Tag: VegasChatter 2012 AwardsView All Tags
Thanks for joining us on the last day of the third annual VegasChatter Awards.
While all of our awards are based on our personal experiences, we would be nothing without all the Vegas visitors, lovers and locals who send us tips, share personal stories, dish on gossip, ask us questions, and most of all, who comment -- whether they agree with us or not. You always keep us entertained and on our toes and we hope it's a two-way street. Keep it up in 2013!
No matter where you stay, what you do or who you see, we wanna know how you spent your time in Vegas. Here's how to fill us in:
VegasChatter 2012 Awards / Coco / Peepshow / Planet Hollywood / Taylor Hicks / Bally's / Music / Entertainment / Shows / Vegas Residencies / → All Tags
We know. She's been in town for all of a month. But, the curv-licious Coco is the celeb we've most enjoyed stalking in 2012. And, no, it's not just dat ass. Or, those DDs. Although, we're not complaining.
No, we love Coco as much as Ice does because she keeps it real. Or, at least realer than most reality divas. And, with the exception of two of her breast, err, best points. But, we digress. She loves herself and isn't afraid to show it. Or, rather show it off. And, man, does she flaunt it. Now, almost nightly on the Vegas stage in Peepshow.
Is Coco the most amazing performer on The Strip? Certainly not. But, she's not expecting to be. Nor, are we expecting it of her. We're just in search of a good time and she wants to give us one. And, if you're clued in to that, you'll heart her as well. In just over 30 days, she's brought us a new look at an old show, a new Vegas mistake to be scandalized about, has already hit up the Goretorium, and is set to ring in New Year's Eve with Ice at LAX. Looks like she's settling in just fine.
VegasChatter 2012 Awards / Culinary Dropout / Hard Rock / Honey Salt / Off Strip / Eating / Dining / Restaurants / → All Tags
It felt like if you threw a stick on The Strip this year, you'd hit a new restaurant. But, would you hit the VegasChatter 2012 Best New Restaurant? It's hard to go horribly wrong at a decent dining spot in this town, but it's rarer to stumble upon a location that elevates the meal to truly special. Do some research and you can enjoy an experience you'll be talking about for years. But, what of the 2012 newcomers to the Vegas mix? Who will last? Who are a flash in a pan? Who missed the mark? And, with all the choices, which of these resto rookies drew us back for a second, third or even fourth tasting?
We like to ask Vegas cabbies who they recommend to visitors. They frequently tell us they inquire where the guest is staying and ,9 times out of 10, they recommend a place in that resort. The choices can be overwhelming. We talk a lot about food with other locals. A lot. A common key we noticed this year was taking middle-of-the-road concepts, giving them a twist and adding bonus visual trimmings. It's a Denny's, but super fancy. It’s a buffet, but the size of airplane hangar. It’s a steakhouse, but the chef is on the telly. Sometimes, the food can get lost in the mix. So, we saw some amazing spaces this year and were frequently blinded by the showbiz. Here’s a quickie look back:
We like to cover the waterfront with food. We had a great hot dog at American Coney Island, though we were bigger fans of the chili fries. Great ice cream at the Cosmopolitan's cool, chilly corner bar. Rattlecan brought burgers, pickles and in turn added a new museum to The Strip. They need to create a docent to help you tour the artwork in the space. (They do have a free, small guide listing the artists.)
Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse wowed with hutzpah. And, while folks enjoy the menu, we've yet to meet anyone who has gone back to eat a second time. Sit at the bar, enjoy the cocktails and the scene. Mizumi is 'mazing. The room as wonderful as the food, but it is pricy and we only recommend it for special occasions. We highly praised Allegro which we feel has the best meatballs in town. Others were fans of Carla Pellgerino's creations at Meatball Spot after her shock shift from the Tropicana. And, at the Trop, we've yet to meet anyone who actually paid to eat at Bagatelle.
Bacchanal Buffet is excess incarnate, huge lines, huge choices, but we still prefer Wicked Spoon. Tetsu, slotted into Aria, is extraordinary, but expensive. And, a place best shared with fellow gourmands and aficionados. Aria also brought us Javier’s this year. You'll not see them on anyone's "best of" list.
Downtown, Chef Natalie Young became a pioneer with Eat, the place in 2012 that clued-in locals most wanted to succeed.
But, to our surprise, the place we most returned, enjoyed and made us consistently happy, was Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock. There are plenty of fancier joints that we could name, but their consistency and comfort goes a long way. It did exactly what it promised to do, arrived on time, looked great, and delivered an up-graded pub menu. The staff are incredible and they do wear their own clothes so it can be be tad confusing. But, the super laid-back atmosphere makes spending extra time here a pleasure. You will see a really interesting mix of folks. From casino wanderers to folks in business meetings and genuine hipsters. While you'll be very close to the pool via the spacious outside patio; inside, it feels very cut-off from the casino floor.
"Vegas Strip" is great on many levels and that's why it's our fave of 2012. Its semi-staged reality tickles our need for Vegas scenery while capturing an average weekend on the Vegas Strip for many of us. While Travel Channel and its sister station, Destination America, are still airing TV shows about Las Vegas from 20 years ago, "Vegas Strip" takes place on today's (or last year's) Vegas Strip.
"Vegas Strip" is hidden on TruTV and is in its third season. If you're not familiar the show, it is essentially a less serious version of the show "Cops" that takes place on the, wait for it, Vegas Strip. This makes sense since the show is produced by the co-creator of “Cops,” Morgan Langley.
Folks love Las Vegas for many different reasons -- the gambling, the restaurants, the gambling, the drinking, the gambling, the shows, the gambling, the shopping and, well, you get the picture. But, you dear VegasChatter readers are especially into the Vegas Pool Scenes which is why our 2012 Field Guide to the Vegas Pool Scene was the most read story on our site this year.
Like we always do, we broke down the various ways to party and/or relax at the many different Vegas pools whether you be into gawking at a celeb in a bikini, hooking up in the deep end, splashing on a cabana or going Euro at one of the topless pools.
And this is one of the reasons why we love Vegas so much -- if you're not into any of that, you can still find a low-key pool scene to chill at (we found such a spot at The Signature at MGM Grand).
Now, pool season is a good five months away, but in case you're eager to get a head start, we're reposting the entire guide below. Just remember, this can all change come summer 2013!
VegasChatter 2012 Awards / The Cosmopolitan / Resort Fees / Restaurants / Eating / Dining / Hotel Takeovers / → All Tags
It seems as if it was just yesterday when the Las Vegas Sun ran a story headlined with the joyous news of a fee-less Cosmo right after its opening ("Aiming to avoid irritating guests, Cosmo won’t charge resort fees," January 1, 2011). A photo caption quoted CEO John Unwin as having a simple reason as to why guests would never see one, "because people don't like it."
Unfortunately, however, bottom lines do and so 2012 will add a $25 per night fee to guest stays, making its views the second most eye-popping experience at the resort.
The one constant in Las Vegas is change and downtown Las Vegas has been the biggest benefactor of progress in recent history. Fremont has continued to expand east with exciting new restaurants, bars, and shopping. Yet it's the opposite side of the tracks that was marked for a new performing arts center.
When plans for The Smith Center were announced way back in 2009 many wondered how demand for such a facility would stack up against existing theatres, showrooms and arenas that were already home to many permanent and touring productions. Not to mention those existing options were located on The Strip and not in an unknown darkness named Symphony Park.
As construction neared completion, Broadway familiar shows by the name Wicked, The Color Purple, Million Dollar Quartet, and Memphis were announced for the Smith Center. The Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Nevada Ballet Theatre decided to move their permanent homes there. At the same time, a major shift in entrepreneurial and monetary mindsets were re-focusing on downtown. Was a perfect storm brewing that could quite possibly create a new cultural center for Las Vegas?
VegasChatter 2012 Awards / Reopenings / The D Hotel / Golden Gate / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Fremont Street / Hotel Renovations / → All Tags
Should this award go to Fitzgeralds or to the D? Or, both? The best reopening in Las Vegas for 2012 goes to the D. Even though the D never closed it was transformed, top to bottom (touting a new grill, D Grill, just today). Downtown Vegas has changed a lot over the past few years, but the end of Fitzgeralds and reopening of the property as the D was a landmark change.
The transformation of the Fitz into the D was bold, but it still kept the tradition of old Vegas. Out are the giant neon Fitzgeralds signs and in are new LED boards. Older slot machines and video poker machines have been moved out of initial sight to the second level and back side of the casino. Go-go dancers and loud music are abundant when you walk into the casino which now includes one of the longest bars in America with an endless supply of HDTVs (well, 1,000 square feet worth).
Cue Carly Rae because VegasChatter's 2012 winner for Best Show is a repeat winner that gets stuck in your head (but in a good way). An award dedication could focus on the year's flops, misses, and same old, same old. We could be accused of being lazy or hard to impress. Detractors could point to our fondness of Sweets or a fat fetish.
But, that would detract from the spectacular that is Absinthe; a show for boys and girls of all ages - or at least those not afraid of f-bombs, sock puppets, sex, and titties. Absinthe is a repeat "Best Show" winner because it continues to be an innovative, hilarious, raunchy, fat-defying circus of a
shit puppet show worth every penny. Those that have seen the show know what we did there.
If you haven't seen it, go. If you have seen it, go again. The Strip's best dressed host named Gazillionare gets down and dirty twice a night Wednesdays through Sundays, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets start at $89.
Sure, as many people likely said good riddance as bid it adieu, but the day Irish eyes stopped smilin' on The Strip is still the most memorable moment of 2012.
O'Sheas shutdown on April 30 after one last, weekend-long drinkfest to make way for The Linq. A haven for those in search of a no-frills good time on The Strip, O'Sheas was one of the few places where what you saw was what you got. It never tried to be more than it was, knowing the formula for its success was cheap beer, cheap play and beer pong. And, that's why we loved it. Even if we did splash on the Purell after we left.
Caesars Entertainment promises that the spirit of O'Sheas will live on at The Linq. But, will it be even better than the real thing? Or, at least just as good? We'll be there to try it out. We just hope it's not stuck in a corner somewhere. 'Cause you know what they say about corners. They're perpendicular.
VegasChatter 2012 Awards / Denny's On Fremont / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Openings / Restaurants / Eating / Dining / Drinking / Fremont Street / Neonopolis / Pop Up Pizza / Plaza / → All Tags
Downtown's Neonopolis is enjoying a resurgence on the coattails of its Fremont neighbors. After years of morphing into a
teenage Vegas wasteland, the neighborhood has produced stores, restaurants, exhibits, and bars that are anything but a drag. However, when Denny's, complete with its own wedding chapel, was announced as the newest anchor tenant, popular opinion was that of one giant step backward toward downtown's roots of cheap eats, dirty dining, and cheese that only a mid-westerner could love.
Bets were made as to which VegasChatter writer would be drunk, desperate or both enough to land there first for an up close and personal. In other words, expectations were low, low, low, low. But, then a funny thing happened after a foodless night at Commonwealth. One starving writer entered, one impressed patron left.
Denny's on Fremont was a super clean, super friendly restaurant with a full bar, photo booth, gift shop and the same super cheap prices we're all familiar with. Yes, it was just a Denny's like every other Denny's yet nothing at all like any other Denny's. We became believers. Even the not-yet-built-but-rumored-to-still-be-on-the-way wedding chapel started to sound like a winning idea. Okay, we didn't go quite that far. But, Denny's on Fremont has inserted itself into our eating, drinking, and people watching rotation. Denny's on Fremont, a.k.a. the one with a bar, isn't gourmet, but is a solid downtown option open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just like every other Denny's. Just expect it to be anything but.
VegasChatter 2012 Awards / Vegas Mistakes / Vegas on TV / Sin City Rules / Entertainment / Shows / Surf The Musical / Planet Hollywood / → All Tags
Previous Worst Vegas Mistake "winners" have included Paris Hilton, water fees and fired Playboy bunnies. Nominees for this year include bird-brained law students and a since re-designed website, or we suppose that's re-re-designed. But, 2012's biggest fumble is a new reality show doing for Vegas what Jersey Shore did for the Garden State and Extreme Cheapskates is doing for millionaires.
To set the table, we here at VegasChatter are reality TV sluts. Whores when it comes to Vegas related reality shows. But, where Pawn Stars educates and interests us, American Restoration gets us all nostalgic and Vegas Strip elevates the level of respect for Vegas PD, Sin City Rules does nothing but perpetuate long buried stereotypes through staged dramas faker than the siliconed cast with (hopefully) exaggerated gossipy personalities.
We were taught if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all so we'll throw out that the b-roll shots of Vegas lights and sights are nice. But, Sin City Rules is an otherwise forced Housewives rip-off that's so painful even Bravo and the King of Vegas endorsements wouldn't put their stamps of approval on it
until offered an exclusive.
It's not that the cast itself is completely dull, even if they aren't the five highest-powered women in Vegas. There's a well known poker player that's managed to retain respect in the industry after emerging unscathed from the Full Tilt saga. Also on screen are the founder of multiple fashion, media and non-profit businesses next to the daughter of a notorious mobster
we'd never heard of.