I love playing tour guide, and regularly assume (with pleasure) the mantle of Las Vegas ambassador. Recently, I was tasked with this duty, for a young gentleman (a Vegas virgin, who, after seeing the casinos on the Strip, wanted a taste of “real Las Vegas”). I was only too happy to oblige, and knew exactly where to take him, on our magical mystery tour.
Upon collecting my guest, at Bally’s, I drove us to Piero’s, where I’d reserved a banquette in the A-room. Based on my recommendation, he ordered the Garbage Caesar Salad, and the Ossobuco, which he devoured with gusto, along with the house-specialty Cream Corn and a nice Cabernet, selected by our server, Tim. I meanwhile, had the Crab Cake and the Bone-in Veal Chop Parmigiana. After regaling him with the usual Piero’s patter (Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, CASINO, the Rolling Stones, etc.) it was time for dessert; but when the tray was presented, we were too full to consider it. Instead, we ordered coffee and a round of Spark Plugs (created by Rick Rizzolo, Piero’s signature cocktail is a chilled shot combining vanilla vodka, espresso, and Kahlúa). Then, having put a caffeinated hitch in our respective giddy-ups, it was time to get-up and go, to our next stop – the Neon Museum. So we got-up and went!
Now, as I’ve said in the past, Las Vegas is perhaps the least architecturally sentimental city I know of; but the signs – the signs are not just beautiful, but are art – sculptures of light and color, that through an interesting twist of clever contracts, remain the property of the sign-maker (in most cases, the Young Electric Sign Company – or YESCO), in perpetuity. The signs are then leased to the property for the duration of their use. As such, before the advent of the Neon Museum, obsolete signs were put to pasture in YESCO’s legendary Neon Boneyard. Now, at the Neon Museum, the signs have been arranged as part of an outdoor gallery – lit and angled and placed, just so – and it’s pretty spectacular. It’s also undeniably Vegas-y, and I just love it. We took a one-hour guided-tour. The last of the evening, beginning at nine o’clock, the tour took advantage of the darkness of the desert sky contrasting with the beautifully lit signs.
Having visited the embodiments of Las Vegas present and past, I decided to cap-off the evening with a gorgeous example of Las Vegas future, so off we sped to FIZZ Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace. I love observing the expressions on peoples’ faces when they first enter FIZZ. It’s usually a cross between “Wow!” and “Are we still in Vegas?” Granted, the TAL Studio-designed space just received top honors in the Nightclub, Bar, and Lounge category, from Hospitality Design Magazine, at that publication’s 10th annual HDM Awards, in New York, and is filled to the rafters with photos from the renowned collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish (Furnish is the venue’s creative director). Once escorted upstairs to the mezzanine (where we were seated at the “Owner’s Table”), we split a split of Ruinart Rosé and toasted this incredible city that, while one of the world’s most modern, continues to attract people hunting the ghosts of yesteryear.
Get into it!