Circa Resort & Casino opens in downtown Las Vegas

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Circa Resort & Casino opens in downtown Las Vegas
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In Las Vegas and throughout Southern California, the coronavirus hasn’t caused (safe) expansion to cease. Along with new eateries, there’s also a huge, brand-new casino in downtown Las Vegas, as well as other new names on the doors of gaming operations in Sin City and Palm Springs.

The 1.25-million-square-foot Circa Resort & Casino, which opened its doors in November, is the first Las Vegas resort-casino built from the ground up in four decades. This ambitious downtown Vegas project is an adults-only property that’s imbued with high-tech but pays homage to the vintage Golden Era of Sin City.

Conceived by developer/CEO Derek Stevens, Circa Resort & Casino is going all in with a slew of original restaurants and bars, a two-story, 8,000-square-foot casino and a Garage Mahal parking structure built with ridesharing as a focus. Other highlights include:

• The world’s largest sportsbook. Circa Sports is the resort’s centerpiece, with a 78-million-pixel, high-definition video screen capable of showing 19 sporting events at once. The three-story, stadium-style venue has a viewing capacity of up to 1,000 people. Guests can reserve plush accommodations such as reclining seats or booths equipped with power outlets and Wi-Fi. The Sports Betting Network has an on-site studio within the sportsbook.

• Stadium Swim. Billed as the country’s largest pool destination for sports lovers, Stadium Swim’s six temperature-controlled pools are open year-round. There are also two swim-up bars and a 143-by-40-foot, 14-million-megapixel LED screen. The pool amphitheater shows the day’s biggest games and televised events.

• Vegas Vickie returns. Tall, blonde and kicking, the iconic Vegas Vickie neon sign has found a new home in Circa’s hotel lobby. Originally appearing in 1980 at the Fremont Street Experience, the 25-foot landmark art piece received a new knee replacement mechanism that keeps her kicking leg spry.

Circa’s 777-room hotel tower and rooftop lounge, Legacy Club, is scheduled to open Dec. 28, marking the completion of the project.

The former Hard Rock Hotel site is scheduled to open as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on Jan. 15, 2021. The new plan calls for 1,500 hotel rooms and suites spread across three towers. A dozen food and beverage outlets will include Nobu, MB Steak and Todd English’s Olives. A fully renovated, 60,000-square-foot casino will be managed by Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, the first Las Vegas tourism corridor property to be operated by a tribal gaming group.

The free, overhead light shows at Freemont Street Experience got a $32-million upgrade. The renovated Viva Vision screen (1,375 feet long, 90 feet wide and suspended 90 feet above the Freemont Street pedestrian mall) now boasts 16.4 million pixels and 49.3 million LED lamps. Viva Vision light shows are ready to blow your mind with continual 3D visuals featuring music from The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Green Day and other high-volume artists.

Mayfair Supper Club has taken over a former exclusive nightclub space that overlooks the iconic fountains at Bellagio Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The restaurant takes inspiration from vintage London supper clubs and features Roaring ’20s décor. Old-school presentations of Wagyu prime rib are available.

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino is the latest location to open International Smoke, a dining franchise collaboration from celebrity chef Michael Mina and restauranteur Ayesha Curry (wife of NBA star Stephen Curry). The barbecue-heavy menu includes smoke-infused dishes, including the eatery’s signature charcoal-grilled oysters.

The Din Tai Fung dining experience arrived this past summer at ARIA Resort & Casino. The highly regarded Taiwanese dumpling and noodle house is world-renowned for its xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings). The menu will include handcrafted Shanghai-style noodles and dumplings filled with Kurobuta pork and other treats.

Flamingo Las Vegas opened vintage-styled Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse over the summer. Highlights include a dry-aged meat cooler, a raw bar, three private dining rooms and a hidden speakeasy. Heading the kitchen is Lamar Moore, winner of the Food Network competition program “Vegas Chef Prizefight.”

Thirsty? Order a Spy Who Loved Me martini and espy the newly redesigned Vesper Bar at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Named after the Vesper cocktail favored by James Bond in “Casino Royale,” the bar reflects the iconic mystery of Agent 007, along with modern décor and bold design accents — mirrored tiles, plush lounge seating and marbled features.

The San Manuel Casino now has a custom marble walkway that leads into a new High Limit Tables and High Limit Slots VIP chamber, with more than 200 slot machines (some with denominations up to $1,000) and 15 tables games (with limits up to $25,000). The San Bernardino-area property is also undergoing a massive expansion with an enlarged gaming space and a 429-room resort scheduled to open in 2021.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is set to add a third casino to its Palm Springs collection. Current properties are in downtown Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. A brand-new casino in Cathedral City comes with 30,000 square feet of casino gaming space (slots and table games). Like its sister property in Rancho Mirage, Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City, slated to open soon, will boast a state-of-the-art 360 Sports bar/lounge.