Las Vegas For The Restaurant Industry
One of the downsides to working in this industry is the weekend schedule. How many times have does someone living the restaurant life have to decline the proverbial weekend/long weekend in Las Vegas? It probably has happened on more than a few occasions. Weekend trips might not be the domain of us in this business. That is fine and we accept it. For many destinations not being able to visit on the weekend means missing out on the energy and people.
IT SUCKS! There is no way around it. Those family/friends working jobs that get off holidays and can take a Friday off and enjoy a weekend away always have the advantage.
In the case of Sin City, this is not true, especially if you work in the restaurant business. Hospitality is the largest employer in Las Vegas. This means when industry people such as yourself are off and have the opportunity to go away, your colleagues that work in Las Vegas restaurants are off as well! Maybe, there is something else going on!?!?
That something is that more people are off Sunday-Thursday in Las Vegas than Friday/Saturday.
People off during the week like me?
But people that live there do not party on The Strip? Well, true, to an extent. The best restaurants, entertainment, nightlife and daylife are all on The Strip or nearby.
Does this mean when I go with my restaurant family on a Monday-Wednesday trip to Las Vegas I am more likely to come across people that life the same crazy life I do?
Well where do these people hang out?
The million-dollar question is asked and we have answers!
The truth is all over, but there are a few places close to the strip they frequent and more importantly can lead to probably the best Vegas experience ever, without the weekend crowds.
What happens in Las Vegas Sunday-Thursday?
OF COURSE THEY DO!
Many readers are thinking that there cannot be more to Las Vegas than debauchery filled weekends. Truth is, there is a major difference between the weekend crowd and the Sunday-Thursday crowd. Generally the Sunday-Thursday crowd is in the city for conventions, conferences or meetings. Take a look at the convention calendar that Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) publishes. The amount of people in town is staggering, check peak season Jan5th-Memorial Day in May, it is mind numbing to know that some weeks there are over 150,000 people in the city for a convention.
What is Significant About This Group?
They are really soon seen at a restaurant for dinner. The rest of the time they usually in conferences and not seen or heard! It means you and some other smart travelers pretty much have the city to yourself (be aware this does not apply to the Memorial Day-Labor Day season) during the day.
150,000 People? Where do I Stay?
Do not be fooled, it really doesn’t matter where you stay, provided it is in the general area of The Strip. Unless you plan on holding a party in a suite, nearly any room will do. If you plan on holding a party in a suite or room, that is a different discussion and can get expensive. A good rule of thumb is if you never heard of it, keep it that way. You can also visit Tripadvisor, a fantastic resource for reviews and information on hotels. A great place to book the trip is Vegas.com. They have deals on hotels and discounts on show tickets, we recommend KA by Cirque Du Soleil (great if you like MMA). New deals are added weekly, so check frequently for the latest and greatest.
Hotel and Flight are Booked, Now What?
Make it there! Go ahead, see the sights, have fun and be a tourist! The purpose is not to talk about what or where to go from a tourist view (although if money is going to be spent on anything touristy, take a helicopter into the Grand Canyon), more the view of someone in the restaurant industry looking for a different vibe, especially during the week. OR you can go to a few places that are generally:
- Good on the wallet
- Frequented by industry locals
- Close to The Strip
Eventually visitors find themselves growing tired of dress codes, $8 bottles of beer and $40 lunches. Is there an escape to this? Yes! There are establishments both on and off The Strip where prices are generally favorable and more than likely similar to the local bars one goes to after work with friends from work. These places tend to be a nice reprieve from the rest of the Las Vegas experience.
Members of the restaurant industry in Las Vegas generally do not want to give back all their money to the building they make it in whether it is a bar or poker machine. We want to recommend a few places they are sure to bring value especially with some of the limited options and a bonus on navigating Las Vegas nightlife.
Enough! Where are these Places?
It has been going on for some time now, avoiding what we really are here for. These places are known for being popular with those in the restaurant business.
These restaurants are predominately a good value or offer a unique dish. We recommend chatting up a bartender or server about places they like, not right away but after building a little rapport. Usually they will recommend a place they know someone at or have been to themselves.
Lotus of Siam: Lunch or Dinner- Some of the best Thai food on the West Coast or the country. Can you handle Thai hot? This is restaurant is no the best part of the city, take a cab if going, but worth the trip.
Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant: Late night happy hour- The Ferraro family has been serving the best Osso Buco in Las Vegas for nearly 30 years. This restaurant has an amazing late night happy hour that attracts an eclectic combination of industry workers and revelers alike due to its proximity to the Hard Rock Hotel.
Restaurants with Gaming:
Unique to Las Vegas and only a few other places in the world, restaurants that having poker machines or slots/table games are available in this city, many are open 24/7/365. The main attraction here is a late meal or beer brewed on property.
Ellis Island Casino and Brewery: Dinner- Imagine dive bar with low ceilings meets brewery-meets restaurant-meets bbq joint. Did we mention the beer made on premise only costs about $3.00 for a 23oz pour and has won awards in the past? Enjoy this find behind Bally’s crawling with locals and in the know visitors. Rustic and tasty, a fantastic fish and chips is served at the restaurant. Catch a meal here for dinner and play while you wait for a table, ask about “The Steak Special”.
Battista’s Hole In The Wall: Located on Flamingo Ave, Across from Bally’s Battista’s is home to cheap beers and an image of what Vegas looked like in 70’s. Portions are huge and Miller Lite is usually no more than $2.50 a bottle. Look for how many years are left on the lease on their marquee outside.
Beer Pong/Music in a Frat Party Atmosphere:
There is only one place in the city that always seems to attract locals and visitors alike and it is O’Sheas Casino. Previously this place was famous for low-limit tables, drinks in plastic cups and local music. Now it has nearly nightly beer pong tournaments and an upgraded interior thanks to a knocking-down of its old digs and being moved to The Linq hotel. Frequented by locals, especially those in the restaurant business to catch their friends perform or to relax after work before driving home.
Downtown Las Vegas:
Efforts and investment to improve Downtown Las Vegas, where it all started have spawned a few amazing places to let loose and enjoy the company of others, without having to pay $500 for a bottle of vodka. We like Insert Coin (S). Keep in mind these places can get a little expensive, but nothing compared to bottle service at a club. There is so much happening at the moment and the area is very dynamic, we recommend asking bartenders/servers or visiting a blog like Eater Vegas or LV Weekly for the most up to date info on Downtown.
Nightlife, If You Must
Nightlife is Nightlife and Las Vegas is known for its nightclubs. The ugly truth is that many locals do go to clubs, however on very different terms than the rest of the club going crowd. Many locals go to clubs during the week, when the clubs are a little less crowded and fewer are open. The advice we can offer is, connect with a host via Facebook or Twitter and see what they offer. Sometimes a deal can be found, if not, well it can get very pricey, very quickly.
Advice from The Service Workshop
Las Vegas can be a great time, it can also bring out the worst in people. When one visits the City of Sin, be yourself and have a good time. Feel free to do an activity that takes in some of the natural beauty of the city such as, Red Rock Canyon or the Valley of Fire. Rent a car and visit Zion national park or some of the more remote areas of the Grand Canyon. In a city that is vain and manufactured some of the prettiest natural places in the country are within a few hours drive of the city. Have fun and be safe. Feel free to comment on finds if you visit or cannot miss places if you live here that are fitting for those in that want to add to the discussion of Las Vegas for the restaurant industry.
Spread the word with the whole staff!