Southwest Spirit: Retro & Right Now
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Southwest Spirit: Retro & Right Now

By Elaine Glusac

In honor of its centennial birthday, we set out to do a story on the best of Vegas “then and now.” You know, heyday versus today. But then we realized something—it’s not one or the other. Much of the best of both worlds still exists (albeit on DVD in some cases). So here you go, what always has been—and still is—great about Vegas.

Retro: Bingo
Right Now: Baccarat

Retro: The 99-cent shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate Hotel
Right Now: The $21 tartare of ahi tuna at Michael Mina

Retro: Ocean’s 11, the 1960 original
Right Now: Ocean’s 12

Retro: The “Scorpion” cocktail at Peppermill Fireside Lounge
Right Now: The blue “Pure-tini” at Pure in Caesars Palace

Retro: Clint Holmes, the last of the song and dance men on the Strip
Right Now: Permanent Broadway refugees including “Mamma Mia!” Coming soon: “Avenue Q,” “Hairspray” and “Phantom of the Opera”

Retro: Celebrity gangsters such as Benjamin “Bugsy” Malone
Right Now: Celebrity chefs such as Alain Ducasse (Mix)

Retro: Playing the ponies in the sports book
Right Now: Camping out during the NCAA tourney at the sports book

Retro: Casino lounges such the Stardust’s Starlight Lounge serving Scotch on the rocks
Right Now: Ubër lounges such MGM’s Tabu serving up sound-and-light spectacles and champagne cocktails

Retro: The Little White Wedding Chapel
Right Now: Weddings atop the Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower

Retro: Vintage Vegas postcards at Bonanza Gifts Shop, the “World’s Largest Gift Shop”
Right Now: Versace jeans at the Forum Shops

Retro: Poker
Right Now: Poker

Retro: The circa 1959 headdress-happy “” at the Tropicana
Right Now: The most-expensive-theater-production-ever, “Ka” from Cirque du Soleil

Retro: Drying out by the pool the morning after
Right Now: Repairing night-before damage at the Canyon Ranch Spa

Retro: The Liberace Museum pays homage to the old master of the ivories.
Right Now: Guggenheim Hermitage Museum pays homage to the Old Masters: Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne…

Retro: Cheap, bare bones rooms
Right Now: Skylofts at the MGM Grand: two-story windows, custom Bang & Olufsen equipment and a steam room with a view of the Vegas skyline

Retro: Elvis singing “Viva Las Vegas” in 1964
Right Now: Dennis Hopper chairing CineVegas film festival in 2005

Retro: No room and board, 24-hour gaming: Slots-A-Fun
Right Now: Room and board, no gaming: The Four Seasons

Retro: The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign
Right Now:

Retro: The 1966 Aladdin’s Lamp hotel neon sign on Fremont St .
Right Now: Hotelier Steve Wynn’s neon signature atop the 2005 Wynn Las Vegas

Retro: Cruising the Strip in a 1965 Cobra
Right Now: Cruising the Strip in a Mini Cooper S convertible

Contact info for Vegas Retro & Right Now

Bonanaza Gifts Shop: 702-385-7359

Canyon Ranch: 702-414-3600,

CineVegas: 702-992-7979,

Folies Bergere: 702-736-2411,

Forum Shops: 702-893-4800,

Four Seasons Las Vegas : 702-632-5000,

Golden Gate Hotel: 702-385-1906,

Guggenheim Hermitage Museum : 702-414-2440,

Ka: 877-264-1844,

Liberace Museum : 702-798-5595,

Mamma Mia! at Mandalay Bay : 877-632-7400,

MGM Skylofts:, 877-656-5638

Michael Mina: 877-234-6358,

Mix, 877-632-1766

Paris Las Vegas,, 877-796-2096

Peppermill Fireside Lounge: 702-735-4177

Pure: 702-212-8806

Rent-a-Vette: 800-372-1981,

Slots-A-Fun: 702-734-0410

Tabu: 702-891-7138,

The Little White Wedding Chapel: 702-382-5943,

Versace Jeans Couture: 702-796-7332

Westin Casuarina: 702-836-9775,

Wynn Las Vegas,, 702-770-7100