Las Vegas Sun

January 24, 2018

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Strip Scribbles: Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon begins its makeover



Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon.

Slowly but surely, the ambitious plans for the transformation and makeover of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon are moving forward, and it’s almost exactly as we first wrote about exclusively in July 2010. I can confirm from top Caesars Entertainment execs that nightclub czar Victor Drai has joined them for the pitches to investors.

Their road trip was successful, and Victor’s 2010 plans will come to fruition with construction starting next year for a 2014 opening. He’ll keep his successful Drai’s After Hours in the basement and run a rooftop pool and nightclub complex similar to his W Hotel in Hollywood.

My pal David Morris at Eater Las Vegas on Wednesday reported that Victor won’t operate the hotel; instead the hip, chic Gansevoort Hotel from New York City will join as partners in the property. I heard from one source Wednesday night that Gansevoort is in the investment deal but that the One Group (who run STK at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Bagatelle at the Tropicana and two new Palms venues) won’t have their Italian restaurant Asselina there as in Manhattan.

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Clockwise from front left, American Idol's Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell with Victor Drai in Victor's VIP booth at XS in the Encore on April 27, 2009.

However, head honcho Jonathan Segal confirms that he’s looking for space to add Asselina to his Las Vegas restaurant mix. “We’re very bullish on nightlife in Las Vegas now,” he told me. When Barbary Coast opened on the Strip in March 1979, it cost $11.5 million, and, with 196 rooms, it was one of the smallest properties in town. I wrote back in 2010 that the facelift would cost more than when it was first built.

In 2007, it was traded to Harrah’s Entertainment for land on the Strip where owner Bill Boyd would start construction of his now-stalled Echelon Place and renamed Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon in honor of Harrah’s founder William F. Harrah. The 4.3-acre property, including the 17,200-square-foot casino, will get a major overhaul and become a boutique hotel run for Caesars with Victor’s club atop it as the ultimate 24-hour party palace.

PRINCE HARRY TEMPTED? British theatrical producer David King, who presents “Dancing Queen” and “Shades of Temptation” at New York-New York, has offered Britain’s Prince Harry a staggering sum to host for just one night his seductive striptease “Temptation.”

David says if the redheaded royal rebel returns to the scene of his latest headline controversy and plays MC, he’ll donate 100,000 pounds to Harry’s favorite charity.

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Britain's Prince William, left, and Prince Harry talk while watching track cycling at the velodrome during the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, in London.

NASHVILLE TREK: Upcoming Venetian headliner Tim McGraw threw a party Wednesday night to debut songs from his album “Two Lanes of Freedom” out Feb. 5, and hometown hero Ne-Yo turned up to sing Tim’s “Only Human.” Then they sang together on Ne-Yo’s “She Is” from his new album dropping Tuesday. Ne-Yo reported that Tim’s wife Faith Hill made him fried chicken while visiting.

Tonight, Tim sings “One of Those Nights” and joins Faith for a tribute to Willie Nelson at the CMA Awards in Nashville. Ne-Yo returned here today to shoot his new video “Forever Now.” Tim said that although Faith and he perform as a couple in their new show run “Soul2Soul,” they’re not teaming up as the next Conway Twitty and Tammy Wynette. “The 10 weeks at the Venetian together starting Dec. 7 is something special, but we really value our careers and what we do individually,” he said.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill at the Venetian

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw announce their extended engagement at the Venetian on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. Launch slideshow »

JUST ASKING: Why is it from the air by helicopter close up that it looks as if the construction has halted on rival observation wheels SkyVue opposite Mandalay Bay and the Linq observation wheel alongside Imperial Palace?


Cirque du Soleil’s “Zarkana” opens for previews at Aria in MGM’s CityCenter; the VIP celebrity gala is Nov. 9.

Chef Wolfgang Puck launches four 2010 vintage wines to benefit Keep Memory Alive with a tasting dinner at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

Food Network and Travel Channel host Adam Richman kicks off the first night of his $300,000 World Food Championships with a poolside party at the Paris benefitting KMA.

World Food Championships Press Conference

Cupcakes represent the recipe category during a press conference for the World Food Championships at Bally's Las Vegas on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. The World Food Championships will be held at Bally's November 1-4. Launch slideshow »

Stoney’s Rockin’ Country opens its 20,000-square-foot location at Town Square with a ribbon cutting.

The Zoppe Italian Family Circus is at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts’ Symphony Park.

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder wraps Night 2 at the Pearl at the Palms.

Hatebreed, Lamb of God and In Flames are at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.

Clubgoer Jaime Zielinski of San Diego became the 100,000th fan of Tao at the Venetian on its Facebook page, and she’ll get her own red carpet photo shoot, dinner and drinks all night as Tao celebrates National Sushi Day.

Starting today and all month, the three Las Vegas Claim Jumper outlets are donating 15 percent of sales to our beloved charity Opportunity Village.


It’s a mega-music weekend with Barbra Streisand, Blood, Sweat and Tears, hometown hero Clint Holmes and more. Babs is joined by trumpet titan Chris Botti and Il Volo at MGM Grand Garden Arena. We’ve got the full Royal Robin Rundown in the weekly Weekend Celebrity Preview.

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.

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