DRINK WITH LENIN: This Vegas Vodka Vault Will Lease You a Liquor Locker for $10,000

Don’t tempt me with a good time, Las Vegas.

If you tell me there’s a bar with a Vodka Vault in it…my drunk friends and I will visit you and pretend like we can afford to be there.

On our most recent trip to the city of craps-tables-that-don’t-pay-shit, we shacked up at the super pretty Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino so we could be near all the crazy places our Instagram followers were telling us to check out (protip: there’s a regular-priced liquor store within walking distance of the Mandalay Bay, across the street near the McDonald’s).

First up? The Red Square restaurant, a contemporary American cuisine spot with a ton of Russian-inspired food and design cues:


Attempting to play-it-cool and not go straight to the Vodka Vault, we decided to grab a few things off their menu that sounded interesting, including our fair share of caviar, and a salmon pizza (caviar, in-house smoked salmon, pickled red onions) mini lobster tacos and some crazy good Siberian Nachos:


Then it was time.

We hobbled over to the glow of the Vodka Vault sign, and a kind, attractive woman (see video above, or just jump straight to 0:48 to see what I’m talking about) helped us find some heavy duty fur coats that would keep us warm while in the vault. Upon entering, our pale faces were met with a gush of ice cold air before we locked in by the freezer door.


And there we were — inside the vault. Imagine a tall, circular room with sky-high walls lined with clear lockers. In the middle of the room stood a glass case with Vladimir Lenin’s head inside (a headless statue of the Russian communist revolutionary stands at the entrance of the restaurant), and you are encouraged to take a shot off his dome while in the cold vault. Yes, things got bizarre. 

All the lockers open from the vault’s interior, but each locker has a window to the outside so that passerby can gawk over the booze porn. The appeal seems to be that you can build up a gnarly vodka collection, and casino onlookers can peek into your particular collection.

Then I inquired about getting a locker of my own.. .only to find out that lease negotiations might range to the tune of $10,000/year. I nearly spit out the vodka I smuggled in via my Aquafina bottle.




Red Square

3950 Las Vegas Fwy

Las Vegas, NV 89119 (702) 632-7407


LA Opera’s Falstaff Features Edible Props on Stage, Including a Roasted Turkey


Opera lovers in the Los Angeles area know that Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff is scheduled to perform throughout the month of November. Helmed by Director Lee Blakeley and LA Opera Music Director James Conlon. Falstaff  is centered around a portly knight who courts two different women in an attempt to improve his love life. Hilarity ensues.

However, most are unaware of the play’s food-centric qualities. Many of the props on stage are edible and items throughout the performance are in the spirit of the fall harvest. A turkey is prepared and cooked for every show by the Prop Master, Allen Tate, and used during the performance. The reason for all the hurrah surrounding the giant bird? Turkey was a symbol of being at the top of the class system in the 14th century, the play’s time period.


Among the edible arrangements throughout the play, whatever wasn’t eaten was painted to look juicier for the next performance. The staff prepared months in advance to see if the performers had any food allergies before coming up with the play’s menu.

Falstaff is currently playing at the LA Opera through December 1. Opera fans, turkey fans, or anyone looking to try something new be sure to check it out. Falstaff is completely in Italian with projected English translations. The running time is 2 hours and 40 minutes, so sit tight.

Check out more photos from our behind-the-scenes tour of Falstaff below:


A prop of a rotisserie chicken used during the performance. It could very well have been real at some point during the rehearsals.


The detail that went into the set design is pretty amazing.


Props to the prop team (heh heh) for the the work they put into everything.


Director Lee Blakely and the famous oak tree from the opera.


The orchestra, led by Music Director James Conlon, rehearsing.


A severed pig’s head used during the third act and also the third pig head I’d seen in the last two weeks.


The cast performing a live rehearsal.


The production of Falstaff, in full costume, rehearses the first act of the show.


Popcorn Butter-Washed Cocktails, Pizza-Puffed Pasta and More Arousing Snacks at PLAY

To be honest, I was a little skeptical when I heard that PLAY,  a bar and lounge, opened as an extension of the Museum of Sex. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it markets itself as a “transformative experience that arouses the senses.”  I envisioned dark corners and multicolored, er, paraphernalia.

Oh, how wrong I was, and how happy I was to be wrong.  The space is dark but inviting, leather couches and 70’s era chairs line the walls. This is a place to relax and let the music slide over you.  Jim Kearns, of Balthazar, Dumont, Pegu club and Death & Co., have created what can only be described as a mindf$%@ of flavors in various fancy glasses.


The Bearing Straight


Walking straight might be a bit difficult after this one.  Mezcal, nigori sake, kiuchi no shizuku (an oak-aged wine), ginger, yuzu, and a salted umeboshi plum is one of the strangest combinations you will find here.  It’s smoky and spicy, with a smoothness that lingers and, quite frankly, makes you want to make out with anyone in sight — it’s that good.  So, way to go on that one, PLAY.


The Rosebud


With gin, St. Germain, rose-infused vermouth, ginger, and lemon, this drink was subtle, the rose coming in through the nose at the end.


Drive-In Saturday


This conjures up the taste and experience of being at the movies. Popcorn butter-washed White Dog mixed with pharmacy cola and salt tastes like throwing back a handful of kernels and washing it down with a Coke.


A Clear Day In Normandy


This is the total opposite of the Drive-In, with a mix of apple eau de vie, grapefruit bitters, and Lairds applejack. It tastes like biting into a crisp, alcoholic apple and I wish this grew on trees.


70% Cacao


This one’s a doozy made with rum, bourbon, strawberry liqueur, crème de cacao, Campari, Tri-Star, and mole bitters for an intensely sweet, somewhat smoky and spicy drink.  At first it tasted a bit like Robitussin, but it quickly grew on me after sipping the others. This is definitely a second drink drink.


A bar wouldn’t be worth going to if there wasn’t any good food. Chef Ben Roche informed us that after debating on whether to make everything on the menu look like genitals or not, he decided to play with all the senses — mixing textures and tastes into delectable morsels.


Concentrated Popcorn


Popcorn coated with brown butter and cheddar cheese topped with a dash of hops powder is funky, salty, and highly addictive.


Szechuan Peanuts


These are my new favorite snack, covered in Szechuan pepper, chili, and served with cilantro and micro greens. Each bite is different, and by the end of the bowl (because you’ll end up eating the entire bowl) your tongue is numb.


Yuba Chips


These crisp chips are made from the skin that rises to the top of the pot when tofu is made.  They’re spicy and insanely crunchy — hands down the best chips you’ve ever had thanks to a sprinkling of nori and togarashi.


Pizza-Puffed Pasta


This, of all the bar snacks, is a killer, genius idea.  Overcooked pasta is fried so it puffs up crisp, then tossed in a spice mix that tastes like tomato, garlic, oregano, burnt crust, and mozzarella cheese. Perfection.


Beef Tongue


If you need more than bar snacks, get some tongue. Crisp chunks of beef tongue, tasting like the beefiest beef you ever had,  are plated with fried cauliflower, cauliflower puree, and chimichurri.


Rabbit Focaccia 


This focaccia was brought out last minute by Roche, who told us we couldn’t leave without trying it. Oh my God, was he right. The bread is studded with pieces of homemade comfit rabbit leg, topped with a white gazpacho made from almonds, and served with split grapes.  It’s unassuming, but it whacks you right over the head with fatty rabbit flavor, cut through by the richness of the almonds, which in turn is cut through by the grapes. It’s a perfect trio, and everything’s in-sync.

After ending on that phenomenal note, I’m definitely heading back soon to see what else PLAY has up its stocking.



1 East 27th Street

New York, NY 10016


New Sober Bar in Chicago Will Serve Everything Except Alcohol


Opening a bar that refuses to serve alcohol to patrons sounds more like a mean practical joke than a successful business endeavor, but the founders of Chicago bar, The Other Side, believe that alcohol isn’t crucial to the whole barhopping experience. The substance-free bar is the brainchild of New Directions Recovery Service, a nonprofit organization geared towards treating addiction. New Directions president Chris Reed had the idea for a booze-free bar after realizing that he could “only go to the movie theater and bowling alley so many times” and that there were very few social spaces for young sober people

The Other Side boasts couches, pool tables, video games, and a space for live music — pretty much everything a normal bar would have, except there’s no one puking in the bathrooms and the strongest thing they have on tap is Red Bull. Shoot.

H/T + PicThx Eater


Top 20 Most Successful Night Clubs of 2011, Vegas Dominates List

For all you avid club goers and hopeful Roxburians, Nightclub & Bar magazine has just published a list of the most successful nightclubs from across the United States. 12 of the top 20 clubs on the list reside in Sin City, with the top most grossing club being Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub, a multi-level venue that’s been open less than a year and boasts revenue in excess of $70 million.

Apart from Marquee’s proper alignment with quality EDM acts and solid recurring performances from notable artists, the club’s  dual night and day club presence definitely allows for more revenue opportunity at a time when other establishments on the list are closed for business.

The list, developed by Nightclub & Bar and aided by hospitality research firm Technomic, shows that the Top 100 high-volume bars and clubs around the nation generated $1.4 billion, a 9.2% increase from the numbers published a year prior. Looks like even in a “down economy” people still find their way to the club, find their way to the bar, and find their way to pricey table service.

The next few clubs on the list are also serious Las Vegas mainstayers, ala XS and TAO, two clubs with extremely different vibes but similar revenue numbers. TAO boasts similarly popular day club features in the form of TAO Beach.

LIV nightclub out in Miami Beach breaks the top 5 list with an estimated $35-55 million in revenue. Apart from Nevada and Florida, the only other states represented in the top 20 are California, Maryland, New York and New Jersey.

For those of you who’ve been to these clubs, or your favorite mega nightclub didn’t make the list, how do you feel about the rankings? Surprising?

  1. Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub, Las Vegas, NV — $70-80 MM
  2. XS Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $60-70 MM
  3. TAO Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $45-60 MM
  4. Pure Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $35-45 MM
  5. LIV, Miami Beach, FL — $35-45 MM
  6. LAX Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $35-45 MM
  7. HAZE Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $35-45 MM
  8. Surrender Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $25-35 MM
  9. The Bank Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $25-35 MM
  10. LAVO Nightclub NYC, New York, NY — $25-35 MM
  11. The Pool After Dark, Atlantic City, NJ — $25-35 MM
  12. LAVO, Las Vegas, NV — $25-35 MM
  13. Tryst Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $25-35 MM
  14. Mango’s Tropical Café, Miami Beach, FL — $25-35 MM
  15. Seacrets, Ocean City, MD — $15-25 MM
  16. Avalon Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA — $15-25 MM
  17. Pacha New York, New York, NY — $15-25 MM
  18. Sevilla Nightclub of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA — $15-25MM
  19. Vanity Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV — $15-25MM
  20. ghOstbar, Las Vegas, NV — $15-25MM
[entire list and figures at NightClub]