Las Vegas 2022

Las Vegas 2022

The Back Story

This trip had been in the planning for almost a year. We got back from our last holiday in Vegas the day before the world closed down and had been somewhat travel restricted for a while. Somewhere around November 2021, with the prospects on an international holiday looking more realistic, we decided to book Las Vegas as a celebration of many things.

Both myself and my lovely friend, Jayne, had celebrated our 50th birthdays during 2022 and her husband, Stuart, had his birthday early November so that seemed as good as an excuse as any to get planning around that date. It also opened up the possibility of friends from Ibiza joining us after a very busy summer season on the island we used to call home.

Like the last trip report, this will be part diary, part review, part recommendation list but mostly, hopefully, a light hearted reminder of good times spent with great friends.


Road Trip!

Every good holiday, that isn’t actually a road trip itself, at least starts with one and our 6th Vegas vacation was no exception. We left home for a short drive to Sheffield to pick up Jayne & Stuart, then headed down the M1 to Heathrow where we’d spend the night at the Sheraton Skyline, leaving us just minutes away from the airport for tomorrow’s flight.

We all went for dinner in the Sports Bar devouring some of the best burgers I’ve tasted and were joined afterwards by Paul T, another Vegas trip regular. A few beers were had before Donna and I crashed out on our absolutely huge bed.

The hotel was nice, although somewhat dated and had the most wonderfully creepy corridors… appropriate enough for Halloween, I guess!


We’re getting the band back together!”

We woke up early and dined on the breakfast of champions… a sausage and egg muffin from a McDonalds located conveniently close to our hotel.

With the car parked and locked up, we jumped in a taxi to Terminal 3. The car was a shiny new Tesla, the first of a few we’d encounter on this trip.

Sadly, our funds did not run to another Upper Class voyage so I used the points gained from the 2020 holiday to sample Virgin’s Premium offering. The first benefit of this is a dedicated check-in desk which was negotiated smoothly before we found ourselves in an unusually quiet security zone. Formalities completed, we met with Paul C and Claire who had flown in earlier that morning from Spain and we all repaired to the nearest bar for some great chat and mediocre Guinness.

This was, genuinely, one of the best parts of the holiday. After all that had happened over the previous couple of years, it was a real pleasure to just hang out with people who we’d missed so much.

Time to board and we were welcomed on board with a glass of Prosecco and were soon pushing back for an on time departure. Holidays are all about new experiences and my first of those on this trip was when our plane was struck by lightning as we climbed away from the airport. Rather dramatic, but no harm done.

The rest of the flight itself was pleasant and comfortable despite not having a flat bed and a seat at the bar this time. I’m a huge fan of the service given on Virgin flights though and I’d certainly prioritise them for future travel. For the record, we didn’t steal the salt and pepper holders this time!

Continuing the theme of smooth efficiency, we were soon in a mostly deserted arrivals hall and up in front of a CBP officer in no time. Contrary to most previous experiences, this guy was funny and friendly. His only issue with me, as a Scotsman, was why I was carrying gin and not whisky.

Bags collected, we went outside to meet Alex from VIP Chauffer & Limo Services. It’s been a tradition since out first ever trip to get a limo from the airport to the hotel. This time there was 7 of us with a lot of luggage so we decided to upgrade. Alex helped with our bags and escorted us outside to a huge Hummer limo complete with disco lights, champagne and beers!

The ride down the strip was as amazing as ever, with the Bellagio fountains playing their part and erupting into the neon lit sky as we drove past. We drove under the new archway adjacent to The Strat and we soon pulling up outside or home from home, the Four Queens (4Q).

Yes, it’s old and can be noisy but it’s also, clean, full of friendly staff, has no resort fee and is right in the middle of all the action on Fremont Street. This was our 3rd stay here and I’d continue to recommend it to anyone. Books south-facing room in the South Tower if you plan to sleep before midnight… but who does that in Vegas!

Room sorted, we met up with Jodie and John who were staying next door at The D. We done a bit of gambling in 4Q before taking a stroll up the street for a quick look round the newest resort, Circa, stopping only so Jayne could get involved in a hilarious lightsabre duel!

Finally worn out, we hit our bed at 03:00. 26 hours awake is enough.


Celtic and Snoop Dogg

As is often the case for me in Vegas, 6 hours is enough sleep and I got up at 09:00, got myself ready, and jumped in a Lyft to McMullans Irish Bar with Donna and Paul T. Celtic were playing Real Madrid in the Champions League and, although we had nothing to play for, it was a good excuse to revisit one of my favourite bars in Las Vegas.

Breakfast was a huge omelette with bacon, cheese and sausage, washed down with several pints of Guinness. If that’s your choice of drink then you’ll find the best pint in Vegas right here.

Having watched Celtic lose to a very good Madrid team, we went for a wander through Orleans. I’ve always been tempted to stay here, mostly given its proximity to McMullans, but also due to its relaxed vibe and multiple amenities. It is a little removed from the action though and venturing out will always require a ride. Still, a lovely hotel.

We headed back to Fremont Street and spent some time in various casinos from El Cotrez (take your boarding card in for some free play) all the way to Plaza. Time for a snack so we hit up Dirt Dog on Fremont Street. This place looks a bit shady, but I’d heard a lot of good things about the food. It didn’t disappoint. I wolfed down a Snoop’s Dog and some loaded fries then we decided to walk down to Atomic Liquor for drinks. This place, although still nice, is attracting more of a hipster crowd these days and feels to me like it’s lost a bit of its soul. There’s a lot of history attached to the place and still worth visiting the first stand-alone bar in Vegas to have a licence.

Strolled back to 4Q to meet 2 more arrivals, Danilo and Sylvia, then sat playing video poker at the King’s Bar and was plied with alcohol by Arturo. All the staff on this bar are great but Arturo was the best. Always quick to spot you and have chat and a joke, he really represents the old fashioned charm and friendly vibe that the 4Q tries to project. Finally caved in at 03:00 and went to bed.


Another day, another 6 hours sleep. Up at 09:00 and off to the buffet at Main Street Station for breakfast. This has increased in price by a couple of dollars and lost a few food items but still, in my opinion, represents great value. I tried a Hawaiian Moco Loco for the first time here and it was excellent.

Sat around eating, drinking cope and catching up with everyone’s news for a couple of hours before jumping in an Uber to the brand new Resorts World. It’s huge, super shiny, full of interesting art and has a very cool food court concept.

Having checked out the newness and planning to come back later in the trip, we crossed the street to Encore and, after a look around, settled for a drink in the Lobby Bar. This is a classy spot and definitely one of the best people watching vantages in a hotel… the cocktails are also excellent!

One good thing about visiting Vegas in November is that the weather is perfect for walking. We decided to walk from Encore to 4Q in an effort to do something vaguely healthy on this trip. Moving a couple of streets to the left from Las Vegas Boulevard will take you right through the middle of the Arts District. If craft beer bars, BBQ restaurants and quirky shops are your thing, you’ll love it. Only the thought of the excess baggage charges stopped me buying a full collection of Madonna 12″ singles in one store!

After a quick freshen up in our room, we decided to have a few drinks along the Fremont East area. This place has come on in leaps and bounds since it was essentially a no-go area 15 years ago. Downtown Cocktail Room was first up and was great chatting to the bartender, Paul, and a local whilst sipping on a seasonal twist on an Old Fashioned. I love this place anytime of day or night and their happy hour (or halfy hour as they call it… 50% off many drinks) is still great value.

Next stop was Corduroy where Donna managed to find the only bottle of Gordons Pink Gin in the whole of Las Vegas! This is a lively bar that attracts a good mixture of tourists and locals and has some very interesting design features.

Straight across the road to Lucky Day was the next choice as I was feeling a tequila calling me. If you’re not a fan of Mexican spirits, you may struggle for a drink in here, but it’s well worth popping in if only to check out the beautiful lighting. There’s allegedly more than 15,000 LED’s involved… I can’t imagine what their electricity bill is like. Every Thursday they have some kind of game involving a mash up of a quiz, bingo and many shots. I didn’t play this time but it did look like a lot of fun.

Feeling a little peckish, we decided to get some pizza at Evel Pie. Beer, pizza and more Evel Kineval memorabilia than you could shake a motorbike at is the theme here and they do it well. I had a slice of the Goblin Sausage and it was, hands down, definitely the best pizza I’ve had in Vegas. Pizza Rock had always been my favourite, but it’s time for a new champion!

We wandered back up to 4Q, met the rest of the crowd and wandered down to Hogs & Heifers for a couple of beers. I’ve mentioned this place before and, although I love it, I can totally get why people don’t. If you’re not a fan of really loud country/bluegrass music, binge-drinking shots or having a scantily clad barmaid shout in your face with a megaphone, maybe just stroll on by. If you do venture in, bring cash. It’s about the only place in Vegas that doesn’t accept card payments! Quite annoying, but I wouldn’t tell them.

Wandered around Fremont Street looking for a craps table with less that $10 minimum, but had no luck. We ended up back at 4Q, playing video poker and being force-fed Crown Apple by Arturo till 01:30 before calling it a night.


The usual 6 hours sleep then down to McDonalds for a breakfast muffin. I only ever go here for breakfast as it’s cheap and about 100 paces from our room. The few times I went here during the trip, it was complete chaos, with a wait time of up to 20 minutes on one occasion. Note to self, somewhere else next time.

Taxis can be expensive in Las Vegas and Uber or Lyft, though often better, are still not a cheap option. If you’re heading from Fremont Street to the south end of the strip, jump on a bus. For literally a couple of dollars you can be down by Tropicana/MGM Grand in around 20 minutes as the route is non stop via the freeway.

We walked from tropicana to Bally’s, checking out MGM, Planet Hollywood and Paris along the way, before arriving at Bally’s for Stuart’s space-themed birthday mini golf tournament. Aliens, neon and some interesting artwork surrounded the course and I was so dazzled that I’ve forgotten who won. Retiring across the corridor, we found ourselves in a bar called Cabinet Of Curiosities. This is a really interesting spot with a multitude of cabinets full of, well, curiosities. Scanning a QR code at the bar provides a VR element to proceedings, allowing you to find out more about the items and their origins. There’s also a “secret” bar behind a large vault door but was operating a reservations only policy at the time.

From this elegant and curious venue, we crossed the road to the equally curious, yet somewhat less elegant, Stage Door. An old favourite, this has to be the cheapest drinking option in town. Budweiser is $1. Really. Model/Corona are $3 and a branded spirit and mixer is $5… it’s even cheaper than buying in the shops. For context, don’t expect craft cocktails, immersive attractions or priceless artwork here, but you will find good drinks and friendly staff.

From here we jumped on a bus back to Fremont street for a birthday dinner with the whole crowd at Dick’s Last Resort. Despite a small mix up with our reservation we were soon seated and had a hilarious couple of hours being gently, or not so gently in some cases, insulted by our server. The staff here do manage to find the right balance between sarcastic humour, without resorting to vulgar swearing, and they genuinely appear to love their job. The food’s pretty good too, especially if you love BBQ meats. I probably wouldn’t ask for a salad!

We walked off our dinner with a stroll down to the Arts District for their monthly First Friday event. The area was packed with live music, DJ’s, street food stalls and much more. Unfortunately we weren’t in the mood for eating but did have a few beers at a couple of nice bars before heading back to Fremont Street and ending up at Plaza’s newest bar, The Sand Dollar, Downtown.

This was definitely one of my favourite new bars and is a real gem. There’s live music every night, amazing cocktails and a raft of craft beer, if that’s your thing. The band on this night was a trio from NYC playing rock and blues to an incredibly high standard. We went beck several more times during the trip and the acts change on a nightly basis, but the quality level did not drop.

Finally crashed into bed around 02:00.


Yes, you guessed it, 6 hours sleep again and up at 08:00 for breakfast at Magonlias. If you’re staying nearby, it’s a solid choice… decent food, decent prices and, mostly, decent service.

Decided to go on a long solo walk and walked a full circle (well, rectangle) taking Fremont to Maryland then Charleston and Main St. 25,000 steps in total. The first part of the walk, via the back alleys of the Fremont, resulted in some great photos of the proliferation of graffiti that’s sprung up over the last couple of years.

Back to the hotel to meet up with Donna and have a stroll around the Container Park. I do like the idea of this venue, but never really spent much time here as nothing’s really ‘grabbed’ me. Took some photos then headed back up the street for a few drinks in the hidden garden at Park On Fremont. The cocktails were excellent and the main bar is cool, but the garden is a tiny oasis in the middle of madness. Highly recommended.

After a quick freshen up, we took a ride down to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Now, I’m really conflicted with this resort. It looks beautiful and has some great amenities including a stunning pool area… but there’s no-one there! Because of that, there’s a distinct lack of atmosphere and it all feels a little sad. Didn’t win any money either despite me asking a manager to make the machines pay.

Anyway, over the road for dinner at Hofbraühaus. Donna has wanted to go to this iconic restaurant since our very first Vegas trip in 2011, but we’d never quite managed. It’s a typical German beer hall with long tables, oversized steins and some absolutely outstanding currywurst. There’s great live music from a couple of guys with dodgy accents and plenty of games in between. Word of warning, ordering shots seems to result in a severe spanking from a feisty fräulein!

As it was Saturday night and I fancied some house music, we headed back to Downtown Cocktail Room for drinks until heading back to bed around 02:00.


Up at 07:00 today and lined the stomach with a sausage and egg Mc Muffin followed by a breakfast dessert from the Donut Bar. Breakfast dessert is a thing, try it!

Met up with Paul T and settled in at the Long Bar in The D for the Raiders v Jaguars game. If you’re watching sports, video poker is your friend. $20 in the machine lasted me the full 4 hours we sat there and the drinks were plentiful and strong. Tip your bartender!

After a quick freshen up we walked down the road to the Saw themed escape room experience. This place was outstanding! I won’t give away any secrets, but the whole experience starts when you arrive at the gate. We escaped… with a bit of help from our guide!

We then went next door to Sliced Pizza, a tribute to every horror film you’ve ever seen, for one of their famous charcoal pizzas. Now, you’ll see from the pics that it looks burnt… it’s not. They use charcoal dust in the dough to give this unique look and it tastes great. There’s a surprise involved here too, but I’ll leave that for you to discover.

Our next stop was Frankie’s Tiki Room, the self-proclaimed happiest place on earth. I’ve reviewed this spot before and I still love it. Super sweet and strong drinks in a very unique atmosphere.

Suitably tipsy, we headed back to Fremont Street and had a few drinks in Corduroy, where the bottle of pink gin was still going strong. The music in here is varied and interesting and the bar staff are great. I’ve not made it to one of their Boozy Bingo nights yet, so that’s one for the agenda.

Next stop was Don’t Tell Mama. This bar used to be on Fremont East but is now kinda hidden at the back of Neonopolis but definitely worth searching for. It’s a piano bar where the bar staff are also great singers and take turns entertaining the crowd. Here’s the twist, you can get up on stage and sing too! I managed to restrain myself and we ended up sat at the bar chatting to the husband of one of the bartendertainers (I think I just made that word up). Her name is Bee and she is genuinely one of the best singers I’ve ever heard. I guess it shows how full of talent this town is that people this good are not starring in big shows.

We eventually rolled out of there around midnight and ended up back at Sand Dollar where tonight’s band were a cool 5-piece combo from NYC playing a great R’n’B set. Finally headed back to the 4Q around 01:30.


Pub Crawl! Well, dive bar crawl, to be precise. This was in honour of both mine and Jayne’s 50th birthday’s… we love a dive bar experience. We decided a good breakfast was in order to prepare for the day and headed to Main St Station for the buffet. Same selection as usual, all good.

First stop was intended to be Hard Hat Lounge but the door was locked and ringing the bell brought no response. Maybe they didn’t like the look of us on the CCTV.

No such issues at the next bar, the legendary Dino’s. I can’t recommend this place enough and am only sorry we didn’t make it back down one evening for the karaoke. We sat and had a few beers, chatting away to day-drinking locals before catching a taxi to the appropriately named Dive Bar. If ever a bar done exactly what it said on the tin, this is the place. It’s bigger than I imagined with a huge stage at one end for gigs and worse toilets than the Double Down Saloon!

Another few beers downed, we jumped across to Stage Door, for our second visit this trip. $1 beers and an eclectic crowd as usual!

In the mood for some entertainment of our own making, we made the short taxi ride to GoGo Karaoke, a Korean spot on Maryland Parkway. We all took turns belting out songs, except a very shy Paul T, drinking copious amounts of soju and munching on some pretty awesome chicken wings.

We headed back toward Fremont Street with just one more stop along the way, Huntridge Tavern. Our driver seemed reluctant to take us there, citing a huge homeless population in the area, but we insisted. The bar is tucked away in the corner of a strip mall and, whilst there are homeless people around, we had no issues at all. It’s a common misconception that just because there are homeless people around, you’re going to face issues. Yes, you do see them around the city, but in all my visits I’ve never had one talk to me or cause me any concern.

Headed back to the 4Q after a few drinks for a nightcap and some more gambling before hitting the room at 01:30.