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The Super Secret Underground Mall In MGM's Basement (Ok, Maybe Not So Secret)

April 24, 2012 at 5:31 PM | by | Comments (6)

If you've walked around MGM Grand recently, you'll see a lot going on. Actually you can't completely walk around the outside of MGM for the moment. They've blocked off the Strip at Tropicana. Behind the huge iconic lion statue, a restaurant and nightclub (the coming Hakkasan, where Studio 54 used to be) is receiving some serious looking construction.

To get to the Trop on foot, you'll need to detour into the MGM and you'll pass by huge black sheeting covering the inside portion of the construction. Swathes large enough to suggest David Copperfield is vanishing the Statue of Liberty behind there. The space where the former lion habitat used to be is part of these major upgrades.

Downstairs, home of the new(ish) Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, tweaks continue as the area preps to be re-branded as MGM Underground. Wait, you didn't know about downstairs? The infamous MGM basement? Star Lane? Well, come along for a tour. It's one those Vegas secrets you either know about or... (Well, maybe that's not totally true. MGM counters that thousands walk down here on the way to the monorail and self-parking. But, we'd rather that reality not get in the way of a good headline.)

It's been years since we headed down there. So long that we couldn't remember how to get down there. Our trek started out at the Studio Walk area, by CSI. That didn't work out. There are ZERO signs in MGM telling you how to find Star Lane. After asking three separate folks, we discovered the entrance is in the lobby, in the furthest possible place away from the casino. (Another option is to take a monorail elevator all the way down. But, you'll need to be using the monorail.) The Lane is really a corridor, linking parking and the casino, but they fixed it up with stores. Not a bad idea. But, it always felt a little bit of an after-thought. Looks like they've spruced it up and recent developments suggest more will come. So, let's all head downstairs.

This was the first hint we found in the whole of MGM, that a comedy club exists. Underground, indeed. A number of these other businesses also don't even register a mention on the official MGM web site. So we've decided to offer you a handy guide. Feel free to copy and paste, MGM.

They sell magnets. They must sell a lot of magnets. Think of the economies of scale at work. Once again, magnets.

Rainforest Cafe Retail Outpost. A mini version of the larger store upstairs. No cafe down here.

Fat Tuesday's specialty is frozen drinks. Some in those novelty yard-long things. How awesome is that? Six other locations on The Strip. No line at this one. Next door is the soon to be Project Pie. It will serve pizza. The project, we think, is you get to choose the toppings. Its crazy down here.

Vegas-themed things to buy. The sign is cool, though.

Harley Davidson emblazoned items, although you'd be confused by a first look at the entrance.

Houdini's Magic Shop, one of the company's four outposts on The Strip. They'll happily demonstrate tricks for you.

Pearl Factory offers pearls and jewelry. Perhaps "Elegant Pearl Emporium" was already taken as a name.

Our very own Mr. Pappagiorgio has a mild obsession about this place. We're pretty sure some nutty only-in-Vegas escapade took place that night. Couldn't just be all about the pretzel.

Häagen-Dazs sells ice cream. Now, you know the rest of the story.

Brad's comedy club. We couldn't see inside, but the outside wasn't built with laughs in mind. Bananas would be a funnier name.

At the main entrance to the club, a sign will tell you if Brad himself is performing. It costs more if he is. He's been on TV. And, your neighbors will know who he is.

Mrs. Fields Cookies and one of those places that puts your face in very convincing situations with celebrities. Maybe like Brad Garrett?

Grand Candy has candy. How grand is in the eye of the beholder. But you are also in the MGM Grand. Ha! See that comedy club? It's all in the name.

As we were leaving, we noticed a tiny Nathan's Hot Dog outpost, right by the ticket machines for the monorail. Handy!

Now if it's been a while since you've been upstairs at the other entrance to the monorail, Studio Walk, you might notice even more changes. The Jersey Shore-type clothing place is gone. Yay! Replaced by a Blizz frozen yogurt branch. Plus, there's a Sony 3D showcase. Those things feel like the entertainment equivalent of timeshares to us, so we passed on a viewing.

It's all a work in progress. Take a look at the current signage, clinging to the memory of Studio 54. Still, we're genuinely looking forward to MGM's unveilings. We're just not sure of their timetable. Or, what's really behind the mysterious black sheets.

Comments (6)

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Arcade

Great summary.  The usually empty arcade in the basement is now gone too - just separated off and not replaced yet I believe.

Nutty alright!

Not the arcade!

The arcade is gone? (gasp)

Actually, I was never clear on why they didn't just drop it after they moved it out of the back of the hotel so that CSI could take its place. I never saw one kid in the Star Lane locale. Ever.

And, now I want an everything pretzel, freshly made. Sigh.

Been Years

Wow, I have to confess it has been probably nearly a decade since I've been down there. I used to live over near Eastern and Hacienda and sometimes parked at the MGM garage. Until I wised up and started parking at San Remo (now Hooters) as they usually have open surface parking.

With the lack of monorial popularity and the fact that the MGM parking garage is one of the worst, do they get any foot traffic down there? I'll have to schedule a look-see myself soon.

Easy to Miss

They could use some better signage. We miss half the stuff when we are there.I like all the new little cafes, frozen drink and ice cream places. Nice place to wander around when it's hot and you don't want to go outside.
MGM Grand is still my fav strip hotel but they need better signage and better marketing for the non-casino parts of the hotel.
We first stayed there in the late ninties and it's fun to try and figure out where the old stuff was as it was replaced with the new stuff. The yellow brick road to the monorail, for example.

Great way to get to monorail.

If you need to get to the monorail quickly, there is an escalator that will get you there from this level.  I'm not sure of the MGM psychology except to route you through the middle of the gaming area if you want to go through the upper mall.  I used to stay at one of those no-tell motels southeast of the MGM.  I would go into the main entrance and get to the monorail through this underground mall.  But I learned it was much faster going into the basement of parking garage and entering from there.  Fat Tues Day was the first place I had a real iced liquor drink. I thought they were non-alcoholic and they added it after vending.  But it was not that much a buzz as the guys I was with all added several torpedoes.  We once stayed in the MGM and went there a lot.  Wow, that was 1999.  Remember the super super hot $1 slots near the elevators?  Holy cow each machine had a cue of people waiting to play them.  The $1 machines are still there but I never see the cue anymore.  I'll be out there 4/7 to 4/14.  I'll stop by and check it out again.

Exiting the monorail.

Trying to remember, you exit one side it takes you to this underground mall.  Exit the other way, it takes you to the main mall, food court, then gaming area.  I believe its left for underground right for main level.

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