Thursday, May 28, 2015

One last night at the Riviera

I'm slow to recap my recent Vegas trip, but tonight I will finally chronicle a few memories from the final hours of the Riviera.

I arrived at the Riv sometime after 10 p.m. Vegas time on Sunday night. My flight arrived a couple hours earlier, and the only thing on my agenda that night was a cameo at the Riv.

With my girlfriend accompanying me we drove over from the Orleans and entered from the parking ramp side of the building. People were still checking in at 10 p.m. on the night before closing. That surprised me.

There was decent action in the casino that night, much better than a typical Sunday night, I'm sure. The table games were lively and full, and there were plenty of people congregating around the big casino bar. The bartenders didn't dazzle me with their hustle, and the guy serving us didn't seem very jovial, but he did his job. I'm sure it sucks knowing your longtime source of employment is about to disappear, but the tips were good that night, and most of us seemed in fine spirits, so why not enjoy the atmosphere?

As I had read, drinks were cheap. Any bottles of beer they had were $2, and they were pouring mixed drinks for $2. And they were pouring generously. They poured plenty of Captain Morgan in my cocktails. Down the street that drink would have cost me about $15 that evening. Ironically they still charged my girlfriend $2.75 for the one diet cola she ordered.

Plenty of people were taking pictures of the bronze butts outside. The bronze sculpture of women's backsides was installed in homage to the long running "Crazy Girls" show, a show I saw in January 1997 during my first visit to Vegas. I wasn't blown away by the craziness, that much I remember.

The Pinball Hall of Fame machines had already been removed, so that was a bummer for me, but not a surprise. Most of the dining spots in the food court were open, and there wasn't much happening there. The pizza joint was still charging about $5 a slice, despite the lack of a crowd lining up for the hot pie.

It had been a long day and I wanted to make a point to return by mid-morning on Monday, so after an hour or so we departed.

I had read that the final night of a casino is a huge party, so I was a bit underwhelmed by the turnout at the Riv. I know, it was a Sunday night, and it was on the north end of the strip, but I expected a little more than what I got. I wasn't too disappointed, however, as I knew Monday morning would provide me with a huge party.

I'll save the Monday morning finale for my next chapter.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Vegas, conquered

Twelve hours ago I was playing pinball in Las Vegas.

I have returned from six nights in Sin City, and here are a few hightlights:

Sunday evening:
• An hour or so during the final night of the Riviera

• More than two hours at the Riviera as they closed the doors 
• A Mariachi el Bronx concert at Brooklyn Bowl
• A ride on the High Roller

• Dinner at the Prime Rib Loft in the Orleans

• A cameo in Primm

• Dinner at Marrakech 

• Container Park
• A whole lot of Fremont Street

• Pinball Hall of Fame
• Traditional "last supper" at In-N-Out Burger

The trip included a couple of afternoons at the Orleans pool. It was supposed to include pool time every afternoon, but the weather didn't quite cooperate. 

I will elaborate on some, if not all, of the aforementioned highlights in the blogs to come. And I will also explain how I managed to hit all three of my $25 match plays and three $10 match plays, thanks to my good luck charm.

And if you've seen the Twitter feed, @vegasinsight, you've seen pics from the final hours of the Riv. Some day I'll find a way to share some of those via my blog, as well as through a separate website.