What may be the biggest opening of 2015 occurred earlier this month when the Grand Bazaar Shops in front of Bally’s debuted. I know that if I were reading this right now, my first thought would be: “Really? An outdoor mall is the best we’ve got this year?” The answer is, it looks like it. My second thought would be: “So what’s deal-like about that?”
New things opening in Vegas always have deal value, if only for the entertainment of sizing up something that cost about $50 million to build. As I walked into the mall, my first sense was the actual deals would be difficult to locate. But then I realized I had to cut the place some slack, given that only about 60 percent of the 120 spaces are operating, and there’s much more to come.
I say “spaces” because that’s all that they are. Similar to Downtown Container Park, the shops are mostly rectangular cubicles of varying dimensions. Unlike Container Park, they’re not stacked on top of each other, but rather arranged in long narrow rows on the ground level.
Many of the shops are specialized—really specialized. Like they sell only sandals or only socks (think the Scotch Tape Store sketch on Saturday Night Live). There are a lot of such places, though—jewelry, cloth, luggage, cigars, dog ditties, art, beauty, nails, shoes, hats, even hot sauces—and it starts to get interesting as you explore, creating that entertainment value referenced above. But are there any real deals? My guess is there are bargains that experts in specific areas can ferret out. Here are a few things that caught my attention:
➜ Several places have “50 percent off” and “2-for-1” signs hanging. There’s not a lot of foot traffic right now, so it looks like merchants are being pushed toward some early discounting.
➜ There’s one bar, called Fuel Bar, where beers are priced at $6 and $7. Not bad, but before you go, seek out a Grand Bazaar attendant (of which there are many), and ask for a buy-one-get-one-free drink voucher for Fuel (they all have them). Now you’re paying $3-$3.50 for a beer on the Strip, which is pretty good.
➜ More in the mood for water? Bypass the Marash Authentic Turkish Ice Cream store (where the price is $1.99) and grab a bottle at JOJO’s Jerky (where it’s only a buck). I didn’t compare quantities, but at half the cost, I’m betting JOJO’s is the deal.
Switching gears, South Point is offering a good March Madness betting play. As the Wynn did for the Super Bowl, South Point is the only sportsbook in town dealing minus-105 lines for the basketball tournament (bet $105 to win $100, as opposed to the standard minus-100 arrangement). This discounted vigorish is for sides only (no totals), and as of now will run through Final Four weekend.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor.