Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



TRAVEL Las Vegas: Something old, a lot that's new
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 2 times since Wed Jun 25, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos

"Welcome to the city of Lost Wages."

These were the words from a flight attendant during a recent excursion to Las Vegas, Nevada. However, this statement was also an anachronism of sorts—as Vegas now has a whole lot more to offer than gambling ( despite the numerous opportunities throughout the city ). And there's probably no better place to start than a new diversion that's attracting people in droves: The LINQ.

LINQ-ing up

The LINQ ( at The Venetian ) is a complex: a shopping, dining and entertainment district that aims to have something for everyone.

Among the restaurants are Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar, the casual cafe Squeeze, Flour & Barley, Brooklyn Bowl, Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop and, of course, a Starbucks.

That certainly is not all. Tag Bar & Lounge ( an interactive lounge that features a full-service bar with 300 beers from around the world and state-of-the-art electronic table game ) and The Purple Zebra ( with a self-serve daiquiri bar with 20 flavors ) provide nightlife, while shopaholics can indulge in eyewear ( Chilli Beans ), shoes ( Bella Scarpa and 12AM: RUN ) and gadgets ( Koto ).

However, the highlight for many is probably the High Roller. At 550 feet tall, it's the world's highest observation wheel. The High Roller has 28 glass-enclosed cabins. Passengers can enjoy stunning Las Vegas views in a 30-minute ride, the time it takes for the entire wheel to rotate. Additionally, each air-conditioned cabin is equipped with two benches for seating.

I will definitely have to check this out the next time I'm in Vegaas.

A "Grand" ol' time

Recently, while in Vegas ( before The LINQ opened ), I stayed at the MGM Grand—which was more cavernous than I had imagined. I did have the privilege of being in one of the Stay Well suites, which focuses on helping the weary or sick traveler. Among the amenities in these rooms are healthful menu options, a vitamin C shower, an air purification system and even a dawn simulator alarm clock.

As with most large hotels, there are numerous options in every realm, including nightlife and restaurants. One of my most enjoyable experiences throughout the whole trip was at Michael Mina Pub 1842, a casual eatery that specializes in huge portions. The lobster corn dog ( with mustard creme fraiche ) would keep just about anyone coming back for more, but it's far from the only great item: Try the fish tacos, the beef brisket plate or the jalapeno cornbread.

Somehow, with all the food I consumed, I managed to work out a couple days. The spa has all the items you'd expect from such an establishment ( everything from soft towels to steam rooms to massages ) but there's a state-of-the-art fitness center with cardiovascular and weight equipment.

Eat to the beat

One of the things I noticed was the abundance ( or, some might say, overabundance ) of celebrity-endorsed restaurants. That's not to say they don't offer excellent fare, though.

At Paris Las Vegas, there's Gordon Ramsay Steak. There were several interesting ( in a good way ) aspects of this place, from the ceiling art ( which reportedly replicates Ramsay's hand movements when he works with a Wellington ) to the various uniforms the employees wear that denote positions ( food runners, hostesses, servers, etc. ). Possibly because of its size ( a two-story dining area ), the restaurant is not conversationally challenged.

As for the food, delicious options abound, from blue crab soup to the American rib cap I had. However, the sticky toffee pudding ( served with brown butter sugar ice cream in the shape of a stick of butter ) is pure heaven on earth—honestly, it's one of the best desserts I've ever tried.

Then there's Tom Colicchio's Heritage Steak at The Mirage. The 220-seat restaurant will focus on meats prepared entirely over an open flame—from wood-burning ovens to charcoal grills. Something I'll have to try once I make my way back there is the lobster hushpuppy dish. Of course, my steak was cooked very well—although seeing the television in the semi-private area can be a boon or a bane, depending on your dining situation.

The artisanal American restaurant Sage ( at Aria ) is for the more sophisticated diner—and it's noticeable from the menu to the impeccable service. ( When a place has sweetbreads has an appetizer, you're definitely not at Dairy Queen. ) Other offerings include veal cheeks, bacon-wrapped pork loin, pan-roasted halibut and Kobe skirt steak. The place even has an absinthe menu.

I also had breakfast at Sugar Factory, in Paris Las Vegas. It's a good thing I'm open-minded, because some of the dishes would initially throw off some people—although they were quite tasty, indeed. For example, there's the Fruit Loop panna cotta and a surprising favorite: the Sugar Factory Signature Burger—complete with a white-chocolate bun. By the way, beware the goblets filled with delectable cocktails—you may wake up in a place and have no idea how you got there ( not that I would know ).

One thing I've noticed, though ( and it makes sense for such a tourism-driven city like Vegas, and I've seen it in Chicago ) is how casual people dress—even at some of the finer establishments. Things are more about convenience now; it's a new day.

Away from the strip

Most visitors stick to the Vegas strip. However, there's definitely much more out there.

One attraction is The Neon Museum ( with guided tours offered through Sept. 15 ). There are approximately 150 signs out in the boneyard ( yes, they call it that ), and the history surrounding them is fascinating. By the way, there are several rules ( only cameras are allowed; no cigarettes, even electronic ones ), so keep that in mind.

After going to the museum, take in a local eatery like Park on Fremont. This place has a funky, yet friendly, vibe—along with an eye-catching art collection and some innovative dishes. You cannot leave without trying the Phillly mac-and-cheese steak sandwich or the fried chicken-and-waffle sandwich.

Any party place in which the attire is "casual attire or costumes" is fine by me. If that's your thing, you'll definitely appreciate GhostBar DayClub ( GBDC ), in the Palms Casino Resort. The views from the roof are spectacular, to say the least—and, although the crowd was younger, I still found myself bobbing my head to the music ( mostly hip-hop ). I used to live for 1-6 a.m.; now it's 1-6 p.m. ( when this party hits ).

Miscellaneous: Cirque, shopping

I even managed to take in a couple Cirque du Soleil shows. Zarkana, which is at ARIA, "is a spirited journey through an abandoned theater where an extraordinary circus comes back to life," according to its website. For those who have never seen a Cirque show, it's amazing. However, I've seen about 10 at this point, and it is well-done—but it didn't dazzle.

However, the following night I saw Cirque's Michael Jackson One ( at Mandalay Bay—and, boy, it's probably the best Cirque show I've ever seen. Not only are some of my favorite MJ songs showcased ( like "Stranger in Moscow" ), but the show meticulously re-creates some of The Gloved One's most famous moves. It's definitely a must-see.

As for shopping, one can rarely do better than the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. There are literally dozens of shops with name-brand items ( Cole Haan, Banana Republic, Billionaire Italian Couture, etc. ), all set in a replica of Venice, complete with singing gondoliers whose voices echo throughout the site.

A new day for gay bars

Entrepreneur Victor Drai has announced the opening of Liaison—the first-ever gay nightclub at a Las Vegas casino. Located at Bally's, Liaison is in the space that Drai's famed After Hours nightclub occupied. Liaison will be a seven-night-a-week experience featuring an eclectic mix of hip-hop, rap, top 40 and a drag night.

Many thanks to R&R Partners for arranging this trip, and to Presidential Limousine for the service.

This article shared 2 times since Wed Jun 25, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

COMEDY Talking with 'World' traveler Annick Adelle 2022-08-11
- Bay Area attorney Annick Adelle has decided to face one of her biggest fears: stand-up comedy. After starting in 2016, she is releasing her own album and touring throughout the United States. ...

Gay News

SAVOR Travelle at the Langham maintains high standards 2022-07-31
- For years, The Langham has been considered one of the top hotels not only in Chicago, but throughout the world, with the luxury stop having stops from Hong Kong to Boston to Sydney. And for years, ...

Gay News

NATIONAL California ban, HBCUs, silent disco, defaced banner 2022-07-10
- California is banning state-funded travel to four states that passed laws this year prohibiting transgender women and girls from competing in school sports according to their gender identities, The Sacramento Bee reported. State agencies will no ...

Gay News

Index lists safest, most dangerous countries for LGBTQI+ travelers 2022-07-09
- The Star Observer noted that Brunei edged past Nigeria to emerge as the most dangerous country in the world for LGBTQI travelers, according to the annual LGBTQ+ Safety Travel Index. And for the second year in ...

Gay News

Lightfoot to travel to London, Paris to highlight Chicago's economy 2022-07-07
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot will lead a delegation of City officials and business leaders on a five-day trip to London and Paris on July 11-15. The mayor will meet with city and business leaders ...

Gay News

Gay-owned Galena inn receives honor from Tripadvisor 2022-06-29
- Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages—a gay-owned bed and breakfast in Galena, Illinois—announced it has been recognized by Tripadvisor as a 2022 Travelers' Choice Best of the Best award winner for Bed and Breakfasts, ranking 13th out ...

Gay News

CTA launches celebration to mark 75 years of service to Chicago 2022-06-29
- The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) turns 75 this year. In the coming months, as the CTA moves closer to its historic destination—a Diamond Jubilee Celebration in Daley Plaza, on Oct. 1—the public can participate in various ...

Gay News

Columbus, Ohio: A tantalizing mix of the old and the new 2022-06-09
- I have had the good fortune to visit Columbus, Ohio, several times—and there's a lot more to the 14th-most populous city in the country than The Ohio State University (and, yes, be sure to include "the"). ...

Gay News

Rolling into Texas 2022-06-08
by Joey Amato - Palestine—just a hop, skip and a jump from Dallas—offers a blue dot of small-town charm I had a trip to Texas planned prior to the introduction of the anti-transgender bills in state Congress. I considered cancelling ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Descanso is Palm Springs newest gay resort 2022-06-08
- Descanso is the first resort for gay men to open in Palm Springs in more than 10 years, and "The response has been beyond expectations," said general manager Kent Taylor. Weekends are already booked through June, ...

Gay News

Probable monkeypox case confirmed in Chicago 2022-06-02
- On June 2, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced a single presumptive monkeypox case in an adult male Chicago resident with recent travel history to Europe, per ...

Gay News

Chicago attractions named to U.S. summer travel list 2022-05-24
- Four Chicago area attractions have been named among the 150 best things to do in the United States this summer by Travel Lemming. The online travel guide's list highlights the publication's favorite summer events, experiences and ...

Gay News

COVID Latest travel update: 9.7% of country at 'Medium' or 'High' level 2022-04-30
- In the CDC's weekly update of COVID-19 Community Levels released April 29, 9.7 percent—or 314—of the 3,220 counties in the United States and Puerto Rico are now designated at a "Medium" or "High" COVID-19 level. That ...

Gay News

MUSIC Lil Nas X reveals dates for his first-ever tour 2022-04-26
- Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-selling queer rapper Lil Nas X will embark on his first-ever traveling show—the "Long Live Montero" tour—this fall in North America and Europe, according to Variety. The North American leg kicks off at The Fillmore ...

Gay News

Travel confusion reigns as judge overturns mask mandate 2022-04-19
- On April 18, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle—a Donald Trump appointee—struck down the Biden Administration's COVID mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods. A Biden Administration official ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.