Drew Brees and Harrah’s Confirm Walk-On’s Scoop

We don’t entirely know who Drew Brees is, but we love him.

That’s because he took some time out of his busy schedule to confirm our scoop his Walk-On’s sports bar and restaurant is coming to Harrah’s Las Vegas in early 2022.

We’re confident enough in our masculinity to say Drew Brees is adorable. Also, not comfortable on-camera, making him even more adorable.

Confirmation of the news we first shared back in August was passed along via a video on the official Harrah’s Twitter account.

We’re excited to welcome you to the #VegasStrip, @walk_ons @drewbrees #ComeOutandPlay pic.twitter.com/BMteDQgcJA

— Harrah’s Las Vegas (@HarrahsVegas) September 30, 2021

Brees starts his announcement video by saying, “Word’s out, so we thought we’d make it official.”

Sorry, Drew Brees, but it’s hard to keep a secret in Las Vegas.

To Brees’ credit, it doesn’t appear he’s mad we ruined his surprise.

The video also features the founder, co-owner and CEO of Walk-On’s, Brandon Landry.

Landry appears to be a goofball, which bodes well for the success of this sports-friendly restaurant in Las Vegas. We are a big fan of goofballery.

It hasn’t been confirmed by Harrah’s, but Walk-On’s Sports Bixtreaux will move into the space formerly home to Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.

“Bistreaux” is French for “place to consume grub.”

We would tell you more about the histroy of Walk-On’s, but that’s why they invented the Internet. Well, that and porn.

Walk-On’s seems a good fit at Harrah’s as it continues to transition toward becoming a convention hotel.

The location will make it the first venue conventioneers encounter as they make their way to Harrah’s from the new Caesars Forum conference center.

DTAS (“dudes talking about sports”) is a huge trend in Las Vegas at the moment, and Walk-On’s seems to be a place where that is likely to happen.

Big thanks to Drew Brees, former American football quarterback who played in the NFL for 20 seasons (thanks, Wikipedia!), for confirming our scoop and welcome to Las Vegas.

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Burger Bar to Reopen With New Operator After Behind-the-Scenes Drama

There’s no drama like restaurant drama, and the drama around the closure of the popular Burger Bar at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place is extra juicy.

We’ll start with the good news: We hear the restaurant will soon reopen with the same name. Burger Bar, in case that weren’t readily apparent.

A source close to the situation says the restaurant will be taken over by Andi Jubani, owner of Casanova at Venetian.

The new executive chef of Burger Bar will be Luciano Pellegrini.

Closed Burger Bar, sad. Closed Burger Bar with a wedding party standing in front of it, slightly less sad.

Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar closed in Jan. 2021 to the dismay of longtime fans.

Another Keller venue at Mandalay Bay closed as well, Fleur. Fleur reopened July 26, 2021, under the management of MGM Resorts.

The closures of these successful restaurants came as a surprise to many, including us, and we claim to know everything.

Apparently, negotiations for lease renewals had been taking place months prior to the closures.

MGM Resorts and Keller couldn’t find common ground, and apparently MGM Resorts’ Chief Hospitality Officer Ari Kastrati said what amounts to, “Our way or the highway.”

Keller chose the highway.

Kastrati has a history with Jubani, so it sounds like the Burger Bar deal is done.

Full disclosure. This isn’t a Burger Bar burger. It’s just a generic photo of a burger to keep our words from slapping together.

We’re told Jubani is in talks to take over a number of other outlets at MGM Resorts casinos in Las Vegas.

The reopening of Burger Bar will involve a substantial investment to refresh the restaurant.

It remains to be seen if Jubani and Pellegrini can keep the quality and popularity of Burger Bar going.

Casanova at Venetian is well regarded, and Pellegrini has a strong pedigree, mostly in the Italian realm, including being named “Best Chef in the Southwest” by the James Beard Foundation in 2004.

As this news hasn’t been officially announced or confirmed yet, there’s no timeline for the reopening of Burger Bar.

Stay tuned for more.

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Olympic Garden Strip Club to Reopen as Peppermint Hippo

Yes, Peppermint Hippo is a thing.

And you remember Olympic Garden, right? This strip club was a Las Vegas institution prior to its abrupt closure in 2016.

The official name was OG’s Gentlemen’s Club & Male Revue.

It’s time to rejuvinate this Las Vegas erection!

Olympic Garden was a strip club unicorn, as it catered to both men and women.

There was a gentlemen’s club downstairs, and lots of ripped dude abs upstairs.

The history of Olympic Garden is strewn with drama, tax issues and a variety of legal battles.

Now, it seems, the venue will be home to a new offering, Peppermint Hippo, an obvious homage to Spearmint Rhino, another popular strip club chain.

“South Park” nerds will recall Peppermint Hippo was featued on that animated series.

Artisenal strippers for the win.

We don’t know much about Peppermint Hippo, mostly because we are too lazy to do things like “research” or “exert effort of any kind.”

The CEO of Peppermint Hippo is Alan Chang. His LinkedIn profile says the company “acquires and rebuilds adult nightclubs.”

Chang’s profile also says he was Director of Business Development for the aforementioned Spearmint Rhino from 2005 to 2015.

It also says, “Newest acquisition, Las Vegas,” although the takeover of Olympic Garden hasn’t been officially announced as far as we know.

The closest Peppermint Hippo to Las Vegas currently seems to be in Reno.

The new Peppermint Hippo will be located between The Strip and downtown, on Las Vegas Blvd. at Wyoming Blvd. It’s not far from another Vegas landmark, Dino’s Lounge.

The more Vegas strip clubs the better, we say, and look forward to checking the place out when it opens. Strictly for blog research purposes, obviously.

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Las Vegas Has the Most Affordable Hotel Rates in U.S., Per Survey

It’s time to stop the whining!

A survey has determined Las Vegas has the most affordable hotel rates in the U.S.

The survey, by CheapHotels.org, compared 50 destinations based upon their hotel rates during October 2021.

Las Vegas was the least expensive destination in the entire country, with an average hotel rate of just $52 per night.

Vegas remains a stellar value, despite the kvetching.

In the travel industry, that’s what’s referred to as an “OMFG.”

According to the survey, Boston has the most expensive hotel rates ($236 per night). Not only that, Boston doesn’t even have a replica of the Eiffel Tower or brothels nearby.

October was chosen for the survey because that’s when most U.S. cities hit their highest room rates. Only centrally-located hotels with a three-star rating or higher were
included in the survey, so Siegel Suites didn’t skew the results.

The survey also determined room rates are about 20 percent more affordable than they were in 2019.

The bottom line is there’s never been a better time to visit Las Vegas, bottom linewise.

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Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Operations Sold to MGM Resorts

Rumors of a Cosmopolitan sale have finally come to fruition.

The popular Strip resort has been purchased by MGM Resorts, although it’s complicated.

MGM Resorts is buying the business operations of Cosmopolitan from owner Blackstone for $1.625 billion.

Cosmo is not your grandpa’s sawdust joint.

MGM Resorts will basically become a tenant, as has been the trend for the company recently. They refer to it as an “asset light” strategy.

MGM Resorts will have a 30-year lease agreement, with three 10-year renewal options.

MGM Resorts will pay an initial rent of $200 million, although they’ll get a discount if they clean the fridge and leave the carpets in good shape when they’re done.

While MGM Resorts will operate Cosmopolitan, it won’t own the real estate assets.

Stonepeak Partners, Cherng Family Trust and Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust will acquire the real estate.

For finance nerds, the purchase price represents a multiple of about eight times adjusted EBITDA, “inclusive of expected operational synergies and identified revenue growth opportunities.”

Note: Whenever we hear the word “synergies,” we recommend employees gird their loins out of an abundance of caution.

Circa was built from scratch for $1.2 billion. MGM Resorts is paying $1.6 billion and doesn’t own Cosmo. Interesting times.

The news release about the sale of Cosmo’s operations included a fun fact: Prior to the pandemic shitshow, in the 12 months ended Feb. 29, 2020, Cosmo generated $959 million in net revenue and $316 million of adjusted EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and who are we kidding, you glossed over several paragraphs ago).

That’s a far cry from the “bleeding money” Cosmopolitan experienced when it first opened.

Much of the credit of turning Cosmo around must go to the resort’s President and CEO Bill McBeath.

McBeath reportedly has ownership points in Cosmopolitan, so the sale of its operations to MGM Resorts is going to result in what’s known in financial industry circles as “a metric ass-ton of money” for the industry veteran. Estimates are $75 million or more.

Cosmo has so much eye candy, you might acquire diabetes.

The Cosmopolitan deal is expected to close in the first half of 2022.

The sale of Cosmo has been in the works for some time, and the company was looking for a buyer to pony up a whopping $5 billion for the resort.

Nobody really thought they’d get that asking price. Instead, they get a nice chunk of cash and a hefty rent check each year.

It’s all sunshine and roses if business continues to track at its current levels. Prior to the pandemic, Las Vegas tourism numbers were flat. The rent increases whether business does or not, and MGM Resorts has deals like this at pretty much all its Las Vegas casinos.

Cosmopolitan: Just the right amount of “Not moobs, doobs!”

What does the sale of Cosmo’s business operations mean to guests?

First, Cosmo will probably move from its Identity loyalty club to that of MGM Resorts, M Life.

It’s also likely Marriott is out as a hotel partner.

Cosmo will be a prestige product in the MGM Resorts portfolio, a perfect complement to two other snazzy resorts owned or operated by MGM Resorts, Bellagio and Aria.

The purchase of Cosmo’s business operations is an investment in future of MGM Resorts thanks to the Cosmo’s appeal to an elusive casino customer segment, people younger than 60.

Fingers crossed our favorite things at Cosmopolitan will stick around following the deal. Chandelier Bar. “Opium” and its new sister restaurant, Superfrico. High limit lounge
cookies.

We’re very excited that in time our M Life Rewards Mastercard will get us free parking at Cosmopolitan.

The era of REITs (real estate investment trusts) and leasebacks is upon us. Opinions vary widely about how such ownership and operating agreements affect the Las Vegas experience.

Our love of Cosmopolitan is deep and abiding, so we don’t really care too much who’s on the paperwork, as long as they don’t muck it up.

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Asshat Topples Manneken Pis Statue at The D

A Life is Beautiful music festival reveler toppled and seriously damaged a beloved statue at The D casino in downtown Las Vegas, Manneken Pis.

A group of people surrounded the statue, located near the valet entrance to The D casino, presumably to capture video to share in their social media channels.

The alleged dipshit then took it upon himself to jump up on the base of the Manneken Pis statue, resulting in the statue falling over, seriously damaging both the statue and the fountain below.

Manneken Pis was damaged in the wee hours of Sep. 20, 2021. We’ll wait.

We were the first to share news of the mysterious disappearance of Manneken Pis. It turns out the police were investigating the incident, so it took some time for details to trickle out.

The owner of The D, Derek Stevens, who also owns Golden Gate and Circa, broke the seal of secrecy when he shared video of the incident on his Twitter account.

Here’s the video. The original didn’t include the music, but we couldn’t resist.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccSkATeI-Ew

Judging from the video, it appears the damage was caused by accident, but that doesn’t make the asshattery any less frustrating for Derek Stevens or his team.

Derek Stevens, estimates it could cost $200,000 to repair Manneken Pis and the fountain.

This is the last known photo of Manneken Pis prior to the carnage. We should know, we took it.

Manneken Pis holds a special place in our heart because we were the first to toss a coin in its fountain for good luck. The Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, was second. You snooze, you lose!

Manneken Pis, which translates as “little man pee,” was installed at The D in 2015. Photo below.

Showman Derek Stevens could get local media to show up to the changing of an air filter.

The statue is a replica of a famous statue in Brussels. The Stevens brothers, Derek and Greg, are of Belgian descent.

One story of the origin of the original statue claims it depicts a boy who saved Brussels from destruction by urinating on the fuse of an explosive. An alternate origin story asserts the boy is the victim of a witch’s spell, a punishment for peeing on her door.

At The D, Manneken Pis is a symbol of playfulness, irreverence and cheeky fun. Ironically, “playfulness” is what took Manneken Pis down.

The 500-pound Manneken Pis statue is currently at a foundry and repairs are underway.

Downtown is currently a little more Pissless, which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily.

The Manneken Pis (yep, it’s pronounced as you’d suspect) brouhaha is just the latest in a growing list of misdeeds involving objects owned by Derek Stevens.

In July 2015, another bonehead stole the Blarney Stone at The D. The stone, a holdover from The D’s days as Fitzgerald’s, was returned shortly after it was pilfered.

In Feb. 2021, another dimwit stole a bust of Kirk Kerkorian from the Legacy Club at Circa. The bust, too, was recovered a short time later.

Drunk people gonna drunk.

Manneken Pis is expected to return to his rightful place soon, although we’re told the damage to the statue base, fountain and statue itself are more extensive than is readily apparent.

While The D has insurance, it’s unlikely the insurance value will cover the repairs.

Vegas and The D are all about having a great time, but we can’t get onboard with dumbassery. We suspect the Stevens will have a moment of decision when the culprit is identified and apprehended. Arrest seems extreme, but a reasonable degree of accountability is appropriate given the circumstances.

Nevermind that Manneken Pis looks like it could’ve been knocked off its base by a pigeon landing on it. What the hell was somebody doing up there molesting it, even in a moment of jubilation? That’s not how we jubilate in Las Vegas.

No matter the outcome of the ongoing investigation around this incident, we’re Manneken Pissed Off.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Feel free to dance like nobody’s watching, but please  do so without wrecking our Las Vegas landmarks and curiosities, thanks.

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Royal Resort Closes and Nobody Notices

An off-Strip hotel, Royal Resort, appears to have closed with little fanfare.

Sorry, zero fanfare.

In fact, pretty much nobody even noticed the hotel closed. An entire hotel. Weird.

Royal Resort’s demise has been met with what’s referred to in the hospitality industry as a “shrug.”

Following a report Royal Resort (“resort” is used very loosely here) closed, we called and the number’s been disconnected.

We then reached out to the owner of the property, GWP Real Estate. While the company wouldn’t provide any information, we were given a number for the property manager. That number led to a voicemail not accepting messages.

So, while we haven’t been able to get official confirmation, it appears the Royal Resort has passed on, is bereft of life, has kicked the bucket and shuffled off its mortal coil.

Royal Hotel is an ex-hotel.

Dibs on the piano.

Insult to injury, the owners let Royal Hotel’s domain name expire without renewal.

We didn’t visit Royal Resort often, as it didn’t have a casino, but we saw a show or two at its Majestik Theatre.

The space saw its share of niche (low budget) shows, including “Judy’s Musical Matinee,” “Dr. A’s Magic Medicine Show,” “Sinatra Up Close and Personal,” “The Magic of Michael Aslan” and “An Intimate Night With Elvis.”

In 2017, we interviewed cast members of “Majestik Burlesque” for our podcast. They were very nice.

Possible the best thing to happen at Royal Resort, ever.

The Royal Hotel was home to The Barrymore, a faily well-received restaurant that has definitely permanently closed.

There were big plans for the 230-room Royal Hotel back in 2015, but drama ensued. What might have been.

“Don’t put this on us!” ~Vegas.com

GWP Real Estate owns not only Royal Hotel, but also “the consecutive lots to the east and west of the Royal Hotel, which consist of a 43,470 square foot shopping center on 3.7 acres and and a 306,000 square foot office building on 3.3 acres, for a total of 10.5 acres fronting on South Las Vegas Boulevard.”

GWP’s Web site says there are “plans to develop a future high rise hotel and casino.”

The history of Las Vegas is littered with “plans.”

While the closure of Royal Resort has been met with a collective “meh,” it’s in a pretty good location at 99 Convention Center Drive, in close proximity to the newly-expanded Las Vegas Convention Center.

Royal Resort is also very close to Tacos El Gordo, so there’s that.

We didn’t want the closure of Royal Resort to go completely unnoticed, so there’s a this, a reasonable facsimile of fanfare. You’re welcome.

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First Word: Kestrel Planned for Area 15

Our crush on Area 15—the quirky, “experiential” mall two minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip—is officially maturing into full-fledged love with word of yet another restaurant coming to the popular destination.

Kestrel, described as a “cyberpunk dim sum bar,” is expected to open in early 2022.

It’s rare when you visit somewhere and see things you’ve never seen before. Area 15 is pretty much all that.

Kestrel is the newest concept from powerhouse entrepreneur Ryan Doherty.

Doherty’s Oddwood lounge is the centerpiece of Area 15, and he also operates Museum Fiasco. Museum Fiasco is the first Kunsthalle-style museum in Las Vegas, whatever that might actually be.

All we know is it’s cool.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK-C5xdkVJA

Area 15 isn’t your average shopping mall. We are a huge fan of the mind-bending Omega Mart, as well as the next generation VR attraction, Virtualis. We also really like the bar inside the ax throwing place.

Area 15 seems an ideal playground for Ryan Doherty, as his concepts are often offbeat and creative.

Doherty has a cavalcade of offerings downtown, including the newly-opened Peyote restaurant.

Doherty also has Commonwealth, Park on Fremont, Lucky Day and Discopussy.

Discopussy’s restroom is a glimpse into Ryan Doherty’s brain.

In the works on Fremont Street are also Cheap Shot, a theater space (formerly Don’t Tell Mama), and We All Scream, a nightclub with an ice cream window, in the former Beauty Bar space.

We honestly have no idea what a “cyberpunk dim sum bar” is, or could be, which is part of the fun.

Watch for an official announcement of Kestrel soon. If you know this blog at all, you know waiting for official announcements isn’t how we roll. Thank you for the kind words. You can also leave them in the comments. Just saying.

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Nobu Restaurant Slated for Paris Las Vegas

On the heels of a restaurant shake-up at Paris and neighboring Bally’s, chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa will bring a new offering to Paris Las Vegas.

Nobu opened at Caesars Palace in 2013, and there’s also a Nobu at Virgin Las Vegas.

The third Nobu is expected to open in early 2022 at Paris, and will sit in the space formerly occupied by Sekushi, next to Cafe Americano.

“Nobu” is a Japanese word meaning “trust” or “prolong,” making it especially useful on condom packaging.

Caesars Entertainment says it will open additional Nobu restaurants in places much less interesting than Las Vegas, specifically, at Harrah’s New Orleans and Caesars Atlantic City.

In related news, Nobu’s hotel-within-a-hotel at Caesars Palace will be getting a multimillion dollar facelift, a project expected to be done by the end of 2021.

Nobu is the colorful one.

Nobu’s spot at Virgin got a refresh when the casino transitioned from Hard Rock to Virgin under new ownership.

Fun fact: Chef Nobu played Mr. Roboto in “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

Nobu recently closed a temporary location at Bally’s, which was weird, but it kept the restaurant’s employees working as Hard Rock became Virgin, so there’s that.

Nobu’s chain of restaurants was founded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro (yes, that Robert De Niro) and Meir Teper (yes, that Meir Teper).

Let’s just say when Nobu opened at Caesars Palace, local media wet themselves.

Nobu restaurants are known for their food we don’t eat because it’s just strange.

Please, someone, get a frying pan and cook some of this fish, already.

There are lots of changes in the works for Paris, and as we’ve shared exclusively, it sounds like Martorano’s will be replaced by a new concept from Snoop Dogg (yes, that Snoop Dogg) and Martha Stewart (yes, that Snoop Dogg). Unconfirmed, but give it a minute.

We were also the first to report the Paris Laurel Lounge would permanently close, and it’s being filled with a Vanderpump lounge.

In other breaking news, Paris finally dumped the timeshare desk at the bottom of the escalators as you enter from self-parking.

In still more breaking news, the $777 burger is no longer at thing at Burger Brasserie.

There’s a reason there’s a “vital” in our name.

Caesars Entertainment seems to be doubling down on its celebrity partnerships, with new venues in the works from Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay (give it a minute), Nobu Matsuhisa and Lisa Vanderpump.

While these licensing deals take a bite out of profit margins (the celebrity usually gets five percent of profits), they’ve been lucrative for Caesars Entertainment, so expect the trend to continue.

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Porn Convention Pulls Out of Virgin

The AVN Awards (sort of the Oscars for porn) and AVN Adult Entertainment Expo have announced these events will be exclusively virtual in 2022.

That means the AVN (Adult Video News) Awards and AVN Adult Entertainment Expo won’t be taking place at their host casino, Virgin Las Vegas. Other associated events include the GayVN Awards, AVN Novelty Expo and VIBE Program.

The only upside of this horrible news is we got a great headline out of it. As well as the joke which follows the graphic below.

“That joke never gets old!” ~Nobody in the porn business

It’s especially disappointing to hear the AVN Novelty Expo won’t be held in Las Vegas because that event always generated a lot of good buzz.

As these AVN events are happening online instead of at a Las Vegas resort, we’re not even sure why we care.

Here’s the schedule, anyway: GayVN Awards Show, January 17, 2022; ANE, January 19-22, 2022; AEE: January 19-22, 2022; and AVN Awards Show: January 22, 2022. Get details.

These AVN events have always been a fun, irreverent gathering of like-minded people, and always helped Hard Rock (now Virgin) feel edgy and relevant.

The reasons for AVN’s events going digital are fairly predictable at this point.

The event organizers cite “logistical challenges” related to the pandemic, as well as travel restrictions that could prevent international attendees from coming to the show.

In other words, the AVN Awards could be a bust.

We get the feeling Virgin isn’t too broken up about this change of plans.

After Virgin’s rebrand from Hard Rock, the hotel is wooing female business travelers, and there’s still some stigma related to porn.

We were the first to share AVN would be sticking around at Virgin, as the convention was in the middle of a multi-year contract which Virgin was set to honor.

We’ll be curious to see if AVN returns to Virgin in 2023.

In the meantime, this cancellation blows.

Oh, like we weren’t going to slide in one more pun. Do you know this blog at all?

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