Retail Guide: What to See in Vegas

Viva Elvis
Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter
3730 Las Vegas Blvd., S.

First the Beatles, now Elvis. Following up on its smash hit “Love,” Cirque du Soleil pays tribute to another music icon in “Viva Elvis,” currently headlining at Aria. With Cirque’s dynamic blend of dance, acrobatics and live music, the 90-minute show traces Elvis Presley’s rise from a poor, rebellious kid in Memphis, Tenn., to a pop culture phenomenon. The rousing score reflects the singer’s many diverse musical styles, from Delta blues and rockabilly to gospel and country — and of course, rock ’n’ roll. A live band and a troupe of female singers back up original recordings of Presley’s songs (after all, who else could do justice to the King?). Standout numbers include “Bossa Nova Baby,” complete with a chair-balancing act, and “Blue Suede Shoes,” featuring a 29-foot-long, 7,000-pound steel-and-fiberglass shoe.

Details: Show times are 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets start at $99.

Matt Goss
Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd., S.

Smoldering singer Matt Goss has the ladies swooning at Caesars Palace, where he is headlining until 2013. Backed by a nine-piece band, Goss — who shot to fame in the 1980s as the lead singer of British pop group Bros — showcases a unique blend of big band and pop. Not to mention plenty of sex appeal: The show is produced by Robin Antin, the brains behind the Pussycat Dolls, and features a group of backup dancers known as The Dirty Virgins. In addition to career hits and tracks off his current solo album, Goss covers Sinatra classics such as “Luck Be a Lady.”

Details: Show time is 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Tickets sell for $40.

Encore Beach Club/Surrender Nightclub
3121 Las Vegas Blvd., S.

If you’re looking to cool off — or heat things up — head to Encore, where the Encore Beach Club and Surrender Nightclub duo is the hottest new celebrity draw. During the day, clubgoers can work on their tans while lounging on the pool’s oversize lily pads. VIPs get the royal treatment in private bungalows decked out with air-conditioning, dipping pools and flat-screen TVs. A grill is available to all poolgoers, and cabana and bungalow guests can also order from the hotel’s Switch Steak restaurant. When the sun goes down, the party moves to Surrender, where resident DJ Steve Aoki spins live every Friday night. The chic indoor/outdoor setting makes it the perfect place to sip and socialize on a hot summer night.

Details: Encore is open Thursday through Monday (hours vary). Surrender is open 10:30 p.m. to closing, Wednesday through Saturday.

Social House
Crystals at CityCenter
3720 Las Vegas Blvd., S.

It’s baaack. Vegas hipsters were crushed after Social House’s sudden disappearance last July from Treasure Island, but the dining hot spot has returned in a prime new location in the Crystals shopping complex at CityCenter. Tucked away on the second floor, the restaurant features an open terrace overlooking the main shopping area. Longtime executive chef Joe Elevado offers an eclectic menu of pan-Asian fare served family-style in the spirit of the eatery’s namesake. Included are melt-in-your-mouth yellowtail with jalapeños ($20), miso cod ($22) and kobe beef sliders ($24), as well as an array of sushi creations. Guests can wash their meal down with one of a long list of sakes inspired by the season (think sweet and fruity for summer).

Details: Social House serves dinner 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

Fountains Brunch
Jasmine at Bellagio
3600 Las Vegas Blvd., S.

Cookin’ with Jazz Brunch 
At The Country Club
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd., S.

Proper Sunday brunch has finally reached the Strip. At the Bellagio, Jasmine offers a gorgeous spread ($55 per person), complete with views of the resort’s famous fountains. Diners can build their own omelets at the organic brown-egg station, sample selections from the Lakeside Shellfish Bar (offering king crab, oysters on the half-shell and Scottish smoked salmon), or catch the roving Peking duck cart, which carves tableside. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, ranging from decadent chocolate fondue to miniature French pastries to an assortment of bonbons, truffles and tea cookies.

Farther down the Strip, at the Wynn, The Country Club does brunch Big Easy style ($59), with live jazz and views of the Wynn golf course. Wake up with a Bloody Mary, Kentucky Tea cocktail or champagne, and then dig into dishes like New Orleans shrimp-and-andouille gumbo, poached eggs with barbecue smoked pork, and jumbo shrimp and grits with gravy. Those looking for something sweet can savor the French toast bread pudding or selections from the Le Rêve chocolate bar.

Details: Fountains serves from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Cookin’ with Jazz serves from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
4455 Paradise Rd.

It took the Hard Rock’s $750 million expansion to finally get Los Angeles’ sizzling nightlife spot Skybar to Las Vegas, but it was well worth the wait. Since opening in April, the day-to-night pool lounge has been a magnet for celebs, including Matthew McConaughey, Paris Hilton and Wyclef Jean. Fourteen VIP cabanas surround a rectangular wading pool that features peek-a-boo cutouts in the floor, allowing swimmers to spy on the HRH Beach Club below. Guests can laze on the custom daybeds, couches and banquettes while sipping margaritas and light cocktails ($18) such as the Strip Cleanse (Ty Ku Soju with lime, lemon and orange) and Skybar Smash (Crown Royal with strawberries and basil). And when they’ve worked up an appetite from all that swimming and sunning, they can munch on chilled fruit skewers ($22), sliders ($24), crispy shrimp ($24) and more from the Beach Club menu.

Details: Skybar is open 12 p.m.-12 a.m., Friday through Sunday; and 12 p.m.-8 p.m., Monday.

Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club
3801 Las Vegas Blvd., S.

“Everybody Loves Raymond” alum Brad Garrett has a new hit on his hands. In June, the famous funnyman debuted an old-school comedy club at the Tropicana, bringing to the stage some of the top comedians in the biz, from Kevin Nealon to Dom Irrera. Garrett, a standup regular in Las Vegas since the 1980s, makes frequent appearances — scheduled and unscheduled — both behind the mic and at the door greeting guests. In a throwback to Sin City’s Rat Pack days, the acts are naughty and the jokes dirty (hence, the 18-and-over admission policy). A pianist adds old-fashioned charm, and there’s also a collection of Garrett’s own Vegas memorabilia.

Details: Show times are 8 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $39.

Mandarin Bar
Mandarin Oriental
3752 Las Vegas Blvd., S.

For drinks with a view, make your way to the Mandarin Bar, nestled on the 23rd floor of the elegant Mandarin Oriental hotel. Three sides of floor-to-ceiling windows offer barflies sweeping views of the Strip and the glittering Las Vegas skyline. Specialty drinks include the Elderflower Smash ($18), Silver Whistle ($20) and the signature Golden Leaf Martini ($19), made with Hendrick’s gin, Aperol and muddled mandarin, naturally. An extended wine list and bottle service also are available. For a light snack, the bar offers a tempting selection of “Little Spoons” munchies, ranging from lobster cocktail ($14) to smoked duck ($6). While the mood is mellow, things kick up a notch on Friday and Saturday nights, with DJ Oliver Twist spinning tunes from the turntable into the wee hours.

Details: Open 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 4:30 p.m.-2 a.m., Friday and Saturday.

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