Friday, April 6, 2012 | 2 a.m.
The Stratosphere has been a fixture on the Las Vegas skyline since 1996. It had become outdated but after a $20 million renovation it is coming back.
Here are five cool things to see at the Stratosphere in 2012:
Old-school booths are reminiscent of when Sinatra and Elvis played Vegas but still have that new-car smell. The Frankie playing tonight is Moreno. The vibe classic, but the music is 2012.
This is what $20 million does. Before it was a basic hotel. Now it's got some of the same elements as some of the higher-end rooms. Of course, it's not quite got all the amenities, but you're not paying for them either. Enjoy your budget.
New chef at Top of the World
Claude Gaty was trained in France, grew his culinary skills in Vietnam and brought it all to Vegas. He was making Banh Mi before it was cool. He has raised the level of taste in the tallest restaurant in Vegas.
Jump off the roof
You have to be 14 to free-fall more than 800 feet, but the Stratosphere's CEO, Frank Riolo, has done it in a suit. Several times. Wave at the people in the Top of the World restaurant as you pass.
Happy Hour, Level 107 Lounge
Stiff martinis, 2 for 1, Gaty's half-price appetizers and the view of all Las Vegas make this the place to start your evening. From 4 to 7 p.m. The Level 107 Lounge. Try not to like it. We dare you.
It is virtually impossible to be anywhere in Las Vegas and miss the Stratosphere. It towers 1,149 feet above Las Vegas and is the tallest observation tower in the United States. The casino itself is 55,784 square feet and contains 950 slot machines, 120 game tables and 2,427 hotel rooms.
Of the hotel's 2,427 rooms, 909 were recently remodeled into Stratosphere Select rooms.
The Stratosphere is mostly known for its rides at the top of the tower. The Big Shot, located at the 113th floor, torpedoes riders up 160 feet using compressed air. X-Scream is a teeter-totter perched at the top of the observation deck — if that wasn't scary enough, the coaster arm flings the riders out 27 feet over the edge of the tower. Guests looking for something more sedate can just hang around the 107th floor and simply look at the scenery.