68°F
weather icon Clear

SLS: Las Vegas Strip loves Sahara, as classic name returns

Updated June 28, 2019 - 5:01 pm

Maybe SLS stood for “Still Loving Sahara.”

It really never stood for anything, which is why the hotel had some fun with the SLS acronym — Saucy Little Surprises and such. But the Sahara name has returned to the 67-year-old property on the corner of the Las Vegas Strip and Sahara Avenue, effectively closing out the SLS Las Vegas era dating to the hotel’s re-opening in August 2014.

Hotel owner Alex Meruelo made the official announcement at a pool party at Foxtail, a remarkable event as Meruelo doesn’t often speak publicly (at least in front of the media), and also for a dazzling Intel-sponsored drone show that showed off the hotel’s new “S” logo.

That image actually looks like a slot-car track from the 1970s, and that is a compliment.

A few highlights, quotes and morsels from the fete:

Strip standoff: Expect an ongoing, and energetic, debate between Meruelo’s team and the execs at the Strat about which hotel marks the northern borderline of the Las Vegas Strip.

Meruelo threw down the gauntlet at the end of his speech Thursday: “As we say, the Strip starts here!” That was the title of, and social-media hashtag for, the event.

But kitty-corner and to north, Golden Entertainment CEO and chairman Blake Sartini’s officials insist the Strip actually starts at the Strat — the looming tower (or, rather, SkyPod) is typically shown in landscape pictures of the Strip.

Both top-level execs have a nostalgic view of the neighborhood. Meruelo said he recalls being captivated by the lights of the Strip on his family visits from L.A. at age 6, when he began dreaming of owning a hotel on the Strip. Meruelo also told the crowd of about 700 that he proposed to his wife, Liset, in Vegas. Sartini’s family moved to Las Vegas when he was 5 years old and he graduated from Clark High School and UNLV.

A ‘Blanc’ slate: SLS/Sahara general manager Paul Hobson confirmed that the acrobatic, adult-themed “Blanc de Blanc” production is due to open at the Foundry in August. “ ‘Blanc de Blanc’ is on its way, it’s a really fun and exciting entertaining show that has played internationally to great acclaim,” Hosbon said. “We had the perfect venue for what they are trying to pull off.”

Hobson was less committal about “Magic Mike Live” moving into the hotel, though such officials from “MML” co-producers Base Entertainment as Brian Becker and Mark Maluso attended the naming party. “Magic Mike” is not selling ticket at Hard Rock Hotel past November, and there is buzz at the property about a new venue being built specifically for the show.

Eddie’s in play: Hobson said The Sayers Club is to remain a comedy venue, headed up by resident stand-up Eddie Griffin, who was on the red carpet at Thursday’s event. “It’s a great room for comedy, and Eddie always brings fresh material, fresh takes on events, every night.”

• Deja vu at Casbar: As I arrived at the hotel, I headed to the newly minted Casbar Lounge, a contemporary, chic haunt whose design is in line with such nightspots as Clique at The Cosmopolitan and Trago Lounge at the Trop. Casbar plucks its name from Sahara’s original legendary space where Louis Prima and Keely Smith with Sam Butera and the Witnesses made the lounge scene a Las Vegas entertainment destination. I ran into veteran Vegas entertainment booker and producer Steve Beyer who actually fronted a band at the old Casbar Lounge in the 1980s. “Hey!” he called out. “I’m back!” It was a throwback moment, caught only at the old/new Sahara.

Emmet navigates the Barge

Pop-opera sensation Daniel Emmet, a top-10 finalist on Season 13 of “America’s Got Talent,” is the latest headliner announced at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace. His “All That I Am” show runs six nights, from Aug. 25-26; Sept. 1, Sept. 6 and Sept. 22-23. All shows are 8 p.m. Mr. Emmet has graduated to a higher-rent district, in line with his rare vocal chops, with tickets running $59-$79 (not including fees). Tickets will be on sale 10 a.m. Monday at any Caesars Entertainment box office or at ticketmaster.com.

Emmet is also making a guest appearance with Marie Osmond and the Utah Symphony at the Deer Valley Music Festival in Park City, Utah. The connection: Jerry Williams, Osmond’s music director, is also working with Emmet.

Cool Hang Alert

The live-music and dance performances at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at The Cosmopolitan. They run Wednesdays through Sundays, and Saturday night is the last night you’ll see Mikalah Gordon in the show. The 2005 “American Idol” finalist has moved to L.A. full-time. Skye Dee Miles and Malik Pointer (son of Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters) appear nightly, with Noybel Gorgoy subbing on select nights. No cover for the show; the food is amazing.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
The Hangover is served at The Crack Shack in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Khine Moore, executive chef at The Crack Shack at Park MGM in Las Vegas, makes The Hangover with a fried chicken breast or thigh dipped in honey-butter, sprinkled with Crack Seasoning and topped with an egg. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dessert Before Dinner winner Becky Quan
Nine of Las Vegas’ top women pastry chefs offered original creations built around Girl Scouts Trefoils shortbread cookies Saturday night at Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada’s annual Desserts Before Dinner Gala. The top dessert, as voted on by the audience, was an homage to Good Humor’s old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bars created by NoMad’s Becky Quan. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chef Sammy D is cooking again in Las Vegas
Sam DeMarco served his first public meal since returning to Las Vegas on Sunday, with a pop-up brunch at 7th & Carson. And the veteran of the First Food & Bar, Rattlecan and Sam’s American has more in store for the downtown spot. The chef, known as Sammy D. to his friends, is taking on a consulting chef role with restaurant that will see some of Sunday’s offerings added to the regular menu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carl’s Donuts in Las Vegas celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day
Carl’s Donuts, a Las Vegas-based company that’s been serving the city since 1966, celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day with specialties themed to fall. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Harrison of "Pawn Stars" has a new store - VIDEO
Rick Harrison, the Pawn Stars co-star and owner of Gold & Silver Pawn, talks to the Review-Journal’s John Katsilometes about his soon-to-open Rick’s Collection retail outlet of mostly mid-century masterworks at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa - VIDEO
Because of popular request, the 1-year-old Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa, with shrimp, ground pork, neither or both. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trial by Fire cocktail at the Golden Tiki in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Adam Rains, head bartender (also Grand Poobah and a few other things) at The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas, makes one of the bar’s tiki drinks, (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gordon Ramsay renovating Las Vegas steakhouse - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is preparing to re-launch his Paris Las Vegas restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Steak. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cats owners compete for top show awards
The annual Jazzy Cats event is taking place at the Rio Convention Center this weekend attracting cats owners from around the country and the world to compete for the top show awards. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas serves blackened Cajun catfish - VIDEO
Troy Remer, sous chef at Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, blackens Cajun catfish on the grill before serving it with mashed potatoes and collard greens. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon at Mr. Chow - VIDEO
This just may be the gold standard for the filet mignon. Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has introduced The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon, which is coated with real 24-karat gold. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Working as a mermaid in Las Vegas - VIDEO
McKenzie Kawano works as a mermaid at the aquarium at the Silverton in Las Vegas. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinkbox Doughnuts opens third store in Las Vegas area
Las Vegas-based Pinkbox Doughnuts, which opened its third store at 9435 W. Tropicana Ave., specializes in doughnuts such as the new Station Wagon, with Butterfinger; pink-velvet Pretty in Pink; and hybrid Glazed DoughCro Bites. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal, with image courtesy of Pinkbox Doughnuts
Starbucks brings back Pumpkin Spice early
Starbucks declares Aug. 27 the first day of fall as they make their pumpkin spice items available a full month early. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo at Carmine’s in Las Vegas
Roberto Leon, a line cook at Carmine’s at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, makes Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo with eight pounds of lobster, a pound each of mussels, clams and shrimp, two pounds of pasta and two gallons of sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'American Idol' auditions in Las Vegas
“American Idol” was in Las Vegas Monday looking for singers to compete in its upcoming 2020 season. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan part of the Harlem Globetrotters
Scooter Christensen, who grew up in Las Vegas, will play with the Harlem Globetrotters at The Orleans in Las Vegas Sunday, Aug. 25. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MSG Sphere at The Venetian to cost $1.2B plus
Scheduled to open in 2021, it is expected to be busier than Madison Square Garden in New York. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa Returns To Red Rock. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort is set to open on Aug. 26.
Hubert Keller’s Backyard Kitchen
Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur and Burger Bar shows off his backyard kitchen in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Watermelon Mojitos and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Bartender Cassy Leedom and Chef Norberto Ortega make a Watermelon Mojito and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas celebrates National Fajita Day
Cook Ruben Fuentes and general manager Taylor Pulliam of Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas prepare steak and shrimp fajitas with the restaurant’s signature fiery treatment. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pasta Shop Ristorante serves a watermelon-shrimp salad
Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson serves a summer salad that combines watermelon with greens, feta and shrimp. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Factory Kitchen in Las Vegas makes classic affogato
Jorge Luque, pastry chef at The Factory Kitchen at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes affogato with two simple ingredients - house-made gelato and fresh espresso. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review Journal with image from The Factory Kitchen)
The Cereal Killerz Kitchen serves over 100 cereals
Christopher Burns, owner of The Cereal Killerz Kitchen at Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, makes a Milk & Cookies Shake from his more than 100 varieties of cereal. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in Las Vegas makes a State Fair CrazyShake
Bianca Zepeva, a shaker at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes a State Fair CrazyShake with a kettle corn rim, caramel, corn-based ice cream, popcorn brittle, crushed kettle corn, sprinkles and a cherry. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Balboa Pizza Company makes Thai peanut chicken wings
Irma Perez, kitchen manager at Balboa Pizza Company at The District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, near Las Vegas, brines chicken wings for 24 hours before roasting and frying them and finishing them in various styles such as Thai peanut. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
New Venetian pool deck
Final touches are currently being added to the hotel’s main tower pool deck, which consists of five pools. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who is Vegas Vic? (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada State Museum Director Dennis McBride explains the origins of the Vegas icon.
Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas serves a 4-pound Big Island Feast Burger
Cindy Sun, general manager of Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas, makes the Big Island Feast Burger with 2 1/2 pounds of the house bacon/beef blend, Napa-cilantro slaw, six slices of American cheese, a can of grilled Spam, six slices of chargrilled pineapple, four fried eggs and a drizzle of teriyaki and serves it with macaroni salad. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST