BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW
Contributed by Jackie Brett
SAHARA BEGINS RESTAURANT ROW EXPANSION: Looking to the future, the Sahara is undergoing construction to make way for a new restaurant row slated to open next summer. The expansion is all part of the Sahara’s ongoing $150 million resort transformation which will include significant updates to its Strip-facing exterior. New additions will include Chickie’s and Pete’s sports bar and crab house, which will be the business’ first West Coast outpost. The Philadelphia-based concept, a favorite among athletes and fans, is as popular for its sports bar experience as it is for its famous Crabfries and elevated bar cuisine. Renowned Chef Guoming “Sam” Xin, who joined Sahara’s culinary team earlier this year to oversee the resort’s Chinese culinary offerings, will launch the highly anticipated Noodle Den featuring his popular hand-pulled noodles and dumplings. Two additional venues, an Italian restaurant, and a new culinary concept, will be revealed later next year.
DAVID CHANG’S BĀNG BAR WILL OPEN AT THE COSMOPOLITAN: Bāng Bar, an original concept from Momofuku and David Chang, will debut in the Las Vegas market at The Cosmopolitan opening at Block 16, a first-to-market urban dining hall, in Spring 2021. Bāng Bar’s menu focuses on spit-roasted meats wrapped in freshly griddled bāng bread. Bāng Bar will serve new and decidedly different take-out lunch and dinner options. Since opening in New York in 2018, Bang Bar has focused on two staples: bāng bread and spit-roasted meats. Bāng bread is a freshly made flatbread which is griddled to-order on a piping hot flat top and paired with roasted meats carved from vertical spits. In New York, menu favorites include The U Wrap, featuring bāng bread filled and rolled with a choice of spicy pork, chicken or spicy eggplant and the Rice Bowl, made with rice, pickles, cabbage and a choice of spicy pork, chicken or spicy eggplant. In addition, Momofuku’s culinary team will work to create unique-to-Vegas menu items. Bāng Bar will join the resort’s acclaimed culinary lineup inclusive of China Poblano, Jaleo and è by Josè Andrès, Eggslut by Chef Alvin Cailan, Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, The Bromberg Brother’s Blue-Ribbon brasserie, and David Chang’s first West Coast location of Momofuku. In Spring 2021, Bāng Bar will replace Pok Pok Wing on the North end of Block 16 Urban Food Hall, located on the second level of the Boulevard Tower.
X POT AT GRAND CANAL SHOPPES DEBUTS ROBOT SERVERS: The X Pot all-new dining experience at Grand Canal Shoppes inside The Venetian® Resort is unveiling its VIP Spectrum dining room. After opening its lounge and main dining space to the public in September, the Asian-inspired restaurant enters the next phase of its detailed opening plan. Founders Haibin Yang and David Zhao have reinvented the concept of high-tech dining. Paying tribute to traditional Chinese cuisine with its hotpot technique, The X Pot elevates the experience with multi-sensory dining by high-tech smart-robot technology offerings. As guests order from an expansive tasting menu filled with an array of popular Asian-fusion selections including A5 Wagyu Beef and certified Kobe Beef, they are served by The X Pot’s exclusive robotic technological program proving the utmost efficiency in conjunction with human servers. Presenting 5D animations, through an interactive world-class projection system, The X Pot creates optical illusions right onto the dinner table while interactive cartoon animations take guests on a culinary tour of the hotpot experience. Synchronized with every meal, the animations provide step-by-step visuals on how to cook the separate tasting menu, exclusive to this private, VIP dining room. The latest X Pot room seats up to 24 guests to ensure a private dining experience, however, right now the destination is only permitting groups of four to reserve. Smart-robot serving technology along with a private wait staff bring opulence to culturally inspired dining.
GREYHOUND STATION REDEVELOPMENT – SYMPHONY PARK PROJECT: The Plaza has plans to continue transforming its Main Street corridor by redeveloping the building currently housing the Greyhound bus terminal, which has been in the same location for nearly 50 years, into a new destination enhancing offerings and ambiance. The Greyhound bus terminal will be vacated by mid-2021, and the Plaza has begun discussions with developers on possible projects for the space. With 48,500 square feet and adjacent parking, the building is a prime location for new dining, entertainment or retail helping to transform the area and encourage walking traffic up and down Main Street. The Plaza will also be partnering with the city of Las Vegas to build a pedestrian friendly pathway leading to a new elevated four-block bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks connecting the hotel-casino on Main Street to the new residential and commercial development in Symphony Park. The pathway will feature desert landscaping, lighting, and a decorative safety wall to create a relaxing and enjoyable pedestrian experience. Both projects exemplify the longstanding commitment of Tamares, the owner of the Plaza to revitalize downtown Las Vegas. For more than a decade, Tamares chairman and CEO Poju Zabludowicz has pursued a long-term vision for the development of the company’s holdings in downtown Las Vegas, including selling the Las Vegas Club in 2015, which made way for Circa. Tamares has also supported improvement projects and expansions at the Plaza, most recently the addition of 100-plus premium Luxe guest rooms and suites and the Core Arena, an outdoor equestrian and multipurpose facility on Main Street. Continued development and improvements are expected in 2021, during which the Plaza will commemorate its 50th anniversary with a series of events and celebrations.
‘JOURNEY TO THE NORTH POLE’ IS NEW DRIVE-THROUGH EXPERIENCE: “Journey to the North Pole” is a new holiday season drive-through experience running through Sunday, Jan. 3 at the Industrial event space at 2330 South Industrial Road. Guests are transported to a winter wonderland complete with 100,000+ lights, lasers, projections, a fully programmable mega tree, and more, programmed to heartwarming holiday hits. Grab the hot cocoa and pack into the car for the ultimate, fun-for-all-ages joyride to celebrate the spirit of the season. Co-produced by Josh Abelson with the Industrial event space, Emo Palumbo – Tag Team Productions, and Brian Rogerson – Sin City Scenic, “Journey to the North Pole” includes three immersive experiences. Each vehicle arriving at the attraction will tune their radio to a designated station before entering the Holiday Light Show, which showcases dazzling lights under a laser recreation of the awe-inspiring aurora borealis. Vehicles meander down the Path of Lights, a tunnel of glittering lights and snow, before arriving at the North Pole featuring Santa, his workshop with merry helpers. Here guests can capture selfies with Santa from their vehicles. “Journey to the North Pole” is open nightly 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets start at $20 online at northpolelv.com/tickets. Advance purchases are required.
BELLAGIO GALLERY OF FINE ART REOPENS WITH NEW EXHIBIT: The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is welcoming visitors back with a new exhibit “Always More: Collecting in Vegas” featuring a selection of works on loan from a number of Las Vegas collectors, as well as signature pieces from the MGM Resorts Art Collection. Passionate Las Vegas art collectors have agreed to share some of their favorite pieces in this exhibition and many are being shown publicly for the first time. The featured works represent a cross-section of 20th century and contemporary art from a variety of artists including Diane Arbus, Ross Bleckner, Cecily Brown, George Condo, Takashi Murakami, James Nares, Helmut Newton, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Robert Rauschenberg, Kazuo Shiraga, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Rosemarie Trockel and Manolo Valdés. One piece is by American painter Joyce Pensator’s Battitude, an enamel on canvas done in 2015 and part of Ralph DeLuca’s collection. Pensator lived from 1941 to June 13, 2019.
VIRGIN HOTELS LAS VEGAS DELAYS OPENING: Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton™, was supposed to open Jan. 15, 2021, but has delayed opening due to COVID-19 until future notice. The resort suites and rooms will be referred to as chambers. The more than 1,500 chambers will draw on the area’s desert ambiance with neutral color palates and pops of color with distinctive touches exclusive to Virgin Hotels and designed by Studio Collective. Each chamber will feature a specially designed format with two spaces, “The Dressing Room” and “The Lounge,” separated by a privacy door. Guests will enjoy Virgin Hotels’ patented ergonomically designed lounge beds, high-definition TVs, reading nooks and more, and select chambers will be dog friendly. The property will feature three towers, Opal, Canyon, and the all-suite Ruby Tower, and a five-acre pool oasis.
CIRCA OPENS ITS HOTEL TOWER AND ROOFTOP LOUNGE: Circa Resort & Casino, Las Vegas’ new adults-only casino-resort, is offering the first guests of its hotel tower the world’s earliest check-in. Continuing through December, any guest who book a room or suite for Dec. 28 – the official first night of reservations for the property – will be allowed to check into their room 48 hours early, starting Dec. 26 at 3 p.m. On Oct. 28, Circa downtown opened its first five floors of amenities, including its massive sportsbook with a 78-million-pixel screen; Stadium Swim, the country’s largest pool destination for sports fans; multiple original restaurant and bar concepts; a two-level casino; high-tech transportation hub, and more. On Dec. 28, Circa opens its hotel tower and rooftop lounge, Legacy Club.
SPIEGELWORLD PRESENTS BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK: Spiegelworld, the company behind “Absinthe” and other shows, is giving fans a rare peek behind the curtain with a new YouTube docuseries, “VEGASHITSHOW.” Adding to its first nine episodes weekly, the series documents the efforts of Spiegelworld’s creative team, cast, and crew to bring its shows – and its signature brand of irreverent fun – back to the stage safely. With thousands of jobs in the live entertainment industry still impacted by the pandemic, Spiegelworld’s daily battles offer a glimmer of hope as the circus goes to war against COVID-19. Each episode includes footage from top-level creative team and production meetings, artist rehearsals, interviews with company leadership, and more never-before-seen material. Episodes are available on SpiegelwordTV hosted by YouTube.
EL DORADO CANTINA CELEBRATES LAS POSADAS: Both El Dorado Cantina locations will celebrate Las Posadas with authentic, seasonal food and beverage specials offered over the novena including Pozole, Huarache made with blue corn from Oaxaca, and Churros Dec. 16-24. Locations are at Tivoli Village and behind Circus Circus at 3025 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive.
DUNKIN’ PRESENTS SUGARPLUM MACCHIATO THIS DECEMBER: You may associate sugarplums with the holiday season, but have you tried one? This December, Dunkin’ is offering for a limited time the fabled holiday flavor with the launch of the new Sugarplum Macchiato served hot or cold. The newest addition to the brand’s holiday espresso lineup features berry flavors of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and plum, accented by notes of vanilla and rounded out with a sweet sugary finish. The combination of Dunkin’s premium espresso, milk, and sugarplum flavor creates a whimsical, light-purple layered appearance for a beverage. Dunkin’s holiday treats also include the new Frosted Snowflake Donut. With purple icing and special snowflake sprinkles, it is the perfect purple pairing with the Sugarplum Macchiato.
NATHAN ADELSON HOSPICE’S LUMINARY LIGHTING GOES VIRTUAL: Nathan Adelson Hospice, the oldest, largest, and only nonprofit hospice in Nevada, will host a virtual “Luminary Lighting” event at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Participants are invited to donate and personalize luminary bags to honor those who have passed and those still living, who bring light to our lives. The luminary event featuring short remarks will be highlighted with a special online video presentation. Donations from the personalized luminaries help provide dignified and compassionate care to the terminally ill and their families. Luminary bags need to be reserved online before Monday, Dec. 14 to ensure they can be personalized and featured in the Tuesday, Dec. 22 online event. In addition to the virtual event, the luminaries will continue to memorialize loved ones at both Nathan Adelson Hospice inpatient units through early January.
Pinkbox Doughnuts is offering a jolly assortment of holiday treats through Dec. 28, including the “Candy Cane” as the featured Doughnut of the Month as well as festive Hanukkah and Christmas doughnuts. The “Candy Cane” is a red frosted glazed raised twist, drizzled in white icing and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy cane, priced at $3. The holiday array of doughnuts from Stuffed Grinch to Reindeer Pooh is offered at all three valley 24/7 locations. Resorts World Las Vegas opening summer 2021 is broadcasting the 2020 Wrangler® National Finals Rodeo (NFR) live via The Cowboy Channel from Fort Worth, Texas, on the property’s ginormous 100,000-square-foot West Tower LED screen. While walking down Las Vegas Boulevard, onlookers can catch a glimpse of rodeo’s annual event on one of the largest LED building displays in the world through Dec. 12. Tivoli Village is giving back during its toy drive to benefit the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation. Now through Dec. 17, guests can drop off new, unwrapped toys or $15 gift cards at Tivoli Village’s ART2art district, located at 400 S. Rampart Blvd, Suite 120.
SIGHTING: Recently, “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Alexis Bellino, alongside boyfriend Drew Bohn and fellow Bravo TV reality star Heather Marianna, visited and dined at Blume Kitchen & Cocktails located in Henderson. A patron overheard Bellino discussing the animosity between her ex-husband Jim, who lost a defamation case against her cast member Shannon Beador this past October, and her current beau.