BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW
Contributed by Jackie Bret
EXCITING WEEK – VIRGIN HOTELS OPENS: After postponements due to the pandemic, Virgin Hotels, formerly the Hard Rock, opens this week on March 25. The rock’n’roll theme is gone with a rebranded look being lighter, airy, and brighter with a desert oasis feel. The property is a part of Curio Collection by Hilton™, offering guests the benefits of the Hilton Honors program. It will feature more than 1,500 well-appointed Chambers, Grand Chamber Suites and Penthouses in three luxurious towers, Ruby, Canyon and Opal. All Chambers will be non-smoking and include a mini bar and Virgin Hotels’ patented ergonomically designed bed and in-room technology, including in-room streaming. Also, dog-friendly chambers will be available. With its first foray into the Las Vegas market, the state-of-the-art 60,000-square-foot Mohegan Sun Casino is run by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. On the food and beverage side, things have changed with most noticeably the casino’s Center Bar being gone. The portfolio will include Todd English’s Olives and the legendary Nobu returning while the former MB Steakhouse is being replaced by Michael and David Morton’s One Steakhouse facing the casino floor. Other options will include Kris Yenbamroong’s Night + Market, Kassi Beach Club from restauranteur Nick Mathers, Casa Calavera by Hakkasan Group, the sports entertainment, daylife and nightlife venue Money, Baby! from Clive Collective, famous Afters Ice Cream, and Pizza Forte by the Ferraro Family. In addition, signature Virgin Hotels restaurants and bars including The Kitchen at Commons Club, The Bar at Commons Club, The Shag Room and Funny Library Coffee Shop.
ZOUK GROUP WILL OPEN FAMOUS FOODS AT RESORTS WORLD: Zouk Group, Singapore’s leading nightlife and lifestyle brand, will introduce an Asian hawker-inspired food hall concept with authentic street food and cuisines blending Eastern and Western food culture at Resorts World opening this summer. Famous Foods Street Eats will be an interactive 24,000-square-foot street food destination, boasting 16 diverse food stalls from top chefs and restaurateurs – and the only destination in the country with the most Michelin Plate and Bib Gourmand recognized concepts under one roof. In addition, Famous Foods will feature a vibrant 16-seat center bar and a picturesque hidden speakeasy hidden. The space, conveniently located right off the casino floor, is designed to offer an array of Instagrammable moments for a new-age dining experience, featuring vibrant neon signs and trinkets, and an open seating area with floor-to-ceiling views of the Strip. With food “edutainment” at the forefront of the Famous Foods experience, guests can enjoy Michelin star meals at an affordable price while learning about the different cultures and origins of these authentic cuisines. Famous Foods will also feature two commissioned art pieces by Red Hong Yi, a popular Chinese-Malaysian contemporary artist known for her mixed media interpretations. A 10-foot tall Lucky Cat sculpture made entirely of gold coins will anchor the space, while a distinct eight-tone mural made of 18,000 tea bags welcomes arriving guests. Famous Foods will feature the following eateries. Eastern Stalls will include Ah Chun Shandong Dumpling, Boon Tong Kee, FUHU Shack, Geylang Claypot Rice, Googgle Man’s Char Kuey Teow, Pepita’s Kitchen, Springleaf Prata Place, Ten Suns Braised Beef, Tiger Sugar, Dessert, and Mamak. Western Stalls will include Streetbird Las Vegas, Kuru Kuru Pa Yakitori, Mozz Bar by James Trees, Blood Bros. BBQ, Nori Bar, Famous Foods Center Bar with 16 seats and an innovative self-pour and automated beer system, and Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den speakeasy.
‘VAN GOGH: THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE’ WILL OPEN AT AREA15: New art and entertainment district AREA15 will be the first U.S. venue to stage the global sensation, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, when it opens Tuesday, April 6. Tickets are on sale now. The digital and virtual reality exhibit will run through July 5. Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will be a timed experience encompassing 35 minutes in the nearly 7,000-square-foot PORTAL, a 360-degree projection-mapped room designed for digital art installations. General tickets will include lounge seating allowing guests to be enveloped in sensational artistry, while VIP tickets will include VR goggles to experience “A Day in the Life of the Artist in Arles, France,” a virtual stroll alongside Van Gogh himself to explore the countryside settings that inspired his artwork. Debuting in Las Vegas after international stops in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, its arrival at AREA15 will be in advance of its wider North American release to at least eight cities this year. The uniquely atmospheric light and sound show features animations of more than 300 of Van Gogh’s works set to a custom score and punctuated by voice actors sharing poignant quotes from Van Gogh’s letters to his brother, Theo. Exhibition viewing will be Sundays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m.; Fridays, dark; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Adult tickets start at $35 with 20 percent off for military and seniors; children’s tickets $19. Nevada residents receive additional discounts. VIP tickets can be added for $10 more.
RAIDERS TAVERN & GRILL OPENS AT M RESORT APRIL 1: The Raiders Tavern & Grill will open at the M Resort Spa Casino on Thursday, April 1. The world’s only official Raiders-themed restaurant is accepting reservations on OpenTable as of March 24. Walk up patrons will be accommodated on a first-come first-served basis. Hours will be daily 11 a.m. to 7 a.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Raiders Tavern & Grill is independently owned and operated by M Resort, the Raiders’ Official Team Headquarters Hotel. Silver & Black fans can commemorate the partnership by picking up their special edition Raiders-M Resort mychoice player cards for a limited time only. The restaurant will also incorporate a retail store featuring Raiders’ merchandise and apparel. When restrictions are lifted, the venue will have seating capacity of 200. There will be outdoor dining with pool views and large televisions and a vast dining menu from stadium favorites and sports bar fare to larger entrees and healthier options. Raiders Tavern & Grill will also offer weekly special menu items and events such as a mid-week crab leg night as well as a happy hour. The venue will feature more than 20 beer taps, a tequila and whiskey list, and two uniquely branded bars. The Modelo Bar will be themed and decorated similarly to its bar at Allegiant Stadium. The Remy Martin Bar inside the restaurant will accommodate up to 25 guests for small groups and offer a long list of specialty cocktails.
STREETMOSPHERE ENTERTAINMENT RETURNS AT GRAND CANAL SHOPPES: Famed complimentary Streetmosphere entertainment since 1999 at the Grand Canal Shoppes inside The Venetian® is returning for guests to enjoy as they make their way through the mall’s Venice-inspired cobblestone streets. The reinstating of Streetmosphere at The Shoppes is coming back in a phased and safe manner. With three designated locations throughout the property, a limited cast will provide atmospheric during phase one. The complimentary entertainment will float throughout the property as stanchioned performance areas have been created, some with fixed seating, to allow for proper social distancing between the cast and guests. Known for its beauty inspired by the Renaissance period, the Streetmosphere cast is donning looks reminiscent of the historic style yet fused with chic, fashion-forward designs and stylings. The music program is providing an updated sound honoring Italian traditions yet mixing contemporary rhythms. Streetmosphere will be available throughout the day every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7:30 p.m. The second phase of the Streetmosphere return will continue throughout the year in compliance with government restrictions and will introduce a larger cast and additional performances.
‘THE VEGAS SPECTACULAR’ CELEBRATES ONE YEAR AND 100TH SHOW: “EXTRAVAGANZA – The Vegas Spectacular,” the five-time “Best of Las Vegas” award-winning production, celebrated its one-year anniversary this month on the heels of the show’s 100th performance while audience capacity has expanded to 100 inside the Jubilee Theater at Bally’s and a new show schedule began, daily except Wednesday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. The show which had its first and only preview performance on March 14, 2020, before it closed the following day in compliance with state directives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reopened on Monday, Nov. 23 and is currently the largest production performing in Las Vegas.This extravaganza showcases the captivating talents of more than 30 of the most talented, sexy and breathtaking artists from around the world – including dancers, acrobats, aerialists, skaters, comedians and the return of the iconic showgirl to the legendary Jubilee Theatre. Feats of strength and flexibility along with spectacular sets, massive LED screens and state-of-the-art holograms highlighting famous headliners like Elvis and Sinatra are featured. In addition, for a limited time, the production has special guest stars and “America’s Got Talent” finalist and crossbow superstar Silvia Silvia and husband Victor Ponce, who are two of the stars from Extravaganza’s sister show, “WOW – The Vegas Spectacular” at Rio.
OSCAR’S DINNER SERIES EVENT HONORS MOVIE ‘CASINO’: In tribute to the blockbuster movie “Casino,” former Las Vegas Mayor and mob attorney, Oscar B. Goodman will hold a special edition of the Oscar’s Dinner Series at Oscar’s Steakhouse in the Plaza Hotel downtown on Wednesday, April 7. Attendees will enjoy a special dinner with Goodman, as he recalls his personal experience filming the movie, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last December. The April 7 dinner menu will recreate the meal that Oscar’s wife, current city of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman cooked and served at their home to the Casino cast, including Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci, when the movie was filmed in Las Vegas. The special dinner will start with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. in Oscar’s lounge. Guests will then join Goodman at 7 p.m. inside and under the dome overlooking the lights of Fremont Street for a three-course plated dinner paired with red and white wines as well as the signature Oscar Goodman Martini. Due to social distancing and capacity requirements, Oscar’s will only be selling a limited number of tables for parties of two people $300, four $600, and six $900. Tables can be purchased online at the plaza’s website.
CELEBRITY DINING SIGHTINGS
Last week on Tuesday, Esther’s Kitchen downtown welcomed pop music star Usher, who recently announced his 2021 residency dates at Caesars Palace. The Grammy award-winning singer songwriter and his posse entered the venue at approximately 10:45 p.m., where they were seen dining on seasonal Italian cuisine, with standout dishes including an Asparagus Truffle Salad, Black Kale Pesto Rigatoni, Squash Risotto and a Butterscotch Budino finale. Usher and his crew were spotted leaving just after midnight. On the same day, celebrity chef and TV personality Scott Conant embarked on a culinary trip across Las Vegas after the statewide indoor dining occupancy increased to 50%. The restauranteur was spotted supporting local hotspots throughout the Las Vegas Valley and dining with a close-knit group of friends. His stops included Carson Kitchen around noon for lunch, Al Solito Posto about 5:30 for light bites, La Strega for dinner at 7 p.m., and JING Las Vegas in Downtown Summerlin finishing the night with live music and small bites.
HAPPY HALF HOUR RETURNS TO HIGH ROLLER: For the first time since July 2020, the High Roller Observation Wheel will reintroduce its popular Happy Half Hour experience on Monday, March 29. Happy Half Hour cabins, which can accommodate up to 10 guests, aboard the High Roller include an open bar and bartender for one full 30-minute rotation of the wheel. Happy Half Hour tickets for guests 21 or older are priced at $60 per person and available from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and noon to midnight Friday through Sunday.
MOULIN ROUGE ARTIFACTS VISIT THE NEON MUSEUM: The Neon Museum has partnered with The Museum of Gaming History for a new exhibit of artifacts from the Moulin Rouge Casino and Hotel, which was the first major racially integrated gaming property and played a crucial role in ending segregation in Las Vegas. Located in the La Concha Visitors’ Center until August, the exhibit includes artifacts such as promotional materials, gaming chips, souvenirs, dinnerware and postcards, all providing a glimpse into the historical groundbreaking property. It was also the location of a pivotal civil rights meeting in March 1960, which led to the beginning of the end of segregation in hotels and casinos.
Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Kameron Marlowe will headline at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country in Town Square Friday-Saturday, April 30-May 1 with 7 p.m. performances. Ticket range $15 to $25. Marlowe in seven months in Nashville has launched himself into the spotlight with his independent debut release, “Giving You Up” – a heartbreak anthem topping more than 50 million streams and counting. It’s the first song he finished writing and personal. When the singer was 20 years old and planning to propose, his would-be fiancée dumped him for someone else. Marlowe also appeared on “The Voice.” Bucky Heard, who is now half of The Righteous Brothers duo, is appearing at the Bootlegger Italian Bistro on Las Vegas Blvd. South Strip on Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. with guest guitarist John Wedemeyer. “After Hours” is for supper and cocktails. For reservations, call 702-736-4939.
NATIONAL DOCTORS’ DAY SPECIALS: Strip attraction Real Bodies at Bally’s on the Lower Level is recognizing local medical front line workers for National Doctors’ Day, Tuesday, March 30. The first 100 doctors, nurses and first responders to visit the attraction will receive free entry into the exhibition, as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for their efforts during the pandemic. For tickets, visit Bally’s box. Limit one ticket per person. General admission tickets are $29.95 for adults.
CONVENTION NEWS: On the convention side of tourism, the first big trade show booked will be World of Concrete, which normally attracts 50,000 people, scheduled to start on June 8. Smaller shows will probably be booked before then. On April 8, Global Meetings Industry Day, will have the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority partnering with Caesars Entertainment Inc. to bring meeting planners to the city to see the see the convention center’s West Hall expansion along with new or refreshed meeting facilities developed by Caesars, Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International.
DUNKIN’ LAUNCHES FREE DONUT WEDNESDAYS: Dunkin’ has launched Free Donut Wednesdays to offer DD Perks® members with a free donut through April 21. DD Perks members are eligible for one free classic donut with each drink purchased. Donut must be added to order when ordering in-store or on the mobile app. Dunkin’ guests who are not currently DD Perks members can take advantage of Free Donut Wednesdays by enrolling in DD Perks on the Dunkin’ App or DDPerks.com. DD Perks members earn five points for every dollar they spend on qualifying purchases at Dunkin’.