Cheap Drinks And Ladies Night In Las Vegas

Between catering to tourist and serving locals (many whom have midweek nights off because of working the busy weekends), Las Vegas clubs go 7 nights a week. And with triple the number of major clubs as just a decade ago, they all try very hard for your attention. Here is a rundown of what some of the clubs offer on various nights of the week (info current at press time and subject to change):

THE DRINK – 200 E. Harmon
Tue. – Ladies Night: no cover and free drinks all night for the ladies
Thur. – The Boogie Knights (popular disco send-up): no cover before 10 and 2 hours of $2 drinks
Fri. – $1000 sexiest woman contest, $2 selected shooters, $3 premiums
Sat. – Bonofide (reggae band)

CLUB UTOPIA – on the Strip between the MGM and Alladin http://www.clubutopia.net/
Wed. – Ladies Night: no cover and free drinks all night for the ladies, Budweiser Bikini Contest
Thur. – Salsa All-Stars plus salsa dance competition
Fri. – Techno-House-Trance

ROCKABILLY’S – 3785 Boulder Hwy. (near Boulder Station) http://www.rockabillys.com
“Home of the All-U-Can Drink Draft Bottomless Mug”
Wed. – 25 cent Coors Light, wear beach attire and receive $1 off of any drink

THE DRINK – 365 Convention Center Drive (across from the convention center) http://www.beachlv.com/
Sun. – Ladies Night: ladies drink free from 10 PM – 12 AM
Mon. – Ladies Night: ladies drink free from 10 PM – 12 AM
Tue. – Cash Frenzy: win cash between 11 PM – 3 AM
Wed. – “Ultimate Ladies Night”: ladies drink free 11 PM – closing, Margarita Ville drink specials
Thur. – Crusin’ the Beach: classic cars, bikes, and music 7-10 PM

Who says that Las Vegas is a man’s world? Looks to me like the ladies get the best of it at the clubs! Las Vegas is a very nighttime oriented town. Although clubs do eventually close when pretty much everyone goes home, there is no real “last call”. Hence, clubs don’t tend to really pick up until around midnight and can still be going quite strong as 4 AM closes in. However, arriving before 11:00 PM is your only guarantee of skipping a long line on popular nights.

This article originally appeared July 14, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

The Great Las Vegas Flood Of 1999

Well, the entire Las Vegas Strip and downtown Fremont Street washed into the Gulf of Mexico. Your favorite slot machine? Gone. That friendly dealer or cute cocktail waitress? Washed away. Or so the national media practically had you believe. For the record, the heavy rains on July 8 lasted from about 11:00 AM to 4:30 PM and did cause problems for tourists. The Forum Shops and one pit area at Caesars had to be closed for 24 hours. The parking garage at Imperial Palace was closed until the rain stopped. The Strip itself had some high water, just high enough to run over the sidewalk and into Steve Wynn’s lake. A few shows were cancelled because suburban traffic snarls prevented people from getting in to work. Certainly an inconvenience for tourists who were unlucky enough to be in town, but they walked away with a story they can tell the grandkids.

The suburbs didn’t quite fare as well. 3 mobile home owners found out that they don’t float very well. 7 homes were destroyed. Somewhere around 100 homes and a couple hundred cars sustained flood damage. 2 people died: one in a weather-related car wreck just as the storm started and the other a homeless man who had been camping in the wash (our version of a creek) when the flash flood apparently washed him away. Because of mud on some streets and the general conditions from heavy rain, the evening commute wasn’t pretty and every Las Vegan out driving during the deluge has a story about how a 30 minute drive took 4 hours. But, just as quickly as it came, it was gone.

By 8:00 PM, people were playing tennis, driving around on errands (despite the occasional detour around a mud-filled road), and getting back to normal. As of this writing, it appears that FEMA probably won’t be offering much if any aid because while spectacular, the damage was not widespread. We feel deeply sorry for people affected by the loss of life and damage to property, but when you consider that this area has well over a million people (gee, you don’t all live on the Strip?), 99% of the population felt no residual effects and July 8, 1999 will just remembered as the day of the “big flood”. If you want to read the local coverage and see pictures, the Las Vegas Sun has photos online: Las Vegas Flood – July 8, 1999

This article originally appeared July 14, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Stratosphere Las Vegas Fireworks July 4’th Las Vegas Fiasco

To those of you who took our advice last Sunday and went to the Stratosphere Las Vegas for the fireworks, we apologize. What a disaster, with a capital D. The Strat teamed with local radio station KOMP and Coors Beer to offer $1 beer all day as well as free admission to the tower. Then starting at 9:00 PM they had live music in the north parking lot until the fireworks at 11:00 PM. While this was the first 4’th of July fireworks on the Strip in recent memory, it was not the first display for the Stratosphere. Between the grand opening, anniversaries, and other occasions, they have done fireworks a number of times.

In the past, the fireworks have shot off from tower in a beautiful 360 degree cascade of fury and color. Not this time. The fireworks were shot off from behind the hotel, and shot so low that you couldn’t see half of them from the parking lot party viewing area! Neither were they visible from anywhere in front of the casino.

As much as we love promoting Las Vegas, do yourself a favor and don’t come here to see the fireworks on the Strip next year if it’s at the Stratosphere. Even if you saw a small-town display, you saw more than we did at the Stratosphere. I have heard great reports about the fireworks in the Summerlin area that were combined with a symphony concert featuring Robert Goulet, and next year we’ll give you as much advance warning as possible if a similar program is scheduled.

You would have had more fun gambling in Las Vegas instead!

This article originally appeared July 7, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas $100 Million Expansion Details

The Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas has completed their expansion, dramatically improving and upgrading the entire resort. They have added 320 new rooms and suites, the Rock Spa, Baby’s nightclub (a subterranean dance club that is a visual assault of purple, yellow, and metallic blue) and four new restaurants. They have also expanded and enhanced our world famous pool and Beach Club with a bar, grill and swim up casino.

Most notable are the addition of four new restaurants, including: NOBU, PINK TACO, AJ’S STEAKHOUSE and THE COUNTER. Along with the Hard Rock Hotel’s two original restaurants, MORTONI’S and MR. LUCKY’S, the hotel finally has the kind of variety offered by other major resorts. Here’s the rundown:

NOBU – Already open in New York and London, the opening of Nobu in Las Vegas represents one of the more interesting additions to Las Vegas’ ever-burgeoning culinary landscape. Nobu presents an unusual brand of Japanese cooking with Latin American influences. (Reader reviews are welcome — as noted, we aren’t much for Japanese cuisine).

PINK TACO – Combining Mexico and East L.A., this contemporary take on Mexican classics also features a Tequila Bar as well as an open-air taqueria adjacent to the exposed kitchen.

AJ’S STEAKHOUSE – Every casino has one. We prefer the Binion’s $3 steak special or Carver’s in Green Valley if you plan to break out the credit card.

This article originally appeared July 7, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Review: Bay Side Buffet at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

Can Mandalay Bay Group (formerly Circus Circus Inc.) do a good buffet? Circus Circus has been known for having some of the worst buffets in Las Vegas. Cheap feeding trough type operations (especially at Circus Circus and Excalibur) with piles of “all-you-can-eat” poor quality food.

Mandalay Bay Las Vegas is the company’s attempt to go upscale in all aspects, and for the most part, they have succeeded. The hotel is nice, and they are attracting the younger, affluent crowd they are after. They haven’t drained off all of the Hard Rock’s clientele, but they might have put a dent in it.

But the buffet …. nice try. They really did try. The quasi-oriental surroundings are soothing (unlike tradition loud colors favored for buffets to get you in and out quick), and the view of the pool area is spectacular. Service was very attentive. Even cloth napkins.

The food selection was upscale and diverse, with the regular lunch featuring all kinds of salads, fresh melons, gourmet pizza, pastas, oysters, crab legs, ribs, a wide variety of Mexican dishes, deli meats and smoked salmon and the like. The desert bar had a variety of rich, heavy deserts including rich chocolate cakes, pies, and cheesecake.

So what’s the problem? The food quality. It is painfully obvious that the entire company probably gets all of it’s food from the same supplier. This is the stuff that doesn’t make the grade at Mirage Resorts. The salad dressing is weak and watered down, the cheesecake tastes like that stuff you buy frozen at the supermarket, you get the picture.

Normally, this wouldn’t be cause for heavy complaint. Buffets exist to provide a way for everyone in the group to stuff their face with all they can eat of whatever they want with no waiting. And that’s great if dinner or brunch runs $10. (In fact, if you really want a deal, dinner at the Sahara Buffet is only $5.99 with a great variety of mediocre food).

However, the Bay Side Buffet isn’t cheap. Breakfast runs $8.50, Lunch $9.50, and dinner $13.50. Sunday Brunch costs $14.50 all day. Kids always get a $2 discount on every meal. For these prices, get yourself up to Bally’s Las Vegas, or better yet, spend about $5 more and REALLY treat yourself at the Bellagio Las Vegas buffet. Bellagio has a similar menu of upscale, more exotic food but the quality of the food is night and day.

This article originally appeared Jne 30, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

What Is The Best (Kept Secret) View In Las Vegas?

SUNSET IN THE HILLS – Getting your behind kicked in the casino while your rental car goes to waste? When is the last time you saw a spectacular sunset? Because it sits in a valley, Las Vegas has some spectacular views 20 minutes from the Strip. A personal fave of locals is the view from the far east end of Bonanza Rd. in the eastern foothills. Imagine seeing the entire panorama of the Las Vegas Valley at sunset, watching both the Strip and downtown simultaneously go from daylight to neon glow.

Directions are simple. Go north on the Strip to downtown. Just after you go beneath the freeway, make a right-hand turn (east) on Bonanza Road. Drive 7 miles (it’s all paved suburban road — and the farther you go, the better the neighborhoods get). When you reach the end of Bonanza, just make a U-turn.

If that is too complicated, simply program 7051 East Bonanza Road (Las Vegas) into your GPS.

BOOM. Spectacular. I’ve never had anyone take this short detour whom didn’t rave about it. Grab a little take-out on your way — if you time your visit with sunset, you’ll want to relax and enjoy the show.

This article originally appeared June 30, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Should I Bring My Kids Children To Las Vegas?

Bringing children (kids) to Las Vegas has long been an intense debate among both Las Vegas tourists and tourism professionals. In the early 90’s, casinos thought it would be a great idea to build theme parks and try to turn the town’s image from “sin city” to “family-friendly” for the kids in Las Vegas. Then they realized that they GOOFED. Mirage Las Vegas Resorts started instituting “no stroller” policies, and hotels like the Riviera and Tropicana started advertising slogans like “Rollers, Not Strollers”. The word got around that catering to families is stupid because they use the cheap rooms, eat the cheap food, and are too busy with the kids to gamble.

While we aren’t concerned about the casino’s bottom line (our income is derived from booking rooms and rental cars), every trip to the Las Vegas Strip or downtown — made often in this line of work — we see tortured-looking parents with the mommy pushing the stroller and the daddy dragging along the 5 year old, neither of whom should have been subjected to miles of walking through this adult playground.

I’ve seen happier faces on gamblers who just lost 5 straight $100 hands at blackjack than on these parents faces, who undoubtedly have to be envious of all child-free tourist couples whom look like they are having the romantic vacation of a lifetime. And these kids that young won’t remember their first visit to Las Vegas.

If your children are old enough that you feel comfortable letting them run around an amusement park, checking in every few hours, then they will find plenty to do here. Just give them the cell phone, you keep that SkyTell pager, and have a great time. And if they are old enough to perhaps remember a supervised vacation and you can resist the temptation of parking them in the hallway or stuffing in the room while you take just one more pull or play just one more hand (let’s face it, winning seems to always happen when you don’t have the time to keep playing), then you might do fine.

But you will be happiest leaving them with the grandparents for the weekend and really enjoying your stay without your kids in Las Vegas!

This article originally appeared June 24, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Ride The Free Las Vegas Tram Between Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur

FREE LAS VEGAS MANDALAY BAY TRAM – The free Las Vegas Mandalay Bay trams connecting the 3 Mandalay Resort Group properties (Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur) run a very interesting configuration worth noting before you hop on board. Running side-by-side, the east tram runs one-way from from the corner of Tropicana and L.V. Blvd. (the Strip) to Mandalay Bay. This tram makes no stop at Luxor and a return trip from Mandalay to the street intersection is not offered at this time (it runs empty).

The westbound tram stops at Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur, but does NOT serve the intersection. In addition, the tram only makes the Luxor stop northbound, which means that a ride from Excalibur to Luxor necessitates riding all the way to Mandalay and staying aboard for the ride back to Luxor.

This crazy scheme was carefully crafted to feed people from the street down to Mandalay Bay and designed to encourage you to use the walkway from Excalibur to Luxor through the (surprise) new shopping areas.

On another Mandalay Bay note, the Las Vegas wave pool is functioning properly now. It is available only to hotel guests at this time, but there is word of pending construction of a second wave pool that will be available to the general public.

This article originally appeared June 24, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

WCW Wrestling Nitro Grill at The Excalibur Hotel Las Vegas

World Championship Wrestling (WCW), in their efforts to beat the World
Wrestling Federation (WWF) to town after the WWF purchase of the Debbie
Reynolds hotel on Convention Center Dr. recently opened the Nitro Grill in
the old Wild Bills Saloon & Steakhouse area of The Excalibur Las Vegas (second floor).

Unfortunately, the haste of getting this up and running along with the
shoe-strip budget are all too evident. For the most part, they just emptied
out the steakhouse and put up some arena-style lighting girders and a 30
foot tall TV screen which plays recent pay-per-view and other WCW wresting
events nonstop.

The problem is that the entire place still has the old look and feel. From
the bad multicolored carpet to the red, yellow, and green booths, this
place still screams EXCALIBUR in the worst sense in every category. No
wonder the steak house failed — imagine eating in a cheap mid evil Circus
Circus setting and you have this room. A photo is online at
http://www.nitrogrill.com/ngint.jpg — see for yourself.

The food has some cute names taken from the WCW wrestlers — hamburgers
like the Goldberger, Hoganburger, and Stingburger. The onion ring order is
called Wrestling Rings and the chicken fingers Broken Fingers.

I tried the Flyin’ Filet, advertised as a “10 oz. center cut filet — our
most tender steak” (see http://www.nitrogrill.com/menu_5.html ). This steak
was a standard steak dinner with baked potato, salad, and rolls with a
price tag of $15.99. The steak wasn’t bad, but if this is their absolute
most tender steak then they need to employ some of the wrestlers to jump up
and down on the meat before they cook it.

The price was a bigger issue. This isn’t New York City or Chicago. This is
Las Vegas — probably THE most value conscious destination in the world.
While most casinos aren’t practically giving away the food like they used
to, you still except a LOT of bang for the buck in casino restaurants
(whether the casino runs them or not). And to add insult to injury, this
meal is virtually identical to the Binion’s late night $3.00 steak dinner
which I find the time to enjoy 3-4 times a month.

The problem is that once you get past the halfhearted cutesy wrestling
theme, this place is really just Applebee’s on steroids, with an inflated
price to match. The same appetizers, steaks, and sandwiches that you can
find in every coffee shop in town — at a 30% surcharge. If you are a
wrestling fan, stop on by the place, pick up a t-shirt, and move on. Their
website is at http://www.nitrogrill.com

By the way, before the hate email pours in from wrestling fans, let me
point out that I have watched wrestling on and off since I was 5 years old.
In fact, I prefer the WCW over the WWF for televised wrestling. But their
restaurant is going to empty out your pockets quicker than the tables
downstairs. Hit the buffet next door. It’s not the best in town, but at
least you get what you pay for.

This article originally appeared June 17, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Bob Stupak’s Las Vegas Titanic Hotel Plan Is Sunk

TITANIC IS SUNK – Las Vegas legend Bob Stupak’s plans to build a casino
with the theme of the Titanic were sunk by the Las Vegas city council
because of objections by neighbors backing the area. He was planning to
build in on the site of his Thunderbird Hotel which is
located halfway between Fremont St. Experience and the Stratosphere on LV
Blvd. (the Strip). The area isn’t designated as a casino development district.

Now Mr. Stupak is looking to reopen the Moulin Rouge, a shuttered hotel on
Bonanza Rd. about a mile west of downtown. The Moulin Rouge was the first
racially integrated casino in Las Vegas. The Review-Journal has quoted
Stupak as saying “The attraction is, it’s 1999 and the black people need
their spots, The ones with their Cadillacs need a place to go. There’s a
need for it.”

Word is that Bob isn’t exactly on the A list with the NAACP after that
comment, but they can’t knock him for dumping 20 million into a minority
area that desperately needs it. Full story available at:

Rendering Of Bob Stupak’s Titanic Hotel Casino

This article originally appeared June 17, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas