an area the resort has dubbed The District.

Stardust sign Resorts World

When it opened, Stardust was the world’s biggest hotel. When Resorts World opened, it was the most expensive in the history of Las Vegas.

The sign is surrounded by stanchions at the moment, but it sounds like Resorts World is having the pedestal revamped to decrease the chances of boneheads climbing on or otherwise mucking with this beautiful artwork.

There’s a lot of great art throughout Resorts World, but the Stardust sign is a highlight.

It’s a wonderful hat tip to Las Vegas history, and a reminder our modern casinos stand on the shoulders of giants.

If you’re a true Stardust fan, you’ll also want to check out another piece of Stardust-inspired art near the Starbucks.

Nobody really noticed the juxtaposition between Vegas now and Vegas then, but that’s why there’s a us.

The Stardust sign at Resorts World is open to the public and free to view.

Of course, you can see pieces of the original Stardust sign at downtown’s Neon Museum.

Stardust

If you ever see us in an eye patch, it’s because we tried to cuddle with this sign. In 1991, this epic font was replaced with (wait for it) Helvetica.

If that’s still not enough to satisfy your Stardust itch, you can literally touch history by playing slot machines from the Stardust at the Orleans casino. Orleans is owned by the aforementioned Boyd Gaming. The company also has a social casino app that uses Stardust branding.

Another fun fact: Resorts World saved about 100 trees from the Stardust. No, really. They’re planted all around Resorts World, and some are said to be a century old.

Stardust lives on! Big thanks to Resorts World for the eye candy, the photo op and the memories.

Sands Expo To Be Renamed The Venetian Expo

The popular Sands Expo & Convention Center is getting a new name. It will now be called The Venetian Expo.

The rebrand follows the sale of Venetian, Palazzo and the convention center to Apollo Global and Vici Properties.

The name change to The Venetian Expo happens Sep. 2, 2021.

Sands Expo Las Vegas

Sands Expo got a fancy new sign in 2013. We’d say “dibs,” but we’d need a bigger house.

Conventions rank as the second most boring thing about Las Vegas. First is a tie between timeshare sales presentations and our sex tapes.

While conventions may be boring, they are being touted as the future of Las Vegas, and lots of hopes have been pinned on a convention rebound and boom.

Convention space is everywhere in Vegas.

The Las Vegas Convention Center just opened its billion-dollar expansion, and Caesars Entertainment has yet to flex its new $375 million Caesars Forum Conference Center.

Against all odds, work has even begun on opening JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd. (previously Fontainebleau) due to its proximity to the convention center.

The Sands Expo & Convention Center has always been a major player in the Las Vegas convention sphere, and now that Sands has pretty much bailed on Las Vegas, a rebrand to The Venetian Expo makes sense.

Fun fact: All the rooms at The Venetian Expo were inspired by games kids play in pools.

In related boring news, The Venetian Congress Center  will be called  The Venetian Convention Center.

The Venetian is expected to host several of the top trade shows in the country this year, including a gathering of the American Urological Association. So, if you’re into that kind of thing,
you’re in luck.

Please keep repeating “you’re in” until you get the joke, thanks.

The Sands Expo consists of 2.25 million-square-feet, which makes it a challenge to find comfortable shoes.

Venetian just launched a new virtual meeting planner thingy on its Web site.

The virtual planner is a lot of fun, even if your only plan is to waste a few hours online. Make sure to click through to all the venues, as the walk-throughs of the spaces are spectacular.

Mott 32

We can’t afford to eat at Mott 32, but we can virtually ogle the hell out of it.

The Sands Expo opened in 1990 behind what was then the Sands Hotel.

The Sands was imploded in 1996, mainly because it was rumored one-time  owner Howard Hughes stored his mason jars full of urine there.

Sorry, “you’re in.”

See, if you wait long enough, it all ties together.

Anyway, Sands Expo will now be called The Venetian Expo. You can start calling it that any time, really. Referring to something that’s been around forever by a new name is tough.

People still refer to Virgin as Hard Rock, The Strat as Stratosphere, The D as Fitzgerald’s, TI as Treasure Island and Resorts World as Stardust.

That last one might just be us, but you get the idea.

Searsucker Won’t Be Back at Caesars Palace

Word from former employees of Searsucker at Caesars Palace is the restaurant has closed permanently.

The restaurant was a partnership with Hakkasan Group and its closure comes in the heels of Hakkasan being acquired by Tao Group in April 2021.

Searsucker Caesars Palace

Among the indications Searsucker’s out is the fact the restaurant pulled the plug on its Instagram account.

Searsucker had a tough go of it during the pandemic, reopening after months of being closed (March 2020 to July 2020), only to close again (on August 15, 2020).

Searsucker, with chef Brian Malarkey at the helm, opened at Caesars Palace on March 27, 2015.

The restaurant was located near the resort’s sportsbook, former poker room and Omnia nightclub.

A memorable dish at Searsucker was the Cowboy Caviar, or deep-fried bull’s testicles with Champagne mustard vinaigrette.

The permanent closure hasn’t been confirmed by Caesars Palace or Hakkasan Group, but if we hear back from them, we’ll pass the response along.

Big thanks to Twitter follower Kerry B. for tipping us off to this news item.

There’s no word on what might replace Searsucker, but there’s a lot going on in the restaurant realm at Caesars Palace, including rumors of the resort getting a Bazaar Meat and Peter Luger Steak House.