If everything goes according to Hoyle (look it up, gaming buffs!), Las Vegas is headed for a big year. Whereas not much of anything has happened on the Strip for the last couple of trips around the sun, the Boulevard now has major projects on the drawing board, including SLS and Resorts World Las Vegas. But you don’t need to wait for those to catch something new and exciting—it’s happening right now.
Linq— the center-Strip restaurant, bar, and nightclub district between the Flamingo and the Quad—has been about as under-the-radar as a half-billion-dollar project with the world’s tallest observation wheel can be. The project is being completed in stages, with the area nearest the Strip already in operation after a December 27 debut. There’s a Starbucks and a couple of restaurants, but the main attraction is the reopening of O’Sheas Casino. It’s not the divey O’Sheas that you probably remember. It’s a sleek and modern O’Sheas, with a stained-concrete floor and classy wall coverings. The beer-pong tables are back, but now they’re smooth and level. It’s actually just a mini-casino within the Quad, but it’s a neat little nod to the past.
The area that’s open now is interesting, but there’s a lot more behind the curtain. I don’t know what the count of bars and restaurants will ultimately be, but it’s in the dozens, including a Yardhouse, a Tilted Kilt, an Asian-style “night market” and the powerhouse Brooklyn Bowl.
The Bowl is the retail anchor of Linq, and it’s amazing—restaurants, bars, a live-concert venue, terraces with views, and bowling are all integrated within one massive complex. Prices aren’t set, but I understand bowling will be priced by the lane, and up to eight people can share. That means groups will likely be able to bowl for under $10 per person per hour. Pretty strong when you consider that the bowling alley abuts the concert stage, so there’s a good chance you’ll catch a live concert while you’re on the lanes.
Finally, there’s that wheel! Of course you’ve seen it rising to become a prominent part of the Strip skyline. But just wait till you’re standing below it. I’ve heard defiant detractors proclaim that it’s an eyesore and that “no one will ride.” After seeing it up close, I’d liken it more to a gargantuan piece of art—and trust me, many will ride. Nothing’s official, but I’m hearing that the ticket will be $25. Yep, they’ll ride.
I’ve been wrong before, but I make Linq a solid favorite to be a winner, both with visitors and locals. Scuttlebutt is that drink prices will be below Strip norms, which would be a good move. And even if they aren’t, you’re within walking distance of the Stage Door on Flamingo, where a Michelob is still just a buck.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.