Anthony Curtis nationally syndicated weekly column.
March 17, 2010
Amidst all the doom and gloom of bankrupt casinos, foreclosed condos, unfinished projects, and overall dire straits in the Las Vegas market, the Hard Rock continues to expand. There was no lavish grand opening, but a whole new casino has been opened (adjoining the existing casino) that includes two bars, four table-game pits, and a high-roller salon. It’s decked out with the typical Hard Rock photos and memorabilia and an escalator that leads to another bar outside the new club, Vanity. It’s the latest phase of the Hard Rock’s $750 million expansion that brought the new all-suite HRH Tower last December.
New P.U.B.: The latest addition at CityCenter is Todd English P.U.B. While the acronym stands for “Public Urban Bar,” it really does have an English pub atmosphere, offering darts, beer pong, and free pints of beer (if you can down them in seven seconds).
Smashing: Smashburger has made its Las Vegas debut. The Denver-based “better burger” chain known for its 100% Angus beef burgers and high-quality fresh ingredients has opened on the northwest side of town (W. Lake Mead and Buffalo). Several more outlets are planned.
Spring at Bellagio: Bellagio’s Botanical Garden and Conservatory has a new display, featuring 100-year-old olive trees, botanical snails and bumblebees, giant mushrooms, and a colony of bronze ants that weigh up to 3,500 lbs. The conservatory is free to the public and open 24/7. This exhibit will be on display through May 9.
Question: You wrote that the Elvis-based Cirque du Soleil show was getting mixed reviews prior to its official opening. Can you provide a little more detail?
Answer: Aria’s Viva Elvis continues to fall somewhere in the middle with reviewers. Critics have bemoaned the absence of an Elvis in the show—there is no live Elvis impersonator and the songs are sung mostly by the real Elvis on tape. However, those who love The King are not disappointed by the sound, storyline, and overall pageantry of the production.