Feb 25
by Don

Day One:

There were celebrations all over the place!

One of my favorite trips to Vegas every year is the one that we take with 44 and Goldie.  They are just great and honestly one of the few people who actually do Vegas in the same way that we do.  What I mean by that is they love great food, a little bit of gambling, and just general fun.  They are also people who can do their own thing as well, so it’s not like we have to be chained to the hip 24/7 either.  They are just easy to travel with and especially so in Vegas as we have all been coming here for more than 15 years.

This time around we are loosely celebrating Lori’s birthday as we get into town right after Valentine’s day (which also coincides with Chinese New Year) and are staying at the Palazzo.  They are staying next door at the Wynn so it makes it nice and easy to meet up.  

A little surf and turf, yum!

Because we fly in the morning, we get a full day on the books and not feel like we have to rage too hard that first night.  They did as well so we were able to meet up for drinks and dinner, which was wonderful as we were able to grab a table at Lakeside Seafood in the Wynn.  It’s a great get in that trying to get into SW next door is always a pain, and Lakeside is every bit as amazing.  

Day one ends with a little gambling and turning in around midnight as we have a ton of stuff for day 2.

Jun 1
by Don

The same group of guys (more or less) who have been going out to Vegas with me every March, once again made the pilgrimage out to the desert to bet on copious amounts of college basketball.

We had to abandon one of our traditions as Lagasse’s has just gotten out of control with what they want to charge people to watch the games at their place.  Historically we have been willing to pay $200 per person for a food/drink min. throughout the day.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal to make happen, but that is really harder to do than you would think.  Well this year they wanted $300 per person, and well there are just too many other places in Vegas to watch and bet basketball.

We typically lockdown a place for the Thursday and Friday of the weekend and then play by ear for Saturday and Sunday as the group typically thins out as the weekend progresses.  No sense in obligating ourselves to a big viewing party spend every single day, and after hunkering down for two straight days, it’s nice to switch things up.

This year we hit Tap at MGM and BeerPark in front of Paris.  We have done Tap for a couple of years as they are still fairly reasonably priced ($125 per person), have decent food, and are next to MGM’s huge ass sportsbook.  It’s the perfect day 1 spot as it’s good enough for everyone to enjoy, but for those who come late or otherwise miss that first day of action, they aren’t missing out on something amazing.  It’s a solid choice.

Look at those smiling faces!

The Beerpark was something totally different as it was outdoors, which is a fairly foreign concept for anything Vegas.  Normally they want you cocooned deep in the belly of the casino without so much as a sense of the time of day.  However, the BeerPark was a welcome change from that as the weather was great and we had coverage from the ravages of the brutal sun. It’s themed as a backyard BBQ party as there are games, faux grass, solo style cups, and a lot of TV’s.  I believe we paid something like $125/$150 per person (can’t seem to remember off hand) but it was very much inline with expectations for the group.  The food choices were ok, but you have to temper you expectations in regards to food at a place like this when its core sponsor is Budweiser.  Sad but true. All in all a good place to watch the games as they had a small sportsbook right there, and you could still trek inside Paris’ normal book as well.

So depending on the size of your group, you might want to try out either of these options as I would rank them higher than what Planet Hollywood, Harrahs, or Cosmopolitan were doing.


Oct 24
by Don

To know 44 is to know that he loves the simple things when on vacation; a great steak, the “pick 6”, and of course a good fruity drink.  It seems that his love of Jimmy Buffet knows no bounds and thusly it’s always 5’oclock somewhere.

He and Goldie turned Lori and myself onto a little known gem that serves up the best fruity drinks that I have ever had, and the ironic part of it all I have personally walked by the place dozens times over the years and never gave it a passing glance except to look up and catch a score or something on the TV’s overheard.

The Fusion bar, a bar in the round, is in the Palazzo is near the cashier’s cage and surrounded by a few innocuous slot machines of little consequence.  I have walked by it on route to the bathrooms nearby countless times, but on this trip 44 insisted that we have a drink.

Wendy was the bartender and she was instructed to prepare 2 drinks with strawberry (for Lori and myself), a mango something for Goldie, and whatever she felt for 44 (turned out to be a watermelon concoction that was magical).  The resulting drinks were, well simply amazing.  This bar has infused vodka’s and what not so they are more prepared than most to make these wonderful drinks, and Wendy did not disappoint.

I have to say that if you are in the mood for a good fruity cocktail (and who isn’t really) find your way to the Palazzo and look for the Fusion bar by the cashier’s cage.  You won’t be disappointed.

Mar 7
by Don

Pittsburgh Gil was all about this place so of course we had to make a visit.  He is all about beer and has his own site with a great review of the place here.  I won’t try to recreate his review as I feel that he does a great job of telling of all the general tom foolery, but I can tell you that even those who do not drink beer, there is some great food to be had.

If you are in town and want a somewhat different Vegas experience, I would definitely recommend going to the Hofbräuhaus if for nothing else the opportunity to stand up in your seat and swing your oversized mug of beer while singing some crazy German drinking songs and having an overall great time.

Jan 15
by Rolka Nation

First things first.  I’m sure you were all on the edge of your desk chairs wondering if I would take up the Venetian on its free suite offer.  Well alas, I have decided to pass.  Too many factors were going against on this particular one including funds and too short of notice to find a travel mate.  I was still pondering going solo, but no dice this time.  You win this round, sensible head!

Ok; on to the good stuff.  You may recall a few months back that I wrote a piece on maximizing your Vegas fun for as little bread as possible.  If you’re new to the site or want a refresher, click here.  The pointers outlined in that post were of the general variety and can come in handy for any Vegas trip.  But let’s get more specific shall we?  Countless hours of hardcore Pittsburgh Gil-style research has resulted in these gems for your perusing pleasure:

– Deuces Wild!  Now through 3/1, enjoy $22 nights, $2 Blackjack, $2 beer, $2 tequila, and $2 hot dogs and nachos at The Plaza and Vegas Club downtown.  You must have a 2 night minimum stay and most Sun-Thurs nights are available.  I have not been to The Plaza but apparently the Rat Pack show there is great fun.  I have been to the Vegas Club casino and enjoyed the layout and decor.  This is an outstanding deal.

– $1 Blackjack on The Strip!  Hard to believe these days; but true.  The Sahara is currently dealin’ out $1 BJ along with dollar beers, shots, and hot dogs near the NASCAR Cafe area of the casino. I’ve also read reports (although unconfirmed) that they open additional $1 tables on the main floor during the week.  While there, see if you can finish the Cafe’s 6 pound burrito and score it for free along with unlimited lifetime rollercoaster rides.  Don’t stay here though.

Rubbin' is racin' sound bite

– Free Grub!  As you all know, Ellis Island is my favorite off-the-beaten-path spot in Vegas.  Part of the reason why is because they always have great promotions.  Currently, play an hour at the tables and get a free entree in the great restaurant.  Play 2 hours, get 2 entrees!  Tables are limited here but usually include 1-2 $5 single deck BJ games.  Excellent promo.

– Free Booze Center Strip!  Planet Hollywood is offering a cool promo that runs through May.  Book a room for as low as $69 (many, but not all Sun-Thurs nights) and pick out your very own free bottle of wine, champagne, or liquor delivered right to your room.  That definitely meets my approval, especially considering the quality of resort at that price.

– Gambling AND Chicken Wings!  Not just a cheesy chain eatery, but also a cheesy Vegas hotel.  The Hooters casino resort is currently offering a sweet package that runs all the way to August.  Rates as low as $20 a night during the week and just $49 on the weekend can score you an upgraded room, $100 of slot promo play (which is pretty lame actually), 2 tickets to their comedy show (which is also probably lame, but can’t say for sure), and 2-for-1 breakfast.  I normally would not recommend a deal at a kitschy off-strip joint (and here is yet another reason why you shouldn’t actually stay at Hooters), but I actually kind of like the casino here for novelty’s sake and its easy walking distance to MGM, NYNY, Excalibur, etc.

– Half Price Hugo’s!  I never knew this service existed until recently.  You’ve probably all heard of or seen the Tix4Tonight booths spread over town where you can pick up vastly discounted same night show tickets.  Well, they have the same concept for restaurants now also.  Visit any of the Tix4Tonight locations, make a reservation for that night through them, pay $2 for a buffet or $3 for a nicer place, and get a voucher for half off your entree!  At the high-end joints, that can equate to $20-30 saved.  At least 30 restaurants and buffets are offered including some at Harrah’s, Mandalay, Caesar’s, and Bally’s.  And the crown jewel that is Hugo’s Cellar is also available here.  Go there and get an amazing meal, like I outlined here , for a mere $18 with this offer.  Note:  I have read that the half-price vouchers are for the entree ONLY so if it’s a steakhouse or similar, you’re on your own for the sides.

« Previous Entries