Let’s set the scene. It’s 4am and you’re done with the club or gambling or whatever Vegas had in store for you the night. All you want is something to eat before you pass out. While there’s usually a sit down restaurant in every casino resort but most hotels don’t have quick and inexpensive late night dining options. I’m talking about the place where you can get a drink and bite around $10 in just a few minutes.
I always recommend having at least one glass or bottle of water before crashing for the night. Rehydrating in a dry city like Las Vegas is important for the sober or unsober. Here are some of my favorite places to grab a quick cheap bite to eat inside and outside of a casino.
Tourists that visit the Vegas strip are generally looking for fine dining, big name shows, awesome nightclubs with a little gambling here and there. The downtown Vegas crowd is different. Yes, there are good places to grab a bite downtown but you’re not going to find celebrity chefs posting up at The Plaza. Think about it this way; You’ll find the best $6 pancakes in the world at DuPar’s inside the Golden Gate Casino while you’ll probably find one of the best steaks at SW at Wynn Las Vegas. The difference is that the steak will run you about $50 at SW. The choices of dining is subjective but the point isn’t. People that visit both parts of Vegas are different and that’s a great thing.
Let’s get technical for a minute. Gaming revenue still makes up the majority of income for Downtown Vegas casinos. This hasn’t been the case on the Vegas strip since 1999. If you visit a casino downtown you’ll see plenty of people gambling not waiting in line for a club. Some of those people are tourists in town to blow off steam, some of those are just playing there because they’re a little older and don’t feel comfortable being on the strip and some will be the smart gambler that knows where to find the best gambling odds.
We all know that Sin City has something for everyone but what about the kiddies? I, myself do not have the issue as to how to entertain my offspring as my kid is a four legged, animal who does not enjoy the sun and is not allowed in most casinos because he is a K9. But, I do have many friends with children and there are a plethora of activities in Las Vegas to entertain even the most ADD child. First, please let me caution all the parents out there to take your children to do these things but do not leave them there unsupervised. I know this seems obvious to most, but just in case it was not, take my advice.
I grew up in a casino myself. I enjoyed every casino from Lake Tahoe to Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada. There are a few really cool spots for children (and adults if you are young at heart, not pregnant and do not have an existing heart condition). Circus Circus in Las Vegas has an entire theme park called Adventuredome with full size rides. These are not your average carnival rides but roller coasters that could be found at Magic Mountain. The theme park is not too big where it is overwhelming but has enough choices in rides for the adventurous and the more timid child. If roller coasters are not your thing, than you could try laser tag, rock climbing, mini gold or the FX Theater. There is truly something for everyone at the Adventuredome and you will be entertained all day.
There is so much great dining on the Vegas strip that it’s easy to forget that Las Vegas is a rather large city of 2 million people. Like most bigger cities in America, the different ethnicities break out into certain sections in the city. Most larger cities have a section of town called “Chinatown”. In Vegas, Chinatown is just off the strip heading west on Spring Mountain Road. Spring Mountain is the road that crosses the Vegas strip in between The Palazzo and Wynn. While Chinatown in many cities is exclusively Chinese it’s a little different Vegas (of course). Chinatown is made up of all Asian ethnicities so you’ll find a great selection of the best Asian goods from Vietnam to Japan and, of course, China.
The dining in Chinatown is the most authentic Asian cuisine that you’ll find anywhere in Vegas. You’ll also find some of the most cost effective dining in Las Vegas in Chinatown where you can easily find of dinner’s for under $10. The money you may spend on a cab from the Vegas strip you’ll save on the cost of the meal. Since this is Las Vegas and not the Vegas strip just about every restaurant you’ll find are located in strip malls.
Up until last year it wasn’t awesome being a beer drinker in Vegas. The beer selection in Las Vegas was held to your typical American macro brews Bud, Coors and Miller. Sure you could find some bars and restaurants with a few different beers but there weren’t many. It’s strange to think that a town famous for its fine dining and great cocktail rooms wouldn’t treat beer with the same reverence. Thankfully that has changed and the craft beer revolution has hit Las Vegas!
By definition craft beer are small, independent and traditional beer makers. I prefer craft beers because I like beers with a more robust flavor. The traditional American beers aren’t the most flavorful or interesting tasting beers. Craft beers are usually more expensive so it makes sense why a casino wouldn’t carry them but even that’s changing with some casinos offering Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada, the number 1 and 2 craft beer companies in America, at the tables and slot machines. On the casino floor I will always opt for a Sierra Nevada if Nevada if available.
Summertime is near and I am excited to finish my no carb diet so that I can be swimsuit ready for insane Las Vegas pool parties. The pool parties are an essential part of Las Vegas partying from Memorial to Labor Day weekend every summer. Even if you don’t like DJ’s and electronic music, you still need to go at least once. Let me tell you that I go every year, and every year I am amazed at the people that prance through the doors ready for anything. There are all types at these parties. The women are usually so buffed that you mistake them for men, look like they just stepped off the stripper pole or you recognize them as the plane Jane from next door. The men also look as if they work out to a fault where they have no necks and their arms extend directly from their heads, or the frat boys from your college, or a total nerd rolling in the dough to be able to afford a cabana right next to the DJ.
One of the great things about Las Vegas is that it’s always changing. The 80′s and 90′s brought themed hotels and casinos while the city tried to cater to families. More recently hotels have shunned the themes in favor of more modern designs where they depend on what’s inside the casino to wow us. There are hotel-casinos, like the Cosmopolitan, which rarely mention the fact that they have gaming and emphasize the nightclubs and fine dining in their marketing. All of this just makes Las Vegas a more diverse town and that’s great. Somewhere between the theming and de-theming of the hotels Las Vegas became a town for foodies. The finest chefs across the world have restaurants in Las Vegas.
Variety is the spice of life whether you have wide interests and even when you focus on a niche. My niche as a foodie is steak. I’ve been to almost every steakhouse on the Vegas strip and I continue to explore different steakhouses when they open or go back to the few steakhouses that have been around for years that I haven’t had a chance to visit.
Last year, the MGM Grand cornered off a huge section of tables, took away those fluffy lions, and shut the doors to Studio 54. A night at Studio 54 was always a blast and I think the name alone gave me the feeling that I was in a “special” club reminiscent of the days in 1977-1981 in New York City. Being a fan of amazing clubs and having visited many of them throughout the US and Europe, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic. I have spent several vacations in Ibiza, Spain and South Beach in Miami to watch the sun come up. But, now I don’t have to go so far to experience the newest and grandest nightclub in history opening its doors April 2013 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The name is not as cool as Studio 54, but Hakkasan Night Club is supposed to be way more than just a place to shake your moneymaker.
I just returned from a crazy trip to Austin, Texas for what people in the interactive, music, and film industry should rename adult spring break. This South by Southwest conference has become so huge that there is not a lot of work getting done but a lot of network “partying” being accomplished instead. My liver told me it only felt this way in one other city – LAS VEGAS. The after-effect of the conference feels a lot like a few days in Sin City! So, it is only fitting that SXSW bring the conference to the west and take residency in Las Vegas.
SXSW V2 is the newest addition to the ever-growing SXSW family. This conference is going to be held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel from August 11-August 14, 2013. The conference is a condensed version of its counterpart in Austin, which lasts a full 10 days! But, if you are like most people, 2 days and nights in Las Vegas can feel like 2 weeks in another city (in a great way).
Just about anyone can crack open a beer or throw together a Jack n Coke but creating a cocktail is not so simple. A cocktail is a little more complex. By definition a cocktail an alcoholic mixed drink that contains three or more ingredients with at least one of those ingredients being a spirit. You can get a drink at any bar but you can’t always find a cocktail. Creating a cocktail is an art – so much so that bartenders that make cocktails are often referred to as mixologists. Call the cocktail creator what you want but if they can turn a drink into more of an experience then a drink you have someone and something special.
Over the past few years downtown Vegas has undergone a facelift. It’s no longer “Old Vegas” even if it is old and in Las Vegas. Old Vegas was a place to go for a cheap time in Las Vegas and it still is in part. The recent facelift downtown has not only yielded cleaner and more modern casinos but its also added a slew of new bars and restaurants. There’s even a website, fremontstreetbars.com, to keep track of all of the new bar activity in downtown Vegas. Many of the new bars don’t just serve drinks, they cater to the cocktailer in all of us. Here are some of the best places to cocktail around Downtown Vegas.
The improvements at the Plaza
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Last year, Wynn Resorts canceled
As we recently discussed, most
Every year I take a