by Brian Lipton

Sin City can seem like Steam City during the dog days of August. But since you’re probably already in town, why not take advantage of the ever-growing abundance of great dining, entertaining and lounging options available. The heat may be on, but if you follow these suggestions, you’ll relish being one of the coolest cats in town.


Since opening last winter at the Wynn, this glamorous eatery—designed by Florentine architect Michele Bonan and featuring iconic photographs of such models as Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell—has become one of the Strip’s hottest go-to spots. If you can’t make it there for dinner, consider indulging in its recently introduced “Power Lunch,” which offers three mouthwatering courses, many created at the original Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, for a mere $29. Talk about purchasing power. (3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 702.342.9600)


Bringing a little touch of the Middle East to the American West, Dubai’s renowned Cove Beach is hosting its first U.S. takeover at the gorgeous Venus Pool Lounge at Caesars Palace’s Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis. Guests can take advantage of authentic shisha (water pipes) with 18 flavors of tobacco created by Shisha Paradise or take part in a series of lavish parties including the Rose Soiree, the Latin-themed Little Havana, the ’90s-themed FRSH, and the tropical-inspired JMRCK. Life’s a beach, all right! (3570 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 866.277.5938)


One of the Venetian Hotel’s most popular eateries, Chica boasts a diverse menu from acclaimed celebrity chef Lorena Garcia, who draws her inspirations from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, among many other Latin cultures. But the restaurant’s main attraction is its stunning Peruvian ceviche bar, situated in the middle of the dining room. Luckily, Garcia has added even more enthralling seasonal options perfect for the summer heat—including an avocado shrimp ceviche, a Caribbean vegan ceviche, a Peruvian snapper ceviche, and a Mexican lobster ceviche—all of which pair perfectly with the house’s one-of-a-kind specialty margaritas and sangrias. (3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 702.805.8472)


Caesars Palace has partnered with Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump on this enticing nightspot, which features an indoor patio highlighted by an al fresco-style garden with 16-foot olive trees and romantic lighting fixtures. As the name implies, the emphasis here is on cleverly named craft cocktails such as the Checkmate Bitch, Please Her, Caesar! And Matcha Matcha Man. And if you’re in the mood for something to eat, you won’t go wrong ordering the Vanderpump Rosé Cake for Two, which is topped with luscious strawberry buttercream. It’s a sweet treat, to be sure! (3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 866.227.5938)


Chef Jackson Stamper has recently revamped the offerings at this off-the-Strip favorite, with succulent dishes ranging from a 14-oz. porterhouse pork chop with rum brine to poached halibut seasoned with tarragon breadcrumbs and plated with an English pea sauce and asparagus. Meanwhile, bar manager Tania Guffey has also transformed the restaurant’s cocktail program, and many of her libations now use house-made syrups along with herbs and fresh juices, all designed to tempt and tickle your taste buds. Time to blast off. (927 Fremont St. 702.534.3223)


One of the new additions to the recently renovated Palms Casino Resort, Greene St. Kitchen­—created by Shawn Sullivan and the Rockwell Group—spotlights delicious comfort food by Joe Zanelli in a street-art focused restaurant that harkens back to New York’s SoHo district. The unique interior is a maze-like series of five spaces—including an entryway, tunnel, lounge, dining room, and patio—and features artwork from such masters as Kenny Scharf, Cleon Peterson, Vhils and Jordan Pose. And even if you don’t normally imbibe, you must check out the bar/lounge where a golden cage encloses both the bartenders and the alcohol.  (4321 W. Flamingo Rd. 702.944.5965)


Joni Mitchell may have once sung about paradise being paved and turned into a parking lot, but ride-sharing service Lyft has transformed their designated downtown Las Vegas location into a dynamic art park that has become an attraction of its very own. This unusual space has a three-story Victorian house made from 75 percent recycled materials, a cartoon pink taxi, an oversized chess and corn hole for people to play and (as of now) the extraordinary “Phoenicopterus Rex (Pink Flamingo)” which stands 40-feet tall with 24-foot-long legs, and which originally debuted at Burning Man. This place is definitely not just for the birds. (Fremont St. and Las Vegas Blvd.)


One of the hottest chefs in Las Vegas, James Trees, is the genius behind this well-regarded Italian trattoria (named after his great-aunt) located in the trendy Las Vegas Arts District. In addition to its much-loved fresh pasta, sublime bread and house-butchered porchetta, the eatery’s newest menu includes such delicacies as octopus with guanciale croutons and black garbanzo beans; corn, guanciale and scamorza pizza; and a bucatini nero puttanesca. And drink lovers take note, they have even added a rye cocktail topped with chocolate salted bacon. Mangia and Salut! (1130 S. Casino Blvd. 702.570.7864)


Few chefs have found as much success in Las Vegas as the great Bobby Flay, and his newest restaurant at the Palms Casino Resort­—another remarkable triumph for designers Shawn Sullivan and the Rockwell Group—is already wowing the crowds. Diners can delight in a variety of sushi and sashimi, ceviches and tartares and bold preparations of fish and seafood, or order something from the open grill, which is a main feature of the restaurant and allows guests to take part in the performative aspects of the food preparation. This is the kind of shark you’ll want to take a bite out of! (4321 W. Flamingo Rd. 702.942.7777)


Who says eating cookie dough is bad for you? Certainly not Kelsey Witherow, who recently opened a new Las Vegas flagship of her sensational San Francisco-based eatery at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Give in to your sweet tooth and take a big bite out of her ultra-inventive and ultra-delicious edible cookie dough creations. And while you’re feeling good, you’re also doing good, as the company works with both Doughp4Hope, a national campaign giving back to the community by prioritizing mental health for employees and guests alike, and The Bread Project, a nonprofit kitchen and job training program. Talk about a win-win. (3663 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 702.866.0710) 


Odds are, no matter how many times you’ve visited Vegas, you’ve probably resisted the lure of this world-famous all-male revue at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Well, here’s an incentive to break that pattern: Jersey Shore star Vinny Guadagnino– who broke box office records during his earlier 2019 engagement – is back in the house for selected performances this summer, thrilling the ladies with not just his amazing abs, but his signature high-octane energy. He may lose all his clothes during the show, but what have you really got to lose? (3700 W. Flamingo Rd. 702.777.7776.)  


From Siegfried & Roy to Criss Angel, Las Vegas has long been home to many of the world’s greatest magic acts. Now add to that list “Hans Klok: The World’s Fastest Magician,” the newest show from the internationally renowned superstar, currently at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino. The 70-minute performance features more than 50 electrifying illusions in which Klok promises to live up to his moniker. Start the clock! (3850 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 702.597.7777)