Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reno Hotel Info

I've added a page to the website with information about Reno hotels. I don't know much about Reno, so if I missed any good hotels, let me know and I'll add them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The First Annual Halfway STBE!!!

This is happening!!!

The Bay Area STBE Committee is proud to announce the dates for the First Annual Halfway STBE in Reno! We will start the shenanigans on Friday, February 8 and end on Sunday the 10th.

The evite has been sent. If you're not on it and want to be, please inquire within.

Hotel and activities TBD. Stay tuned for more information...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

in addition to the changes...

Let's all congratulate Stephen and Kim for earning their email addresses as three time revelers! And Jessie points out that she now rightfully owns hers as a three time reveler (she got her email address a year early for photo collection purposes).

Yay, STBE!

Friday, September 14, 2012

we're expanding

Yes, I know I still owe more STBE recaps, but before I do that, changes are coming to STBE. Notably, we want to add another trip and monthly meet-ups. Read more (there's not a lot more yet) here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hotel review: Biff's

We were excited to check out Biff's this year after a complete overhaul using all of the interior furnishings from the stalled Fountainbleau project on the Strip.

Let me say this first: we stayed at the Plaza before and it was pretty bad. Stained carpets, mildewed bathroom, but the rooms are very spacious. We asked for South Tower rooms since all reviews online said that is the newer tower. The bellman told Jose that both towers got the same upgrades, so basically there would be no difference. Also: outside, the marquee read "Voted Downtown's best hotel in 2011!" We all know the best Downtown hotel is the Nugget, so we laughed and said we couldn't wait for them to prove it. At the front desk, we were given a sizable coupon book, most of which we didn't use. We also found that internet access was "free." It totally wasn't. As we learned, most of their website is a lie. First, the website implies that there are two rooftop pools: the South Tower has a pool on the 5th floor, while the North Tower has a pool on the 7th floor. Nope, just the same pool with different entrances. The website also makes mention of a miniature golf course inside a bar featuring dollar domestic beers (that bar doesn't exist anymore). Finally, the website boasts "no resort fees." Upon check-in, everyone was charged $10 a day, which included internet access and two bottles of water. Oh la la!!! I believe Ryan and Stephen planned on sending a strongly-worded letter complaining since their receipt even read, "no resort fee."

Anyhoo, when we checked into our room, aesthetically, it looked a lot better. New carpet, new wallpaper, new bedspreads, flat screen TVs, new lamps, and a desk, presumably for the high-powered businesspeople that Biff's will surely be attracting.

One of the first things I noticed was how flimsy the TV was. And it was pretty small for a TV purporting to be from a five-star Strip hotel (that stands 3/4 built toward the end of the Strip). Next, there was a gaudy lamp on the nightstand, so large that only one of us would be able to see the alarm clock (I forgot to mention that as a plus, since the last time we stayed there, none of our rooms featured such a luxury item). It was also plastic and cheap; again, I call bullshit on it being from the Fountainbleau.

The TV stand was to double as a dresser, but there were only two small drawers in it. It really wasn't of any use. Usually, we unpack and put our clothes in the dresser to conserve floor space from when we end up throwing costume parts all over the place, but it wasn't really worth it since we'd only be able to put a couple of things in it anyway. The desk was also unimpressive, and for a room featuring two queen beds, we wondered why there was only one chair. The bathroom had been re-tiled and in the sink area, there was some trendy rectangle-shaped sink placed on top of the counter (making it awkwardly high when I was washing my face). The shower/tub/toilet area was as tightly-packed as I remembered and still smelled like mildew (which tells me that they just covered the problem instead of fixing it). Why, with all the floorspace, would they not try to increase the bathroom space? There was plenty of room to spare in the living space without sacrificing too much to expand the bathroom/closet area.

It wasn't all bad, I mean, it was a vast improvement of what it was, and we only paid like $50 a night for an August weekend. If Biff's gets a big head, though, and tries to charge as much as the Nugget does (still not bad at about $90 a night), they won't have many customers coming back. For the price we paid, it was about right. The lobby looks like it benefited the most from the Fountainbleau's furnishings, as Jose and I noticed that the furniture there was much nicer than what we saw in our rooms. Kim and Stephen and Ryan each had king rooms, which featured a love seat, which may have legitimately come from the Fountainbleau, but the lamps and other accents could not have been (unless that's why it went belly-up). We did like the view of the Strip we had from our room and more than one of us commented that we wanted to steal the old-school over-sized print of the Plaza from the old days when Downtown was the Strip.

At the end of the day, it's still Biff's. I forget who said this in the last election, but you can put lipstick on a pig, and it's still a pig. I'm also not sure what they're really going for because they claim it's the best Downtown hotel, but they're hell-bent on being trashy, too. Their steakhouse features the headline "Beef, Booze, Broads," and it promises that said "broads" will stroll around the restaurant pretending to be interested in the things you have to say. The new club/bar that the website advertises as having a 9-hole miniature golf course has already been (half-way) re-branded as "The Drink," featuring $.25 shots every hour on the hour. We don't know what was in the shots we had on Saturday night, but we're pretty sure Four Loko was involved, given the random burst of energy we all experienced after drinking them. Hash House A-Go-Go describes its food as being "twisted farm food," and the hotel still features a food court (McDonalds, Subway, and an over-priced but decent taqueria). A pleasant surprise for us was "Pop-Up Pizza," which, despite its name, is a permanent structure in the hotel. The pizza was good and affordable, they had awesome garlic knots, and the lady who ran the place was very nice. It was also right next to the elevator bank, so they really did well with the location, haha. The hotel also features a hair salon where the stylists wear bikinis. Kat got her hair cut in there, and I'm not sure what she thought about it.

It's trying to separate itself from its sister property, the Vegas Club by pricing its drinks differently (usually, all hotels in the same group feature the same drink specials; this is the first time I've noticed a difference in pricing). The Vegas Club called us in with its $.50 Hamm's drafts. A pint of Hamm's set us back $2 at Biff's. The beer special was a tiny cup (same size as the $.50 Hamm's) of Coors Banquet for $1 (the bartender referred to it as "Colorado Kool-Aid"). The Vegas Club is still as trashy as ever with the same "construction" going on as has been going on for the last couple of years. So basically, nothing's going to get done there. I also don't think there is anyplace to eat at the Vegas Club, which is odd.

STBE 2012 - Friday

OK, it's been over a week now, so I'm sure I'll forget some things. I humbly request that Mike, Kat, Gabe, Jessie, or anyone else with blogging privileges chime in with your own point of view or missed details.

I'll start early - I mentioned before that we had breakfast before anyone started showing up. Jose, Mike, and I went to Hash House A-Go-Go downstairs at the Plaza and used a $10 off coupon. That made the prices reasonable, but the service left a lot to be desired. I hope I didn't already mention this because I'm too lazy to go back and check. I ordered some sort of "tractor" breakfast, which included a ginormous pancake, bacon, eggs, and potatoes. Ten minutes after I got my food, Jose got his breakfast of scrambled egg whites, potatoes, and toast. Ten minutes after that, Mike got his food, a ginormous skillet of corned beef hash. He was the only one to finish his meal.

After the way-too-long breakfast, we went upstairs and got into our swimsuits, drank a few presidentials (Bud Light Premium), and hit the pool, where we threw around a football and drank a few more beers. When we were done, we showered and walked across the street to the Plaza's neglected property, The Vegas Club (they have no plans of fixing it ever, from the looks of it) to enjoy $.50 Hamm's on tap.We ordered two each since they were pretty small. We settled into some slots and Kim and Jessie had both texted me to let me know that they were close, so I headed back to the Plaza to greet them. Mike and Jose wanted to keep gambling, so I left them and also took the opportunity to get some pizza from the place by the elevator since I'd been drinking since fairly early on (before 11am).

I can't remember the order in which people started showing up, but at some point, Ryan and Stephen joined us and Kat and Jess (nongiant) were also there. I remember we were over at the Vegas Club again with the giant fist beer koozies and posed for some pictures with them before heading back over to the Plaza (again for me) to get dressed up. After we all got dressed in our white trash finest, Gabe showed up just as we were about to leave, so Mike took him upstairs to outfit him in a spare wifebeater that Gabe paired nicely with some hideous red jeans. By the end of the night, he had rolled them up into capris.

I don't want to forget to mention that Kat and Jess (nongiant) took forever to get ready, as they were a couple of pregnant hookers. Jessie was also a hooker (not pregnant) and used a pair of Bubba teeth with braces as the best accessory of the night. At the end of the night, a guy on a streetcorner said, "Girl, let me see them teeth! Ooooooh, they're gonna look BEAUTIFUL when you get them braces off!" As we walked back down Fremont Street, she slowly smiled at passersby who all made horrified faces upon seeing her teeth (rude!).

Anyhoo, at some point during the night, Mike got super deucefaced. I finally thought to ask him when he last ate, and he told me, "well, I had breakfast!" It was also apparent only to me that Jose was also totally deucefaced. He's just slicker about it and only a few people can tell (me being one of them). He at least stopped at McDonald's and had a chicken sandwich.

We spent most of the night at El _ortez because they had karaoke (with the worst sound mixing ever), cheap black jack (with a dealer who loved us - we were there a few hours earlier), and a delightful baby powder and cigarette smell (pointed out by Ryan).

Sorry this is jumping back and forth, but there was a lot going on. I was wearing a beer holster full of Bud Lights that we were all drinking, and we had all stopped to get tallboys before we made the trek down Fremont Street to the shady neighborhood that houses El _ortez. We had all become separated at one point, with a decent amount of us finding each other at the Fitz (sorry, The D) McDonalds to get a little snack before we continued drinking.

Upon our arrival at El _ortez, it was apparent that all of the alcohol in Mike's system had suddenly hit him, so I pretty much just sat there and stared in amazement because he is hilarious to look at whilst drunk (he looks Don Knotts-esque). Also, here is Mike's lesser-known celebrity look-alike (followed by his two better-known celebrity look-alikes):
Brian McCann is the head writer for Conan. He plays lots of characters who look like drunk Mike.

Seth Meyers, worst SNL head writer ever.
BJ Novak, start of TV's The Office (producer, too)


Mike was super deucefaced out of nowhere, and this bald security guard didn't want any of us in the "classy" bar (nothing is classy at El _ortez) least not until we got rid of the tallboys. I finished mine, but Stephen and Ryan used that as an excuse to lose millions (and millions) of dollars at the black jack table.

Kim sang Copacabana to start us off song-wise, then we did a fabulous duet of Ride Like the Wind (Christopher Cross featuring Michael McDonald). Jose (this is how I could tell he was drunk), sang Drive, by Incubus (eyes closed and totally into it). Mind you, this was shortly after Jose heckled some guy who was ruining Sweet Caroline. Right when it got quiet, Jose yelled out, "You're TERRIBLE!" and the whole bar turned around. He then blamed all of us, saying, "you all were saying it!" "Yes, but to each other, not to the entire bar!"

Anyhoo, Gabe sang Friends in Low Places and no one could hear him (or any of us when we sang, really) because the sound mix was so bad. Kat finished the WT show by singing Break on Through while a clearly (to me) drunk Jose screamed along, "BREAK ON THROUGH! BREAK ON THROUGH! BREAK ON THROUGH!" complete with intense stare (he later explained to me that he was focusing on the screen with the lyrics).

This whole time, Mike was super drunk and kept saying he wanted to go home, but we weren't going to let him walk by himself since he was so deucefaced. He kept saying he didn't want to ruin our night while I kept explaining that drunk Mike is hilarious, so he wasn't ruining anything. I suggested a taxi since he was insisting he was leaving alone, but then he got up to leave and fell into Kim's lap, hahaha. Jose was like, "I'm putting you in a cab." Mike's response was, "that is RIDICULOUS!!!" We made him wait until Kat finished her song, then we all made our way back to the Plaza.

When Mike woke up the next day, he was trying to have a conversation with me, but I couldn't look at him with a straight face because his teeth were still blacked out from the night before.

I'm sure I missed a lot, so I will wait for Kat, Mike, Jessie, Gabe, and/or someone else to fill in the blanks. For the record, because I ate, I was not so deucefaced that I don't remember stuff! There was a lot going on, and I spent a lot of time greeting revelers at the hotel while there was other drinking and gambling going on.

Friday, August 17, 2012

STBE Update #1

So yesterday, I flew into Ontario and drove into Vegas with Jose (which sounds dumb, but direct flights to Vegas were expensive - the cheapest flights were at 6am and still about $50 more than flights into Ontario).

Upon our arrival, we picked up a few essentials for the room (beer, water, gatorade), and then we picked up Mike from the airport. We didn't do much other than lose money on slots and have a few beers (well, that's a lie - Jose won and bought us dessert from McDonalds with his winnings).

This morning, we woke up and tried out Hash House A Go-Go downstairs and liked the food, but we were not impressed with the service. It's great if you want a lot of food, but they brought out our orders individually and about 10 minutes apart from each other, which was very weird. We had a $10 off coupon and were in no hurry, but we won't be going back with the big group.

We also learned last night that Coors Banquet is known as "Colorado Kool-Aid." Heh. At least Kool-Aid tastes good.

Anyhoo, back to where we were - we hit the pool after breakfast and threw the football around and are anxiously awaiting the rest of the arrivals today.

RIP, Tony Danza.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Off we go!!!

I'm at the airport ready to board! I'll be in Ontario in about an hour and a half, then Jose and I are picking up some drinkies and hitting the road!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ST (clap clap) BE (clap clap) ST (clap clap) BE (clap mother fucking clap)

So, Ginger keeps asking me to blog for STBE12. I've kind of dropped the ball on the blogging part, but that in no way means I haven't been thinking of, preparing for and nearly peeing my pants with excitement over this year's upcoming EVENT OF THE YEAR!!! Finishing touches were made to my white trash outfit last night and the red hats nongiant and I bought are simply FABULOUS! I'm hoping my Books of Mormons get to the hotel on time (I ordered through Amazon and it said they would be arriving on Friday so I called the Plaza and they were more than willing to accomodate my religious needs!). I have to work right now and can't really focus because of all the excitement brewing in the air (and my stupid idea to get an add shot to my coffee this morning is making this GIANT waaay too hyper). So, if anyone reads this, enjoy the little link I leave below because it's gonna be a DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE SKY kinda weekend!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I can't believe it's STBE week already!!!

Shoutout to Mike, who is officially the only person other than me who reads this blog!

I don't really have anything to add here; I just wanted to point out that at the end of the week, STBE 2012 will be upon us!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Crisis averted!!!

My red hat lady stuff has been found and it was exactly where I thought it was (at my sister's house - she moved and took her stuff out of storage and I told her I thought she might have taken it by mistake. She insisted she didn't, but I got a text today saying she found it). Of course in the meantime I went and replaced just about everything, so now I have a ton of extra stuff.

Everything was replaceable, but I was really upset when I realized that my red hat lady mardi gras beads that Kim bought me for my birthday were missing with the rest of the stuff. So glad it's been found (even though it was where I said it was like a month ago!).

In other news: I am so excited for this trip! I have a job interview on Wednesday, then on Thursday morning I take off for the big trip!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The shirts are here!!!

Our Sunday champagne brunch attire arrived at my house today. Hopefully, the committee won't mind carrying some of the shirts with them, as the last time we got shirts I had to bring an extra suitcase to transport them.

I'm so excited for the Washington Family Reunion!!! If you want one of the shirts and didn't RSVP in time for the group order, you can pick one up here - fair warning, zazzle products can get pricy, but I'm pretty good about posting discount codes on twitter (@nutcrutches). Actually, I have a 20% off code: DEAL4SHARING

Sunday, July 29, 2012

STBE shopping

Kim and I went STBE shopping today and had a good time, as always. While picking out "sensible black shoes" for Mormon Missionary night, we both opted for the socks with sandals look. We decided that the socks and sandals look is something we would totally see on missionaries.

How was that ever a style?

Still no word on how we're going to get those copies of the Book of Mormon. If you have an extra one and come across this blog, do you want to send one our way?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Great news!!!

Atomic Liquors has new owners! Sadly, it won't be open yet when we go, but we have something to look forward to next year!!!

I don't know how I feel about the renovations...I doubt we'll be able to buy tallboys of Busch.

Friday, July 27, 2012

STBE 2012 Shirts

If you aren't going or otherwise didn't get in on the initial order, you can buy your own shirt here. Follow @nutcrutches on twitter for discount codes, or you can use this 50% off code until 4pm today (July 27): ATHLETICDEAL

Thursday, July 26, 2012

See ya later, O'Sheas

It's true, it's true (tm Kurt Angle, circa 1999) - O'Sheas is no more.

Vegas excitement quote of the day

Just got an email from our resident giant:

...I probably won't be able to sleep the night before we leave since STBE is adult version of Christmas/Thanksgiving/New Years/St Patty's/Valentine's/Presidents'/Columbus/MLKJr/Easter days rolled into one!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You know you're not hardcore

...unless you live hardcore.

If you have doubts about how awesome STBE is, our fellow reveler (and blogger) Jessie is going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure she doesn't miss out this year.

Initially, STBE was going to start on Sunday and go through Wednesday to coincide with our actual birthdays. Due to an outcry by a lot of revelers, it was moved to the current dates to accommodate more guests. Jessie was very upset about the change in dates because her friend is getting married on the Saturday of STBE.

Most people would make Sophie's choice - the wedding or the birthday event of the year. Not Jessie. She is hardcore.

Jessie is flying in on Friday afternoon, out on Saturday, and back in on Sunday morning. She says she's sad that she'll be missing her favorite theme night, but happy that she won't be missing out on the rest of the festivities.

She's now rivaling Gabe for most hardcore STBE reveler.

Jessie - we salute you!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tyler Perry DERP

How has no one made the connection???

Copyright 2012, Me. That sounds really official, right?

Monday, July 9, 2012

terterly erserm

This is related to nothing except for our obsession with talking like Tyler Perry. Both of these showed up on my Facebook page today and I just about died laughing.

Oh lerd.

Apparently, this is part of the herp derp meme...has no one figured out that Tyler Perry is herp derp?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Reasons to go to STBE 2012

  • We have Kat! 
    • We may not have Binh this year, but we do have Kat. Kat is our resident giant, and she does anything we ask her to do. Last year, she swam up to a leathery older man in the pool and sidled up next to him to ask about his shoulder shirt, and later, she pretended to be a Disney employee and confronted a guy on the street wearing a bootleg Mickey Mouse costume. Hilarity ensued. She's also a student of STBE, studying our website and proving her worth this year by alerting us to a price drop in the hotel resulting in a $30 refund.
  • We're cheap! 
    • We stay downtown because hotel rates are cheaper than on the strip, and it's much easier to find bargains on food, drinks, and gambling. And we don't go to nightclubs unless some rich Australian lady declares that she "likes the looks of [us]" and pays the cover charge for us, all so she can futilely flirt with Mike.
  • We become the tourist attraction!!! 
    • It's the most fun you'll ever have on a trip that doesn't involve expensive nightclubs and weird, nude circus shows. As Stephen says, "We just go wherever the costumes take us."
  • We're VIPs! 
    • All you have to do to be a VIP in Vegas is declare yourself one. We put fliers signifying our VIP status on our hotel room doors and announce that we're VIPs when we show up to the pool with a cooler full of beer, and apparently, that's all we need to do to not get kicked out. No one has questioned our VIP status yet!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our most serious call to action yet

If you don't go to STBE, you want Mike to die.

Disclaimer: Mike is not dying; we're just ridiculous.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Theme Night Spotlight: Mormon Missionaries

For the first time ever, we formed an STBE planning committee and had a planning meeting, which was really just an excuse to get together and have a few drinks.

Anyhoo, the goal was to choose the third theme night. Red Hat Ladies is a staple night, and White Trash legitimately won both polls, so we had to decide between what was left on the list. Except nothing really jumped out at us, so we decided to go all wild card.

We toyed with the notion of Stevie Nicks' Fajita Roundup night, but thought people would be confused and think we were witches. And also, that we'd be really hot.

lucy lawless by dummy-account

Then we thought Polygamist Mormons might be fun, but Ryan thought we didn't have enough people to make the whole sister-wife thing obvious.

So we ended up going with the next best thing: Mormon Missionaries!!! I want to first state that I have no problem with Mormon people; with the exception of one a-hole in high school, every Mormon I have met has been extremely nice. What many of us take issue with is the church's involvement in political issues, especially gay marriage. So this is all intended in good fun, we're not bashing Mormons here, OK?

We decided that we should all match, so here is your official checklist of items needed for Mormon Missionary night.

Short-sleeved white dress shirt.
These can be found at Walmart for about $9.

Black knee-length shorts. Actually, these are too long - they should hit just above the knee.
A cheap alternative can be found (once again) at Walmart for about $12.

Knee-high socks.
A black necktie.
What kind of Mormons would we be if we didn't have one of these?
Optional accessories:

Bike helmet.
Easy enough, right?

You can get a copy of the Book of Mormon for free by asking them to send you one, but you'll be on the  mailing list. Alternately, you can have it sent to someone you hate or to a vacant house nearby. Jessie suggested visiting the local temple and asking for a copy, Will found one in a hotel nightstand, or you can buy one for a few bucks on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

just to clear up any confusion

Binh is unfortunately NOT going to be at STBE 2012. She signed up for another year in the Peace Corps. Yay for Madagascar, boo for us.

If you have questions about STBE, feel free to visit the FAQ page, as that should answer any questions you have. If for whatever reason it doesn't, you can ask me.

Theme Night Spotlight: Red Hat Ladies

Where to Loverboy said, you better start from the start. Here's the official story from the official website of the Red Hat Society. Have fun!!!

See the scarf on the lady right in front? I have that.
Long story short, old ladies get together and to celebrate how fun and sassy they still are (after 50!) they wear bright purple dresses with bright red hats, all of which is accented by ridiculous red accessories. There are queen mothers and all kinds of other weird things about this group. I happened upon a Red Hat Society store when I was going to grad school in Fullerton and found out later that the lady responsible for all of this lives in Fullerton.

These people really are just begging for people like us to dress up like them in Vegas.
When my mom turned 50, her friend bought her a Red Hat Society book and told her to join. My mom was humiliated, even more so when my sister and I bought a Red Hat Society antenna ball and put it on her car. Just in case it isn't obvious, my mom wants nothing to do with the Red Hat Society, at least not until she's an actual old lady.

This is not my mom.
Binh, who has forsaken us once again in her quest to make the world better, did some research and found that women under 50 can join as honorary members, but they have to wear lavender and pink and are called pink hatters. Binh dressed up as a pink hatter the first time we did this theme, and because no one really knows about the pink hatters, people thought we had kidnapped a young Vietnamese child. True story.
Now can we put to rest those rumors that Binh doesn't exist?
The key to being an awesome red hat lady is to look sassy. And old.

I love Mike's old lady face.

 So you can see why this night is such a hit. We did this first in 2008 and brought it back for STBEX and decided then that it would be a staple theme night because people love it so much.

Red hat ladies have the most fun.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Theme Night Spotlight: White Trash

In order to help you come up with the perfect white trash outfit, here's a handy checklist of things that are white trash:

  • Mullets
You got a perty mouth...
  • Camaros - there's hillbilly WT and 80's burnout Camaro-driving WT

Sure, this is technically a Trans-Am, but it's made by the same company.

  • Patriotism (we actually had a patriotism night a few years ago that was really white trash) - being patriotic doesn't make you white trash, but everyone knows that anything patriotic is white trash. Seriously, go to Walmart if you don't believe me.

  • Wifebeaters (the shirt, but I suppose people who beat wives would fall into the WT category)
  • Pregnant and drinkin' - a WT woman knows that a baby growin' inside her can't get in the way of her partying!

  • Bathrobes in public
  •  Overalls
  •  Cheap beer

  • People who once drove lowered mini trucks
  • This guy

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, hopefully it inspires some great outfits!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Let's learn more about Biff's, the official home of STBE 2012

Some of you (Kim) might be thinking, "What? The Plaza changed its name to Biff's? How is that classier?"
The true name of the hotel is The Plaza, but sharp-eyed Back to the Future II fans know that it stood in for Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise in alternate 1985. We stayed at Biff's for STBE one year, and managed to get "upgraded" to the nicer rooms. While large and more or less clean, it was pretty gross overall. We vowed to never go back again, but were won over by the recent renovations involving the interior furniture and decor from the never-finished Fontainebleau.

The Plaza now bills itself as "the best hotel & casino in Downtown Las Vegas," and we will be the judges of that!!! The rooms look just as big as before, but much, much fancier.

The carpet used to be super-gross.
They've also changed up the restaurants, including a klassie steakhouse owned by former Vegas mayor, Oscar Goodman. Naturally, he named it Oscar's. Part of the experience is that a "broad" will come talk to you about politics at your table. WTD? I might have to save up to experience true klass. The nasty buffet that got us all sick is now Hash House A-Go-Go. Some things remain the same, such as the Subway and McDonald's on the first floor. Yay, Dollar Menu!!!

Beef, booze, and broads. Sounds klassie.
They claim the rooftop pool is "iconic," and again, we will be the judges of that. The rooftop pool at Binion's was truly a rooftop pool - it was on the top of the tower. There are apparently two pools here, one on the 7th floor, and one on the 5th floor depending on which tower you find yourself in. Also, it's a drop-in pool, and we enjoyed getting our entire group to jump in at the same time to see if we could get it to crash down into the rooms below it (we couldn't). Also, if I recall correctly, the pool area was lined with very tired astroturf that had seen much better days, and the cabanas weren't all that (not that we checked them out or anything). But, the drinks were cheap!

Now, let's go to the reviews (I'll try to find pictures of the pool, too):

TripAdvisor users gave it an average of 3.5 stars (or dots, it looks like), with mixed reviews - some people raved, some people thought it was a dump. Not much is quotable here other than "best non-Nugget choice on Fremont." I never go in expecting much (mostly because I always try to stay wherever I can get the best deal - see: Binions; once you've stayed there, everything else is a luxury).

Yelpers only give it 2.5 stars. My favorite quote, mostly because the grammar is so bad: "Fremont Street restores its old casinos, not destroys them." Points for knowing the difference between its and it's, but it loses points for bad subject-verb agreement. The reviews are also much more helpful than the TripAdvisor ones: "The Swingers Bar has $.50 draft beers." Thank you!!! Also helpful: "The North tower is not as nice as the South tower.  It was doable, but trust me, you want to be in the South tower." I always look down on Yelpers, but they have the answers to the questions I ask: where is the cheap beer and where are the least shitty rooms?

Most of the post-renovation reviews are positive, save for some complaints that seem to have more to do with the class of the reviewer than the hotel itself:
We got a smoking room. One of the people who stayed in the room didn't want us smoking in there so we smoked near the ice machine. Security kicked us out of there too. First of all, if you come to Vegas(especially Fremont) then you shouldn't have to deal with this.
I don't consider it to be a problem with the hotel that they don't want people smoking near the ice machine (the entire review revolves around security being assholes to people who were probably acting like assholes themselves).

Interestingly, users gave it a 3.9 rating, but the first few reviews are pretty bad. There were complaints about a lack of air-conditioning. I'm sure that can be fixed with a quick room change.

I've wasted too much time on amateur reviews, so here's a link to CheapoVegas's overview of the new Plaza. Here's the highlight we've all been waiting for:

How's the Pool?

The Plaza Hotel Las Vegas pool is old and ratty, but decent for downtown. Why couldn't they have put some of that renovation money towards this? It's nowhere near as nice as a place like the Mandalay Bay, but the big rectangular pool serves its purpose, getting you wet!  There are also some dilapidated tennis courts up there that hint at how grand the hotel once was. Ah, the glory days.
 Sounds about right. I'm sure we can hoof it over to the Nugget and hang for a while.

That's about how I remember it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

STBE theme nights and hotel are set!!!

We'll be staying at Biff's (The Plaza, for you non-Back to the Future fans).

And the theme nights are set.

Friday: White Trash

Saturday: Red Hat Ladies

Sunday: Mormon Missionaries
There are more announcements to come!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

hotel prices

I'm looking into hotel prices so we can make a decision about where to stay this year. The newly-renovated Plaza (aka Biff's) is running (average) $48 a night (Friday and Saturday are more expensive than Sunday).

The Golden Nugget (home to STBE 2010 and 2011) is $81 a night, but I'll wait to see if I get some Priceline credits in my inbox) to make bidding worthwhile (I think I ended up getting it for $35 a night last year with the help of some bid credits for $10 a night).

There will be a meeting next week, and we'll hopefully get everything figured out.

Fremont Street concert

This year, the Fremont Street Experience theme is "Rock of Vegas," I assume to ride the coattails of Rock of Ages. Anyhoo, they have a bunch of butt rockers playing all summer. On August 18th (Saturday night), Survivor will be playing. Eye of the Tiger!!! Sh'ow!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Round Two of theme night voting is over!!!

Here are the results:

Theme Night    Votes (Round Two)
White Trash    39
Bingo Maniacs    30
Hobos    29
Toga! Toga! Toga!    27
Butt Rock    22
Nuns    22

Car Accident "Victims"    21
Old Timey Gangsters    20
Douchebags/Preppies    18
Trekkies    17

The bolded themes will move onto either a third round of voting or the Bay Area STBE contingent will choose two themes. I haven't decided yet. Feel free to make your arguments for or against any of these themes via blog comments or messageboard.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

please vote for FIVE themes

I know you may have less than five favorites, but I want to keep a fair count. Hahaha, I say that while encouraging voter fraud. While committing voter fraud, make sure to vote for 5 themes!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Round Two of theme night voting

I narrowed it down to the top ten. The new poll is to the right. Vote early and vote often (restricted to one vote per day per IP address, which is plenty easy to get around). Pick FIVE.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Theme nights

I've updated the theme night page with some new ideas (I also removed some). There's a poll to your right, and the same poll can also be found at the bottom of the theme night page. Have fun! Vote early and vote often! One vote per day is allowed, but if you get bored, there are totally ways around it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dates are set

Since no one argued to change it and people have RSVP'd, the dates will remain August 17-20.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vegas news

Fitzgerald's (aka The Fiiiiiitz) is no more. It is now the D. Rennovations should be finished shortly after STBE 2012.

Here's what looks to be a local blogger's take on the change.

So...I think we're not staying there.

Monday, April 23, 2012

messageboard is up and running

I have opened new discussion topics on the messageboard. Kat, go wild.

I also got a message from the people who run the messageboard urging me to tell you all to download the mobile app so you can post all day and night about STBE, hahaha.

Information has been posted on the messageboard about a funny running theme that I don't want to get out publicly before the weekend of STBE. You'll see why when you read it.

Oh, and Jessie now has blogging privileges, so stay tuned for a message from her.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

STBE 2012

The evite has been sent!

If anyone reads this, Jessie wants to move the dates up (meaning later) a week.