Out and about in Vegas

By Caroline Fontein
VEGAS.com

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Las Vegas is the No. 2 destination for LGBT travelers, according to Community Marketing, Inc.

The word is out, Vegas is getting more fabulous. The city is growing in popularity as a destination for gay and lesbian travelers. More LGBT conventions are being hosted in Vegas and there’s been an increase in nightclubs and pool clubs on the Las Vegas Strip hosting events that cater to the LGBT market. In 2010, more than 83,000 room nights were booked from LGBT meetings and conferences, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Director of Diversity Marketing, Mya Reyes.

“It’s been proven to us that the LGBT traveler is one of the customers that just makes sense for us. This is the kind of customer that we want to reach out to,” said Reyes.

She said gay couples often have a higher disposable income than traditional couples because both people in the relationship usually work, and they often don’t have kids. They also take more vacations.

The reasons why LGBT travelers choose Vegas over other destinations is the same as other travelers. The city offers world-class dining, high-end shopping, endless nightlife options and luxury accommodations, all the ingredients for a perfect vacation.

“Gay people like to go out and have a good time,” said The Garage Bar Manager Brent Elser. The Garage is an off -Strip gay bar that opened in April 2011. “They spoil themselves, basically, and what better destination than Vegas where there’s a little bit of everything.”

Vegas currently ranks as the No. 2 preferred LGBT destination by Community Marketing Inc., a market research company that focuses on the gay and lesbian travel market. Vegas has held that ranking for the past six years.

“We’re not considered a traditional gay destination in that we don’t have a huge ‘gayborhood,’ but again … that isn’t the reason why people choose Las Vegas. They choose Las Vegas for all of the same reasons that all of our customers do,”
said Reyes.

From nightlife to accommodations and places that hold commitment ceremonies, we’ve put together a listing of the top LGBT destinations in Vegas.

Nightlife

Krave
3663 S. Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Monday -Friday, Sunday,
11 p.m. – 4 a.m.; Saturday,
11 p.m. – 6 a.m.

Krave , located in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, is the only gay nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip. Encompassing 17,000 square feet, Krave hosts live entertainment and a non-stop line-up of weekly parties, events and drink special s. Their weekly event s include: Kream Hip Hop Night (Monday), Playground (Tuesday), WTF (Wednesday), Drag & Drink (Thursday), F%@k You I’m 18+ Fabulous! (Friday), RuPaul’s Tyra Sanchez LIVE at Krave! (Saturday) and It’s Just Not That Serious (Sunday).

Gipsy
4605 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Thursday – Sunday, from
9 p.m. to whenever the party ends.

The original gay dance club in Vegas, Gipsy still caters to the open-minded reveler. Located off the Strip near the Hard Rock Hotel, Gipsy appeals to both locals and tourists. It features a sunken dance floor where partiers can work it to the best in dance/house music. Gypsy is also home to nightly drink specials and live entertainment from the Go-Go Boys to
dazzling drag queens.

Piranha Nightclub and 8 ½ Ultra Lounge
4633 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109
10 p.m. nightly until the party ends at dawn.
A boutique nightclub and ultra lounge, this hot spot features three bars, V.I.P. rooms, bottle service and a prime view of the Las Vegas Strip. After hitting the dance floor guests can take a breather in the outdoor patio area complete with fire pits and lush landscaping. Piranha hosts an exciting menu of weekly events including: Manhole Mondays,
La Noche Tuesday Latin Nights, Flirt Wednesdays, Steam Thursdays, Frequency Fridays, Stimulate Saturdays and El Deseo Sundays. Vivacious drag queen Coco Vega presents Fierce Fridays at 11 p.m. every week. On the first Friday of every month Piranha hosts Glomo, an underwear glow party featuring hot guys and free glow sticks.

revolution

Themed after the Beatles music, Revolution Lounge puts fun out in the open at "Closet Sundays."

Revolution at the Mirage
3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
10 p.m. – 4 a.m.

While not a gay club, Revolution, the Beatles themed bar at the Mirage, hosts an LGBT event every Sunday night called Closet Sundays. Described as the party, “for boys who like boys and their girlfriends,” Closet Sundays combines live performances, fashion shows and resident DJs with Revolution’s colorful and fun vibe, offering a fresh approach to Sunday nights.

The Garage
1487 E. Flamingo Rd., Ste. C
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Open 24 hours daily.

If it’s a laid back bar vibe you’re after, take a seat at The Garage. Featuring booth seating, pool tables, dart boards and shuffleboard, The Garage is a low key spot. They offer a daily happy hour with two-for-one drink specials from 11 a.m.
to 7 p.m. In addition, there are other weekly drink specials on certain nights of the week.

The Buffalo
4640 Paradise Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Open 24 hours daily.

Located near Gipsy and other gay nightlife spots, The Buffalo is a Levis and leather bar where everyone knows your name. With pool tables, darts and your typical bar décor, The Buffalo has an unpretentious vibe for people who want to grab a few drinks, check out the scene and have a lot of fun. It’s especially popular for its $5 beer bust on Fridays at 9
p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.

FreeZone
610 E. Naples Drive
Las Vegas, NV
Open 24 hours daily.

As the name implies, this place never charges a cover. It’s also the perfect venue to express yourself. Move over
Madonna! Whether you want to get down on the dance floor or hop on the dance pole there’s no shortage of good times to be had at Free Zone. It’s also home to Queens of Las Vegas, a long-running drag show featuring Shawn M. Free Zone features video gaming machines, pool tables, arcade games, a daily happy hour and a Friday martini social. They host weekly events including: Karaoke (Sunday a nd Monday) , Ladies ’ Night (Tuesday), Beer Bust (Wednesday), Boyz Night
(Thursday) and Drag Show & Dance Party (Friday and Saturday).

Fun Hog Ranch
495 E. Twain Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Open 24 hours daily.

Strap on your leathers and head on down to the Fun Hog Ranch where things get hog wild on a nightly basis. This gay-friendly bar has a casual and festive atmosphere where fetish attire and leather is strongly encouraged. Don’t worry, sexy street wear is appreciated too. Rustic décor created by exposed wood accents and booth seating puts
guests right at home on the ranch. Fun Hog Ranch hosts drink specials and other events on certain days of the week.

Snick’s Place
1402 S. 3rd Street
Las Vegas, NV 89104-1131

Open 24 hours daily.
With a track record dating back to 1976, Snick’s Place is nothing to snicker at. It’s the city’s oldest gay bar. Located in downtown Vegas, Snick’s is a spot to convene with friends and throw back a few beers or whatever your drink of choice may be. The vibe is just right to let loose and the daily happy hour specials are there to help you along the way.

Charlie’s Las Vegas
5012 S. Arville Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Open 24 hours daily.
With its country-Western charm there’s no denying that Charlie’s might just be the friendliest gay bar in town. It ’s also home of the Men of Charlie’s. Once a month patrons can participate in a fundraising event where the person who raises the most money wins the title of Mr. Charlie’s for that month. The bar hosts daily drinks specials and events. They’re especially popular for their $5 beer bust on Sunday from 4 – 7 p.m.

Back Door Lounge
1415 E. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Open 24 hours daily.

This neighborhood bar is well known for its Latin clientele on Saturday nights. The Back Door Lounge has plenty to offer when it comes to spicing up your evening.

The Las Vegas Eagle
3430 E. Tropicana Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89121
Open 24 hours daily.

Let the good times take flight at The Las Vegas Eagle. Another Levis and leather bar, the Eagle hosts a Full Moon party every month and jockstrap and underwear nights every Wednesday and Friday. Well drinks and drafts are free for those who ditch their pants 10 p.m. – 3 a.m.

Accommodations
Every hotel in Vegas is welcoming to LGBT travelers, but some hotels have taken additional steps to specifically cater to that market.

In early 2000 Luxor, along with MGM Resorts International, became the first Vegas resort group to market to the LGBT community. The hotel group implemented a diversity initiative across all of its properties that
included training employees on how to better welcome and accommodate travelers from all cultures and backgrounds, including the LGBT market.

Today Luxor, New York-New York, Mandalay Bay and Vdara continue to be the most popular MGM Resorts for LGBT travelers. Luxor and New York-New York offer separate pages on their websites dedicated specifically to LGBT guests.
The resort group’s nightlife partner, The Light Group, also features a separate page on their site that includes LGBT events taking place at their various nightlife venues on the Strip.

Vegas is also home to Blue Moon. Branded the hotel for men, Blue Moon is Sin City’s only gay resort. Blue Moon offers rooms and amenities in an atmosphere that sparks fun. Their lagoon-style pool is where guests can lounge on the sun deck or take a dip. The pool is heated year-round. If you want to turn up the heat, head to the Jacuzzi grotto. Enclosed in a poolside cave fronted by a 15-foot by 10-foot waterfall is the 10-man Jacuzzi tub. The hotel also offers a day pass for those who want to experience the scene even if they’re not guests of the hotel.

 Commitment Ceremonies

Gay marriage isn’t legal in Nevada, but many wedding chapels on the Strip offer commitment ceremony options for all of their wedding packages. This includes the wedding chapels at: Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Luxor,  Excalibur, Circus Circus, Caesars Palace, Wynn Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas. ARIA, Vdara, the Mirage, Monte Carlo
and New York-New York don’t have wedding chapels, but they offer commitment ceremony options through their banquet and catering departments.

Entertainment

In the Entertainment Capital of the World, there’s no shortage of shows for visitors who want to see something over the top.

Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas
Imperial Palace
10 p.m. Saturday – Thursday.

Female impersonator Frank Marino takes audiences on a dragalicious journey in his show “Divas Las Vegas” at the Imper ial Palace. During the 75-minute revue, superstar female impersonators portray famous divas from Britney Spears to Madonna and Cher. As host, Marino takes on the role of a flamboyant femme fatale character decked out in an ever-changing wardrobe of extravagant wigs and dazzling gowns. The performers do an immaculate job of fooling
the audience, with Marino’s panache for entertaining at the helm.

zumanity

Breathtaking performers and a sexy theme captivate audiences at Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity."

Zumanity
New York-New York
7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday – Tuesday.

Audience members who like to unleash their wild side will find a kindred spirit in the host of Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity” – Edie, a sensational drag queen. “Zumanity” takes guests on a tantalizing ride through different themes of sexuality. This highly-eroticized, cabaret-style spectacular combines stunning imagery, aerialists, gymnasts, comical vignettes and sultry dancing to depict every element of sexuality from fun and flirty to fetish and fantasy.

Le Rêve
Wynn Las Vegas
7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday – Tuesday.

Leave reality behind and experience the fantastical world of “Le Rêve,” created by Franco Dragone. The show’s circular 1608-seat theater is situated around a pool that is 68-and-a-half- feet in diameter with the furthest seat only
42 feet from the water. Synchronized swimmers glide through the water, performing an elegant ballet. Aerialists soar through the air and dip into the water below. High divers make the audience gasp as they plunge into the water nearly
80 feet below. “Le Rêve” is one of the most technically amazing and artistic shows in town.

Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano
Caesars Palace
7:30 p.m. Days vary.
Feb. 9 – 11, 14, 16 – 18; April 13 – 15, 19 – 21, 2012.

Af te r more than four decades of performing, The Rocket Man continues to soar to new heights. For the second time in his career, the Grammy Award-winning artist is calling Vegas home with his three-year residency at Caesars Place.
Aptly named The Million Dollar Piano, the show features Elton performing his award-winning hit songs alongside the other star of this revue, his piano. Created by Elton and Yamaha, the 3,200-pound piano features more than 68 LED video screens that portray images in accordance with whatever song Elton is performing.

Celine Dion
Caesars Palace
7:30 p.m. days vary.
Dec. 28, 30 – 31, 2011; Jan. 3 – 4, 7 – 8, 10 – 11, 14 – 15, 17 – 18, 20 – 22, 2012.

After performing around the world international songstress Celine Dion is giving fans an opportunity to hear her music performed live with all of the spectacular production elements that have earned Vegas its reputation as the Entertainment Capital of the World. Her show features Dion’s greatest hits and popular tunes from other artists including Billy Joel, Michael Jackson and Ella Fitzgerald. A live 31-piece band combined with a stunning lighting and
video presentation create the backdrop for Dion as she sings her hits like “Where Does My Heart Beat Now,” “Because You Loved Me” and other well-known tunes including Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” and the Paul McCartney & Wings song “Live and Let Die.”

Peepshow
Planet Hollywood
9 p.m. Sunday – Tuesday, Thursday – Friday; 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

This show packs a little bit of naughty, a little bit of nice and a whole lot of titillating scenery. First there’s the star,
Holly Madison, the blonde bombshell who made headlines in her own reality show “Holly’s World” and in “Girls Next Door.” She’s joined by a cast of sexy dancers who depict nursery rhymes in a delightfully sinful way. Every scene features song and dance numbers choreographed to popular tunes like Aerosmith’s “Pink” and Cristina Aguilera’s “Aint No Other Man.” Next, feast your eyes on hunky singer Josh Strickland. Fans of “Holly’s World” will recognize his boyish
charms from the reality TV show, but trust us you won’t want to miss seeing them in person. There’s plenty for everyone to take a peep at in this show.

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