2015 has not been a stellar year for my Vegas blog. Particularly since I hadn’t been to Vegas in a year and a half, and was blogging off fumes of previous adventures. I finally got back there for a week in October….. I say finally like I don’t find a way to go once a year, and there are people who have never been, but for me it felt right to say finally ok?
What was new in Vegas? In a year and a half, you’d be surprised. It’s partially why I love the place, but it never stops evolving, and just when you think there’s just no way it can amass any more stuff, it amasses more stuff. The most improved cluster on the strip since I was last there, is the stretch between Bally’s and The Linq. The Linq hotel is in the area where the Imperial Palace used to be, and if you remember Imperial Palace, you remember low ceilings and shortening your life expectancy with the second-hand smoke in a casino where your dealer was almost always a celebrity impersonator of some sort. It had its charm and the rooms were cheap and cheerful, but as much as I love a bargain, I always ponied up for something better. The Linq looks nice! We had breakfast there a couple of times. Both times we were trying to eat at Hash House A-go-go, but the lineups were in excess of 45 minutes both times. I’ve seen pics of the food there. It looks wild. Oh well, another good reason to go back ;). We ate at Guy Fieri’s restaurant instead the first time, and checked out Chayo’s Mexican kitchen and Tequila Bar. Guy’s had a great breakfast. Chayo’s is probably not known for their breakfast, but it was decent still. Below is an example of a breakfast item at Guy Fieri’s. I don’t know what it is because the waitress brought it to me by mistake. I really wanted it, but they caught the mistake before I could start eating it. Mine tasted good too, but I’m using this pic because of the presentation.
At Bally’s they got rid of that huge moving sidewalk that brought you from the strip to the casino entrance, and traded it for a mini shopping center clustered with tiny stores, and a huge Starbucks. Why I didn’t take a picture of that is a mystery, but I quite liked walking through those little shops instead of the dead space which was the moving sidewalk before. Next time you’re there, you won’t have to go out of your way to see what I’m talking about. It’s all very close to the sidewalk on the strip.
Across the road, the former Wild Bill’s Gambling Saloon has been replaced with a boutique hotel called The Cromwell. I do remember spending a morning in Wild Bill’s playing $5 blackjack while the rest of Vegas (or the people I was travelling with) were still asleep. The Cromwell is a pretty nice facelift though. It features a restaurant from celebrity chef Giada De Laurentis. We didn’t get in there this time, but it was on the list. You should see the list though.
Finally The Linq Promenade……
Right in between The Flamingo and the Linq Hotels is a huge alley way that features a lot of brand new shops and restaurants. Not to mention the High Roller which is the largest Observation Wheel (Ferris Wheel?) in the world. No I didn’t go on that. Yes it is on the list. Places I did go (aside from previously mentioned breakfast spots at Linq) were Yard House, The Tilted Kilt, and Flour & Barley Brick Oven Pizza. My wife and I don’t always love eating outside. Drinking is different, but when I’m eating, I don’t like bugs or dealing with the elements, call me soft, I don’t care. When we went to the Flour & Barley it was such a perfect evening. It had probably cooled down to about 22 degrees celsius. There was no wind, and the sun had gone down. I don’t ever remember enjoying dining on a patio as much as I did here. The Linq Promenade has several street performers in the evening. They’re spread out so there’s always one within ear shot. When the girl near our patio set up shop, I sort of groaned like she was going to end our perfect evening, but she moved from Sam Cooke to Fleetwood Mac effortlessly. I’m pretty picky with music, but she was very entertaining.
Other fun things on the Promenade were a new version of O’Shea’s casino, The Brooklyn Bowl, Ghirardelli store, Haute Doggery, a great little store called Kitson (kind of Urban Outfitterish) which my son loved, and of course Sprinkles which boasts of the world’s first Cupcake ATM which dispenses fresh cupcakes 24/7. Only in Vegas would this be available, and only in Vegas SHOULD this be available, because there is a very real possibility of a 4:30 am cupcake emergency in this town, but now it’s covered. Who thinks of these things?
In summary, The Linq Promenade is so much better than I even thought it could be. I would argue it’s now on a short list of my favourite places in Vegas. We happened to be staying a few blocks away from it, which is why I ended up there so many times. I was off strip and was simply using it as a path to get to the strip, but on some occasions I didn’t even make it to the strip because I had everything I needed on the Promenade.