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    We hope the new place still has that old Sahara smell. (Photos by Erik Kabik)

    Nearly a year to the day after SBE shuttered the Sahara, now comes word that Sam Nazarian and company have secured $300 million in financing to overhaul the old girl into the blandly named SLS. It only took him two weeks to roll up the dough, which means people are really excited about taking that corner away from the World’s Largest Gift Shop.


    The downside is these doors, windows and tile inlays were sold in the liquidation sale.

    And away we go: The Clark County Commission approved permits for SBE to go ahead and renovate the husk of the Sahara — the casino floor and 1,622 rooms — including the demolition of the roller coaster and the installation of a beer garden. Hopefully included in those permits are approval to install a parking garage elevator that doesn’t sound like you’re one rubber band away from plummeting to your doom. Finally, a reason to return to the north Strip that doesn’t involve trying to sell tourists baggies of baking powder as “the real, uncut stuff.” (more…)


    The copper wiring in the walls is still up for grabs. (Photo by Erik Kabik | Retna)

    Even the people who got there earliest spent three hours yesterday baking in the sun for the chance to pick up some Sahara swag at the liquidation sale. The veritable orgy of camel lamps costs 10 bucks to get in and you pay a 10 percent premium on everything you buy, but who could resist this thing? Or one of those? We imagine Roger Thomas and David Rockwell will just be fistfighting over most of this stuff for the duration of the sale. (more…)


    NOW where are we going to go to get that fried-food-meets-feet smell? Oh, right. Circus Circus. (Photos by Erik Kabik | Retna)

    Finally, after biding its time for years and sweating out competitors on the north end of the Strip, New York-New York stands alone as the only casino left where you can ride a damn roller coaster. So long, Stratosphere High Roller, and sayonara Speed the Ride at the now-shuttered Sahara.

    The word we keep hearing people use to describe this weekend’s wind-down of the old bird is “sad.” And not “Aww, this is sad that this iconic piece of Vegas history is closing its doors.” More “sad” like, “Aww, that old lady wearing a Mad About You T-shirt just blew a wheel on her Rascal and now she’s stuck in some mud.”

    So anyway, here are some photos of the Sahara going out with a whisper, including a shot of the final round of drinks at the Oasis Bar being poured. Tip your 40 for the place that Prima played.


    Danny Ocean does not approve of this news.

    Pour one out for your homie the Casbar. Pour one out for cheap poker tournaments that come with a side of terrible, terrible sandwiches. Pour one out for the place that was home to Louis Prima.

    SBE Entertainment announced it will shutter the Sahara, which opened in 1952, on May 16.

    “We are working with our partners to assess a variety of options for the property, including a complete renovation and repositioning,” SBE CEO Sam Nazarian said. “While no final decisions have been made at this point, the continued operation of the aging Sahara was no longer economically viable.”

    “We see the northern end of the Strip as the future of Las Vegas. With Las Vegas showing early signs of recovery, we are confident that we ultimately will find a creative and comprehensive new solution for this historic property.”

    We assume “creative” in this case means “turning into something other than a dirtball joint patrolled by shady characters and ensconced in questionable smells.” Which is a shame, because we really like dirtball joints patrolled by questionable characters. We could do without the questionable smells, though. (more…)


    The Champagne of charitable beers. (Photo by Hew Burney | SpyOnVegas.com)

    Windell Middlebrooks, the Miller High Life Delivery Guy, was at the NASCAR Cafe inside the Sahara yesterday to hand out the Miller High Life Award to members of the Iraq and Afgahistan Veterans of America. Then Taya Parker, Jenny Romas, Tali Demar and Aspen Reign of Striptease performed. Wait, these guys got a bunch of High Life and a strip show? Maybe we should reconsider our stance on “Not signing up to fight in Afghanistan.” (more…)


    It’s only a matter of time before the Riv starts 25 cent room-and-wings specials.

    We know room rates are down and all, but apparently occupancy-at-all-costs is the name of the game. The Sahara is handing out $1 room rates for Facebook and Twitter fans during five 24-hour sales during the year, the first one coming soon. The downside, of course, is that these rooms are still at the Sahara. The good news is, what you save on the room is freed up for your comically oversized burrito budget. Actually, if there’s a loophole in this, we’re giving them a few hundred bucks up front and moving in for a couple years. (more…)


    Do not look directly at the Tyson.

    The champ brought his wife to see The Platters, Coasters and Marvelettes at the Sahara Saturday night. Mike Tyson and new wife Lakiha Spicer were singing along during the show.

    When we saw Tyson at A Bronx Tale Wednesday night we were waiting for some friends outside the showroom. Tyson comes walking down and we were thinking about getting a quote on whether or not he liked the show. Then he made eye contact and we nearly crapped our pants.

    The moral of the story? Don’t ever think about doing ambush interviews on a guy who’s done this.


    OK, so this would be more for Five Lions Tattoo, but you get the idea. Yes, this is just an excuse to post Voltron pics.

    Just in time for the Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth, the Sahara’s new 3 Lions Tattoo opens tomorrow. It’s the second location for 3 Lions — they’re already going next door at the Riviera — and the first tattoo parlor for the Sahara. They had to wait at least 10 years after Sinatra died to make sure his angry ghost was completely disconnected from the property, otherwise he’d totally haunt the place for ever putting something like that in there. As it is, he wasn’t too thrilled with the NASCAR Cafe. That’s why on a cold night when the moon is full if you listen hard, you can hear a sepulchral voice sadly singing “High Hopes” in the hotel halls while Jack Daniels bottles mysteriously levitate across the expanse and smash themselves against pictures of Ava Gardner.

    Incidentally, on their website, the “Tattoo of the Month” is of Andrew Dice Clay. Which we can only infer to mean that their top celebrity client is Andrew Dice Clay.


    Won’t someone please think of the children?

    Yesterday, we posted an item on the Travel Channel show Man V. Food taping at the Sahara. We included a few photos we shot and some video we took, too. The clip showed some behind-the-scenes stuff of the taping like Trop comic Bobby Slayton getting introduced to the crowd, and about 30 seconds of on-camera table interviews where you couldn’t really make out the audio, but the kids over at Travel Channel filed a copyright complaint over the video with YouTube.

    For something that was taped in a public place, surrounded by spectators with cameras.

    To see a dude eating a burrito.

    The process to file a counter notice takes written notice, up to 10 days and, possibly, court. For seven minutes of footage of watching Adam Richman memorize his lines in front of a burrito (admittedly, a massive one). It doesn’t quite seem worth the trouble. Way to go, Travel Channel. You’ve vigorously defended a crucial piece of intellectual property. Western Civilization is saved.

    Tell you what, though. If anyone wants to see some sizzling, too-hot-for-TV burrito action, drop us a line. We think we know a guy.