Business at the International Baking Industry Exposition, set for Sept. 26-29, extends far beyond the show’s 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. It also gets done “after hours” at some of the world’s best restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shows that are quintessentially Las Vegas. And it’s only good business to take advantage of the many choices available.
SCOUTING OUT VEGAS. To get in the city’s hottest spots or to secure tickets at the must-attend shows, plan ahead now to avoid shelling out $20 or $50 “spots” to grease the hands of the concierge or host. Many locations start accepting reservations three months in advance.
First, IBIE visitors should make their hotel reservations through onPeak, the only housing company affi liated with IBIE 2010. Rooms, including group reservations, can be booked with onPeak via the hotel and travel page on the show’s Website, www.ibie2010.org? . The housing reservation deadline is Aug. 27. Show organizers strongly recommend sticking with the official site to avoid being scammed by fly-by-night operators. Links on the same page lead to airfare, car rental and other discounts.
That said, many Websites specialize in Las Vegas travel and entertainment options. Worth checking are the city’s offi cial site, www.visitlasvegas.com? , and the site of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, www.lvcva? . com, which provide many business-related links. For travel tips, www.vegas.com ? brings together information about events, tours, attractions, golf and nightlife. Or try out www.bestofvegas.com? , www.10best.com ? or www.las? vegasadvisor.com ? to see what’s hot and what’s not.
WINING AND DINING. Over the years, Las Vegas entrepreneurs have created and imported some of the world’s best dining and nightlife experiences, and that’s what makes this city a mecca for conventions and trade shows. Unusual is the rule for Las Vegas venues, and weird isn’t the exception on the party scene. For example, consider Rehab (at the Hard Rock), a boisterous pool party that takes place on Sundays only, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., followed by Relax on Mondays, 12 to 6 p.m.
On the cool side, the Minus5 Ice Lounge (at Mandalay Bay) features “glasses” made of ice and ambient temperatures low enough to justify the host’s offer of a parka. The same hotel houses the Red Square Lounge, serving more than 100 different vodkas off an ice bar. Don’t chug. Sip it, or you’ll see a $10 shot disappear in a flash.
Rooftop venues such as the VooDoo Lounge (at the Rio) or GhostBar (at the Palms) let you drink in the view as well as the martinis, margaritas and manhattans. New York’s most notorious 1970s club has been recreated in Las Vegas: Studio 54 (at the MGM Grand). For the best steak or seafood, you don’t have to travel the world over to check out Wolfgang Puck’s latest concept. He recently opened a new restaurant, Brasserie Puck (at Crystals in CityCenter), but he’s just one of the nation’s top chefs who have brought their most popular restaurants to Las Vegas.
Indeed, the city features some of its bests eats in the West. James Beard award-winning chef Shawn McClain opened Sage, a Mediterranean-American restaurant (at Aria in CityCenter). Celebrity chef Todd English teamed up with actress Eva Longoria Parker for Beso (at the Aria), and separately, he put together Todd English P.U.B. (at Crystals). Michelin 3-star chef Pierre Gagnaire presides over Twist (at the Mandarin Oriental in CityCenter). Bradley Ogden’s eponymously named restaurant (at Caesars Palace) serves its farmfresh American fare, while Thomas Keller brought together French and American cuisine for Bouchon (at the Venetian).
The newest hot spot is CityCenter, which features eight glimmering skyscrapers that bend and turn off axis. The development encompasses the Aria Resort and Casino, the Mandarin Oriental, the Vdara Hotel and Spa and the Crystals retail and entertainment complex.
MAKE IT A GAME. If your game is golf, the city is filled with attractive public and private golf courses. Bear’s Best was laid out as a “real life scrapbook” of Jack (The Bear) Nicklaus’ favorite holes from courses he designed around the world. Bali Hai Golf Course recreates a South Pacific island paradise with seven acres of water hazards and small lagoons. Desert Pines Golf Club, extensively renovated three years ago, ranks as one of the country’s top public courses.
For daredevils, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is home to the Mario Andretti Racing School and the Richard Petty Driving Experience, both providing in-the-car racing encounters for visitors. Afterward, you can relax in the NASCAR Cafe (at the Sahara).
... AND A SHOW. For impressing clients, consider taking them to the latest top acts during the IBIE, including Frank Caliendo (at the Monte Carlo), Carrot Top (at the Luxor), Cher (at Caesars Palace), Jay Leno (at the Mirage), Donny and Marie Osmond (at the Flamingo), Joan Rivers (at the Venetian) and David Spade (at the Venetian). Magic, comedy and improvisation rule this town, with Penn and Teller (at the Rio) leading the list. Illusionist Chris Angel teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to create Believe (at the Luxor). Cirque du Soleil also produces Viva Elvis (at the Aria), Zumanity (at New York-New York), Love (at the Mirage), O (at the Bellagio) and KA (at the MGM Grand), as well as its long-running Mystère (at Treasure Island). For something completely different, Blue Man Group (at the Venetian) takes surreal absurdity to a hilarious level.
Yes, all work and no play can make for a dull day. Then again, the pros in the industry know the value of extending the business of this huge show into after-hours. •