Category Archives: Las Vegas

SLS Buyer Alex Meruelo Could Also Acquire Lucky Dragon

You want scoop, you’ve got it. We’re hearing Alex Meruelo, buyer of SLS Las Vegas, is working on a deal to acquire the ailing Lucky Dragon.

A source shares that Meruelo goes before gaming next week related the SLS sale, but is expected to also express his intention to buy the Lucky Dragon.

Lucky Dragon

The potential of SLS and Lucky Dragon being owned by the same company opens up some fascinating possibilities.

Lucky Dragon closed its casino and restaurants in Jan. 2018, and was supposed to go on the auction block on Feb. 6, but the auction was pushed back to Feb. 22, 2018.

That new date could very well have been impacted by discussions between Lucky Dragon, its lenders and Meruelo Group.

In an interesting twist, it was the closure of Lucky Dragon that apparently shook loose the stalled sale of SLS.

SLS Las Vegas

Dibs on this guy. Again.

The sale of SLS has been a tad bumpy, with investor lawsuits flying and the powerful Culinary Union taking jabs at Alex Meruelo because he might oust the union as a cost-saving measure.

In SLS news, a source with direct access to SLS insiders says the rebranded resort is likely to be called Grand Sahara.

It’s believed all the existing SLS restaurants will be out when the new ownership takes over, with an eye toward mirroring amenities of Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

There’s more to come, so stay tuned, a saying we fully acknowledge is now about as relevant as “bee’s knees” and “cat’s pajamas.”

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Longtime Vegas Resident, Performer Marty Allen Dies at 95

As a comedian, Marty Allen saw it all and did it all. Now, he’s yucking it up in the great beyond.

Allen, a longtime Las Vegas resident and frequent performer, has died at 95.

We bumped into Marty Allen often here in Vegas, as he stayed active until very recently. His distinctive eyes and hair made him impossible to miss.

Marty Allen

Marty Allen used a custom cane fashioned from a baseball bat. Here, he attends an event on Fremont Street to honor veterans in Nov. 2015.

To many, Marty Allen was best-known as half of the comedy team of Allen & Rossi.

Which probably sounds like we’re speaking in tongues to millennials, but trust us, he was very popular.

Marty Allen’s career spanned decades, starting in the 1950s.

One of Marty Allen’s claims to fame was he appeared 44 times on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Allen later became a staple on game shows like “Password” and “Hollywood Squares.”

Most importantly, though, Marty Allen performed on the Las Vegas Strip on a regular basis for a good portion of his life. Here’s a look at some of his shtick.

We honestly have no idea why Marty Allen’s passing has struck such a nerve with us. Maybe it’s because he chose Las Vegas as his favorite place to live and work. Maybe it’s because of his mischievous comedic persona.

Maybe it’s because Marty Allen was one of the few remaining performers from an era when comedians took laughter seriously. He worked clean, and his comedy had heart.

As we like to say, Marty Allen drank deeply from the dribble glass of life, and we will not look upon his like again.

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Fontainebleau Will Be The Drew Las Vegas, Strip’s First JW Marriott

The abandoned Fontainebleau project has been given another shot at success, this time with the name The Drew Las Vegas.

Yes, The Drew.

We had the same reaction, but it will presumably have a casino, so we’ll cut them some slack.

Fontainebleau wrap

Fontainebleau will now be named after the past tense of “draw.”

Developers say The Drew will open in 2020, a partnership between real estate firm Witkoff and Marriott International.

Construction was halted on Fontainebleau in 2009 due to the economic downturn, and because Las Vegas occasionally needs failures to make its successes all the more impressive. The building was about 70% complete when work stopped, and Fontainebleau has been a running gag ever since.


No, really, this is the last time we’ll share this.

As we were the first to report, Fontainebleau was sold in August 2017 for $600 million to Witkoff and another real estate firm, New Valley.

The resort is located across from Circus Circus, next to the former Riviera casino, currently a parking lot.

Riviera demolition

Yep, that former Riviera. The Drew Las Vegas will be at left.

On a somber note, The Drew Las Vegas appears to be named after Andrew Witkoff, the son of real estate mogul Steven Witkoff. Andrew “Drew” Witkoff died of an OxyContin overdose in 2011. Read more. Bit of a buzzkill there, not going to lie.

Moving on.

The Drew Las Vegas will have 4,000 rooms and 500,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.

Plans for The Drew also include entertainment, nightlife, retail and dining venues, including an aspirational 20 restaurant options.

The Drew will mark the debut of Marriott’s high-end “Edition” brand in Las Vegas, whatever that might be.

Marriott’s massive customer database, estimated at about 100 million members, is likely to be key to the resort’s success.

Fontainebleau wrap

The Drew will be the tallest building in Las Vegas, excluding the Stratosphere.

Also involved in The Drew project will be John Unwin, who previously helped open the Cosmopolitan. Interestingly, Cosmopolitan is currently part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. We also don’t know what that means.

The Drew Las Vegas joins a number of major projects happening on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, including Resorts World, All Net Resort and Arena, Wynn Paradise Park, the Sphere from Las Vegas Sands Corp., an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center and others.

We’re excited to see The Drew Las Vegas become a thing! Having a powerhouse like Marriott onboard certainly doesn’t hurt its chances.

Uninspired names we can get used to, hulking eyesores, not so much.

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Guy Creates Las Vegas Race for Friends and It’s Amazing

Everyone needs a friend like Gabe Sinna.

Sinna recently celebrated a birthday, and decided to invite some friends to join him in Las Vegas for the festivities.

Lots of people have done that. But Gabe Sinna isn’t everybody.

After months of planning, Sinna created an ingenious game for his friends to play, inspired by the hit travel competition on CBS, “The Amazing Race.” And his game has raised the bar for Las Vegas scavenger hunts forever.

Amazing Gabe

Trust us, the word “amazing” isn’t used lightly here.

See, just about everyone has a friend who’s a planner. But Gabe Sinna is more than that. He’s a savant. He’s a genius. He’s a freak.

And we’re not just saying that because Sinna dove deeply into the recesses of this very Las Vegas blog for nuggets to inform his “Amazing Gabe” race.

Amazing Gabe

Gabe and the better half of the teams competing in the “Amazing Gabe” race.

While Sinna orchestrated an entire Las Vegas trip for his friends, we tagged along on the part that featured downtown. Not only do we work downtown (in marketing at Fremont Street Experience), the area is home to some of our favorite places in Las Vegas.

Sinna did extensive research about downtown before creating his race, then built his “race” using elements of “The Amazing Race,” including “Detours” and “Roadblocks.” He even used artwork inspired by the show. Told you he’s a freak.

Amazing Gabe

This is the photo caption where we don’t mention how much free time Gabe clearly has.

At the beginning of each leg of the race, Sinna distributed clues (“Route Info.”) and his friends, all couples, got to explore downtown in a fun, unique way.

It should be noted Sinna’s friends are also sort of freaks, as they made matching T-shirts with Sinna’s face on them for each team.

Amazing Gabe

Gabe’s friends weren’t messing around. It’s a little thing called “bragging rights.”

The “Amazing Gabe” race included a carefully-curated list of things to do downtown:

  • Take a photo with the gold nugget replica at Golden Nugget
  • Get a pic with a million bucks at Binion’s
  • Try a scorpion shot at Nacho Daddy
  • Visit Banger Brewing
  • Ride the SlotZilla zipline
  • Visit Golden Gate
  • Rub Buddha’s belly at The Cal
  • See the Berlin Wall at Main Street Station
  • Ride the Downtown Loop to the Gold & Silver Pawn shop
  • Take in the Neon Museum
  • Grab a dog at American Coney Island at The D

The downtown race culminated at Pizza Rock, of course. Did we not mention Sinna reads this blog?

Gabe Sinna’s friends are apparently fellow Las Vegas aficionados, because they navigated his clues with relative ease. (It was determined later the Internet may have made some of the clues too easy to solve. Thanks a lot, blogs!)

Amazing Gabe

Everyone got to express their feelings about Communism at the Berlin Wall display inside the restroom at Main Street Station.

Ultimately, the red team won.

Amazing Gabe Las Vegas

Congrats, Joe and Angie. You’re Internet famous. Not redeemable for cash.

As mentioned, the downtown “race” was just part of the fun. Sinna created a nearly 20-page, spiral-bound booklet for his friends.

The booklet included, among other things, his friend’s favorite drinks.

Amazing Gabe

This is what we meant when we said, “Everyone needs a friend like Gabe.”

There were also agendas for other days of their trip, shuttle schedules, maps of The Strip and downtown and a page for his friends to note which Vegas casinos they’d visited.

One of our favorite parts of his booklet was devoted to a photo hunt. Sinna created an extensive list of Las Vegas-themed photo ideas, including images of:

  • Bachelorette with a sash
  • Slot win of more than $50
  • Any celebrity (yes, a photo with this blog qualified)
  • A doppelganger
  • Guy with a mullet
  • Bike cop
  • Tasteful side boob
  • Pink flamingo
  • Vegas sunset
  • Neon sign
  • Party pit dancer
  • In line at White Castle
  • Any Elvis
  • Showgirl with feathers
  • Guy named Don (I.D. required)
  • David statue at Caesars Palace
  • Pay phone
  • Night club line
  • Kissing at the Bellagio fountains

Now, that’s a Las Vegas photo hunt right there.

Amazing Gabe

What happens in Vegas goes into the Cloud.

Sinna’s booklet also included another scavenger hunt list with items like “business card from a pit boss,” “slot ticket worth .01 (exactly),” “show ticket stub,” “deck of casino cards” and “trifecta of porn cards (brunette, blonde and redhead).”

While we love Las Vegas a lot, we bow before the love Gabe Sinna clearly has for this town. Seriously. His name even has “sin” in it.

Thanks to Gabe for letting us tag along on several legs of the “Amazing Gabe” race! We were truly impressed with his knowledge of Vegas, as well as his organizational ability, as it’s well-known we are personally bereft of the planning gene.

Amazing Gabe

We are not a heights person, but for some, winning prevails over woozy.

If you’ve done anything even remotely as creative as Gabe for a Las Vegas visit, we’d love to hear about it. We won’t hold our breath.

Amazing Gabe

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MSG Sphere Arena Details Revealed and It’s Wonderfully Weird

There’s a new, 18,000-seat entertainment venue in the works near the Las Vegas Strip, the MSG Sphere arena, and it’s pretty weird.

The new venue is a partnership between Madison Square Garden Co. and Las Vegas Sands Corp., the company that owns Venetian and Palazzo.

MSG Sphere Arena

Besides concerts, the MSG Sphere will host Carousel. Oh, just watch “Logan’s Run” again.

The arena project was announced back in May 2016, but is only now picking up steam.

According to a story in USA Today, the MSG Sphere will boast some impressive audio technology developed by a German company, Holoplot. The technology is called “beamforming audio,” which sends sound via witchcraft rather than through speakers.

Here’s another look at Sphere.

MSG Sphere Arena Las Vegas

Get used to your mouth being agape, it’s Las Vegas.

The Sphere’s exterior is a dome with 190,000 feet of LED lighting, which translates into about 36 miles of lights.

Inside the dome, guests will enjoy what amounts to a 360-degree IMAX experience, with about 180,000-square-feet (four acres) of high resolution video across the dome’s roof.

Translation: Holy crap.

MSG Sphere Las Vegas arena

Finally, a Las Vegas venue that can legitimately use the word “immersive.”

One of the best things about the MSG Sphere is its developers promise little to no sports will be hosted in the venue. Although, fights are a possibility. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

The unfortunately-named MSG Sphere arena (some people are intolerant, you know) will be located on Sands Ave., between Manhattan St. and Koval Lane.

You have no idea where that is, so here’s a photo we took. Let’s just say we used a very tall monopod and leave it at that.

Sands music venue

The future home of some awesome.

The MSG Sphere breaks ground in 2018 and the new arena is expected to open in 2020.

We can’t wait.

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Delmonico Steakhouse at Venetian is a Cut Above

Las Vegas has so many great steakhouses, it’s sometimes difficult to choose between them.

Solution: Try them all.

Delmonico Steakhouse

Let’s Delmonico! Which, we admit, up to this point, hasn’t really been a verb.

Delmonico Steakhouse at Venetian is one you’ll need to visit at some point, because it exemplifies many of the things a Las Vegas steakhouse should provide: Outstanding food and world-class service.

Delmonico Steakhouse at Venetian is owned by Emeril Lagasse, one of the few remaining celebrity chefs without a sex scandal.

Delmonico Steakhouse

You don’t need a slick exterior when you have such good cocktails on the interior.

Delmonico opened in May 1999, and while it doesn’t get the buzz of its flashier counterparts, we found the restaurant to be top-notch, with steaks that stand out from much of the competition.

Hint: It’s the rub.

The superb quality of the steaks might also be because they’re dry-aged, in-house. But mostly the rub thing. The steaks are lovingly massaged with Creole seasonings, then get a healthy (so to speak) dab of butter to ensure your meal is memorable.

Delmonico Steakhouse

Get in our belly.

Beyond the exceptional steaks, the service is pure old-school pampering. Expert waiters guide guests through the menu and a wine list with 2,300 selections. And boy are our arms tired.

You know you’re in a fancy joint when they make your Caesar salad tableside.

Delmonico Steakhouse

To get a fresher salad, you’d need to be in a field gnawing on lettuce while it’s still in the ground. If you go that route, please send photos.

You may never go back to ordinary salads.

Delmonico Steakhouse

Yes, we actually ate a salad. Peer pressure.

Don’t forget the sides. They run the gamut from Country Smashed Potatoes (pictured below), steak fries and Duck Fat Fingerling Potatoes to creamed spinach, sauteed garlic mushrooms and Baked Anson Mills Grits, whatever grits might actually be.

Delmonico Steakhouse

We tend to stick with foods we can pronounce.

Delmonico Steakhouse also boasts some delicious signature cocktails. You knew we’d get around to those, eventually.

Our waiter recommended the New Orleans Nectar. We do not remember what was in this cocktail, which leads us to believe it was fantastic.

Delmonico Steakhouse

You might as well just order these by the dozen.

You can check out the lunch, dinner and dessert menus, as well as the specialty cocktail and beer menus, at the official Delmonico Steakhouse site.

The decor at Delmonico Steakhouse is understated by Vegas standards. There are vaulted ceilings and glass French doors, among other flourishes.

Delmonico Steakhouse

It’s not cheap, but you’re worth it. Yes, we’re suddenly a L’Oreal commercial.

Delmonico Steakhouse gets its name from another Emeril Lagasse restaurant in New Orleans, Emeril’s Delmonico.

It’s fancy without being snooty, and tends to be full of businesspersons with company credit cards.

While there’s no dress code, keep it classy. The restaurant’s Web site says, “We recommend business casual attire. However, smart-casual attire is completely acceptable. We ask that gentlemen not wear sleeveless shirts.”

Good luck trying to figure out the difference between “business casual” and “smart-casual.” Translation: Don’t be a schlub, you’ll be good.

Delmonico Steakhouse

We trust those are the vaulted ceilings. We are a blog, not Architectural Digest.

Great food, excellent service and extraordinary company results in a quintessential Las Vegas steakhouse experience at Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian’s restaurant row.

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