"I beg your pardon...I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometimes". - Joe South
Alrighty, dear Vegas 411 readers...if you've reached this far into our "Best of/Worst of" series, you're probably prepared for almost anything. But the final "Winners" in the concluding chapter might STILL catch a few of you off guard (click here if you missed "Worst Of" Part One). Shall we begin?
BIGGEST LIE - "Vegas Is A 24/7 City"
Yes, I know. You're already blaming COVID-19 and nationwide staffing issues. Well, you can put that excuse into your carry-on and take it home with you. The lie of a 24/7 Vegas was in full effect long before any pandemic. Penny-pinching casinos started their cutbacks years ago, trimming the workforce, consolidating services, eliminating amenities, and downsizing anything they considered to be expendable. That included room service, bar service, guest service counters, and restaurant hours.
This trend became most obvious with the elimination of once-popular around-the-clock coffee shops and diners. You know, the places that helped put Vegas on the map with their late night steak-and-eggs specials. Who doesn't have memories of staggering through a casino at 4 am, plunking down in a booth with your friends, and ordering some strong coffee and a "hangover burger"? Good luck finding a place like that now.
I recently checked into a Vegas hotel for a little "staycation", as us locals call it. Despite the fact that it was only 5 pm, the only remaining restaurant had closed at 2 pm. Their buffet, steak house, and taco bar had been permanently shut down, and the casino bar that still served hot dogs and such wasn't open, either. A bartender on duty at the sportsbook bar told me that he hears bitching all day and night from customers who want to grab a bite. "They tell us to refer you to DoorDash". Seriously?
An overnight stay on Fremont Street earlier in the year yielded the same scenario. Not one single food outlet was available at the massive Golden Nugget after 11 pm. Magnolia's Veranda at Four Queens was shuttered, and Circa had one deli open (offering $22 sandwiches and a side of potato salad for $5 extra....hard pass!). Lanai Express at Fremont Hotel had a line out the door. Of course, it did...people want to eat after an evening of fun! Nevertheless, there were only two employees to face the dozens of angry, hungry, belligerent, and tipsy customers.
In recent weeks, I've noticed that many casino restaurants are only open on weekends, and the same goes for live shows. Want to see OPIUM or ATOMIC SALOON SHOW mid-week? Too damned bad. The Beatles LOVE on a Sunday or Monday? Nope. Lots of bars and nightclubs that used to open nightly are weekends-only now, and places that were once 24-hours have trimmed back to limited hours. Now, combine those truths with the reality of COVID-19 staffing, lower your expectations, and make advance reservations to do almost ANYTHING in the new Las Vegas of 2022.
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