On the newer side, I’ve enjoyed NoMad (3773 Las Vegas Blvd. Tel: 702- 730-7000. www.thenomadhotel.com/lasvegas/dining) restaurant at the new NoMad Las Vegas Hotel within Park MGM. I also like Asian-fusion Greene St. Kitchen (4321 W. Flamingo Road. Tel: 702.489.2129. greenestkitchen.com) at the PALMS Casino Resort.
Off-Strip favorites include steak-driven Echo & Rig (44 0 S. Rampart Blvd. Tel :(702) 489-3525), with its own butcher shop. Other Mama (365 5 S. Durango Drive #6. Tel: 702-463-838 2. www.othermamalv.com), is a hot new seafood concept with a great raw bar and cocktails.
Other classy spots include the 23th-floor SkyBar (3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Tel: 702-590-8888. www.waldorfastorialasvegas.com/dining/skybar) at the Waldorf Astoria, and Lakeside at Wynn (3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Tel: 702-770-3310. www.wynnlasvegas.com).
Off-Strip watering holes include The Golden Tiki (3939 Spring Mountain Road. Tel: 702-222-3196. www.thegoldentiki.com). Great dives include Double Down Saloon (4640 Paradise Road. Tel: 702-791-5775. doubledownsaloon.com). Herbs & Rye (3713 West Sahara Road. Tel: 702-982- 8036. www.herbsandrye.com) is a local hospitality industry hangout.
For LGBT options, Piranha Nightclub (4633 Paradise Road. Tel: 702-791-0100. www.piranhavegas.com) is a popular LGBT bar and dance venue. The Garage (1487 E. Flamingo Road. Tel: 702-440-6333. www.thegaragelv.com) is a more casual local favorite, with outdoor patio. LGBT-owned DW Bistro (9275 West Russell Road. Tel: 702-527-5200. www.dwbistro.com) hosts a lively Sunday brunch.
What about culture and entertainment?
With so many options , that’s another tough one. Located near Downtown, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (361 Symphony Park Ave. Tel: 7 02-749- 2000. www.thesmithcenter.com) features wide-ranging programming, from Broadway shows to resident acts Myron’s Cabaret Jazz and David Perricco Pop Strings Orchestra. The latter also performs at Cleopatra’s Barge (3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South. Tel: 866-227-5938. www.caesars.com), the famed 1970’s-era live music venue and bar inside Caesars Palace, where the tented show, Absinthe (www.caesarscom/caesars-palace/shows/absinthe) is great adult entertainment. I also shamelessly recommend The Magic of Jen Kramer (www.westgateresorts.com) here at the Westgate. Jen is the only female headlining magician in Vegas and her show is incredible.
For Vegas history buffs, guided tours of the retired signs in the Neon Boneyard at the Neon Museum (770 Las Vegas Boulevard North. Tel: 702-387- 6366. www.neonmuseum.org) are a must. Notable installations include the martini glass-shaped “Red Barn” sign. Converted from an antique store in the early 1960’s, it was one of Vegas’ first gay bars, featuring the “FB Follies” drag show.
The nearby National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (300 Stewart Avenue. Tel: 702-229- 2734. themobmuseum.org), or Mob Museum, is another arresting Downtown visit, complete with speakeasy-style bar.
Hidden gems include Mondays Dark (www.mondaysdark.com). Staged at The Space LV (3460 Cavaretta Court. Tel: 702-903-1070. www.thespacelv.com), this twice-monthly variety show was created by host Mark Shunock. He’s a former hockey player and acclaimed actor well known in the area for emceeing the Vegas Golden Knights, Magic Mike, and a host of other things Vegas. Featuring Hollywood and Strip talent, musical acts, athletes and celebrity chefs for 90 minutes of chat, entertainment and laughter, each show aims to raise $10,000 in 90 minutes for a different charity.
If traveling here in August, Aid for AIDS of Nevada (afanlv.org) holds its annual Black & White Party. Marking 34 years in 2020, it’s one of the largest and most popular fundraising events in Las Vegas.
And I’m really excited about Light Ball Las Vegas (www.lightballvegas.com). My good friend Lena Giroux is bringing ballroom culture to Vegas in 2020 with this new event featuring guests from Pose and other ballroom legends from New York and Los Angeles.