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What Phase Two Of The Linq Brings You Now

Where: 89109
March 3, 2014 at 11:05 AM | by | Comments (13)

It's not even fully realized yet but The Linq has already accomplished its main goal. It's rerouting the flow of pedestrians on the Las Vegas Strip.

This weekend, phase two of the outdoor mall dining and retail destination located between Flamingo and The Quad revealed itself to the public and this writer watched as lots of passersby chose to veer off Las Vegas Boulevard and stroll down the promenade to discover what was inside. The construction wall preventing folks from traversing the full-length of the promenade has finally been removed, allowing full access from The Strip to The High Roller. There's still not much in terms of open venues. In addition to the six tenants that debuted right before year's end -- KOTO, Starbucks, O'Sheas, Chayo, Purple Zebra and Haute Doggery -- Bella Scarpa and Ruby Blue (both boutiques for the ladies); Ghirardelli (chocolate shop); Chilli Beans (Brazilian eyewear brand); Yard House (a chain bar/restaurant); a Concierge Services office; and Sky Shop (the retail shop for the High Roller) all made their debuts over the weekend.

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What The Linq Has To Offer Right Now

Where: 3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South [map], 89109
December 29, 2013 at 12:58 PM | by | Comments (4)

Caesars Entertainment has revealed the first section of The Linq, the newly created outdoor mall between The Quad (formerly Imperial Palace) and the Flamingo, but instead of beginning with six, there's just five right now.

What was once an alley is now an inviting, paver-lined promenade stretching from Las Vegas Boulevard down to the High Roller observation wheel. Or, rather it will stretch that far as soon as construction is complete. For now, pedestrians on the east side of The Strip can stroll down just a portion of The Linq before running into a barrier just beyond O'Sheas. Oh, yes. O'Sheas is back. But, first let's start at the very beginning.

From Las Vegas Boulevard, you can't miss The Linq, mostly due to its towering Strip-side pylon which is simply stunning in its clarity. Also jaw-dropping? The awkward street dancers which are frequently featured on the marquee. We're not too sure what is going on with that aside from an attempt to get youngsters to venture inside. No, that's not right. We're not sure what's up with that aside from an attempt to get the youngsters to venture inside, dawg. Yeah, that's better.

Despite the eye-catching pylon, this writer sat and watched as crowds of passersby streamed by The Linq without even a glance on Saturday afternoon. Others did at least swivel their heads for a look (most probably at the High Roller which gleamed in the background), but still kept right on by. Only handfuls of people here and there actually turned off the Strip and ventured down the promenade to discover what was within.

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The Linq To Begin With Six

December 18, 2013 at 9:24 PM | by | Comments (6)

On December 27, we'll get our first taste of The Linq.

The first six venues to make their debut within the newly created outdoor mall have been officially revealed and O'Sheas (yay!), Purple Zebra (mm'kay?) and Haute Doggery (hot diggity dog would be the most appropriate response, we're guessing) are among them.

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At New York-New York, A Street Closes As New Shops Prepare To Debut

Where: 89109
December 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM | by | Comment (1)

We don't even know if it even had an official name, but the road separating New York-New York from what used to be the CityCenter Sales Pavilion has been officially closed.

Execs asked county officials for permission to close the thoroughfare back in July. The plan is to remove it entirely and replace it with a "pedestrian access easement." What's commonly referred to as a walkway. Although, this one will have a spot for dining and drinking, too. The pathway will also link New York-New York with the new shops and dining experiences that will eventually take over the land where the sales pavilion once stood. Those coming soon venues will include the city's first Shake Shack. (Don't get too excited for that just yet. Shake Shack isn't expected to open until late 2014.)

In the meantime, the first phase of the $100 million project, which is transforming the Strip-side facades of New York-New York and Monte Carlo as well as the land between the resorts, will debut officially December 28. It will introduce three shops and a 24/7 Starbucks to New York-New York. But, from what we saw yesterday, the venues could soft open any day now.

A black drape now shields the venues from view where a floor-to-ceiling construction wall was once found. Signage for I Love NYNY, Starbucks and Swatch is clearly visible above it. We're still not all that crazy about a Swatch store (or any of the other brands, frankly) but its signage is certainly eye-catching. Its brightly lit storefront immediately caught our attention from across the casino floor.

Peeking through a gap in the drape showed us that store shelves are up and even stocked with merchandise at I Love NYNY. We couldn't, however, view the interiors of Starbucks or Swatch. We also didn't see signage up for Stupidiotic, although, we think we spied what had to be its storefront to the right of Swatch. Still, we got the impression that the venues could open very soon. At least, via their casino entrances. The Strip-side entrances? Not so much. At least, not right now.

The front of the property is still blocked to pedestrians, but, we did notice that the construction wall has come down from around the renovated Nine Fine Irishmen patio as well as the addition of pavers and quite a few trees. Also, the changes to the Brooklyn Bridge look fantastic, even from far away. The renovation, which included the loss of the garbage-strewn faux waterways along its perimeter, are a drastic improvement.

Hershey's Chocolate World, that open, dirt-filled area you see above at screen left, still has a long way to go, though. That opening has been pushed to "spring." We watched a construction worker walk inside the space from the casino and it doesn't look any better from that vantage point.

At the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard, piping seems to have been placed for the return of the water feature which surrounded Lady Liberty. The reduced footprint, we hazard to guess, will allow for an additional walkway behind the replica. You can see how it's changed below. More pavers have been installed and you'll find more trees over here, too. In no way, "park-like," but definitely more than we were expecting.

If you're not sure where all these new venues will be found at New York-New York, Hershey's will be two levels and will be found right next to the escalators that take you from the mezzanine to the casino level, and vice versa. Starbucks, I Love NYNY, and Swatch are where the old Broadway Theater used to be. (Or, Rok Vegas, if that helps.)

If you want to know how things are going over at sister resort, Monte Carlo, check out the photo gallery below. Its new venues, which will include Double Barrel Roadhouse, 800 Degrees pizzeria, and Sambalatte, won't start to debut until early 2014.

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There's A Starbucks Brewing In Vdara Now

December 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM | by | Comments (6)

In case three Starbucks weren't enough for you at CityCenter, a new one -- yes, the fourth -- has made its debut.

The coffee shop brand started popping up around the mega-resort complex earlier this year and now locations can be found within Crystals, in front of Mandarin Oriental on The Strip and inside Aria.

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New York-New York's Transformation To Begin Reveal Before Year's End

Where: 89109
November 25, 2013 at 7:54 PM | by | Comments (2)

What will $100 million get you these days on The Strip? At New York-New York, a portion of that amount (shared with sister resort Monte Carlo) will get you a revamped facade featuring a Hershey's Chocolate World, Swatch boutique, Stupidiotic and I Love NYNY novelty shops, and a Strip-side 24/7 Starbucks with patio dining. Or, in other words, everything you could possibly need.

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Vdara is Turning The Silk Road Resto into a Starbucks and Some Meeting Space

October 11, 2013 at 6:49 PM | by | Comments (3)

When Vdara shut down their Silk Road restaurant a few years ago, they instantly opened up The Market Cafe, a classy place where guests could get quality, made-to-order food for either "stay" or "to go" as well as gourmet market essentials like bottled water, milk, ice cream, cheese, meats and even bottles of wines. Oh, and the Market Cafe also serves as a coffee bar. But, we guess that wasn't enough to liven up the place.

Vdara is now in the process of opening a Starbucks across from the Market Cafe, in front of the old Silk Road restaurant. (The shot above was snapped from The Market Cafe.) And, thanks to a heads up from tipster, Brian G., the Starbucks will open in December which is also when we presume Silk Road will reopen as a meeting space for up to 200 attendees. He also found this rendering, too:

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New Lobby Experience Taking Shape At Elara

Where: 80 E Harmon Ave. [map], 89109
August 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM | by | Comments (3)

The lobby at the non-smoking, non-gaming, Hilton Grand Vacations' Elara is in the midst of receiving a new look.

A new lobby bar (pictured above), seating area, and Starbucks are now open to the public. All three sit directly in front of the giant glass windows looking out towards Elara's pool.

The bar itself has a modern feel to it with bright purple accents and curved edges along the bar top. There's seating on all four sides, but this writer's guess is that the ones facing the pool will fill up first. The greenery inside and out give the feel of one continuous area. So, rather than watching your skin bake in the desert heat, you can sit in the nice, cool air conditioning, enjoy your cocktail of choice, and still soak in the same views of those lounging by the pool.

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The Cup Shutters at Crystals

May 13, 2013 at 5:09 PM | by | Comments (2)

With three Starbucks and a Roasted Bean all within a few minutes walk, it wasn't hard to see where this one was going. Crystals' original coffee shop, The Cup, has folded.

Recently, CityCenter debuted three new Starbucks and one was just a short escalator ride away from The Cup. (It replaced the closed Pods by Wolfgang Puck.) Another Starbucks opened inside Aria (where you can find the Roasted Bean as well) while a third now can be found alongside the Strip, just in front of Mandarin Oriental.

And, that's not counting the Starbucks you can find next door at Monte Carlo. Or, the coffee you can order up at the Jean Philippe Patisseries you can find inside both Aria and Bellagio. Or, the cup of Joe you can grab at Va Bene Caffe inside The Cosmo. Or...

(PHOTO: @daynaroselli on Twitter)

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Eight New Things To See, Try In Vegas

March 4, 2013 at 10:24 PM | by | Comments (0)

The excitement level is high.

Thought your Vegas to-do list was all set? Maybe. Maybe not. There are eight new dining and show options to explore. Some on The Strip, some downtown. Some recommended. One decidedly not. Listed below are the venues and acts hoping for your consideration:

TWIN PEAKS

Open: Now (Full lunch/dinner service begins on March 6)

This chain restaurant has official put out the breasts welcome mat. The first Vegas locale of Twin Peaks opened at 5 p.m. in Harmon Corner (next to Planet Hollywood) tonight. Head here for cold brews, rock climbing walls, and scantily clad LumberJills.

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Who Has The Best Casino Coffee?

February 28, 2013 at 5:09 PM | by | Comments (5)

Coffee is a vital part of our day at a casino. In the morning, it warms the soul and prepares us for the day. Coffee in the afternoon can give the push to get us past the post-lunch drag and a late night cup may offer the punch we need to see the sun rise.

Venetian and Palazzo have at least six coffee shops to buy Illy, Coffee Bean and Lavazza coffee and there are Starbucks popping up quicker than CeeLo's puppets. That's great when we're walking around, but not so helpful when in the zone at the blackjack table or while having a mega video poker session.

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Five Quickie Snapshot Updates From Around The Strip

February 20, 2013 at 11:13 PM | by | Comments (2)

A failed trip to check out the new Citizens Kitchen at Mandalay Bay for breakfast didn't satisfy our hunger (we ended up at Raffles Cafe, sad face), but it did provide us with several new updates to share. The first we learned the hard way -- the newly opened, 24/7 Citizens turns away new guests for about 45-60 minutes between breakfast and lunch service. You can probably guess what time we happened to arrive. A rep says they're working out some transitional kinks in the kitchen and hope to eliminate that closure within the next few weeks. Until then, stay away from around 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

After breakfast, we journeyed down The Strip and made the following discoveries:

Rollin' with the homies... by Hakkasan.

Hakkasan, that five-story restaurant-slash-lounge-slash-nightclub coming to MGM Grand, still won't say when it's opening exactly, but there's at least a sign for it now. And, some patterned ironwork. And, a big a** video screen.

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