Latest 3 Things

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

3 Vegas Vacancies

As a city, it’s hard to get a lot more cosmopolitan than Las Vegas. In its iconic skyline alone, you’ve got Egyptian pyramids, the Eiffel tower, the Statue of Liberty, a castle, a pirate ship and something that looks a whole lot like the Space Needle, just to name a few. There are now more five star restaurants in Vegas than any other city in the world, and as the entertainment capital of the planet, there a wider variety of things to do here than you can find anywhere else. But despite this panoply of hedonism, recreation and other prurient diversion, there are a few notable exceptions. I know what you’re thinking - there can’t possibly anything worth missing that’s missing from Vegas. And while I have a vested interest in you all believing that Vegas is, in fact, the perfect entertainment destination, I can’t in good conscience omit these precious few vacancies from the Vegas landscape. And so, in the interests of full disclosure, here are 3 things missing from the Las Vegas things-to-do list:

1. Crack Chicken - The variety of food available here in sin city is matched only by the quantity of the same. The birthplace of the all-you-can-eat buffet provides every possible type of cuisine for every possible appetite, and any time you'd like it. There is fast food, slow roast and everything in between. The worlds greatest steaks down the street from hamburgers so bad for you, they’ll inspire a major gastrointestinal event. But there is one chain missing, one gloriously addictive franchise that hasn't found a home in Vegas and probably never will. And thats Chik-Fil-A. Chik-Fil-A is the crack cocaine of chicken. One moment you take a small bite, and the next you've got it smeared all over your face because you couldn’t get it in your mouth fast enough and you’re picking up the remaining crumbs like they’re trying to get away and freebasing waffle fries. And during all this deliciousness all you can think about is when you’re getting your next fix. But aside from brilliant chicken - theres something else Chik-Fil-A is known for, and that's being very religiously conservative. So much so that none of their stores are allowed to be open on Sundays. And while a Chik-Fil-A in Vegas would be a virtual money tree - the “sin” part of Sin-City means you'll never, ever see one here.

2. Crave & Clustered. For a city that makes it's living on people dumping money into machines, there are precious few arcades in Las Vegas. Sure, you can usually find a few video or midway games in a casino’s obligatory family area that seems about as lovingly attended-to as a rest stop bathroom. But in general, unless it spits out money - there just isn't that much video entertainment here. There's GameWorks on the Strip - a Spielberg/Dreamworks backed venture that seemed like a can't miss proposition in the late 90’s when it opened, but has fallen into such obvious disrepair that it makes the buck-fifty per game prices seem like an even worse value proposition than just dumping your money into a video poker machine. What’s more, there are about a half-dozen or so great “family” things to do in Vegas, and outside of that, you’re left to neighborhood playgrounds and movie theaters. For the average teenager, Vegas has about the same number of entertainment options as Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Actually, that’s not true - because Wauwatosa (population 45,599) has a Dave & Busters and Las Vegas doesn’t. Seriously, there hasn’t been something this conspicuously missing since Natalie Holloway. Given the relatively young population of this city, number of young families and dearth of competitive options - this would be the easiest thing to sell here since water. The only thing that Wauwatosa should have that Vegas doesn’t are snow days.

3. Major League Missing. For many, Las Vegas is the sports center of the universe. After all, for many sporting events - especially the currently pending Men’s College Basketball Championships - more people come here than to the actual site of the event. Of course, that’s because it’s one of the very few places where you can bet on those sports to your heart’t content - without dealing with shady bookies, back room betting parlors or off-shore websites. But for all that Vegas means to professional sports, this is the one place you won’t find any major league teams. If you count Henderson, Las Vegas is the largest US city without a “Big 4” sports franchise, and despite the best efforts of local politicians, businessmen and the general population, it looks there isn’t one coming anytime soon. The obvious problem is that these sports, despite its value to them and their fans, do not want to be associated with sports gambling. Point shaving, players and officials on the take and allegations of fixed outcomes have already cast a dark shadow over these sports from time to time - and that’s without a team in Las Vegas. But this ignores the universally accessible truth that is the internet and the fact that you can’t keep gambling out of these arenas unless you expect to keep the fans out, too. When a cesspool of a city like Los Angeles can have five professional teams (and be the only thing I miss about living there) the arguments for not having at least one team in Vegas seem tougher to swallow than an Appleby’s steak.

* * *

For the most part, when you’re in Vegas, you’re not going to want for places to go and things to do, especially if you follow the “three-day rule” about visiting the Strip. But, for those who live here, work here, or spend any real time here, the apparently wide variety of entertainment options start to look like a mile-long buffet serving only macaroni & cheese. Come to think of it, that doesn’t really sound so bad... but that notwithstanding, for all the innovation and talent surrounding the entertainment business here, there are far more people willing to simply slightly modify something they’ve already see be successful than actually trying something new. There’s only so much ultra-lounging one can do before wondering where all the real fun has gone. Here’s hoping it finds its way back to southern Nevada, one very big arcade, very good chicken joint or very exciting sports franchise at a time.


Kristina said...

No idea about #1, I'll take your word for it. #2, I survived growing up here, with even less to do. Wait, let's not go into that. You're right... we need more things for teenagers to do!

#3, I do not watch sports, I am not into them. But for the most part, I like watching Sports games LIVE. I have never understood why we do not have a major team of some sort. Maybe it is because none of the other non-major teams bring the fans...

Brent Reger said...

Haha, only so much ultra-lounging one can do........comedy!

Kerry K. said...

Agreed on #1- Chik-Fil-A is missing here in Alaska too... but nothing a trip Outside can't cure...
#2 Dave & Busters needs to be in any town that has a college/university. Period.
#3 We might not have an NFL or NHL or NBA team here, but we do have a great IFL (Fairbanks Grizzlies) and NAHL (Ice Dogs) team here. I love this town- I will probably never have the chance to cook for an NFL player, but I do get the chance to hang out with and cook for our IFL players all the time. I guess that is why we have the best IFL fan base accross the league.

OZ101 said...

So glad to see you back this week, I got worried!! I tried boycotting Chik-Fil-A after their anti-gay marriage tirade, but I just couldn't do it! Their like fucking cigarettes!!

Post a Comment