Photos courtesy The M and Shelley Stepanek

The Palms, with its huge renovation throughout the whole hotel and casino, opened new venues with a spectacular night of parties. The Camden Cocktail Lounge greeted guests with champagne and wine, and the bar was open for every high-end drink. An ice carving was filled with sushi and salmon rolls. Photo opportunities were available at the front desk, where photographers were ready to give you a lovely shot. In the center of the casino, an artist’s natural history presentation was unveiled. The piece, a tiger shark divided into three parts, each piece in a suspended solution inside a plexiglass tank, will certainly be one of the most sought-after sights to see in Las Vegas. It is known simply as “The Unknown.” Guests downed shots of vodka and helped themselves to an unlimited caviar bar while praying the shark didn’t come back to life over their heads. 

The N9NE steakhouse, which has been a top-end place for years, has been totally redone in warm tones and renamed Scotch 80 Prime. Massive plates of stone crab, lobster, clams, oysters and king crab were all displayed on an endless table. Separately were prime rib, lamb chops, Kobe beef, medallions of beef and side dishes. Carving chefs were everywhere, and samplings were superb. A glassed-in private room, held plate after plate of desserts served by the loveliest of beautiful ladies. Drinks were endless. 

Upstairs, the Ghost Bar has been redone into the Apex Social Club. The view has not changed. It is a boutique open-air nightclub, overlooking all the city’s skyline. Stay tuned for many more remodels in the coming year. 

Another new opening, the M Resort unveiled its new culinary attraction: 16-A Handcrafted Experience. On the 16th floor of M Resort, the views are stunning. Here you can relax in the remodeled lounge or on the deck, probably the best place in town for any fireworks display. There are plenty of new handcrafted cocktails and beers that no other lounge in town carries. All cocktails are made from scratch with fresh juices and herbal-infused elements. Those who want to try numerous new wines can choose from a one, three or five ounce pour from a total selection of 40 options nightly. The new menu of shared plates and cocktails include The 16, which is a variety of 16 different flavors to create this signature cocktail. I also suggest the new Negroni with Aviation Gin, Cinzano 1757, Sweet Vermouth and Campari; or the Sidecar, stirred with Martell V.S. cognac, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. V-P of food and beverage operations Michael Credico, along with his chef, have created new appetizers. Served tableside is Grilled Wagyu with three accompanying sauces, Australian Lamb Chops, Pan-Seared Hokkaido Diver Scallops and Wagyu Short Ribs. Fabulous service! Hours are Friday-Tuesday form 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Alongside the lounge is a banquet room for your next party.

The 12th Annual Lee’s Beer and Tequila Experience was sold out once again this year. Held Saturday, May 19th, the Thomas and Mack hosted an endless list of suppliers of the top beers and tequilas around. There was live music, a lovely high-end silent auction took place and there were plenty of friends to be seen on this day. During the event you could see people with a new novelty item, a pretzel necklace. Groups had gathered and threaded their own and they were quite useful after many samplings. Jo Jo’s Jerky was there, along with Hussong’s Tequila, Milagro and the new Dirty Tequila and Tequila Chamucos. Did I mention I believe I tried all of these? 

The beers were too numerous to name, but Lee’s did a quality job. Be sure to check in for their next Wine Experience. 

Casa Di Amore, a long-time staple in Las Vegas, at Tropicana and Eastern, has opened its new backyard patio called Tiki Di Amore. With a full bar, plenty of Tiki decorations, great lounging sofas and a wild 8 ft. octopus, the place has been packed every night. Plenty of shading, cool fans and just the right kind of “Tiki” drinks, they also offer a happy hour. With monkeys hanging from coconut palms, and big Hawaiian pieces on the wall, come over and have a few generous libations. Now don’t forget the food, some of the best you can find in Las Vegas.