Best Football Bars ; Bachelorette Parties in Vegas ; 19 Places for New American Dishes


rhumbar patio

Best bars to watch football in Las Vegas
by Miranda Boyd
Are you ready for some football? And drinks? And bar food? And hugging total strangers when the team you both happen to be rooting for scores a touchdown against the team you’ve both arbitrarily decided to hate? Then get off the bench and get down to one of Las Vegas’ best sports bars!

Party with your fellow sports fans at Rhumbar at Mirage Hotel and Casino.

Party on the patio

Feel like watching the game outdoors? We can’t blame you. When it’s not 110 in the shade, Las Vegas is the perfect place to lounge outside and still stay tuned to the tube. This season, the patio at Rhumbar at The Mirage will be party central for football fans. New, football-inspired cocktails like the Liquid Pigskin (a rum and beer concoction that comes with a side of pork rinds) and the Spike It! shot (a shot of Fireball Whiskey that you drop into a glass of Stella Artois Cidre) will be served alongside classic game-day delicacies like $25 buckets of Coors Light. With a drink in your hand and the fresh air on your cheeks, you’ll feel free to cheer and scream your lungs out. And speaking of screaming…

Football is the second most enticing sight at Blondie’s.

Pump up the volume

If you’re the type that some call loud but you call “enthusiastic,” you’ve got a few options to vent your energy. Blondie’s Sports Bar and DB’s Pong and Pool, both in the Miracle Mile Shops, are classic sports bars where you can drink, holler and shout out loud for your team. Blondie’s has 32 big screens for you to look at in between half-hidden glances at the in-bar cheerleaders. During happy hour enjoy $20 all-you-can drink drafts and wells. During halftime, or just when your team is up by 14 with two minutes to go, you can enjoy some games of your own with beer pong, pool and more.

Pro Football HQ at the Stratosphere Hotel, Casino and Tower.

Size matters

Big screens are a staple of Las Vegas. Sometimes they’re showing dancing Blue Men, and sometimes they’re showing sports. For the latter, try Stratosphere’s Pro Football HQ. With huge screens and a theater feel, it’s the next best thing to a private box at the stadium; but at the stadium you can’t get $10 pitchers of draft beer, $15 pitchers of margaritas or bloody Marys, or all your other favorite cocktails. Be sure to take selfies! Post them to the Stratosphere Facebook page throughout the football season for chances to win free Tower Pass/Thrill Rides, Frankie Moreno tickets, “Pin Up” tickets and more.

Enjoy whichever type of football you prefer at the Crown and Anchor.

Home team hangouts

We know you love your home team and you want to cheer them on even while you’re away on vacation. Not having a team ourselves, we’ve spread the love around. Redskins fans have the classic British Pub the Crown and Anchor – when it’s not showing soccer. Fans of the 49ers can check out Tommy Rockers and Lions lovers can lounge at Longbar at the D — which makes sense since one of the meanings behind the hotel’s name is Detroit. We may not get our own franchise this century, but in Vegas you’re sure to find someone who’ll toast to your team.

The Ainsworth at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Sporty chic

For a swanky approach to game day, TAP at MGM Grand and the Ainsworth at Hard Rock Hotel are clear, clean examples of how a sports bar can stay classy. Both house many screens as well as rich, wood interiors and specialized cocktail menus. TAP, as the name suggests, has a long list of draft beers including American and European style lagers, witbiers, pale ales, Belgian style ales and much more. You can even get a sampling flight of different draft beers for $14. The Ainsworth offers some of the finest bottles like Johnnie Walker Black, for those who want some smoothness with their football, and Patron Gran Platinum, for those who have $2,500 to spend on a bottle of alcohol.

Food and drink specials abound at Sapphire Las Vegas during football season.

Adults only

For the exotic experience, and definitely not the kids, venues like Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club will also be screening all your favorite football action. On Mondays, $20 will get you three drinks, tailgate style food and more — or you can get a season pass for $150 — and on Sundays, $75 buys main room entry, main room seating, buffet and more. With all the football playing on the huge HD screen, you can totally tell people you’re just there to watch the game.

Wherever you happen to find a screen on Monday, Thursday or Sunday, chances are you’ll be able to catch some football. But we understand there’s a big difference between catching the game and watching the game. So plan your event well. Get there in time to snag a table, so you’re not left standing; be sure to order something, so you’re not just taking up space; and pace yourself with the drinking – don’t do a shot every time the Bills fumble.


bachelorette party
How to throw the best bachelorette party in Vegas
by Renee LiButti
Although it’s hard to tell whether “Bridesmaids” raised or lowered the bar on bachelorette parties, the movie did show that female friendships are every bit as strong as bromances.

We’re not saying that your bride-to-be wants a weekend of stag-like outrageousness that ends when she pukes or passes out in a bathroom. Wait…who are we kidding? That’s exactly what we’re saying. Because it’s just not a good sendoff to the world of commitment unless you use your last hurrah of freedom to do something mortifying. (Of course, it’s equally acceptable if your soon-to-be-settled self would prefer to use this unfettered time to revel in food, drinks, shows, shopping and relaxation. That’s all good too.)

So before the wedding, a road trip that blends raucous fun with tasteful indulgences should be in the cards. And since your bride-to-be deserves the best, staging a bachelorette party in Vegas is the obvious choice. Actually, Vegas is where they were headed in “Bridesmaids.”

From spend-happy to spendthrift groups, there’s something here for everyone. If you’re the maid of honor (and hopefully you’re not wrestling with a bunch of weird or big-egoed bridesmaids for control), then trying to plan this fabulous fête may be stressing you out. Calm down. Breathe. Let all your worries float away. We’ve got loads of bachelorette party ideas for you. They’re broken down into the four essential ingredients every bachelorette bash should have: girly forms of bonding, decadent food and drinks, a rowdy party scene and…last but not least…hot men.

Unfortunately, the women in “Bridesmaids” never made it to Vegas. Strung out on sedatives, Annie, the maid of honor, freaked out on the plane, which led to an emergency landing in Casper, Wyo. This won’t happen to your group. You’ll all make it to Sin City. But we guarantee you will do other embarrassing things. And you’ll love it. And remember it. And talk about it forever.

The girly stuff

Before you embark on a night of bachelorette debauchery, why not spend a day relaxing and getting pampered? Most hotels in Vegas have a spa you’ll wish you could be in every minute of every hour of every day. Although some may cost you a precious sum, others are surprisingly reasonable.

On the posh end, head to Canyon Ranch SpaClub inside The Venetian and The Palazzo. The setting here is luxurious and tranquil. And “spa bachelorette parties” are even on the menu. Choose from the “Hello Beautiful,” “Serenity & Beauty” and “Relax & Replenish” packages. All of them come with a choice of spa services, retail and Canyon Ranch Grill allowances, and access to the Aquavana Experience, which features hot and cold thermal bathing and aquatherapy areas.

Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace is an equally indulgent facility. This place has Roman baths, an arctic ice room (where you’ll see snow!) and a tea sommelier. A popular choice at Qua for groups of women is the Nobu Nagomi Ritual. Described as “a journey of sensations,” this package includes sumptuous-sounding things like a floral foot bath, a massage with “aroma nectars,” a facial utilizing Carboxitherapy, and a blend of Thai, Balinese and Shiatsu movements.

Those feeling more frugal can have a wonderful experience without blowing this month’s grocery money in Glow, A Mandara Spa at Tropicana. Prepare to enjoy some “TRT” (or total relaxation time) in the spa’s Relaxation Lounge. Among the treatments, bachelorettes are sure to like the salon’s Mojito Manicure, where your hands will be nourished with citrus oil while you sip on a mojito. Or head over to the Palms’ Recharge Spa for the Champagne Pedicure. Your feet will be similarly spoiled while you delight in a glass of bubbly. Here’s to the bride-to-be!

For any of the women in your group who are shopaholics – and let’s face it, every woman is a shopaholic – Vegas has it all. The resorts on the Strip house shopping centers (or rather shopping meccas) lined with every designer name ever mentioned in Vogue magazine as well as all of the world’s top luxury brands and a peppering of lesser known but soon-to-be-trending boutiques. Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll discover: Barneys New York in The Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian | The Palazzo, the world’s largest H&M in The Forum Shops at Caesars and Jimmy Choo and Versace in The Shops at Crystals. You’ll also find a cornucopia of designers in the city’s most upscale resorts – like Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and Manolo Blahnik at the Wynn Esplanade, Chanel and Hermès at the Encore Esplanade and Dior, Prada and Gucci at Via Bellagio. And we can’t forget the Fashion Show mall, which counts Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom among its tenants.

Too pricey for your pocketbook? If you’re searching for the complete opposite of these head to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets – South and Las Vegas Premium Outlets – North for troves of bargain offerings.

Another just-for-the-ladies activity – that you can only do in Vegas – is a stripper class. Would you believe there are three fine institutions of higher pole dancing education here? X Burlesque Unversity (XBU) at the Flamingo offers classes on Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Night School 4 Girls at the Hard Rock Café on Las Vegas Boulevard is in session at varying times on Fridays and Saturdays until Sept. 26, 2014. Stripper 101 at the V Theater inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino has a daily class (with extra ones offered on weekends). Leaving your inhibitions behind, all of you will learn the basics of giving a lap dance, doing a striptease and working a pole. In addition to the class, participants receive a Stripper 101 license. If you decide to splurge on the “What Women Want” package, then your group will start things off with a free drink in the Showgirl Bar as well as get a souvenir photo and a ticket to a sexy show – like the “Chippendales” male revue.

The food and drinks

Funny that the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” has never been applied to women. The fairer sex has always been passionate about eating and drinking. Take “30 Rock,” for example. Liz Lemon’s greatest love was never a man – it was food.

In Vegas, your bachelorette party will be able to feast as they never have before. The number of unique, first-rate restaurants with over-the-top offerings is mind-blowing. So instead of trying to mention them all, we’ll just give you a few highlights.

First off, the sweet stuff…because that’s the most important part of any meal. Plan to visit the Sugar Factory American Brasserie at either Paris Las Vegas or Town Square Las Vegas. All of the desserts here are to die for but, as a group, you’ll want to get the King Kong Sundae. It’s has 16 scoops of ice cream piled into a dish and drizzled with caramel, hot fudge, strawberry sauce and marshmallow cream. Chocolate chip cookies, sprinkles, waffle cones, Gummy bears, chunks of banana, walnuts and whipped cream have been put on top, along with the pièce de résistance…a trio of rainbow swirl lollipops.

Fans of the movie “Serendipity,” which is about a couple who fall in love at the restaurant in New York City by the same name, will want to grab a meal at Las Vegas’ version of it: Serendipity 3. Located in front of Caesars Palace, you can order both savory and sugary items as well as the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate shared by John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale.

Also at Caesars Palace, the divinely decadent Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro will please chocolate fanatics, as will the Jean Philippe Pâtisserie at either Aria or Bellagio. A notable place for sweets of the breakfast kind is The Griddle Café at the newly opened SLS Las Vegas. Its menu boasts at least 20 different unbelievable pancake concoctions including The Golden Ticket, with brown sugar-baked bananas, caramel, walnuts, streusel and whipped cream.

For a more adult-like dinner, some upscale choices – where you may spot a celebrity or two – are Nobu Restaurant at Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, La Cave at Wynn Las Vegas, Sushi Roku in The Forum Shops at Caesars and the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Las Vegas (a perfect symbol of romance…and, oh, the view!).

If you’re on a tight budget, go for a meal at one of the city’s buffets, like Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan or The Buffet at Aria. Or you’ll always have a good time eating and knocking back beers in one of the pubs (try Rí Rá inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place and Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York) and at the authentic German beer hall Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas.

Like restaurants, Vegas is filled to the brim with great places to drink. You’ll want to take your gaggle of girls to The Chandelier bar at The Cosmopolitan, which oozes of sophistication. The flowing beaded curtains that form its three-story structure are a visual feast for the eyes. And the bartenders shake up cool handcrafted cocktails that will get you in the mood to party.

Another elegant spots to imbibe at is the Mandarin Bar at Mandarin Oriental. Situated on the 23rd floor, its large windows showcase views of the Strip that will make you go ooooh and ahhhh – especially when you have a Lemongrass Mojito or Lychee Smah in hand. Plus, there’s a luxurious private room, called The Edge, that’s perfect for group gatherings.

If money is no object, surprise your bride-to-be with a visit to Fizz Las Vegas, a lavish champagne lounge inside Caesars Palace. Created by David Furnish (Elton John’s partner), the décor here is truly exquisite. And you can treat your friend to a drink she’ll never forget – the Fizz Deluxe. Costing $2,500, this cocktail contains Grand Marnier Quintessence, Hennessy Richard Cognac, fresh lemon juice, Monin Rose syrup, egg whites and a dash of Dom Pérignon Rosé Champagne. Plus, it’s topped with a rose petal that’s been dusted with 24-karat gold flakes.

For those pinching their pennies, take advantage of a special drinking package available at The Terrace, which is part of Chateau at Paris Las Vegas. Starting at $30, ladies can drink as many beers as they can handle. Bar hopping in downtown Las Vegas is another fun alternative. Be sure to make stops at Atomic Liquors, Park on Fremont, The Griffin and the Gold Spike – where the vibe is hip and the drinks are affordable.

The party scene

Vegas’ party scene is second to none – and it’s equally awesome both night and day.

With a dizzying number of nightclubs on the Strip, there are a handful of hotspots your bachelorette party will want to hit up: Hakkasan at MGM Grand, XS at Encore, Drai’s Nightclub at The Cromwell and LiFE at SLS Las Vegas. And you can rock out in The Sayers Club, also located in SLS Las Vegas, or dance the night away in Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan.

Since you’re celebrating this important occasion with all of your closest girlfriends, you should make sure everyone around you knows about it. Dress your bride-to-be in a tiara, a cute veil, a sash or even a giant button that says “He’s a lucky guy.” The goal is to draw as much attention to yourselves as possible because this is likely to get you ushered past the velvet rope. It’s not uncommon for bachelorette parties to receive extra perks, whether it be free admission, a round of drinks or an invite to sit at a table. Don’t expect anything – but go ahead girls, strut your sexy selves. This is Vegas…you never know what might happen.

Of course, if you want to guarantee bypassing long lines as well as a have your own private table, then splashing out for bottle service is must. On weekends, pricing starts between $750 and $2,500 and depends on a variety of factors (such as the club, date and size of your party).

There are some great deals to be had, though. The Foundation Room atop Mandalay Bay offers a VIP table package for bachelorette parties of up to 12 ladies that includes admission, two bottles of vodka and one bottle of champagne for $700. And on Friday nights, take advantage of the Foundation Room’s weekly Bubbles for Beauties ladies event. In addition to free admission, it includes complimentary champagne from 10 p.m. – midnight.

Your bachelorette group may also want to mosey on over to one of Vegas’ country bars. With buckets of cheap beer, free line dancing lessons and handsome cowboys to boot, they’re always a fun place to be. Visit Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall & Bar-B-Que at Treasure Island or Stoney’s Rockin’ Country at Town Square. Both feature great live and DJ-spun music, big dance floors and the chance to ride a mechanical bull.

If your bride-to-be’s prenuptial trip to Vegas occurs between late spring and early fall, you must spend at least one afternoon at a pool club. For sizzling fun in the sun, it’s hard to beat Wet Republic at MGM Grand, Drai’s Beach Club at The Cromwell, Encore Beach Club and Rehab at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. If you’re group isn’t shy, try one of the European-style (aka “tops optional”) dayclubs like Bare Pool Lounge at The Mirage and Moorea Beach Club at Mandalay Bay. There’s nothing quite like letting it all hang out.

The hot men

When it comes to a Vegas bachelorette party, you’ll be spoiled for choice in terms of places to ogle muscle-bound, barely clad men. From scintillating production shows to male revues, Sin City delivers with aplomb.

On the sexy yet classy side, put on your swankiest clothes and set off for Caesars Palace to listen to the smooth voice of Matt Goss. Every weekend this London-born musician captivates female-dominated audiences in The Gossy Room at Cleopatra’s Barge. Goss smolders onstage in a dapper suit, tie and fedora hat. His swing-style act features a blend of original material and covers of Rat Pack-era hits. Hang around after the show to get your groove on because The Gossy Room turns into a club, so the party continues all night long.

There’s also some wonderfully naughty entertainment in Vegas’ showrooms. Get tickets to an edgy production like “Zumanity” at New York-New York. It’s hailed as “the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil.” Nothing more need be said. Or catch “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, where you’ll see hunky male contortionists as well as an X-rated sock puppet routine.

Prefer to scope out hot male bods? Go have a gander at the good-looking Australian dancers in “Thunder from Down Under” at Excalibur. Another excellent choice is the famous Chippendales troupe at Rio. Women can’t get enough of these bare-chested beefcakes in their signature cuffs and collars.

And – although it may be hard to believe – male strippers are present in some of the city’s best-known gentlemen’s clubs. Yes, you read that right. You can watch the “Men of Sapphire” on Friday and Saturday nights in a ladies-only showroom at Sapphire Las Vegas. Olympic Gardens has the male revue “Men of OG” on Wednesdays – Sundays. Opt for the VIP package and you’ll score more drinks and a “Men of OG” tank top for the bride-to-be.

Inside Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club is a small, separate space known as Hunk Mansion. Every Thursday – Saturday, amateur and professional male strippers appear onstage as well as give lap dances to ladies. After a few cocktails, someone in your pack of gals may be foolhardy enough to take a ride on a six-foot mechanical version of – hmmm…we’re not sure how to put this delicately – a one-eyed monster.

Now that sounds like something that could have happened in “Bridesmaids.”


dbl helix
19 places to try New American dishes


Each week Neon spotlights a different cuisine in the Dining Guide, with New American restaurants this week. Restaurants are rated on a letter-grade scale, from A to F. Opinions by R-J critic Heidi Knapp Rinella (H.K.R.) are indicated by initials. Price symbols are based on the cost of an average entree: $ = entrees less than $10, $$ = entrees $10 to $20, $$$ = entrees $20 to $30 and $$$$ = entrees more than $30.


Town Square, 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-735-9463

I was mostly confused by the menu at Double Helix, which is pretty much limited to small plates but isn’t extensive enough to allow for the creation of a tapaslike feast. On the other hand, the place is a cozy spot for a glass of wine before or after a movie right across the street, and we liked our arancini, Brie in a Blanket and the cleverly named Shrimp Hailing a Cab. (1/20/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: B



6115 S. Fort Apache Road; 702-527-5200

Signature dishes: jerk chicken lollipops, New Mexico-style slow-cooked pork.


740 S. Rampart Blvd.; 702-778-2160

The crowds that were dining at Boca Park on the evening of our visit weren’t dining at Embers, which was a shame, because this place has quite a bit going for it. That includes starters of ahi tuna and bacon-wrapped dates, entrees of miso salmon, a grilled steak salad and a slow-roasted tri-tip, and a rich, fudgy dessert. (6/8/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-



Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-693-8300

Signature dishes: Bobby Baldwin Burgers, Very Adult Mac &Cheese.


Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-632-7200

Small plates — aka tapas — have found popularity in Las Vegas in large part because of the flexibility they allow and the camaraderie they engender, and at Fleur they’re done particularly well. We found the Heirloom Gazpacho with Watermelon Pop Rocks to be full of both whimsy and flavor, and also liked the pan con tamate, goat cheese flambe and flatiron chimmichurri, although the In the Shower Mac and Cheese needed more assertive cheese flavor, less assertive lobster flavor. (10/26/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-



Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-731-7778

Signature dishes: Colors of Caviar, Crispy Veal Sweetbreads.


1031 S. Rampart Blvd.; 702-445-6100

One of the things we liked most about Honey Salt was the flexibility of a menu that would enable one of us to have a pizza Margherita, the other a lamb Porterhouse — and a kitchen with the skills to prepare both of them flawlessly. We also liked My Wife’s Favorite Salad, with its arugula, frisee, duck confit, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and poached egg, and the homey goodness of the Brown Bag Apple Pie. (5/31/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-



Four Queens, 202 Fremont St.; 702-385-4011

Signature dishes: Hot Rock Specialty, Cellars Champion Chateaubriand and Lobster for Two.


MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-891-7925

Signature dishes: truffle langoustine ravioli, pan-fried sea bass.


MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-891-7358

Signature dishes: free-range quail with foie gras, mashed potatoes.


Mandarin Oriental, 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 888-881-9367

The Mandarin Oriental is, by definition, both exclusive and expensive, but Mozen Bistro is not only approachable for a large swath of the populace, it’s excellent on all levels. Worthy of note: the Five Spice Pork Belly, Hong Kong Grouper, Thai Green Curry and Cherry Cordial Cloche. (5/9/14 H.K.R.)

Overall: A



10670 Southern Highlands Parkway; 702-202-2448

Signature dishes: meatloaf, house-made cheesecake.


Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-693-8865

Signature dishes: warm quail salad, sauteed medallions of fallow deer.


Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-632-7200

Bacon-wrapped bacon is the kind of whimsical dish you might expect to find in a restaurant with an equally whimsical steampunk theme; what makes this Rick Moonen spot special is the high quality across the board. In addition to the aforementioned dish, the Buffalo Fried Oysters, Moonen Tater Tots, Shellfish Shepherd’s Pie and tiramisu showed that whimsy needn’t get in the way of quality. (6/20/14 H.K.R.)

Overall: A



The Mirage, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-792-7800

Signature dishes: Hot Rocks, Adult Tater Tots.


Crystals at CityCenter, 3720 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-489-8080

Signature dishes: soft hot pretzels, brisket from the carvery.


4350 E. Sunset Road, Henderson; 702-259-8633

Todd’s is one of the few remaining gourmet rooms in the suburbs and it’s doing a fine job of upholding the tradition, with a steady stream of regulars attesting to that. We liked the classic goat cheese wontons with raspberry sauce, beet salad, beef short ribs with jalapeno-flecked mashed potatoes and pork tenderloin with stuffing. (1/18/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: A



Town Square, 6635 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-948-8006

Signature dishes: Cuban sandwich, Sanibel Chicken.


2450 Hampton Road, Henderson; 702-522-7200

The short ribs at Vic’s were so good as to be truly memorable, and even better because they were accompanied by parsnip puree and crispy potato strings. And the goodness didn’t end there; we also liked the novel Caramel Apple Pork Chop, which wasn’t as sweet as it sounds, and the slightly — slightly — dry Meatloaf Spring Rolls, another creative idea. (11/1/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-


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