56 RELAX 48 / BEST BUTLER SERVICE Butler extraordinaire Charles MacPherson gives the staf at Aria Sky Suites some pointers and further elevates their already sky-high standards.
50 / BEST SPA TEA PROGRAM Qua Baths & Spa soothes guests from the inside out with help from a tea expert.
52 / PLACES TO GET PAMPERED Work hard, play hard, rest hard— everything you need to unwind in style.
WATCH 56 / BEST NIGHT OUT Sexy, sultry, sensual—these are a few of our favorite things … and you’ll fnd them all at 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque by Holly Madison.
64 / BEST LOCAL ARTS INITIATIVE Giving credit where credit is due, Te I.S.I. Group gives back to the community one art project at a time.
66 / WHAT TO SEE From the edge of your seat to bouncing on your feet, these are the city’s top entertainment oferings.
Kaskade wasn’t voted America’s Best DJ for nothing—dude is a beatdropping machine. And you can check him out night and day at Marquee.
72 / BEST CASINO BARS Grab a drink at some of our favorite watering holes.
74 / PLACES TO PARTY
Have some fun and move your body at the hottest spots to live the day and nightlife.
LABOR DAY WEEKEND 80 / 14 PLACES TO GO From day to night, the ultimate guide for an unforgettable holiday weekend. Plus, meet the Strip’s sexiest cocktail servers.
96 / THE END Go digital with the team from Rated as they highlight their favorite features—now live on vrated.com.
BoURBoN & BURLESQUE: ANTHoNY MAIR; DAVID MIDDLEToN: SABIN oRR; KASKADE: BRENToN Ho
PLAY 70 / BEST NIGHTCLUB RESIDENCY
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By Casey Brennan Photography by Anthony Mair
Living on theEdgE The cityâ€™s top tastemakers give us a glimpse of the high life
BARBARA BELL There are tens of thousands of people working at the many bars, restaurants and casinos on the Strip, and chances are Barbara Bell has designed their uniforms. With clients including Aria, Bellagio, Hakkasan, Wet Republic and Holsteins, among many others, Bell—who previously owned a custom suit company in L.A., designing duds for professional athletes—has made a name for herself as the go-to designer for Las Vegas’ hospitality giants. “We beat out Cintas and some other larger companies for the exclusive contract at SLS Hotel,” Bell says. “We brought in $1 million in sales this year, which is a big deal for a small local business.” A big deal indeed for the Vegasbred designer, who hired her frst employee in December and operates without a sales team. “What sets us apart is that we take fashionable, current looks and make them into uniforms,” Bell says. “The employees enjoy wearing them, and the customers can relate.” Wine and dine: “Piero’s is defnitely my go-to spot,” Bell says of an evening out. “My husband actually took me there on one of our frst dates in high school, so it’s extremely nostalgic. My favorite dish hasn’t changed: penne vodka with prosciutto and peas.” Fit as a Fiddle: “Hot yoga and Pilates make me feel my best,” Bell says. “It works your body and mind! When it comes to beauty, I don’t like much makeup. As long as I have a great moisturizer, mascara and lip gloss, I’m good to go.” Culture Club: “My family loves Zoppé, an Italian family circus,” says Bell, who has a 3-year-old daughter. As for live music, “The last concert I saw was Bruno Mars at The Cosmopolitan.” OFF the beaten path: “Pho Kim Long for pho followed by refexology at Good Foot Spa” is the perfect afternoon in Chinatown. a hidden gem: “In high school I went to Chin’s at Fashion Show for the most amazing Chinese food! Not many people know, but the chef is now at Amlee Gourmet [in Henderson], and he’s still making all the classics.”
ReeM ACRA dress Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show, 702.731.3636; neimanmarcus.com
CRYSTAL GHANEM Crystal Ghanem wears a lot of different hats. When she isn’t helping out behind the scenes at her family’s restaurant Radio City Pizza, the 30-year-old works as the deputy campaign manager for attorney general hopeful Ross Miller; serves as the outreach chair for the Las Vegas Fashion Council and the events chair for Nevada Women’s Philanthropy; and helps produce short flms for a production company. “I have a lot going on right now,” Ghanem says. The Vegas native grew up in a house where her parents frequently hosted political events, so working with Miller’s campaign is a natural ft. “I handle a lot of the events and the social aspect,” she explains. “My job is to get support for the campaign.” And while she got too busy to work at Radio City Pizza full time, she occasionally still runs the events and social media while producing small flms on the side. “I need a creative outlet, or I start going crazy.” Night moves: “A great night out on the town requires playing things by ear and seeing where the night takes you,” Ghanem says. “Lately, this involves starting with a drink Downtown on Fremont East or at Hyde before it gets too clubby, followed by a light meal, preferably at Blue Ribbon in The Cosmopolitan, then heading to BLVD Cocktail Company at The Linq before a show at Brooklyn Bowl.” WiNe aNd diNe: Ghanem has many favorites for places that do double duty. “I love sitting at the bar at Triple George [Grill] with a glass of Champagne, and they have the best rib eye. Piero’s is always consistent, and their dirty martinis are the best—strong but amazing. Parasol Down at Wynn is my special bar. It’s small and random, but on any special occasion I go there and have a glass of Champagne. It’s so light and beautiful that it makes me happy being in the space.” Fit as a Fiddle: “Real Results Fitness Downtown is my go-to gym, because I’m not a naturally athletic person. They push me as part of a group but allow me to zone out and do my own thing.” Culture Club: “I grew up in Las Vegas wishing for and craving culture,” Ghanem says. “I feel like it’s developing before my eyes Downtown, and I couldn’t be happier about it. But I think there’s beauty in a lot of Las Vegas. Spring Mountain Ranch has summer theater and musicals that are amazing, and there’s The Smith Center, of course.” oFF the beateN path: “I love the Old West feel of Bonnie Springs [Ranch]. I love sitting at the bar there and having a beer and burger. It’s relaxing, and I feel like I’m in another world. It’s a nice break from Vegas.”
JOHN TIPPINS & JONATHAN FINE While working at Mark L. Fine & Associates, John Tippins had a chance encounter with the boss’ son, Jonathan. “He walked into the offce wearing a T-shirt and Converse sneakers, and I said, ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’” recalls Tippins. “I had no idea who he was.” Unfazed, Fine—who started Sting Alarm in 2002 and later started Fine Entertainment—asked Tippins to join him for a night out at the newly opened Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace. “John didn’t think we would get in,” Fine says. But according to Tippins, “the sea of people out front parted for Jon,” and moments later they were sitting next to pop princess Britney Spears and her then-husband Kevin Federline. From there, a lifelong friendship was born, and the pair can often be found hanging out on the Strip at Fine’s spots, PBR Rock Bar & Grill and Rockhouse, or at Runnin’ Rebel games, concerts and other events. But, the friendship isn’t all play and no work. “We invest in each other’s businesses,” says Tippins, the founder and CEO of Northcap, a boutique real estate frm that owns and operates some of the hippest buildings in town, including the soon-to-open The Lennox. “I have invested in his restaurants, and we are building an app together. I wouldn’t do a deal without bringing it to Jonathan frst.” Night moves: “A night out on the town usually starts with dinner at PBR or Rockhouse, or a local steakhouse,” Fine says. “In this industry, we have to do a lot of entertaining for business, so I am frequently taking clients to the nightclubs after showing them our venue. I really like Hyde, Surrender and Light.” Says Tippins: “If I’m going Downtown, I can’t get enough of Le Thai and Rachel’s Kitchen at The Ogden. I like to barhop on Fremont East to Park, Insert Coin(s), Radio City Pizza and Commonwealth. But my favorite place is Velveteen Rabbit. They make the best drinks. On the Strip, Hyde is a great spot that’s not too big. Drai’s is great, and I love going to Marquee; anything Jason [Strauss] puts his name on is amazing.” WiNe aNd diNe: “The Palm Restaurant at The Forum Shops in Caesars Palace,” Fine says. “It’s convenient, easy to get in and out of, and I always receive phenomenal service.” Tippins’ favorites are more off Strip: “Raku is a great place to take people and try a bunch of different food, and Simon at Palms Place is like nothing else, especially eating by the pool with a view of the Strip.” RockiN’ the look: “I like to make a few big purchases a year. I am a very casual guy and prefer to wear T-shirts and jeans. A solid color shirt, a pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans with a pair of Vans or Chucks completes my style sense. I own several suits and even a tux, but only wear them when needed. A store that would capture my look is John Varvatos,” Fine says. Tippins tends to keep it comfortable, too. “I dress pretty casual and am usually wearing jeans and a but-
ton-down, but I’m a total shoe freak. I have more than 1,000 pairs of sneakers, and I let them dictate my outft. I get a lot of mine at Feature Sneaker [Boutique] and 12AM Run, and Coterie Downtown has a unique style,” he says. off the beateN path: “Krung Siam Thai Restaurant—I always order the Tom Yum Soup, my spicy favorite,” says Fine, while Tippins prefers Bar + Bistro on the weekends for brunch. a hiddeN gem: Nostalgia rules for Fine, whose aunt used to take him to Luv-It Frozen Custard Downtown as a boy. “It continues to be a favorite,” he says. Tippins feels lucky that even in the desert, there’s a body of water close by. “I can leave my house and be on the boat in 30 minutes at Lake Mead. It’s an instant staycation.”
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RICCI LOPEZ Ricci Lopez knows style. As the general manager of Stitched at The Cosmopolitan, he is responsible for outftting a diverse clientele—celebrities, high-rollers and even royalty—looking to up their style ante while in Sin City. “Stitched is the ultimate man cave,” Lopez—who has more than 17 years of fashion experience—tells Rated. “It’s not just a shopping experience—it’s a whole lifestyle experience.” When the third-generation Las Vegan isn’t dressing the Strip’s movers and shakers, he works as a voice-over actor. “I grew up singing baritone opera and took voice lessons for 10 years,” says Lopez, whose father was a musician and whose mother worked as a Vegas showgirl, adding with a laugh, “My frst job was singing at a bat mitzvah when I was 12 years old. I gave up singing, but doing voiceovers gives me a creative outlet.” Wine and dine: “My go-to spot for dining is Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris,” Lopez says. “I love anything French, and this restaurant is so European and the cuisine is divine. There is nothing better than dining on the patio, watching the Bellagio Fountains and listening to the hustle and bustle of the international crowds walking by.” Rockin’ the look: Lopez not only works at Stitched, he wears it. “Stitched is the defnition of my fashion sense—classic tailoring with hints of irreverence,” he says. “You will most often see me in suits with pocket squares and lapel accessories, or a sport coat and jeans. I never leave the house without thinking of every detail right down to the socks, even the color of my shoelaces.”
that’s enteRtainment: An art collector and enthusiast, Lopez frequents galleries such as Brett Wesley, Sin City, Arts Factory, Exclusive Collections Gallery and the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. As for live shows, “I have such an appreciation for The Chelsea and Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan,” he says. “The last show I saw was Lana Del Rey at The Chelsea, and it was superb.” a hidden gem: Lopez recommends Georges La Forge’s French restaurant Pamplemousse, an old Vegas hot spot that has not changed since 1976. “The charm and service are impeccable. I love dining in a bulletproof booth where the mob bosses used to sit! There are mirrors on the wall in front of the booths so that the bosses could see who was entering the restaurant. It is fabulous. I am a Las Vegan at heart, and while I appreciate all the new things happening, I love the older places that haven’t been torn down.”
JESSICA MOORE If you live in Las Vegas and spend any time watching TV, chances are you’ve seen Jessica Moore. She is the anchor of the 5, 7 and 11 p.m. weekday evening news on local NBC affliate KSNV Channel 3. “I love anchoring and covering such a broad spectrum of topics, and Las Vegas is a great news town,” she says. “There’s always something going on, never a dull moment.” A North Carolina native who spent time working in Dayton, Ohio, and Lexington, Kentucky, before decamping to the 702 four years ago, Moore especially loves the community she has adopted. “I’ve really grown to love this city,” she says. “The people are great—and the weather is phenomenal!” Night moves: “My favorite thing is a girls’ night, whether at my house or out on the town,” Moore says. “I live in Summerlin, so I tend to hang out at Tivoli Village, Boca Park and other places nearby.” WiNe aNd diNe: “Honey Salt is like your favorite little black dress—perfect for any occasion. I celebrated my birthday lunch there, enjoyed Easter brunch, and I always love a dinner reservation on the patio or at one of the cozy tables tucked in the back. I’m not a big club girl, so I also visit Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan and get a table at Olives overlooking the Bellagio Fountains.” Culture Club: “I like the vibe at Container Park Downtown. You can fnd people of every age, shop local artisans and often hear live music,” Moore says. “But my absolute favorite place is The Smith Center. It has single-handedly transformed Las Vegas into a cultural destination. I consider it one of the best additions to our community in years.” shoWstoppers: “The last show I saw was The Book of Mormon. It was brilliantly crass, raw, raunchy—and amazing,” Moore says. “I’ve never seen any of the Cirque du Soleil shows, so I really want to do that—KÀ would be my frst choice.”
DEVIN MOORE Head to Blue Martini in Town Square on any given Sunday and you will see Devin Moore working the crowd at one of his NeoSoul happy hours, which he hosts along with his partner and NeoSoul founder, Johnny Harrison. “It’s a lot of fun,” says Moore, whose Moore Global Group does marketing for many of the big urban events in Vegas. “We try to offer a quality piece of urban culture. This town is thriving in culture but lacking in upscale options for that crowd.” A Las Vegas native, Moore began his career in events by starting a poetry lounge near UNLV called Poetry & Jazz Paradise, which he later moved Downtown. Now, in conjunction with blackvegas.com, he has parties at venues such as Lily at Bellagio and Lavo at The Palazzo. “We bring a different element, something that people enjoy and tourists can go home and brag about experiencing.” Wine and dine: “My lady and I love Kona Grill in Boca Park. We like the food and the drinks, and it’s in a great area. It’s very laid-back and fun. They also have a great happy hour. I also go to La Comida— the chicken tacos are delicious, and so are the drinks.” Fit as a Fiddle: “I do a lot of swimming in Lake Mead,” Moore says. “And I play basketball at 24 Hour Fitness.” Culture Club: A jazz lover, Moore goes to festivals all over the country, but gets his fx right here, too. “I love the summer Jazz in the Park series at the [Clark County] Government Center Amphitheater and the Las Vegas Jazz Fest.”
OFF the beaten path: The Gritz Café is a go-to spot for the most important meal of the day. “I get the chicken and waffes. I also love Sandy Beach at Lake Mead.”
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your key to the city
LABOR DAY WEEKEND 2014
Rising staR DesigneR
fashion forward Costume designer Karan Feder on creating and curating
There’s a room inside the Nevada State Museum that’s unlike the rest. Its fuchsia-sequined walls house pieces of Las Vegas history as rich and important as the archaeological discoveries displayed in the adjacent exhibit hall. It’s the costume and textile collection, a showcase of the cocktail uniforms of yesteryear and the original showgirl and showboy creations of Bob Mackie and Pete Menefee. And perhaps there is no better curator of the fabrics that defne the type of entertainment this city was built on than award-winning Hollywood costume designer Karan Feder. Feder is no stranger to the baubles, beads, rhinestones and sequins that she carefully readies for display as the museum’s guest curator. And you might say Feder’s multi-decade career comes full circle with her position at the museum: She got her start working with Mackie on the national touring company of The Mitzi Gaynor Show as the production’s wardrobe supervisor.
Feder—who moved to Las Vegas 10 years ago—has since produced costumes for flm, screen and stage, and has cultivated another passion: her handbag line. Sold nationally in department stores, Feder’s creations—from her two collections, Karan Feder Hollywood and Karan Feder Studio—are now carried at Redstich in Container Park. Feder’s handbags are part of the boutique’s Vegas Design Stars initiative, a showcase devoted to promoting the work of locals. Drawing from her background and experience, Feder designs her bags within a costuming frame of mind. “I cannot remove myself entirely from the world of costumes when I create retail,” Feder says. “My fashion design work is infused with theatricality. It typically weighs heavy in form rather than function.” –ELLE PARASHOS / PHOTOGRAPH BY SABIN ORR
In Container Park, 702.900.3698; redstichboutique.com
The Hot List SHOP
AN OPENING TO NOTE
ted baker IN FaSHION SHOW British retailer Ted Baker is a one-stop shop for head-turning apparel. Enjoy quality pieces for both men and women that are detail-driven and never without a sense of humor. in five words: Classic with a British twist. did you know: Having originally gained popularity for its line of signature men’s shirts, the high-street label has quickly become one of the U.K.’s fastest-growing lifestyle brands, carrying womenswear, accessories, footwear and eyewear. don’t miss … the store design. Drawing reference from traditional British gambling and the contemporary glamour of Las Vegas, bespoke fxtures and an array of smoked glass mirrors will transport one to a period of decadence. In Fashion Show; tedbaker-london.com
Yusho Delivers By Grace Bascos Photography by Anthony Mair
Clockwise from top left: Skewers of grilled chicken wings with Tai chili and bonito salt, and fried drummies with red miso, garlic and sesame; Logan Poser Ramen; conft plum barbecue duck leg with steamed buns.
The new Japanese grill and noodle house goes beyond the same old favors on the Strip
best new restaurant
From left: Grilled duck breast; bok choy salad with beet, shallot and tofu; raw oyster with ponzu.
amen is all the rage right now in the culinary world, but surprisingly there aren’t that many places on the Strip where you can get it—not like Yusho’s anyway. The restaurant that’s best known for one of the most original bowls of ramen in the country is now open front and center on Las Vegas Boulevard, with not only a killer bowl of ramen, but a menu that makes other chefs sit up and take notice. Chef and owner Matthias Merges frst came to Las Vegas with the late chef Charlie Trotter to open Restaurant Charlie at The Palazzo. After he closed the restaurant in 2010 because of the economy, he told himself, “Man, I am never coming back to this town ever again! It was so heartbreaking after putting so much effort into something that was so great and then having to close it.” But he’s found a new lease on Las Vegas with Yusho. The original in Chicago has garnered not only awards from food magazines but approval from local chefs. It has become a post-shift stop for those in the industry, a trend Merges hopes will continue here. He doesn’t see his prominent placement on Las Vegas Boulevard as a hindrance to getting chefs in after work, who may want to get as far from the Strip as possible. The food and experience will speak for itself. “We’re creating an on-the-Strip culture, which right now only exists off the Strip,” he says. “We are chefs, we love food and we love great environments. We offer something very unique, which can possibly become the industry hangout late night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and you can actually sit outside on the patio.” Chef Brian Lhee, who came from the Chicago restaurant, guided us through nine courses of Yusho omakase, or chef’s choice of dishes that are best for the evening, most of which are mainstays on the menu, plus a couple of specials on the board that night. If you want to eat your way through nearly
the entire menu, this is the way to go. After being introduced to the tasting fight of the six cocktails on draft, a single raw oyster started us off, with a hint of citrusy ponzu, and topped with crispy shallots. A clean, crisp root vegetable salad had a surprising dressing made of tofu, and the croutons themselves were tofu as well. Large diced beets and bok choy anchored the salad with an earthy note, while the tofu emulsion and shallots supplied spice and crunch. And then came almost every form of poultry on the menu, from grilled chicken wings scented with Thai chilies and bonito salt to fried chicken drummies with red miso and garlic powder (a fne substitute since an order of the twice-fried chicken would have been overkill). A skewer of duck breast done over the robata grill was served with shiitake mushrooms, and the impressive conft duck leg with an umeboshi plum sauce arrived with steamed buns for DIY duck bao. Whenever anyone talks about Yusho, they mention the Logan Poser Ramen. Merges created his take on the traditional Japanese noodle soup after fellow chef and friend David Chang commented that anyone making ramen outside of Tokyo was a poser. Merges accepted the challenge, creating a bowl of soup with everything except the kitchen sink, and naming it after the neighborhood where the Chicago Yusho resides: Logan Square. A robust miso broth is flled with dense, chewy noodles, a slow-cooked hen egg that gets runny when you poke it. A couple of sheets of nori add a touch of salinity, while a skewer of crispy pork shoulder rests across the bowl, topped with whole-grain mustard and smoky bonito fakes. Although it may seem like a lot of favors jam-packed into one little bowl, there’s a fne balance happening among all the ingredients. And remember, in Japan it would be polite to slurp your noodles. You wouldn’t be a poser if you did so at Yusho. Ramen was followed by the Japanese version of steak Diane, with 14-day-aged New York strip
wrapped in nori, cooked on the grill to a perfect medium rare and topped with a mushroom ragout and a heavy peppercorn note. And after that came my favorite off-menu item: hamachi kama, or yellowtail collar. Lhee served this magnifcently grilled piece of fsh with a Thai peanut sauce and coconut slaw, which added dimensions of sweet, umami, salty and tart, as you’d expect from a dish with Southeast Asian infuences. The collar is an underrated chef’s cut that can be off-putting to timid eaters—you have to dig around bones and cartilage—but true eaters will relish this as I did, and pick it apart with glee. While dessert is not my forte, the meal fnished strong with two of the sweets listed on the menu: coffee soft-serve with fernet caramel and pop rocks, and tofu doughnuts. The tofu doughnuts were the best surprise, and that’s mostly because you can’t tell there’s tofu in them, save that it’s one of the most moist munchkins you’ll ever eat. After nine courses, many sakes (including one that comes in a souvenir Bambi jelly jar) and draft cocktails, Yusho established itself as one of my new favorite places to eat on the Strip. And I’d be happy to pop in just for the ramen, which is just fne with Merges. “We feel the whole idea of Yusho is a more utilitarian kind of restaurant,” he says. “Where, yeah, you can come in and spend a lot of money, but you can also come in and have a beer and a bowl of noodles, and walk out for under $30. And I think that resonates with the whole spectrum of the crowd.” In Monte Carlo, 702.730.6888; yusholv.com
Top: Tofu doughnuts with sweet-potato ice cream and rosemary. Bottom: Cofee soft-serve ice cream with fernet caramel, pop rocks and nori.
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Top: Grilled New York aged strip steak. Bottom: grilled hamachi kama with peanut sauce and coconut slaw.
Rising staR Chef You still have to perform 100 percent. I demand that of my cooks, and I demand that of myself.” Middleton’s day begins at 9 a.m. and doesn’t stop until some 12 hours later. He oversees the operation of the restaurant and is in charge of a staff of nearly 40. The day starts quietly enough as he answers e-mails and tweaks schedules, then he gets into shift prepping and flling orders, starting with the lunch crowd at 11:30 a.m. and well into the dinner rush. One day is never the same as the next, and that is exactly how Middleton prefers it. “When I go home, there’s still stuff I could do. I could work 24/7 from now until I’m 45 and I’d still be behind,” Middleton, 34, says. While the most challenging aspects of his job are time management—and keeping his staff motivated and positive in a stressful environment, it’s all part and parcel of why he loves what he does. “You can’t appreciate the highs if you don’t have the lows,” he says. And, of course, working with Boulud is an achievement that any young chef aspires to. If it seems Middleton has boundless stamina, one only need look at the 59-year-old Boulud, who is relentless in his pursuit of culinary excellence. “Daniel is a spark of energy,” Middleton says. “He is always [trying] to get the best out of you. He’s not going to just sit there and tell you what to do. He’s going to push you and hope that you come up with the answer on your own. It’s defnitely challenging, but it’s fun, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” In The Venetian, 702.430.1235; dbbrasserie.com –GeneVIe DurAnO / pHOTOGrApHY BY SABIn Orr
Kitchen confidential it’s all in a day’s work for DB Brasserie’s David Middleton
Of all the dishes that executive chef David Middleton can sample from DB Brasserie’s inventive menu—popular items such as duck conft, Tunisian lamb or escargot, for example—he chooses the same meal every day: a chicken Caesar salad, which he consumes standing up. The daily lunch ritual is simply for sustenance, Middleton says, because he needs the fuel for the day ahead. Such is the life of a high-profle chef heading the Las Vegas outpost of one of the most recognizable names in the culinary world, Daniel Boulud. Middleton, who brings nearly a decade of experience to DB Brasserie, says that being in the restaurant industry is not so much a career as a lifestyle choice. Clearly it requires a certain type of personality to stand for hours on your feet, working in a hot kitchen with sharp objects. “We’re almost sick, in a way,” he says with a laugh. “You can’t have an off day. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick or you’ve had too much to drink the night before.
chIckeN cAeSAr SALAd
best butler service
Drazen Pejic, Charles MacPherson and John Wu of Aria Sky Suites anticipate your needs so you can rest easy and enjoy your stay.
The BuTler Does IT
Yes, this guy comes with the suite By Grace Bascos Photography by Jon estrada “Do you know how to use a napkin correctly?” Charles MacPherson asks me while demonstrating how to properly place a dinner setting to two white-gloved gentlemen. Uh-oh, I think. If he has to ask, I’m almost positive I don’t. Yet his inquiry and subsequent instructions don’t come across as intimidating. That’s only one part of his job as a butler: making guests feel comfortable, even when they have no idea what they’re doing. MacPherson is a world-renowned authority on house management, owner of the only registered school for butlers in North America and author of The Butler Speaks. He has had only one private client, a prominent Canadian family whose identity he won’t disclose, but he will divulge that he was with them for seven years—he’s been in the industry for more than 26. He was visiting Las Vegas to instruct the butlers at the Sky Villas at Aria on procedures such as properly setting a table, pouring a snifter of cognac or packing a suitcase for VIP guests—all things the well-trained staff knew how to do already; MacPherson just taught them how to do it better. Now that people are comfortable with enjoying luxury again, butlers are part of the status symbol of the affuent and have become an integral part of VIP service in swank digs such as Sky Villas, Aria’s accommodations for high-rollers. “When you think about it,” MacPherson says, “the butler
department has more face time with the guest than any other employee within the hotel.” In a private home, a butler would be in charge of making sure the house is in order and delegating tasks to various hired help. In a hotel, the butler is the main point of contact for guests. Instead of having to lift a phone yourself to call for laundry or room service, the butler does this for you. “There’s that continuity,” MacPherson says. “The butler gets to know you, how you like things; they don’t need to ask how you take your coffee in the morning, the way room service might. After the frst day, they know you take your coffee with one milk and two sugars, and that’s the way it’ll always be.” And even though this is Las Vegas, there are certain tasks your butler simply can’t do—such as anything illegal. “We cannot cross those boundaries, never,” says lead butler Drazen Pejic, who has been with Aria Sky Suites since October 2012. “Trust me, we get so many crazy requests because it’s Vegas. It’s so unbelievable. We have some crazy non-illegal requests, too. Things that I’ve seen … oh, boy. But because it’s that type of city, the guests who come here like to party. We always thank them and say no.” The butler has long been a symbol and steward of propriety, discretion and manners. But don’t think the role is outdated, or is only for hoity-toity
folks. When we think of butlers, we think of the stiff, dry-witted, English-accented gentleman standing next to his employer, waiting patiently for instructions to “bring the car ’round.” (Incidentally, of the three butlers I met, MacPherson, Pejic and John Wu, not a single one was British, shattering that stereotype.) The best butlers, it seems, are masters of discretion and able to do their jobs in the room without being noticed, but there is much more to the profession. “It’s not someone being subservient or saying ‘Yes, ma’am,’ ‘No, ma’am,’” MacPherson says. “It’s someone who has the ability to anticipate, who has the different skills to understand how different cultures like to be treated and how they like to be taken care of.” “It’s not just serving tea,” MacPherson adds. “And unfortunately we don’t get to drink in the butler pantry like in the movies.”
HOw TO UsE YOUR NApkiN CORRECTlY (Don’t worry, we’ve all been doing it wrong.) 1. First, unfold your napkin. 2. Fold it in half, so you have a seam side and an open side. 3. place it on your lap, so the seam side is toward you and the open side is away from you. 4. when you need to wipe your mouth, use the inside of the open side, and fold the napkin in half again so the open edge is still away from you. “it’s actually very logical, because it allows you to wipe your lips on the inside of your napkin and not get barbecue sauce on your Chanel dress,” Macpherson says.
Best spa tea program
Fancy a cup? Tea that’s good and good for you
Finding bliss at the spa goes beyond the massage table and cold-water plunges. Tranquility also comes in a drinkable form: tea. Sipping a hot cup of an aromatic bevvie is a sweet touch to the holistic approach spas take to set themselves apart. And the tea program at Qua Baths & Spa in Caesars Palace is leading the way. Angela Tedesco, Qua’s resident tea expert— she’s certifed in the foundations of Tea Levels 1 and 2 from the Specialty Tea Institute (think of her as a tea sommelier)—trains the staff on tea basics, from origins to health benefts, focusing on the nine varieties that Qua carries from fair-trade, organic and sustainable label The Art of Tea. Tedesco suggests tea pairings to complement treatments or simply to enhance guests’ experiences at the ftness center or spa. For example, deep-tissue massages pair well with the Jasmine Reserve. Jasmine aids in circulation, furthering the massage’s removal of toxins, but also making it a great post-workout option, too. One of the spa’s more multi-effcient teas is the Apricot Escape. This pinkish herbal infusion contains hibiscus, marigolds, apple bits, rooibos, honey bush, lemongrass, lemon myrtle, orange peel and rose hips. The health benefts are vast, offering an antiseptic effect as well as aiding in iron absorption and weight management. The vitamin C from the rose hips helps manage redness in the face, making it an ideal follow-up to facials. It’s also a popular pairing for pregnancy treatments and for guests suffering from jet lag. If it’s custom you prefer, Qua offers its own signature blend: an exclusively crafted combination of black tea with passion fruit, jasmine, vanilla, citrus, tropical fowers and other favors, served hot or iced. And it’s a hit—Qua serves about six gallons a day of the iced signature blend. Teatime never felt so good. –JESSI C. ACUÑA / PHOTOGRAPH BY SABIN ORR In Caesars Palace, 866.782.0655; caesarspalace.com
Best Night Out
among the bevy of places in which to enjoy the night, 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque by Holly Madison is the city’s hidden gem. It’s a speakeasy flled with stunning women, but they’re not there to pour your bourbon; you’re there to toast their beauty. It’s Vegas nightlife reinvented and you’re invited ... if you can fnd the door. By Jessi C. Acuña Photography by Anthony Mair
best night out
he city’s best-kept secret, appropriately enough, is not an easy place to fnd. Slyly tucked away in a corner adjacent to House of Blues, 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque by Holly Madison is a modern-day speakeasy that exudes vintage Vegas glamour, and if you fnd it, whether by happenstance or because you’re in the know (which you will be after reading this), you’ll soon forget that this town’s main draw are thumping clubs and marquee DJs. The mystery unfolds at the fully functional 1920 Ford Model T race car located in the front. Off to the side of this sleek and shiny ride is a mock wooden bookcase that serves as the entrance, which requires a password (Hint: Talk to the man near the door for a clue) in place of a traditional line. Inside, the quaint, dimly lit space is reminiscent of a bygone era in Vegas nightlife, when sipping cocktails was accompanied by great entertainment and even better conversation. Sure, Vegas pre-megaclubs—or the speakeasies of the ’20s for that matter—didn’t have seating premiums, but times have changed. A $50-per-person drink minimum for a table is a small price to pay to fully experience what Bourbon & Burlesque is all about. Your night at 1923 begins—and, if you’re lucky, ends—with the women. It’s a burlesque club, after all. “Selecting the dancers was one of my favorite parts of this project,” says Madison, creator and director of the burlesque component, and who, on occasion, also performs. “The bar is small and the performances are up close, so there’s nowhere to hide. Each performer has to have an extremely strong presence, look and talent.” Starting at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights,
Be prepared To play The parT. GuesTs are known To come dressed in Their finesT prohiBiTion-era aTTire. if you’re noT ready To dusT off your pinsTripes, sTill opT for fashionaBle duds. socks wiTh sandals and fanny packs are noT welcome here. the long legs and sensual moves of this carefully selected group of gorgeous women grace the stage. Performance vignettes take place roughly every 15 minutes, creating an element of surprise. The art of the striptease is alive as burlesque dancers suspend themselves from poles secured to the ceiling, oscillating to the beats of the music, or
titillating patrons across the platform that fanks either side of the lower-level bar. Did we mention there’s peekaboo teasing behind velvet curtains? If you came for the burlesque, you’ll want to stay for the bourbon. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned sipper, mixologist and bar manager Marvin Furrow says there’s something for everyone. “Old Fashioneds or Manhattans are always good to take the bite off before graduating to drinking bourbons straight,” Furrow says. Try the 1923 barrel-aged Old Fashioned for starters (Bulleit Bourbon, Amaro Nonino and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao). For a modern twist, pair your drink with a hand-rolled cigar. 1923 not only boasts an extensive list of tobacco products such
as the popular Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story, but there’s also a private cigar room for your enjoyment. What other clubs make that claim? “There are so many nightlife options in town,” Madison says. “But 1923 really stands apart because it is so intimate, comfortable and, of course, [there are] the stunning dancers.” Mystery solved. You’re welcome.
Cover is $20 or free for locals with valid ID. Lounge hours are 4 p.m.-3 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday; burlesque hours are 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday-Saturday; afterhours are 3-8 a.m. Sunday. In Mandalay Bay, 702.912.4001; 1923lv.com
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“Michelle DiTerlizzi is The choreographer [of BourBon & Burlesque], anD i MeT her when she caMe on BoarD as The pole soloisT in PeePshow. she is a TreMenDous aThleTe,” MaDison, who playeD Bo peep, says of her forMer casTMaTe.
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“Candi [Kirtz] is another amazing athlete and danCer. she is great at CharaCters and brought an over-the-top, energetiC Josephine baKer tribute number at the audition we held. everyone was blown away by her.” –holly madison PHOTOGRAPH: XX
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“Buttercup Delight comes from the neo-Burlesque worlD. she Does tassel twirling, fan Dances anD other elements popular in the Burlesque worlD. her numBers always Bring the house Down.” –holly maDison
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Mandarin Bar pouring since … 2009 drink it in … At the Mandarin Bar, you are above it all in every sense of the term. There’s the stunning view, looking down on the Strip from the 18th-foor windows. Then there’s the clientele—not a wrinkle or feck of dandruff to be seen, every one cool-as-a cucumber French 75. Which brings us to the libations, many of which take an old classic and lift it to a new level. Take, for instance, the Eastern Drop, which elevates the basic Lemon Drop with St-Germain and egg white, while the Spiced Apple Whiskey Sour adds Calvados and cinnamon. Uplifting, indeed. tell the cabbie … In Mandarin Oriental, 702.590.8888; mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas Foundation rooM pouring since … 1999 drink it in … Subtly promoted, hard to fnd and still rather exclusive, this 43rd-foor Buddha/ voodoo-style lounge operated by House of Blues has survived both the recession and the headlines to remain one of the most interesting spots to drink in the view. The scenery, inside and out, is gorgeous, and access for the nonmember hoi polloi has been eased in recent years. Sexy, seductive and selective describe both the venue and the crowd, so dress the part and you, too, might party with the players high atop the southernmost resort on the Strip.
tell the cabbie … In Mandalay Bay, 702.632.7631; houseofblues.com/lasvegas/fr the Parlour pouring since … 1941 drink it in … The Parlour is Las Vegas as noun, verb and adjective. Located in Downtown’s historic El Cortez casino, the bar has undergone many changes over the years, but still offers up lounge acts that fall on the right side of cheesy and cocktails the way Grandpa liked them. The location in Bugsy Siegel’s original casino breathes vintage Vegas, as does the fact that your server remembers you and what you drink. Entertainment is provided by Frank Sinatra and Elvis tribute acts, men committed to their inspiration and their audience, working the room with a networker’s thoroughness and a performer’s panache. Grab a seat, sip something chilled and be reminded of what people come to Vegas for. And remember: You don’t have to join the conga line if you don’t want to. tell the cabbie … 600 Fremont St., 702.385.5200; elcortezhotelcasino.com red Square pouring since … 1999 drink it in … We’ll cop to being a bit nervous when nightclub powerhouse the Light Group took over Red Square in late 2012, especially with it being positioned adjacent to the soon-to-open, massive Light nightclub. Does this mean do
svidaniye to the vodka vault, blood-red motif and Russian cuisine, and privyet to DJ Tchaikovsky and bottle service? Thankfully, the Light Group stuck to the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fx it” blueprint. From the headless Lenin statue out front to the innovative ice bar inside, Red Square remains the coolest place in town to get your fx of old Soviet culture—right down to the shot of vodka that will chill your tongue and warm your toes. There’s a reason Playboy once named this place the Best Bar in America. tell the cabbie … In Mandalay Bay, 702.632.7407; redsquarelasvegas.com Sage pouring since … 2009 drink it in … If you’re one of those people who prefers an elegant, thoughtfully crafted cocktail over the tail end of a PBR keg poured into a dirty glass (read: If you’re someone who has a date), Aria’s Sage offers an oasis of top-notch cocktailing in a spot mainly known as a foodie haven. It’s buttressed on one side by a cocktail menu designed by Aria property mixologist Craig Schoettler, and on the other by an absinthe menu nearly 20 deep with different brands of the Green Fairy, including the terrifc Leopold Bros. Absinthe Verte. Or stick around for all of them and indulge your inner Van Gogh. Just take it easy around the steak knives if you do. tell the cabbie … In Aria, 877.230.2742; aria.com
The Hot List PLAY
COCKTAIL WORTH THE SPLURGE
The Five STar
When your kid turns 5, you bake a cake. But when a Las Vegas nightclub hits that milestone, you make an exclusive cocktail using only the most rare and limited-edition ingredients. Wynn Resorts property mixologist Christopher Hopkins had that honor, collaborating with XS executive director of nightlife operations Yannick Mugnier to commemorate the nightclub’s ffth year in liquid homage. And this birthday cocktail is no gimmick. The Five Star combines Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6 Cognac with Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old Family Reserve bourbon, Martini & Rossi’s Gran Lusso 150th Anniversary sweet vermouth, D.O.M. Bénédictine Black Monk 500th Anniversary Edition and two kinds of bitters for an ode to the classic Vieux Carré that you won’t soon forget: The drink is served over an ice sphere emblazoned with the XS logo in a Baccarat crystal chalice with an orange swath. And a smile. in five words: Vegas’ decadence knows no bounds. did you know: Vieux Carré (“voo cah-RAY”) means “the Old Square,” another name for the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. It’s also the name of a delicious and sophisticated whiskey-Cognac cocktail created in 1939 at the historic Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. don’t miss … the price tag. This baby will set you back a cool $5,000. So think before you order a round for your entire party. In Encore Las Vegas, 702.770.0097; xslasvegas.com
Going Out With A Bang! 14 PLACES TO GO: LABOR DAY WEEKEND By Camille Cannon profiles By maureen Hank
Amanda from Wet Republic wearing a MARy GRAce Maria bottom in reversible black and dream bikini.com.
Girls of Summer
Model/Cocktail Server at Hakkasan Everyone calls me Michelle.
My hometown is Kapaia, Kauai, Hawaii. Family, music and traveling are three things I can’t live without. I am meticulous when it comes to presentation. My ultimate international getaway is Tokyo, so I can experience their innovative culture. I’m proud to say that I’m Filipina. The thing I adore most about Las Vegas is its diversity. Follow her @missmichellesanchez
Mikoh kahala top and Lahaina bottoms in seaweed bikini.com.
Girls of Summer
Amanda Model/Cocktail Server at Wet Republic Everyone calls me Panda. My hometown is Austin, Texas. Music, family and cheese are three things I can’t live without. Wearing kicks makes me feel like I want to dance. I am meticulous when it comes to being on time. My ultimate international getaway is Thailand so I can relax on the beach. I’m proud to say that I am a UT Longhorn! Hook ’em! Follow her @poleft_panda
Mary Grace Gypsy top and Maria bottom in reversible black and dream bikini.com.
BEACH RIOT Get Lucky top and Sahara bottom in jungle print bikini.com.
Girls of Summer
Naamah Everyone calls me The Frenchie. My hometown is Paris. My favorite time of year is summer because I am a water baby. Wearing my hair straight makes me feel like a totally different person. I am meticulous when it comes to my selection of red wine. The best advice I ever got was â€œEverything is possible.â€? If I could change one thing about Las Vegas it would be having an ocean. Follow her @naamaste
SOLKISSED Anita top and La Jolla bottom in melon bikini.com.
Girls of Summer
MARIROSE Cocktail Server at Palms
Everyone calls me Mary <3.
My hometown is Santiago City, Philippines. Working, the gym and food are three things I can’t live without. I am meticulous when it comes to putting together an outft, especially for the gym. I always have to match. My ultimate international getaway is Bora Bora so I can snorkel and swim in the clearblue water naked. The best advice I ever got was “Don’t let your competition train harder.” Follow her @mary_naing702
Girls of Summer
Model/Cocktail Server at XS
Everyone calls me Key, Kiki, Keeks. My hometown is Bremston, Washington. Chapstick, coffee and Blondie (my puppy) are three things I can’t live without. Wine is my ideal way to unwind. I hope people say I’m down-to-earth when they talk about me. The best advice I ever got was “Success is the best revenge.”
KOVEY Surfer Sleeveless top in green and mint bikini.com.
Girls of Summer
Marketing Model/ Cocktail Server at Drai’s Beach Club & Nightclub Everyone calls me Lopayne. My hometown is Cleveland, Tennessee. You want to know me because I’m a Southern belle. An entire day dedicated to the spa is my ideal way to unwind. Seeing Korean BBQ makes me instantly happy. The thing I adore most about Las Vegas is Chinatown!
Cocktail Server at Marquee Nightclub Everyone calls me Tina.
My hometown is Englewood, New Jersey. Coffee, music and love are three things I can’t live without. Wearing high heels makes me feel unstoppable. My ultimate international getaway is Paris so I can shop, see the Mona Lisa and overload on croissants. ON LAUREN: MikOh Cloudbreak one piece in underwater sea bikini.com. ON kRistiNA: MikOh sunset top and kapalua bottom in underwater sea bikini.com.
I’m proud to say that I served six honorable years in the Air Force. Follow her @kristina_lyttle