Vegas Seven

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    Best Casino Version of Groupon

    We could certainly do without the cheesy commercials featuring all the perky bellmen, cocktail waitresses and slot-machine attendants—seriously, unless your last name is Gates or your first name is Oprah, nobody loves their job that much. But if locals-gaming giant Station Casinos strikes out with its “We Luv Locals” ad campaign, it certainly hits a home run on its WeLoveLocals website, where killer deals await you. Want to get away for two nights and only pay for one? Got a hankering for a rib-eye dinner at a five-star steakhouse for half-price?

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    Best Organic Flower Shop

    Well, there’s not many to choose from, but even if there were, the best organic flower shop in town would have to go to Gaia. In the heart of the Arts District, it’s a funky little space that feels more like an airy art gallery—one with a particularly folksy bent—than a flower shop. Gaia’s walls are filled with local arts and crafts, and owner Peter Frigeri specializes in environmentally responsible floral arrangements.

  • Business & Services

    Best Casino Version of Groupon

    We could certainly do without the cheesy commercials featuring all the perky bellmen, cocktail waitresses and slot-machine attendants—seriously, unless your last name is Gates or your first name is Oprah, nobody loves their job that much. But if locals-gaming giant Station Casinos strikes out with its “We Luv Locals” ad campaign, it certainly hits a home run on its WeLoveLocals website, where killer deals await you. Want to get away for two nights and only pay for one? Got a hankering for a rib-eye dinner at a five-star steakhouse for half-price?

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    Best Zip Line

    While the zip line in Boulder City is awesome—you get to fly over long stretches of wild desert canyons—it’s hard to beat the stupid-fun, only-in-Vegas, $15 factor of the Fremont Street zip line. There’s no Costa Rican jungle or helmet involved; there’s just you and the alluring prospect of speeding through a blur of neon lights while hanging from a cable.

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    Best Slashie Concept

    Make no mistake about it: We Las Vegans love our smokes. A 2010 study for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that more than 22 percent of adult Nevadans were cigarette smokers—only seven other states have a higher adult smoking rate. But here’s where we undoubtedly lead the pack: Unique places to get your nicotine fix. Want some cheap crap with your carton of Marlboros? Check out one of the half-dozen establishments that advertise themselves as a Smoke Shop/99 Cent store.

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    Best Chichi Pet Store

    Before the giant chandelier at the Cosmopolitan became the city’s latest icon, the chandelier at Sniffany & Co. guided pet owners to elegance. “When we opened, everybody else remodeled,” says Debbie Bledsoe, a 35-year Las Vegas resident who opened the upscale pet boutique six years ago.

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    Best Place to Be a Bohemian

    Attention, downtown hipsters: If you want to go Bohemian (of course you do, since we’re still in the midst of a crap economy), then you want to get a crib at L’Octaine. The handsome 51-unit courtyard building at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Gass accepts Section 8 vouchers—which helps subsidize apartments for low-income workers (here we’re talking bartenders and starving artists, not crack whores). This means you can get an affordable unit if you (or a low-income buddy) can qualify, and you can hang with cool neighbors such as artists and writers.

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    Best Drive-Thru for Hard Times

    Mounting debts call for quick action these days, and since the ATM and credit line don’t work like they used to, unloading some merch at EZ Pawn while behind the wheel might be the quickest remedy. Of course, if you come driving up with a handful of jewelry or a trunkful of artillery, you might have to answer a few questions. About the only thing you can’t sell via EZ Pawn’s drive-thru is your vehicle itself.

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    Best Football Contest

    You can pay $25 to enter one of the dozens of football contests around town (where your chances of winning are equal to getting struck by lightning while winning the lottery). Or you can take the skirt off, strap on a helmet and go for the big bucks by entering the legendary Las Vegas Hilton Supercontest. For the last two decades, 350 to 400 serious NFL handicappers have anted up $1,500 for the season-long contest (the gist of the contest: Pick any five NFL games against the spread each week).

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    Best Place for Bar-Top Video Poker

    Let’s be honest: There’s a reason you can’t travel more than two blocks in this town without running into a video poker bar (hint: It doesn’t take long for those “free” drinks to end up costing you triple figures!). That said, if you think tonight’s the night you’re going to finally turn a couple of Andrew Jacksons into a handful of Ben Franklins, you at least should give yourself a fighting chance. So bypass the neighborhood tavern and belly up to a bar at Red Rock Resort.

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    Best-Kept Parking Secret

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    Best Place to Buy a Condo

    When the District at Green Valley Ranch opened in 2004, it offered the promise of living in the only true mixed-used development in the Valley, with 88 condos above retail, dining and office space. But at $500 per square foot, they weren’t for everybody. Now condos are available for nearly one-fifth that price, with amenities such as marble floors, granite countertops and maple cabinetry, plus access to a full gym and to the nearby Green Valley Ranch Resort swimming pool.

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    Best Going-for-Broke Attitude

    It’s not every casino that throws mustache parties, lets kiddies give their Christmas wish lists to an underwater Santa and has Stupid Cupid speed-dating mixers on Valentine’s Day. But not every casino is stuck in the not-quite-neighborhood/not-on-the-Strip no man’s land like the Silverton. The resort’s staff has been putting together odd, funky special events that you won’t see anywhere else in town.

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    Best Historical Photo You’ve Never Seen

    If you’ve lived here for more than 45 minutes, odds are you’ve seen one of the most iconic images ever captured in this dusty desert outpost: that of Lee A. Merlin, then a showgirl at the Sands’ Copa Room, posing for the camera, her left leg slightly bent in front of the right, arms raised to the sky, a mushroom cloud of cotton covering her bikini. She was the last—and clearly the most famous—Miss Atomic Bomb. But here’s what you haven’t seen: Mr. Atomic Bomb.

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    Best Casino Refresh

    Most casino remodels mean new bedding in the rooms, new paint on the walls and maybe replacing brass lighting fixtures with brushed chrome. The Tropicana has gone way beyond that, completely redoing its shabby (un)chic public areas in a whiter than white scheme that would make South Beach envious. Even the gold crown that made the towers look dated back in 1985 has been replaced by brilliant white. Trust us: It looks much, much better than it sounds.

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