As if you needed an excuse to drink in Vegas. Now in its seventh year, Bon Appétit's Vegas Uncork'd runs from May 9-12, and offers a top-tier eating and drinking experience in a town known for both. The schedule includes dinners with celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, and Joël Robuchon, sessions dedicated to mixology, vodka and caviar, margaritas, oysters, beef and whiskey, and beer, as well as a number of different parties. With events scheduled at the Bellagio, Caesars, Mandalay Bay, and the MGM Grand, you'll have plenty of opportunity to explore the town — presumably on a full belly and with a happy buzz to go along with it.
To say there are plenty of places in Las Vegas to get a drink would be a colossal understatement — but if you're looking for somewhere sophisticated and away from the strip to imbibe, the Downtown Cocktail Room is a great choice. This converted wedding chapel offers 3,000 square feet of space for you to unwind, with plenty of booths, lounges, and arm chairs for you to sit, and hand-crafted cocktails for you to sip. Whether you hang in the front cocktail room or speakeasy, you can be assured a chill time just steps from Fremont, thanks to rules that encourage tasteful clothing, gentlemanly behavior, and seek to reduce douchebaggery to a minimum.
Ready for a break from the insanity of the Strip? The National Atomic Testing Museum should be just the thing. This unique Smithsonian-affiliated museum offers a collection of over 12,000 artifacts related to the development, testing, and deployment of the atom bomb. Located on the campus of the Desert Research Institute — roughly 65 miles southeast from the government's Nevada Test Site — it also explores the effects of the bomb on pop culture and society in general. It's not too heavy-handed, however — one of its current exhibits explores the truth behind the legendary Area 51 base, with help from the very people that worked there. And after a few nights of fantasy-fueled debauchery, a dose of truth may be just what the doctor ordered. That, and a good Bloody Mary. [via]
There are plenty of VIP experiences to take part in while you're in Sin City, but few more exclusive than a meal at é by José Andrés. Tucked away behind the bar at Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan, this secluded restaurant only offers two "shows" per night, with eight seats available for each. And "show" is very much a correct term — all the seats are set around a single bar, behind which a team of talented chefs prepare and serve up course after small plate course of mind-blowing, thought-provoking food, explaining the methods behind each, as well as the proper way to eat them. This is a prix fixe affair, so budget accordingly, but trust us — it's worth every penny.
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It's hard to imagine a better way to blow off some steam after running through your bankroll than taking a dream car for a spin. World Class Driving offers you the opportunity to do exactly that, with available drives taking you to Red Rock Canyon, the Hoover Dam, or just past the strip at sunset. With a stable of vehicles that includes Ferraris, Lambos, the Audi R8, and the Mercedes SLR, you're sure to find a ride to make you smile again.
Plenty of people drink wine while they're in Vegas, but how many actually get to learn about it? The stately Bellagio has just launched its new Master Sommelier's Wine Classroom to let you do exactly that. This series of 90-minute seminars runs from the 20th of February through the 20th of November, which each class delving into a different type of wine, different region, or a different topic — such as pairing wines and foods or blind tastings. Each class is held at the Michael Mina restaurant, and is led by Bellagio's Director of Wine and Master Sommelier Jason Smith — so you know you're being taught well. [via]
January 19th is National Popcorn Day, in case you didn't know, but you don't need to head to the local theater to get your fix. If you happen to be near Vegas, you could simply stop into Popped. They currently offer 18 flavors of the (usually) salty snack, ranging from the classic caramel to the more exotic jalapeno and La Famiglia — a blend of parmesan, onion, and garlic. Feeling really brave? Get yours with a Nitro Shot and enjoy the wonders of frozen gourmet popcorn. [via]
Part nightclub, part adult theater, all fun. The Act is the Palazzo's newest club, but it's far from the typical DJ-fueled sweat fests found all over town. It was created by Simon Hammerstein, best known for the hip, edgy show The Box, and as such features avant-garde theatrical performances with overtly sexual tones and plenty of audience involvement. While the acts are the main draw, don't forget to take in the ambiance of the ornately decorated interior, from the bar, a private balcony box, or backstage seating area. Oh, and don't be alarmed if you can't find the john — the bathrooms are labeled as Sex Rooms. Come to think of it, don't be alarmed by what you see inside, either.
Vegas has more than its fair share of great eateries, Japanese included — but if you're looking for truly great ramen, it's worth leaving the Strip to visit Shoku Ramen-ya. This offshoot of Bachi Burger offers such items as Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen, a Hanjuku Egg add-on, bacon fried rice, and — coming soon — Tan Tan Men. Of course, a full range of imported beers and sakes are also on offer, as well as a rotating selection of Asian soft drinks including Calpico and Pocari Sweat, which isn't nearly as gross as it sounds.
You shouldn't really need to participate in a drinking game to get sloshed in Vegas — the myriad bars and promise of free drinks on the casino floor should more than take care of that — but should your group catch the competitive spirit, you can sate your thirst at DB's Pong & Pool. Located in the Miracle Mile Shops, this newish bar offers tons of regulation beer pong tables just ready for battle. And should throwing balls not be your idea of a perfect game, they also offer pool tables, darts, shuffleboard, foosball, and even regular old ping pong — or more than enough options to keep you going until you're ready to tackle the rest of the town. [via]
Blackjack table not treating you well? Angry at the buffet's lack of inventive sauces for your prime rib? Take out your frustrations with a trip to Machine Guns Vegas. Located less than 10 minutes from the Strip, this unique experience offers high-end decor and furniture, a state of the art indoor gun range, and a wide range of themed shooting packages that let you try out guns from WWII, the golden days of the Mob, your favorite video games, or just a selection of fully automatics that will have you blasting through rounds in no time. If that's not enough for you, try out one of their day packages, which include a 007 experience with a custom tailored suit, a 24-hour Aston Martin rental, and a session with nearly 10 different guns on the VIP gun range.
Ever heard of the Neon Boneyard? This final resting place for many of Vegas' most famous former signs is getting a makeover. With a visitors' center housed in the relocated La Concha Motel Lobby, The Neon Museum is the new official gateway to the Boneyard and more. On the tour, you'll see historic signs from the Moulin Rouge, the Stardust, and the Flamingo, as well as countless other signs from now defunct restaurants, hotels, and businesses. Be sure to stop by the Downtown Gallery, as well, which features a number of signs that have been restored to their former glory.