NightlifeOpinionVegas Unfiltered

Sin City as a 24-hour Town is Very Much a Lie

The blatant falsehood of Las Vegas as a never-ending party is still perpetuated…

This is a work of opinion. The details, however, are factual.

Recently I was speaking to an entertainer who’s worked on the Strip since the early seventies. We were discussing the lack of late-night things to do in Las Vegas. “I used to perform with Redd Foxx. His show would start at 1 am, and around three in the morning we’d go out to eat and get into trouble. Now you can’t even find a restaurant open after midnight!” she lamented.

Truer words couldn’t have been spoken. The hype machine would have you believe that everything is open around the clock in Sin City, but that’s absolute bullshit. Sure, you can sit down at a slot machine at 2 am and get a drink from the casino bar, but what else? Almost nothing, that’s what.

When I first started visiting Las Vegas in 2005, I loved the fact that seemingly every hotel had a 24-hour coffee shop. They served popular “Graveyard Specials” like the iconic $1.99 Steak and Eggs. I had stayed at Luxor, and the line outside Pyramid Cafe at 2 am was lengthy but fast-moving. Now that restaurant closes at 2 pm.

Guy Fieri’s Mexican restaurant inside Rio is open a total of fifteen hours per week…

The Mirage was once home to Caribe Cafe and Carnegie Deli, both serving hearty portions at all hours. The deli shuttered in early 2020 (pre-pandemic, mind you), and Caribe Cafe was replaced by Pantry, which bolts its doors at 4:30 pm.

Pantry at Mirage promises “breakfast anytime”. Except it’s closed for 10.5 hours every day…

Now that I’m a resident, I occasionally take a staycation (which is “guy code” for a night of Uber-assisted drinking with buddies). We locals tend to stay off-Strip, and Silver Sevens on Paradise Road is an economical and walkable alternative. Too bad that I recently staggered in, tipsy and hungry, to discover that the 24/7 Silver Spoon Cafe had been rebranded as City Cafe…and during the week it closes at 2 pm. There were no other food options…the front desk suggested Door Dash. Seriously….WTF?

Remember the trendy ADDICTION at Rumor Hotel? Long gone. Always open Cafe Cortez downtown? Replaced by the horribly inferior Siegel’s 1941, which usually has one server and turns most late-night diners away.

Siegel’s 1941 is poorly staffed, overpriced, and inferior to the 24-hour cafe it replaced…

In the 3,000-room Westgate Las Vegas, the only 24/7 food option is prepackaged sandwiches and salads at Fortuna coffee counter. DRAFTS Grill Express is open until 3 am, but on Sundays, it closes at 2 pm! Sid’s Cafe, which opened in 2014 as a 24-hour coffee shop, now locks its doors at midnight.

Treasure Island‘s 24/7 coffee shop now closes at 2 pm (on weekends they stay open an hour longer). Bill’s full-service Victorian Cafe was shuttered in favor of Cromwell’s Eatwell, a walk-up counter that closes at 10 pm on most nights. I could go on, but if you haven’t gotten the idea by now, you aren’t going to.

Your mind is probably blaming COVID and staffing issues for the reduction of restaurant hours…and you’d be mighty wrong. This situation was already entrenched by 2018…because the notion that people might want to eat when they’re up all night is utterly absurd, right?

Enough about food. What about entertainment? Recently I penned a piece for CHIC COMPASS MAGAZINE on former lounge entertainer/Sinatra protege Marlene Ricci. During our interview, Ms. Ricci explained that during the 70s, casinos had lounge acts which performed all night. It wasn’t unusual for her to be on a microphone from 1 am until the sun came up. That was the norm, but not anymore. In fact, good luck finding a lounge with free entertainment. They’re a dying breed.

Do you want to attend a sexy show like X-Country or Chippendales? You’d better check the schedule, because they only perform on certain nights…and 10 pm is usually the latest showtime. When MGM Resorts acquired Luxor, they changed the name of its topless revue from “MIDNIGHT FANTASY” to just “FANTASY“…and moved it from the zero-hour to 11 pm. These days FANTASY begins as early as 8 pm on Sunday.

Once-nightly Chippendales only strips Wednesday through Sunday…

Do you plan on using the Las Vegas Monorail as your primary means of transportation? Then you’d better check that schedule, too. They sell 24-hour passes, but that’s not how the system operates. Depending on the day, the trains stop running as early as midnight. UBER and LYFT are viable options, but many drivers avoid late-night/early-morning shifts due to the potential for rowdy, vomiting riders.

If you find yourself drifting in at 4 am from a stripper club (yes, those still operate around the clock), don’t count on room service. Most Vegas hotels have eliminated it. And forget about sleeping in. While hotels and motels in other cities have a standard checkout time of noon, in Vegas it’s usually eleven at best. You can request late check-out in advance, and if “it’s available”, expect a hefty surcharge for that extra hour or two.

Come to think of it, a 24-hour town should have your room ready at any time, right? Flights arrive from early morning until late at night. But if you want your room before 4 pm, that’s another charge on top of the mandatory resort fee. Once again “Based Upon Availability”, as if all 4,000 rooms are occupied around the clock.

Side note – If you’re planning on staying at a Caesars property and want to modify your check-in, be sure to read our recent article on the matter….or you might not get a room at all.

It’s true that casinos are open around the clock, and they’ve experienced a resurgence in interest (and profits) since things reopened. But don’t expect the Player’s Club counter to be available if you’ve lost your slot card. Many are only open during limited hours. Others have closed completely and been integrated into the cashier cage. Good luck finding a cocktail waitress, too. They seem to disappear after dark.

It’s 5:45. Everyone, get out of the water…

The popularity of pool clubs has invigorated the Vegas summer trade, which until the current decade was considered a dead season. Oddly, the idea of swimming at night is very frowned upon here. You can head to Encore Beach Club after the sun goes down but know that it’s expensive. Really expensive.

Most resort pool decks close before dinner time. For example, Venetian‘s pool decks, Cosmopolitan‘s Boulevard Pool, and Aria‘s three pools all want you out by 6 pm. Citrus Grand Pool at Downtown Grand is such a buzzkill that it closes daily at 4 pm.

Speaking of buzzkill, it may seem as though that was the intent of this article. This isn’t the case. Nobody likes to be misled, and it’s time to clear up yet another misconception, one of many that Sin City loves to perpetuate.

Vegas is no longer cheap, the casinos don’t give away everything to keep you gambling, it’s STILL not a place to bring children, and the city really does roll up its streets at night. Plan accordingly, and you won’t be disappointed.


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