Tag Archives: drinking

Las Vegans Toss Energy Drinks for Blissful Sipping

Do you find it hard to be clearly focused when hyped up on energy and caffeine drinks, all the while our zany world is spinning at Mach 1?  The uncontrollable jitters make it hard to accurately text on your cell phone while clubbing.   And, if nothing else, it’s just plain hard on your ol’ ticker. 

Rejoice!  Ex Drinks has come to the rescue.  Headquartered in Henderson, Nevada, the company now has a relaxing natural fruit drink called Chill. 

“The relaxer drink category is the latest and newest growing category,” says Deborah Behr, managing director of Ex Drinks. “We do have America’s first relaxer beverage. We were the first ones to bring it in the United States. The concept in it is exactly that: to have something to kick back and unwind; put your feet up.” 

Containing chamomile, valerian, lemon balm and vitamins, Chill comes without the artificial flavors, colors and other additives often found in energy drinks. 

You can pick up a can of the refreshing liquid relaxation at Albertson’s in the Las Vegas Valley or visit their Web site at www.exdrinks.com for more information.

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Three-Day (!) Wine-O Festival Kicks Off in Las Vegas

The 36th annual UNLVino wine tasting extravaganza in Las Vegas  is back, starting on April 8, for an incredible three days of non-stop Champagne, sake and wine tasting action, and also to drum up some much appreciated funds for UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration’s Food and Beverage Management Department. 

To kick it off, UNLVino presents Bubble-Licious, a celebration of all things sparkling at Caesars’ brand new Garden of the Gods pool complex. 

Here are the three locations and times: 

Bubble-Licious: Thurs., April 8, The Garden of the Gods, Caesars Palace, 7-10 p.m. 

Sake Fever: Friday, April 9, Palms Pool & Bungalows, The Palms, 7-10 p.m. 

UNLVino Grand Tasting: Saturday, April 10, Bally’s Ballroom, 2-6 p.m. 

Tickets are available here.

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Jay-Z, Beyonce, Champagne & Dining Mix to Revive Slumping Las Vegas

Las Vegas is definitely showing signs of perking up and bouncing back if popping champagne corks and dining on haute cuisine is any indication. 

What city needs Big Brother and trillion-dollar bailouts when you’re lucky enough just to have Jay-Z and wife, Beyonce, grace your presence?

Jay-Z and Beyonce battled preganancy rumors like true rock stars last weekend — by hitting up Las Vegas with gusto. After Jigga rocked out at the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms alongside Young Jeezy and Trey Songz, he joined B at the hotel’s Mint High Roller gaming lounge around 4 a.m. 

Music mogul Jay-Z was also celebrity host and a big part of the crowd draw at Tao nightclub last Saturday night with Beyoncé. 

A colossal 3.9-gallon bottle of Ace of Spades champagne is now for sale at the Tao nightclub in the Venetian for $100,000, thanks to the big price boost that comes with Jay-Z’s autograph on the bottle Saturday. 

The bottle, known as a Nebuchadnezzar in the bottle family – only two in the world -holds five times the amount of bubbly that comes in a double magnum, but is only half of the king of champagne bottles, the 30-liter Melchizedek. 

Jay-Z featured the champagne in his 2006 video “Show Me What You Got” after Cristal boss Frédéric Rouzaud made some disparaging remarks about the music mogul’s fondness for Cristal. Jay-Z led a boycott of Cristal and switched his allegiance. 

The mega-club Tao, which opened in September, 2005, announced it had a monster night that didn’t include champagne imbibing last Saturday– a record 1,400 dinner covers on the restaurant side and more than 7,000 people going through the nightclub, another record. 

Then, further down the Strip at CityCenter, the Light Group nightclub Haze at Aria was the scene of an epic champagne-buying spree last Saturday night. A photo of the high roller’s receipt for $182,000-plus turned up on an Aria casino host’s Twitter site. 

According to the casino host, the big spender ordered super-sized bottles: one each of Cristal, Moet Chandon, Dom Perignon and an unidentified brand of vodka. 

He left a $30,000 tip on top of the automatic 20 percent gratuity. 

The man made the purchase after asking for an entire section of the nightclub. Told he would have to “buy big” for that to happen, he ordered the four bottles, which appear much larger than magnums.  A magnum holds two bottles, a Jeroboam four bottles and a Methuselah eight bottles.

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Real Beer Floats – and more – in Las Vegas

Forget the root-beer– I mean, after all, when in Las Vegas party you should be partying with the big boys – or gals – right-o?  And that includes your beer! 

Combine your beer with dollops of real ice cream at the Yard House in Las Vegas ( Town Square, 6593 Las Vegas Blvd South) for a mere $7. 

Not an ice cream junkie?  Then take a play out of Yard House director of beverage Kip Snider’s playbook who likes to add Lindemans Framboise or Young Double Chocolate stout.

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Wine-o Oasis in Las Vegas

Finally, it’s Sin City’s’ time- their very own wine-o wonderland has arrived. Why did it take so long in coming to a city that thrives on drinking the morning, afternoon and nighty-nite-nite?  After all, the oasis has been filling parched palates in 63 stores in 11 states. 

Winning the prestigious Beverage Dynamic’s 2008 Retailer of the Year award, Total Wine & More finally trudged  into Las Vegas on March 4, bringing with them 8,000 wines, including 1,100 cabaret sauvignons, 750 chardonnays, 500 merlots, 250 zinfandels and 600 pinot noir varieties- all jam-packed all in a 27,000-square-foot store in Boca Park (730 S. Rampart Blvd.). 

There are even 2,000 kinds of the hard spirits (500 vodkas, 220 scotches and 230 rums, among others) and even 1,000 varieties of beer to take down and pass around. 

That’s enough to keep anybody warm for many a night.   Compliment the experience with one of their 200 high-end cigars and you’ll be feeling no pain. 

Not a wine connoisseur? No problemo.  They have three weekly wine tastings to get you in the groove: noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

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Las Vegas Sweeps Nightclub & Bar Awards

The Oscar’s are reserved for the Hollywood film elite. But the nightclub and bar industry has their own brand of national awards annually in Las Vegas. 

This year, Steve Wynn’s XS nightclub at the Encore in Las Vegas was the big winner that swept all seven nightclub categories at last week’s 2010 Nightclub & Bar Awards at the industry convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

XS won Mega-Club of the Year and New Club of the Year honors.  Tao, at the Venetian, won Nightclub of the Year. 

Much-decorated DJ Paul Oakenfold, who joined Rain nightclub at the Palms Hotel & Casino last year, won Resident DJ of the Year honors. The Palms also won Single Promotion of the Year for Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas also took home the Ongoing Promotion of the Year. 

Finally, Blush Boutique Lounge, located inside Wynn Las Vegas, gave Wynn properties three awards including the prestigious win for Lounge of the Year.

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Fly into Las Vegas, Buy Booze while at Luggage Carousel

Buying booze at an airport luggage carousel will soon join the “only in Vegas” list.

Clark County commissioners are actively looking for a vendor to run a liquor store at McCarran International Airport’s baggage claim areas.

McCarran will be the only airport in the U.S. where highly spirited travelers could shop for euphoric fueling spirits as they await their bags to come down the turnstile. 

Randall Walker, the airport’s aviation director, estimates that the store would bring in $400,000 to $600,000 a year.  Definitely not chump change in a stale economy.   Equally important, the innovative approach would help the county help curb the fees on airline, which, in turn, would give airline carriers less reason to cut flights into the Entertainment Capital of the World. 

It’s wasn’t a slam-dunk decision, though.  Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak resisted the idea and asked that the board put off action for at least a month so that businesses, travelers, the taxicab authority and others can weigh in.  But his colleagues rejected the feeble plea, so he finally gave in and joined the pack in approving the booze store.

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Super Bowl Parties Bring Out Cheap Drunks

Expect to see free-flowing Patron and Grey Goose at your upcoming Super Bowl party?   You say, “Whatz Dat?”

This year you’ll be lucky to imbibe on wood grain alcohol at your friends’ party.

Americans’ love affair with top-shelf booze apparently has really cooled last year, as recessionary woes took a dramatic toll on high-price tipples.

Although people drank more alcohol, it turned out to be much cheaper brands, according to a report by an industry group.  They also appeared to be more ‘closet’ drinkers, preferring to guzzle more at home and less in pricier bars and restaurants to save money- and, perhaps, to avoid costly drunk-driving arrests.

Industry growth slowed in 2009, with the amount of liquor sold by suppliers up by only 1.4 percent– the smallest hike since 2001.

And the lowest-priced segment, including brands like Popov vodka, reportedly grew the fastest, with volume rising 5.5 percent.  The most expensive brands – think Grey Goose, tumbled a whopping 5.1 percent.

So, better crank up your dusty still- it’s almost Super Bowl time!

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Bartending Throwdown: Season Two of Las Vegas’ On the Rocks

LXTV.com’s online bartending competition for season two’s On the Rocks, takes off from where season one left off:  bartender’s making a go at a $100,000 check (courtesy of Absolut Vodka) and the title of America’s Top Bartender at the two-time host city of Las Vegas. 

Where season one was filmed at bars throughout the MGM Grand, season two will take place throughout Caesars Palace over eight days, starting at the end of October and airing as three 30-minute episodes on NBC following Saturday Night Live, beginning November 7.   Up to three contestants may be voted off after each episode, making this both the shortest of the foodie reality television shows out there as well as that with the highest stakes for the competitors. 

Open casting calls were held in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas. 

Award-winning mixologist and Pernod Ricard brand ambassador Simon Ford will return on the show in the capacity as advisor on all things beverage. 

Among those made famous during season one were Las Vegas bartenders James “Franchise” Hadhazy, BarMagic of Las Vegas’ Kristen Schaefer and Stripsteak’s Amanda Gager, who, after outlasting and outmixing her competition, took home the check and the coveted title.  Gager is said to be returning this season as judge, as well as entertaining Italian playboy bartender Brienza. 

Among those called back this season was First Food and Bar bartender Mariena Mercer, 26, and a rare second-generation Las Vegas native.  Mercer has been bartending up to two jobs at once since she turned 21.

 “I really want to experience every type of bartending,” she says.  “I really would love to own my own bar some day.”

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Get Drunk as a Skunk in Las Vegas

A few nice things about October in Las Vegas:  The fricken hot heat of summer which sears your eyelids to your eyeballs abates for six months; kids go back to school, giving their parents at least a semblance of renewed sanity; and an Oktoberfest is promoted in nearly every nook and cranny in Las Vegas, hopefully, to give the venue a revenue bump. 

One of the premiere events is the Jacktoberfest Beer Festival that runs today from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sunset Station in Henderson. beerdrinking

It features 30 different beers from all over the world.  And if that is not enough to satiate your needs, then maybe the live music from The King Mixers, Hair Nation and Sin City Sinners will- these are not your ordinary garage bands.

Included in the $20 entry fee for this event is a plethora of events that only drunkards could truly appreciate:  $500 for Sexiest Oktoberfest costume (or what many of you normally wear anyway), Hooters Bikini Beer-Chugging Contest, BBQ Grill Toss, Weiner Dog Races, and so much more. 

For the really commercial strength chuggers there’s an after party inside Club Madrid later in the day.  No word yet on whether escorts will be allowed to accompany the inebriated. 

Please call 702-547-7777 or log on to www.sunsetstation.com for more details.

Please, arrange for a cab to get back, enjoying the day even more. 

Bottoms up!

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Las Vegas Nightclubs Gone Too Wild?

Even in wild, anything goes Las Vegas, apparently, there are limits on what can and can’t be done in nightclubs.

In July, gaming regulators slapped the Planet Hollywood casino with a $500,000 fine for its Prive nightclub’s bad behavior, including “topless and lewd activity” and dumping club-goers in the casino “in various states of consciousness.”

The same month, the Rio closed its Sapphire topless pool, managed by a local gentleman’s club, after authorities arrested 10 people on suspicion of prostitution and drug crimes. Over Labor Day weekend, eight more arrests on similar charges were made at the Hard Rock Hotel’s pool club party, Rehab.

It’s all part of a crackdown by Las Vegas authorities on what they see as clubs gone wild.

“The quarrel is not, ‘You guys are offering entertainment that’s going to offend Middle America.’ We all want to keep Middle America coming to us to have fun. But we have rules,” said Randall Sayre of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. During the heyday of the “What happens here, stays here” tourism campaign, the must-have accessory for any Las Vegas Strip casino was a pulsating nightclub that lured Hollywood starlets and drunken tourists willing to pay for a few hours of shimmer.

That has sometimes proved to be an ill-fated mix. Though the clubs are reliable moneymakers and publicity machines, some have vexed officials with their fraternity-style antics — including stripping contests, fistfights, and alleged drug use and sexual assaults.

In the last decade, smoky lounges on the Strip gave way to three-story mega-clubs and booze-drenched pool parties. Out on the cutting edge of trendy are clubs such as the bronze-walled XS, the centerpiece of casino magnate Steve Wynn’s resort Encore.

Most of the clubs, which pull in tens of millions of dollars from high-volume sales of alcohol and special seating, successfully keep thousands of tourists under control. But the venues, jostling for the same young crowd, have a penchant for envelope-pushing — and the casinos, Sayre said, have mostly kept their hands off the cash machines.

In the last two years, Clark County has warned clubs about a wet-boxer-shorts contest and women shedding shirts at events named “Lose the Tan Lines” and “Boobs or Bust.” Some clubs launched stripping contests; others tried to sneak around no-nudity ordinances by slathering women in body paint.

Many nightlife problems are far graver, however, which could prove problematic for casinos in the long run. Gaming regulators can hold them responsible for most anything that unfolds on their properties.

In 2006, the state Gaming Control Board told casinos it was concerned about reports of violent, excessively drunk and underage club-goers. In the last year, authorities have noticed an uptick in prostitution and narcotics crimes at Strip hot spots, said Officer Bill Cassell of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

But it was “Prive-gate” that truly rattled the town’s after-dark scene and it appears no end is in sight for the enforcement and creation of new clubbing rules to govern Las Vegas partygoers.

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Drunken Debauchery in Las Vegas Lands $500,000 Casino Fine

Do you think what happens in Las Vegas, stays there?  Think again. 

Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas found themselves in hot water with Nevada gaming officials this week over illegal activity that has been taking place outside a nightclub. The club is privately owned and leased from Planet Hollywood, but the resort is being hit with a large fine nonetheless. drunkendebauchery

The club is accused of hiring employees with criminal records, allowing minors inside the club and permitting underage drinking, drug use, taking dangerously drunk customers and dropping them off unattended in the casino. Physical and sexual assault by nightclub employees has also taken place at the club, according to officials. 

Apparently, the level of prostitution increased around the club and no one did anything to discourage or change the situation, according to Gaming Control Board officials.  

Planet Hollywood, as a result, has agreed to pay $500,000 to Nevada gambling regulators for failing to police and control problems at the Prive nightclub inside of Planet Hollywood.   They have also agreed to pay out an additional $250,000 in a year’s time if changes are not made in the operation of the nightclub.  The Nevada Gaming Commission must still vote on whether or not to approve the fines. 

Planet Hollywood is the first Las Vegas resort to ever acknowledge it was at fault for problems inside a nightclub that it doesn’t own. 

The trendy resort is now being used as an example by regulators for the rest of the gaming industry. Hopefully, the sanction will send a strong message up and down the Las Vegas Strip for casinos to exercise stronger control over their party venues, even those operated by outside vendors. 

The fine is large, even by gaming industry standards, but Planet Hollywood feels the penalty fits the crime. 

“We didn’t execute proper supervision and we’re the message being sent to the rest of the industry,” said Planet Hollywood’s lawyer, Frank Schreck 

Meanwhile, the current property lease between Planet Hollywood and Prive has had to be changed and rewritten and the Planet Hollywood security officers can now enter the nightclub without being accompanied by a club employee. This is done in an aim to reduce illegal activities in their own property. 

Jacqueline Hollaway, Director of Business License for Clark County, released a statement that reads in part: 

“…Privè has been operating on a limited license, which expires July 28. We are evaluating whether to extend that license or not. If there is no extension, Privè will be forced to close its doors since it cannot legally operate without a business license…” 

Planet Hollywood’s fine is large but is not the largest issued by the Gaming Control Board. In 2003 MGM Mirage was fined $5 million for a problem with currency transaction reporting. In 1988 Imperial Palace was fined $1 million for building a private suite celebrating Hitler. 

Now, the added kicker:  Many other Las Vegas hotel-casinos are also now under active investigation over the activities happening inside their nightclubs and other entertainment venues. 

Perhaps it is best to take some checkers and other board games with you when traveling to Las Vegas- just in case.

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Bloody (Mary) Revolution in Las Vegas

One of the fastest emerging beverage trends – at least, a fad – in Las Vegas is the build-your-own-bloody-Mary bar.  Weekly new bars are offering outlets for budding bar chefs to mix and create their own brand of signature brunch cocktails from over 40 ingredients.

Already getting into the spirits- Abbey Road Bar at the Revolution Lounge, Simon’s Restaurant’s Sunday brunches, and also the new Bambu Bar at Mandalay Bay that opens on June 18, providing guests an elegant island feel.

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Las Vegas Bartender Armando Rosairo Wins National Crown

Designing drinks on a straightforward platform of “make it fresh, keep it simple,” Southern Wine & Spirits’ Director of Mixology Armando Rosario accepted his trophy (a cocktail shaker mounted atop a marble mortar) as winner of the of the United States Bartenders’ Guild’s (USBG) 2009 Nevada championship. ArmandoRosario

Then, on May 12, Rosario represented Nevada in the USBG’s national championship at the Drake Hotel in San Francisco- and won! 

His signature fave concoction is a blend of Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, cucumber, optional dill and an optional half-ounce of vodka. 

As the national winner, Rosario will go on to represent the United States at the International Bartenders Association (IBA)’s prestigious annual World Cocktail Competition in Germany. 

“I am excited to have the opportunity to represent the U.S.,” says the native of Mozambique, “and am confident that the simplicity and beauty of the drink will be appealing on a worldwide stage as well.”

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Need a Cocaine Hit? Try Red Bull!

If all night partying in Sin City and the caffeine and sugar chaser in Red Bull drinks in the wee morning hours doesn’t kill you, maybe the cocaine will. 

Red Bull has long been a preferred drink of choice for Las Vegas partiers, and widely distributed in the United States, either used in mixed drinks or just swigged right out of the can.  That’s why last year Red Bull deemed fit to launch their sister drink, Red Bull Cola, after a splashy Las Vegas launch.  RedBull

It’s a cola-flavored spin-off to the popular Swiss-made Red Bull energy drink, marketing itself as “Strong & Natural,” containing only natural ingredients such as lemon, ginger and kola nut.  Coca-Cola lists only “natural flavors” on the can’s label. The company historically has kept its ingredients a secret- until now. 

The rub is that it also been found to contain coca leaf- coming from the same plant that supplies cocaine.   

“Decocainized coca leaf extracts are used as flavoring in food products around the world and are considered to be safe,” Red Bull said in a released statement, citing a U.S. Food and Drug Administration code that lists decocainized coca leaf as a safe, natural extractive. 

Officials in Germany are not swallowing those assurances. Six German states – half of Germany’s population – have now banned the drink and pulled the can off their shelves after a German health institute recently took a sampling of Red Bull Simply Cola, using a highly sophisticated method of testing. The sample results tested positive for cocaine — albeit a tiny 0.13 micrograms in one can.  Although 12,000 liters would need to be drunk to feel any effect, that was enough to cause concern in Germany, where the country’s strict federal consumer protection agency is doing more tests. 

Red Bull management, based in the Austrian city of Salzberg, counters the allegations saying it’s really not a big deal.  It’s not the white powdery stuff; it won’t get you high; it won’t hurt you. But they “take the German authority’s concerns seriously” and had an independent institute test Red Bull Simply Cola, which found that cocaine was not detectable in the drink.  Furthermore, they said, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment found the drink’s ingredients posed no health risks and no risk of “undesired pharmacological effects including, any potential narcotic effects.” 

Meanwhile, the FDA wasn’t aware of any complaints about the drink, nor does it have plans to order a ban in this country.  “We’re aware of this news report but do not have any additional information at this time,” said FDA spokeswoman Susan Cruzan. 

Bottom’s up!  Try your gambling luck and gulp Red Bull Simply Cola’s in Las Vegas like water!

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World’s Largest Martini Prepares for Las Vegas Christening

Las Vegas-based Opportunity Village is teaming with Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas to create the city’s largest gin-based martini, The Opportunitini.  The unveiling event is Tuesday, April 28, at 6 p.m. in front of Hard Rock Cafe’s signature guitar martiniin Las Vegas at 4475 Paradise Road. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will be on-hand with his bevy of Vegas showgirls and world-class entertainment to ceremoniously top off the 20-gallon martini that will then be served to guests at the ceremony.     

The Opportunitini is the brainchild of mixologists at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Cafe and will be placed on their menu for the entire summer.  Proceeds from the sales of the drink will benefit the men and women at Opportunity Village, which is celebrating its 55th year of providing vocational training, social skills, job training and placement and opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities in Las Vegas.   

“We are very excited about partnering with the Hard Rock Cafe to unveil The Opportunitini,” says Linda Smith, Chief Development Officer at Opportunity Village.  “The record-breaking attempt promises to be an exciting event and the drink will be the perfect adult thirst quencher during those hot summer months.”

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Lindsay Lohan Shuns Stripping, Outed by Prive Nightclub for Drinking in Las Vegas

Although Lindsay Lohan is reportedly not going to strip down and perform in the newly opened Peepshow at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas opposite Spice Girl Mel B, her behind-the-scenes boozing has been made public by bosses of a Las Vegas nightclub who claim to have seen the actress downing vodka. 

The Mean Girls star – who is newly-single after splitting from girlfriend Samantha Ronson – as been outed by management at Prive nightclub in the Planet Hollywood for drinking alcohol when she claims to be tee-toataling after several stints in rehab. 

According to TMZ, the nightclub released a statement saying:  “Mel [B] was drinking Merlot and Lindsay asked for a Vodka drink mixed with soda water and a splash of cranberry.” 

Lindsay lashed out at a reporter who quizzed her about her ongoing imbibing relationship with alcohol only last week, responding with: “I don’t drink…a**hole.” 

The actress attended rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for alcohol and substance abuse in 2007.

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Justin Timberlake Loves Swigging Tequila 901

Justin Timberlake may want to take a page from the book of illustrious Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman when it comes to promoting liquor in Las Vegas.  While Goodman occasionally makes appearances with showgirls and gin, justintimberlakeTimberlake now likes to dance and sing his way through Las Vegas appearances with his new 901 tequila buddy.  He’s been spotted at XS at Encore, the Playboy Club at the Palms, and elsewhere swigging on the yummy brew. 

901 is the area code of Memphis where Timberlake grew up and according to Timberlake, “It’s also the time that the evening stops and the night officially begins.” 

901 tequila will be available in May, sold exclusively in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles.

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Walk and Sip Vino at Las Vegas Wine Walk

The second of the 2009 Wine Walk events to support the New Vista Community will be held Saturday, April 25 at Boca Fashion Village, 750 S. Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas.  The price is $30 per person or two for $50; the event will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  The season’s first Wine Walk took place Saturday, April 5 at Towne Square.  winewalk

For five years this successful charity fundraiser has been held exclusively on the east side of Las Vegas.  However, this year people living in northwest Las Vegas are being invited to participate with a series of dates in Summerlin.  Guests will have an opportunity to taste more than twenty different wines while leisurely shopping at Boca Fashion Village or Towne Square. Live entertainment will be provided and Designated Drivers will be made available as needed at no charge to Wine Walker participants.

2009 Wine Walk schedule: 

Town Square – May 5, September 5 and October 3

Summerlin-Boca Park – April 25, May 23, September 26 and October 17 

New Vista has been providing health care, life skills training and homes to people with learning and developmental disabilities since 1986.   Services are paid for by direct contribution, the New Vista Community Emporium (a second hand new and used retail store located at 5220 W. Charleston in Las Vegas) and fund raisers like the annual Wine Walk. 

Further information on New Vista and the Wine Walk may be found at http://newvistacommunity.org/

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Cheap Las Vegas Booze, Lotsa Fun

Hey, it’s a recession isn’t it?  You wouldn’t necessarily know it by frequenting many of the Las Vegas nightclubs and ordering bottle service for your guests.  Raining C-notes is the rule, not the exception.  It’s hard to get an economical buzz on anymore. 

Until now. 

O’Sheas Casino on the Las Vegas Strip is offering – are you sitting down? – an unbeatable mouth watering 24/7 special where you can purchase a 750-milliliter bottle of Smirnoff or Jack Daniel’s nestled in a stylish brown paper bag with six austere plastic cups and a pitcher containing your mixer of choice.  All this for just $45. 

If one of their bars is packed,  don’t wait, just race to the other one. 

So, it’s time to get out and shake off the recession blues and hit the Las Vegas streets for some cheap booze and entertainment.  And for great comraderie, be sure to bring all your friends and reasonable facsimiles thereof.

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Guns ‘n Beer Sin City Showdown

Like to get away from it all?  Have a brewskie and try your luck at video poker?  Now you can get all that and – if you’re really feeling lucky – a new 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun to call your own and have some good clean fun!  drinkingguns

The O’Aces Bar & Grill in Las Vegas, 4955 S. Decatur Blvd., is amping up their promotions campaign to lure in a new caliber of customers in our knee-deep recession.   They’re offering a smokin’ 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun as their jackpot to any video poker customer that is lucky enough to hit two royal flush bullseyes within a month.  That’s right.

The spirited promotion is stirring up a whirlwind of controversy, even for a city that sees and does it all.  Some say it’s downright dangerous, providing a legal license to kill.  Bar management quickly counters, saying they’re just being innovative and trying anything they can to survive, adding “it’s our right to bear arms.”  

So far, their innovative new business promotion is  proving to be a silver bullet killer- they’re bringing in customers they’ve never seen before. 

No word on what President Obama is planning to do to curb the proliferation of such handguns.

Win two royals and a scantily clad cocktail waitress just slings you the shiny gun from under the bar and you pack out the heat ?  Wrong.   Instead, the winning,  albeit most likely tipsy gambler receives a voucher that they then take to a gun store, pass a background check, pay the license fees- then pack the heat.    

And, yesiree, there are some other strings attached:  Gamblers need to plunk down at least a buck twenty-five and they must be active O’Aces rewards club members. 

Hurry, don’t miss out on this gunslinging action.  There’s still time to win.  Several of their customers have won one royal flush, but not two of the winning hands- yet. 

Bottoms up!

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Las Vegas’ Sexiest Cocktail Waitresses

Sooner or later Las Vegas Backstage Access knew it would happen:  a Las Vegas branded sexiest cocktail waitress contest.  Who would have thunk it?  Sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, there were 4,539 respondents that were ultimately paired down to a field of 10.  And the winner is… Luxor’s LAX nightclub server Jordan “J-Lee” Abeyta- all 5 feet, 2 inches of 36-24-32 of her. jordanabeyta

The single Abeyta, 22, of Portuguese and Spanish descent, who someday wants to host a travel show on cable TV, briefly talked about her victory: “I’m really honored to be chosen.  All the girls in the contest were beautiful.  Maybe they’ll [customers] recognize me, come in and want to sit at my table.”  

Clicking her six-inch stilettos smartly, Abeyta turns and works her magic- like she does three nights a week across the three football field lengths of hardwood floor at the LAX nightclub from 10 p.m. to 4 or 5 a.m. 

Abeyta earned 21 percent of the vote, followed by competitors Andrea Atkinson from Christian Audigier The Nightclub (16 percent) and Joey Williams from Tao (14 percent).

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Sin City Vices Face Taxing Challenges

Las Vegas entertainment to some is not going out to an expensive dinner or even a movie- it’s simply having a nice slow drag on a cig after a hard day’s work while contemplating life’s woes over a frosty, frothy beer. sintaxes

But you better take your last chugs and drags now, for that all may soon change.   Instead of being considered expenses, these sanity-saving vices may soon become investments. 

If Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, has his way with bill AB277, it would more than double the taxes placed on alcohol.  The Nevada Assembly Taxation Committee is scheduled to hear proposals that would dramatically raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco. 

Despite Nevada’s out of balance state budget, hospitality industry spokespeople are warning that higher taxes will hurt the already crippled service industry and are fighting the proposal tooth and nail. 

But, for now, these sin taxes are considered the most politically palatable – the low hanging fruit.  

Taxes, if approved, would be raised as follows:

– Hard alcohol, and anything with with higher than 44 proof, or 22 percent alcohol, would go from $3.60 to $7.86 a gallon. 

– Alcohol with proof of between 28 and 44 would go from $1.30 a gallon to $3.43 a gallon. 

– Alcohol with proof of between 0.5 percent and 28 proof – most beer and wine – would go from 70 cents to $1.77 per gallon. 

The bill could raise as much as $100 million a year, according to Anderson. 

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States sent out a press release warning such a tax increase could seriously affect hospitality jobs. 

“In the depths of one of the worst recessions in history, I can’t think of a less appropriate time for Nevada politicians to punish the hospitality industry – the cornerstone of the economy – with higher alcohol taxes,” said Council Vice President Adam Smith, in the news release. 

Proposed Nevada Assembly bill AB255, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, would also add another $1 tax to a pack of cigarettes. Currently, the state tax is $0.80. 

How much money the increased tax would raise is unclear because studies have shown that increasing the tax on cigarettes causes sales to go down. One estimate, prepared by Nevada legislative staff, showed it could raise as much as $251 million over two years.

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Las Vegas is Best at Being on the Bottom?

Everybody likes being Numero Uno.  And Las Vegas is no exception.  For example, just last month, Nightclub & Bar losermagazine voted Sin City the top place honor for having the best pubs to get sloshed…er, sorry, no it was officially for having the “largest-volume of independent nightclubs, bars, and lounges in the United States,”  reeling in almost 25 percent of the Top 100 spots.  

And, with death-defying temperatures the norm, Las Vegas always rank high on lists for the number of sunny days in a year.

Being declared top dawgee is all well and good, but where is the real diversity in that?  How can you really differentiate yourself from the pack when all you can boast is just a squeaky clean image?  Just ask Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, or Lindsay Lohan.  (Did Lohan ever find her missing car at Planet Hollywood?  That’s the stuff that needs to make the major news headlines, not the incessant and boring economy stuff, right?)

No, apparently where Las Vegas shines brightest in our choking desert sun is being reigning cellar dwellers and bestowed multiple honors for being the worst.

Last month Forbes magazine stepped out on a sturdy limb and declared Las Vegas as “America’s Emptiest City.”  (Vegas did so good, they even body-slammed Detroit!)   Not content with just bestowing a singular honor, the kind folks at Forbes then ranked our North Las Vegas and Henderson burbs among America’s 10 most boring cities.

And before decrying unfair discrimination by a single publisher, Men’s Fitness magazine also jumped into the act and ranked Las Vegas as the fattest city in America.   Then Business Week entered the melee and declared that Las Vegas ranked No. 7 among the unhappiest cities in the nation.  But, even then, there was a crimson lining:   Las Vegas was ranked No. 1 in suicide, No. 6 in divorce, and, for the hat trick, No. 9 in crime.

In a recent Las Vegas Sun analysis, Las Vegas was ranked as the No. 1 consumers per capita for hydrocodone (a.k.a. Vicodin and Lortab), and even earned a respectable fourth place for methadone, oxycodone and morphine consumption per capita.

In term of Las Vegas urban sustainability – a city’s ability to maintain a healthy living environment – the City of Entertainment is rapidly closing in on last place, falling from No. 27 to No. 47 among the nation’s 50 largest cities.

Las Vegas is rock-bottom – 54th, behind even Guam – in collecting child support payments.

So, can all this be attributed to merely bad statistics? Or is it a case of media sensationalism and just the desire for improving ratings?  And if these awards are well earned, would it really be that bad?  Think about it.  Perhaps Las Vegas needs a break from all of the historic nation-leading city growth year after year.  You know, a time to catch-up…chase away money-hungry California investors looking for a housing deal, and, in the process, give Las Vegas time to bolster its multiple sagging infrastructures.   Maybe the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority and R& R partners could invent some new catchy slogans for the rebirth celebrations?

Regardless, having our nation’s ‘bad boy’ extreme persona is still providing Las Vegas an alluring fatal attraction:  A national study released in January said Las Vegas ranks among the top 20 major U.S. cities in which Americans would like to live.  

Las Vegas is ranked No. 20, but who’s complaining?

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Las Vegas Leads Nation in Nightclub, Bar and Lounge Revenue

The post-mortem is in for what’s commonly referred to as “The Show,” and what’s officially known as the annual Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show, part of the International Hospitality Week, that was held last week for four days, March 1 though  4,  in Las Vegas. nightclub2

But The Show was definitely not dead – and nobody was spotted reading any last rites- especially great news in our sour, but always sweet Las Vegas economy.  Thousands of bar and nightclub conventioneers, though, literally hoisted-elbow-to-elbow, packing the Las Vegas Convention Center to check out the large array of new bar products and equipment from around the country and, of course, taste scrumptious food samples and imbibe on out-of-this-world libations. 

The good news is that Las Vegas represented the largest-volume of independent nightclubs, bars, and lounges in the United States for 2008.  Bad economy or not, Las Vegas proved once again that successful bar and nightclub operations is an art and science revenue reality:  Las Vegas is the home of 21 of the top 100 nightclubs and bars in the nation, drawing in a combined revenue from $360 million to $570 million in 2008.   Further adding to the prestigious ranking, Las Vegas was home to 6 of the top 10 venues. 

“Clearly, Las Vegas maintains its dominance as a nightclub destination,” says David Henkes, vice president of Technomic and leader of the firm’s adult beverage practice. 

Such are the findings of the primary and secondary research study undertaken by Nightclub & Bar magazine and Chicago-based market research firm Technomic, Inc., who partnered together to develop the first revenue-based listing of top-producing independent nightclubs, bars and lounges in the nation. 

The survey used to develop the Top 100 list showed that 60 percent of respondents experienced increases in total revenues in 2008; only 11 percent experienced sales decline and 29 percent reported no change from 2007. 

On average, alcohol accounted for 71 percent of total revenues, with cocktails generating the lion’s share of drink sales – 52 percent – and beer and spirits contributing 38 percent and 10 percent, respectively.  Food sales accounted for an average of seven percent of venue sales. 

Henkes projects that nightclubs, bars and lounges will fare better than their casual dining colleagues in the face of the continued downward economic spiral.   However, he cautioned that as unemployment rises and the recession continues to impact more and more consumers, the young adult demographic that favors these independent nightclubs, bars and lounges will likely curb their discretionary spending. 

“To succeed in 2009, operators will need a clear value proposition:  understand why people come to your venue and deliver an experience they can’t get elsewhere,” Henkes affirms.  “In the best of times, it’s difficult to keep a hot club hot – many of these Top 100 clubs have done so continuously for years – but all bar operators will need to work smart to keep going and growing.  Each individual concept needs to continuously reinvent itself to stay fresh for today’s customer, who is becoming more discerning in where they spend their entertainment dollars.” 

To wet your whistle, here’s the ranking of Las Vegas venues from the nation’s Top 100 revenue 2008 listing :  Tao Nightclub (1) – pictured in inset, Tryst (2), Pure (4), Jet (5), The Bank Nightclub (7), LAX (8), Body English (11), Moon Nightclub (12), ghostbar (13), Prive (17), Playboy Club (21), Drais After Hours (22), Christina Audigier (27), rumjungle (28), Studio 54 (29), Blush (31), Rain in the Desert (35), Stoney’s Rockin Country Bar (38), Krave Nightclub (44), Tabu Ultra Lounge (60), and Poetry Nightclub (79). 

Bottom’s up- here’s hoping for a good bar and nightclub 2009 performance.

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Booze, Go-Go Dancers, & Business Mix at Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar Show

Did you know that vodka comes in 80 varieties? Booze, go-go dancers and serious businesses mix together at the Las nightclubVegas Convention Center during the annual Nightclub and Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, March 1-4, 2009.  

Last year’s event attracted over 20,000 industry professionals who had a difficult task of staying focused while testing products 9-5.  With ice-carved bar stands and bottomless shot glasses, the showfloor is a magical place to bump into Jack Sparrow in character- or a pair of D cups.

Nightclub and bar operations knowledge galore will be mixed and served up at this year’s show. Leading bar and nightclub industry executives, owners and innovators from around the world will be on hand to discuss creative ways to drive business growth and profitability.  

Master of mixology “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff will be presented a Lifetime Achievement Award on March 3.    In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, Nightclub & Bar will also name the winners in five additional categories, culminating in their Five Star Awards.

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First Beer Fest at MonteLago Village in Las Vegas

MonteLago Village Resort is nationally known for their luxurious Spa Vita Di Lago, boutique shopping and a championship golf course.  But on Saturday, March 14, they are adding a whole new wrinkle:  The MonteLago Village Resort and Buckbean Breweing will host the first ever Village Beer Fest to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy beerfestFoundation of Las Vegas.  Tickets are $20 per person for the four-hour event; ticket cost includes an engraved commemorative glass. 

Buckbean Brewing recently expanded into the Las Vegas and Northern California markets.  Currently is it is the largest production microbrewery in Nevada. The craft beer company produces two signature beers, Original Orange Blossom Ale and Black Noddy Lager, which are available in environmentally-friendly cans.  This allows beer fans the opportunity to carry their favorite beverage with them during all outdoor activities without being worried about broken glass. 

“Buckbean’s is excited to partner with The Village on this event and hope it will become an annual event,” said Buckbean Brewing Company Owner Douglas Booth. “The location is perfect for this type of event with restaurants and shops to enhance the experience and a resort in case guests have had too much fun and need a place to sleep.” 

In addition to tasting the countries most distinctive brews, The Village Beer Fest will have live music and offer delicious snacks.  Hotel packages including tickets to The Village Beer Fest are available at MonteLago. (Please click on link for further information.)

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Las Vegas ‘Bottoms Up’: World Series of Beer Pong

To say the 414 teams of two currently participating in the World Series of Beer Pong at the Flamingo in Las Vegas will have a level head and clear thinking after chugging down unimaginable glasses of beer when it is all over, is just not going to happen.  Teams from around the country are participating in the drinking game, with the winning team to be crowned on Monday, January 5.  They will try to take home, coordination willing, a purse of $50,000- which will go a long way in buying a whole lot more of Pabst Blue Ribbon brewskies (official tournament beer). 

The object of the game is for the teams, most in their 20s, to alternately toss pingpong balls across an 8-beerpongfoot table into cups of beer.  Then, when a ball lands in a cup, the opposing team must drink its contents.  Obviously, as time goes on, dexterity is severely challenged, but eventually an inebriated team is crowned the victor, and most likely whisked away to “sleep on the prize” off for weeks. 

The event was the brainchild three years ago of Billy Gaines and Duncan Carroll, who saw the potential for a national tournament, most likely in a beer haze, having their first tournament at the Oasis Resort in Mesquite, Nevada.  It’s come along way from the first 80-team competition, guzzling ’em down for a $10,000 grand prize.  But the ol’ beer buzz is just the same.

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