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Livin' Local: An Offer You Can’t Refuse – Mob Mentality

By Lisha Ross

If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting anxiously for the opening of the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, a.k.a. the Mob Museum. It was slated to open in the spring of 2011, but due to various setbacks it looks like we may have to shelve our excitement for a while longer. So here’s the offer you can’t refuse: an appetizer, if you will, to the Mob Museum. A chance to learn more about the bad boys of Vegas’ past and the law enforcement agents who took them down, and then maybe a straight-laced, yet mob-tastic outing for cocktails and goombah-worthy grub.


Get Made or Get Whacked

The Las Vegas Mob Experience, now open at the Tropicana Hotel, is about as close as you can get to being a mobster without getting whacked. Then again, you might, if you don’t play your cards right. As you move through some 30 rooms in this highly interactive attraction, you’ll learn about the rise and fall of the mob in Vegas while being faced with certain decisions. At the speak-easy you’ll be asked to deliver cash to Fat Tony; after spotting a cheater from a casino catwalk, you’ll decide his fate in the security room; and in a police station, you can be a “rat” or clam up. The choice is yours, but it will all lead up to your “final fate”, so choose wisely.

The beauty of this attraction is the innovative technology, from Disney Imagineers holograms to sense technology that reproduces odors, sounds and other life-like sensations. Upon arrival, you’ll select your “gangster guide” who will show up in holographic form periodically. At immigration, you’ll get your I.D. card which contains a microchip that tracks your activity and customizes the experience to suit you and your party. In other words, don’t be surprised if your holographic guide addresses you by name, or if you get a phone call from Bugsy Siegel himself.

As imaginative as this experience is, it would be nothing without its outstanding collection of artifacts purchased directly from the estates of Sam Giancana, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Tony Spilatro and Allan Sachs. What’s more, the exhibit was created in collaboration with the descendants of these fallen gangsters, offering visitors a chance to see a different, more human side of their personalities.

In the end, it all comes down to a final showdown, where you’ll either become a “made man”, get whacked, or land in the middle of a police shoot-out. I won’t ruin any more surprises in the “Final Fate” room; just be prepared to answer for your actions. Tickets to the Mob Experience are just $29.95 when purchased at the Tropicana box office. Visit www.lvme.com or call 739-2222 for more info.

The Vegas Mob Tour

If you’re not into theatrics or you’re simply mad for the mob, The Vegas Mob Tour offers a completely different perspective on the subject. It starts at the Royal Resort and circles around town, stopping at various spots where some of the most notorious mob happenings went down. Along the way, your guide will offer all sorts of little-known factoids. Our guide, Bobby A, also had some pretty interesting theories on the botched attempt to blow Frank Rosenthal to the moon. Be prepared to sit awhile. The tour is 2.5 hours long and the only time you actually get off the bus is to visit the monument to Bugsy Siegel behind the Flamingo. But with colorful guides donning pin-striped suits and a slide show of declassified FBI photos, it’s an informative journey that really brings the legendary locations of mob lore home. For tickets and info, call 339-8744 or visit www.vegasmobtour.com.  

Dine Like the “Don”

Bobby A made a poignant statement on our Vegas Mob Tour: “Things don’t change much in Vegas; they just disappear.” So true! Whether it’s a defunct casino or a classy old lounge, good ol’ Vegas is hard to find. With the exception of Peppermill Lounge and Coachman’s Inn (both originals), sometimes we just have to improvise with places like Capo’s Steakhouse on Sahara. Dark, sultry and mellow, Capo’s is a speak-easy for the modern age. Ring the doorbell and a slide opens on the opposite wall. “Do you have a reservation?” they ask. Don’t worry; you won’t get capped if you don’t have one, though they are recommended.

Inside, the scene is set to dine like one of the “family” among plush, red booths, tables topped with solitary candles and Hollywood regency-style crystal chandeliers. Menu items of pasta and steak are pricey, so if you want a full meal and drinks, expect to spend a couple bills for two. For a more low-key experience, have a seat at the bar for signature cocktails and appetizers; the antipasto salad and baseball-sized meatballs with peppers and marinara are some of the best I’ve ever had. For reservations and info, call 364-2276; to view a menu online, visit www.caposrestaurant.com

Most of us will never know what it was really like to be a made guy or a “boss”, but we can still pretend can’t we? As The Godfather himself said, “Leave the gun. Take the cannolis.” You’ll be feelin’ like a wiseguy and lovin’ it, I promise.

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