The Best Bars In Las Vegas That No One Is Talking About

The Best Bars In Las Vegas That No One Is Talking About

Post Author: Mike

Ah Vegas, one of my favorite cities to visit.  Easily the city I have visited the most, something for everyone.  I have been going to Vegas for almost a decade, Heather has been going her entire life.  I have been by myself, with large groups, for work, for fun, to see family, and mostly because it’s only a few hours away from where we now live.  The city is constantly changing and evolving; new restaurants and bars are constantly popping up. Trends live and die in a matter of months. Every time Heather and I go we always try to hit up a few of our favorite places that no one is talking about. 

Lobby Bar, Caesars Palace

This became the defacto meeting place when we go to Vegas with groups.  It is essentially the most central bar on the Las Vegas strip. They have an extensive cocktail list, their mixed drinks are very strong, and they even bring some snacks for you to munch on.  This is also one of the best places to people watch while in Vegas. During one of our nights at this bar Heather left her phone on the table and didn’t realize until the next morning, oh Vegas, anyways she let lost and found know it was missing and let them know what it looked like with no expectation of seeing it again. Fast forward a few weeks later and that cell phone showed up at our house in Birmingham, AL. Apparently, there still are great people in Las Vegas.

Nine Fine Irishmen New York, New York

If you took the most touristy Irish Bar in New York and placed it in a Vegas mega casino you would get Nine Fine Irishmen.  However, I do not come here because I feel like I am getting a Guinness in a traditional Irish setting; I come here for the band and the dancing.  The house band, Sin E Ri Ra, plays traditional Irish music, jigs, and even a few songs you can sing along to. During their performance, a traditional Irish dancer steps along with the music.  It’s a great atmosphere and definitely a great place to stop in, have a beer, and enjoy the performances.

Red Square, Mandalay Bay

As the name suggests, this is a Russian Themed bar that specializes in vodka and vodka cocktails.  This is the bar Heather discovered blue cheese olives and just how delicious they are in a martini.  Red Square is easy to find as a headless statue of Lenin is sitting outside. You can even do a vodka tasting in the 0 degree vodka vault.

The Oyster Bar, Palace Station

Cajun is a top 2 food group for me.  It’s tough to get decent Cajun food out west.  Whenever I am in Vegas I always go to The Oyster Bar to satisfy that Cajun craving.  With only about 20 seats (all bar seating, this is an actual bar) it takes an hour plus to wait in line, eat, and pay.  It’s definitely worth it. Try a pan roast (creamy, tomatoey, spicy, seafoody goodness) or a more traditional Cajun dish like gumbo or jambalaya.  My favorite dish is the jambalaya. The portions are enormous so an entrée is more than enough.

Enjoy Vegas.

-Mike

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Palm Springs like a Reality TV Star

Palm Springs like a Reality TV Star

I have said this a few times on the blog but will probably say it 100 more times, I really love reality TV. Like my true love in life is reality TV, judge me, but the trashier the TV the more I love it. I specifically love The Real Housewives but in 2018 I began watching Vanderpump Rules and Southern Charm, man oh man am I ever hooked. In honor of Real Housewives of Orange County coming back next week, I wanted to do a post dedicated to Reality TV.

Now that we live in Palm Springs I love to go to new bars and restaurants and talk about the episode of RHOBH that was filmed there or the weekend the Vanderpump kids were here. My knowledge of all things reality TV is a bit embarrassing but I have no shame.

Where to stay:

Parker Palm Springs: Prior to the older Kardashian sisters staying here during a trip to visit their late grandmothers Palm Springs home, there was a show dedicated to the Parker Palm Springs staff called “Welcome to the Parker”. This short-lived Bravo show aired in 2007.  This hotel is gorgeous, I mean the Kardashians think its worth enough for them to stay there. It’s a desert oasis with all of the Palm Springs flair that you anticipate.

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Inside the famous Parker Palm Springs

Colony 29: Remember that one short season when Joyce (Yoce) was a cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? Yeah, most people don’t. She “arranged” a trip to Palm Springs where the cast stayed at the most beautiful villas nuzzled up against the spectacular Palm Springs mountains.

The Viceroy Palm Springs now the Avalon Palm Springs: this hotel is SO cute but more importantly its the location where Justin Bobby and Audrina escape to where he gives her the promise ring or um, I think he refers to it as a commitment ring, whatever the hell that is.

Must Visit:

Palm Springs Walk of Stars: Visit Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules cast member Lisa Vanderpump’s star located right in the middle of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. This must-visit star is located right in front of Ruby’s Diner. There was a great RHOBH episode where she received the star and was standing next to my favorite Nsync member Lance Bass.

Lisa Vanderpump Honored With Golden Palm Star On Palm Springs Walk Of Stars
Lisa Vanderpump star; Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs Aeriel Tramway: Who can forget that uncomfortable scene of Kim Richards praying next to a trashcan? Not one person. That scene was during a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Palm Springs trip where they visited the famous aerial tramway. I love going to the top of the mountain and escaping the extreme heat that is the Coachella Valley in the middle of the summer.

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How beautiful is the Palm Springs tram?

Trina Turk: This isn’t technically a reality TV show but when Martha Stewart still had her talk show “Martha” they did a Palm springs episode and spent time at the Trina Turk in downtown Palm Springs. Even though that’s technically not a reality TV show I really wanted Trina Turk to be on this list because that store is THE CUTEST!

Cabazon Dinosaurs: Looking for a great Instagram photo while driving into Palm Springs, this spot is Kardashian Instagram approved and if we have learned anything about them is that they know a GREAT Instagram opportunity.

Hopefully, Don’t Have to Visit:

Palm Springs Desert Regional Hospital: Do everything you can to avoid visiting the Palm Springs Desert Regional Hospital like Vicki did on the Real Housewives of Orange County. That famous episode where the girls went to Glamis and Tamara flipped the dune buggy sending Vicki to the hospital in a helicopter, no thank you!

Eat:

Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge: If you are looking for a great happy hour location then follow the Shahs of Sunset to Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge. This is the location that Reza hosted his surprise wedding to Adam at.

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Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge Palm Springs

Jensens Finest Foods: On season one of  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills sisters Kim and Kyle do their grocery shopping at Jensen’s as part of their annual Easter desert trip. Jensens is a great place for a sandwich or a high-end cheese!

If I included all the Coachella hot spots and all of the reality TV Instagram posts, I could go on for days. If all of your favorite reality TV stars haven’t already convinced you, Palm Springs is a must visit spot while visiting Southern California.

Happy Exploring.

-Heather

Cook Islands: These Exotic Islands Are Calling Your Name.

Cook Islands: These Exotic Islands Are Calling Your Name.

We just returned home from the Cook Islands and let me say, these islands far surpassed our expectations. I felt like real life Moana and I am here for that.

We flew on the direct flight from LAX to Rarotonga, the plane landed an hour early so YAY! When we arrived at the airport they had a musician playing, immediately I was in love.

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Views flying into The Cook Islands

Transportation: On Rarotonga, our plan was to just use the public bus and for the first two days we stuck to that plan but on day three I convinced my husband that we needed a scooter and our lives were changed. Apparently, Lizzie McGuire was right, Scooters are the best!

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Who doesn’t love a scooter on an island?

Tourists: about 80% of the tourist on the islands this time of year are from New Zealand, its winter for them so it makes so much sense to escape

Cuisine: We ate very well while visiting the island. We ate freshly caught fish at least once a day and delicious exotic fruits multiple times a day.

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Sunsets that will take your breath away.

 Rarotonga

While staying on the island of Rarotonga we stayed at the Castaway Resort. This small hotel was exactly what we wanted, about 15 rooms and a beach bar with the most beautiful sunset views. Our hotel room had a back porch that the roosters, hens, and chicks loved to visit.

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Castaway Resort on Rarotonga

One day while feeding the baby chicks at the hotel I met a little girl from the island, she immediately asked me why I was feeding the chicks because she has never seen anyone do that before. I felt like such a basic American girl at that point, but I couldn’t help it they were the cutest!

We attended the Highland Paradise Island Night and absolutely enjoyed every second of it. It’s a great opportunity to learn so much about Cook Island Maoris.

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Island night at Highland Paradise was a success.

We visited the Matutu Brewery, while I absolutely recommend paying it a visit it is only open to the public during the tour hours, so if you plan on showing up at any time you will just be greeted by an empty building. During our brewery tour, the entire group was American and all booked their flights during the Air New Zealand Cyber Monday sale, so if you are listening Air New Zealand that sale REALLY worked.

Must Visit Restaurant: The Mooring; we had our very first meal there but I probably could have eaten all of my meals there. It was the place I was first introduced to Ika Mata, and really I don’t know how I lived my life without Ika Mata EVERY DAY.

 

 

 

Air New Zealand has one American flight in and out a week, I really appreciate this direct flight but gosh I wish I had a Saturday on Roratonga to experience the Pananga Nui Cultural Market.

Before we left back to America we went to the Hula Bar on Roratonga, this cheap bar was crawling with local residents and so much fun!!

Aitutaki

WOOOOWWWEEEE! The most magical island I could ever have imagined. If we were to do it over again, we would spend two days on Roratonga and 5 days on Aitutaki. I really really really loved my experience there. It felt like a truly exotic island, beautiful scenery, sparsely populated and little connection to the outside world. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and were back off the island by Friday morning, just not enough time. There were so many more beaches to explore and cats to meet.

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Aitutaki Cats; my favorite subject matter

A major difference that I noticed right away was the absence of dogs, Roratonga is crawling with very friendly dogs everywhere and I didn’t see one dog on the island of Aitutaki.

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I mean, this beautiful beach looks fake, right?

It’s a small island so if you are looking for a vacation with tons of restaurant and bar options, probably not the best location but if you are looking to disconnect from the world and connect with the most perfect turquoise lagoon, then look no further.

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The Aitutaki airport looks like its straight off a movie screen.

During our visit to Aitutaki, we stayed at the Kuru Club, an off the grid hotel on the lagoon near the airport. The host was so great and really made sure we were enjoying our experience.

Our favorite thing we did while on vacation was The Vaka Cruise on Aitutaki. A MUST DO. This 6-hour cruise was absolute perfection. Lunch included freshly caught fish, local fruits and vegetables and other island favorites. The boat took you to multiple islands including an extended stay at one-foot island. My favorite stop was a few hours of snorkeling in the middle of the lagoon; beautiful clear waters crawling with schools of fish.

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Dreamy One Foot Island.

The people of Aitutaki were just amazing, friendly and gracious and so inclusive. We would be riding our scooters down dirt roads and everyone would wave at us with a big smile on their face.

Aitutaki has many over the water bungalows, that are calling my name. I really want to plan someone’s honeymoon to The Cook Islands, specifically Aitutaki so if anyone is reading this that is planning a wedding, lets chat!

Book your ticket from LA to Rarotonga now, you wont regret it.

Overall: I give my experience a 10/10 absolutely would recommend. I really don’t understand how these perfect islands have stayed off my radar for all these years.

American Destinations Everyone Needs to Visit.

American Destinations Everyone Needs to Visit.

Today is a very special day in our home, it’s my husband Mikes, 30th birthday!! He’s my favorite person, the best cat dad, and my forever adventure partner. He really deserves a month of celebration but in true Mike fashion, all he wants is a pie.

Mike is a geologist born and raised on the coast in Central Florida. He loves to watch hours of Saturday football, drink bourbon and be outdoors with me. He’s such a gem, I think everyone says that about their significant other but I really think I won the lotto with this one.

Mike and I met over 11 years ago in a swimming pool while working at summer camps in New Hampshire. He worked at the all-boys camp and I was at the all-girls camp. After that summer we went to our perspective universities mine in California and his in Colorado. We kept in touch for those years, mainly via drunk texts, while we finished school but it wasn’t until I graduated and Mike took an internship in California that we saw each other again. Now, 8 years later here we are married, back in California and living with the most wonderful cat in the world, Penny.

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In honor of his birthday, we put together a list of his favorite adventures and travel locations in the United States and I hope this list gives some inspiration for future adventures in the United States. Let’s start exploring.

Eating, drinking and ghost tours in New Orleans. Aaahhhhh, The Big Easy. the most unique city in America. We love to visit New Orleans and eat shellfish in the french quarter and frozen Irish coffees near bourbon street, it really is one of those cities that you have to experience at least once in life. Mike’s dad loves ghost tours and took him to many as a child, so automatically we always end up exploring the city in an organized tour seeking out all the haunted places in the big easy.

 

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Who doesn’t love a cocktail in New Orleans?

 

Smith Lake, Alabama; I don’t think most people associate Alabama with beautiful lakes but Smith Lake is a must visit in the Southeast. This man-made lake is over 500 miles of magnificent shoreline and very intense depths. While we were still living in Birmingham, this was a weekly destination. We made some of our favorite memories while exploring the lake with our besties.

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High Roller, Las Vegas; we visit Las Vegas often, maybe too often? since the opening of the high roller, we always make it a priority to experience while in town. The passenger cabins are mounted on the outer rim of the Ferris wheel and with the slow speed of the Ferris wheel, it makes the ride smooth and SO FUN! A few of the cars have a bar cart and for an additional fee, there is an open bar on those cars, nothing more fun than drinks over the Las Vegas strip.

attraction building city hotel

Orange Beach and Florabama, Alabama: I mean did Kenny Chesney say it best?  “Sitting here at the Flora-Bama, Bout to open up a big old can of good times” Again, most people don’t associate Alabama with white sands and crystal blue waters but that’s exactly the scene at Orange Beach. Growing up in California, I never expected to see such calm, warm and empty beaches in America but that is what you will get in the Gulf Shores. If I had to choose a beach to vacation at in America, I would choose the Gulf Shores time and time again.

 

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Our cat, Penny, loves Orange Beach as much as we do!

 

Denver, Colorado; Mike went to college 20 minutes north of Denver so beyond loving everything Denver has to offer I think there is a bit of nostalgia when he thinks about the capital of Colorado. Nestled up to the Rocky Mountains, its a fun city with a great beer scene.

 

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I mean Beer and Mountains, whats not to love?

 

Lighthouses, United States; while, yes this isn’t one location but Mikes favorite thing to visit is a lighthouse, my favorite thing to visit is a zoo, so who am I to judge? Mike has his entire post-retirement life planned put, mind you, he is only turning 30, but when that day comes he is going on what he calls “The Lighthouse Tour of America”. When we visit Florida to see family, we always make sure to visit the Ponce De Leon lighthouse in Ponce Inlet, Florida. While Florida is not known for its lighthouses, the beautiful brick lighthouse was built in the 1800’s.

lighthouse against sky

Hiking in Yosemite, California: America’s national parks are all beautiful but Yosemite is king with its magnificent rock formations and flowing waterfalls, its something to be seen in everyone’s lifetime. Our favorite vacations are adventurous trips to Yosemite where we hike to all the waterfalls and Mike explains the valley’s formation while I haphazardly listen.  In 2010, the first time we went to Yosemite together, it was so fun to see the park that I adored through brand new eyes. I mean we love Yosemite so much we decided to get married there!

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What are some of your favorite places to explore in the United States? We are always looking for new adventures to add to our list!

-Heather & Mike