Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 9:06 p.m.
As Robin Leach settles into a northern Italian lake district lifestyle before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus Lake Como and Lake Maggiore this year — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace knockout burlesque beauty Melody Sweets.
Here are my Top 10 Favorite Things to Do in the Entertainment Capital of the World:
10. Neon Museum
If you’re in Las Vegas, you must visit the Neon Museum in downtown Las Vegas. It holds the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, which is home to retired iconic signs and marquees from famous Las Vegas hotels and other businesses. Important historical pieces are on display, including signage from the Moulin Rouge Hotel and the Stardust. Go at night so that you can see it all lit up … and take the tour. It’s a fun way to learn a little Las Vegas history.
9. Bonnie Springs Ranch
Bonnie Springs Ranch is an Old Nevada Western Town, which hosts a restaurant, bar, motel, horseback riding, petting zoo, train rides, gunfights, a wax museum and even a live hanging. I still don’t understand why people actually want to see a hanging take place, even if it’s not real, but whatever pops your cork! Keep your eyes open for the peacocks roaming free; with any luck, they’ll flirt with you and spread their … gorgeous tail feathers for a photo op.
8. Skinny Dipping!!!
I’m pretty sure that there’s no public place in Las Vegas to go skinny dipping (legally), and I’m not quite ready to invite you all to my house to join me in my pool for a little fun in the sun, but you can at least free your nipples at a couple of “toptional” pools in the city — or, um, so I hear. I’d start with Caesars Palace’s Venus Pool Club. Hail, Caesar. #freethenipple
7. Herbs & Rye
Herbs & Rye on Sahara is a pre-Prohibition-style cocktail bar and late-night lounge. It’s dark. It has no windows. The sign is barely lit. But once you walk in, it’s warm, welcoming and a bit like you’ve been transported back to Old Vegas. They serve authentic classic cocktails, and they are delish! It was reportedly the Rat Pack’s favorite hang back when it was called the Venetian Restaurant. If it was good enough for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., it’s good enough for me.
6. Making Out at West Wind Movie Theater
Find yourself a nice spot, park, put the top down, tune your radio to specified station, take a moment to look up at the stars, make out. In that order. Bring an entourage. That way, if the date is a disaster, you have an exit strategy and can go hang out with friends in their car until the movie is over.
Eat is where I go when I need a little love in my belly. Chef Natalie Young serves up a yummy-num-num-make-you-feel-good kind of menu downtown. Mmmmmm … shrimp and grits. The website boasts, “Good food for good people, made with love,” and it’s true. Once you meet chef Natalie, you’ll know it to be so.
4. 365 Tokyo
A “members-only” Japanese-inspired bar downtown on the second floor of Inspire Theater. It seats about 10 members in a tiny room walled-in on three sides by glass that hangs over Fremont Street. Master mixologist Seong Ha Lee is a cocktail-making magic ninja. He’s like a mad scientist minus the mad. I recommend telling him what flavors you enjoy, sweet or sour, spicy or smoky, and then just watch the master go to work. While Seong Ha is making your drink, check out the jazz menu. If you like what you’re hearing, you can purchase it.
3. Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum
The Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas is an institution dedicated to honoring past burlesque performers such as Sally Rand, Gypsy Rose Lee and Las Vegas resident Tempest Storm and present purrrformers including Dita Von Teese, Dirty Martini and myself. The collection includes items such as gowns, shoes, pasties, G-strings, jewelry, posters, photographs and playbills related to famous burlesque performers from around the world. Purchase my debut album “Burlesque in the Black” while you’re there, and you’ll be doing the bump-and-grind in no time. All proceeds go to the museum.
2. “Vegas Nocturne”
Want to see something different that will blow your mind? Go see my friend beatboxing badass Butterscotch. I don’t know how she does what she does, but the sound that comes out of her mouth is something to hear. She can somehow, while singing, play multiple instruments, including what sounds to be an entire rhythm section … with her mouth! It’s like she has a live band camping out in her lungs, a one-woman band of sorts. Just go.
(Editor’s Note: “Vegas Nocturne” closed at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in the Cosmopolitan on Saturday night, but producer Ross Mollison says it will resurface. Stay tuned.)
And I’m not just saying that because I’m part of the show! “Absinthe,” if you don’t know already, is the best show on the Las Vegas Strip, and I am honored to be the sole singer of it. I sing and strip to three songs from my recently debuted album. The show in a tent outside Caesars Palace features some of the top circus, burlesque and acrobatic acts in the world, not to mention great music, the unbelievable feats of strength, balance and showmanship, and the funniest hosts you will ever experience. I like to call The Gazillionaire and Penny Pibbets “comedy geniuses” because after three years of performing 10 shows per week, they still have me cry laughing on a nightly basis.
Check out our other guest columns today from two of Melody’s high-flying’ “Absinthe” co-stars, Almas Meirmanov of The Frat Pack and Cadence Alexia of Duo Fevrier. On Thursday, comedian George Wallace has us laughing, and we have a producer’s behind-the-scenes peekaboo of “Sydney After Dark” from the land Down Under at Planet Hollywood.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas dares to be different. From the hotel’s red reservations desks to fine art found throughout the resort, The Cosmopolitan’s signature style is helping to pave its own path on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering the resort, you’re greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for The Cosmopolitan. Just beyond that, you’ll find all your favorite casino games on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor.
The Cosmopolitan’s rooms standout as the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of The Cosmopolitan’s 2,995 rooms have 6-foot deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel. Other in-room amenities include soaking tubs, kitchenettes and quirky accessories like artsy coffee table books.
The dining experience at The Cosmopolitan isn’t something you’ll find at other Strip resorts, either. All of The Cosmopolitan’s 13 restaurateurs are new to the Las Vegas market. You’ll find American steakhouse fare in a modern setting at STK, top-notch sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill and the freshest fish flown in from the Mediterranean daily at Estiatorio Milos.
Whether the sun is up or down, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the place to find the party at The Cosmopolitan. The venue is a dayclub/nightclub, complete with a pool and cabanas outside and three different rooms with three different vibes inside.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can grab a drink at one of The Cosmopolitan’s five other bars, like The Chandelier, which is encased in 2 million dripping crystals.