When chef John McKibben first opened Grape Street Cafe in 1997, his small restaurant took a back seat to a large front-of-the-house retail area where customers could purchase house-made sauces, salads, and high-quality wines. Though the concept quickly transitioned to focus on the fresh, house-made dishes flying out of his kitchen, McKibben has held on to his retail license and continues to encourage his diners to finish their meal by picking up a bottle of wine to go or commissioning a self-portrait painted with balsamic vinegar.
With the exception of a handful of rotating nightly specials, the menu has stayed largely the same, and Chef McKibben credits the cuisine as the eatery's 14-year secret to success. Dinner finds the shop's signature hot sandwiches, creamy pastas, and pizzas sharing top billing alongside nationally inspired entrees such as a baked Alaskan halibut topped with lemon beurre-blanc and Colorado lamb in a sweet-and-sour mint glaze. However, the diverse menu is designed to complement the restaurant’s real draw: its extensive wine selection. Up to 90 vinos are available by the glass each day, with selections that hail from as near as Napa and as far away as Mosel, Bordeaux, Rioja, and Mos Eisley.
The Las Vegas Philharmonic pipes torrents of audience-focused tunefulness into the desert with the help of conductor David Itkin, praised by the Las Vegas Review-Journal for "his ability to guide the orchestra's contribution to the community." This holiday season, the masterful ensemble continues its upbeat Pops series, inflating the grand Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall with a lineup of Christmas and Hanukkah melodies that form a fonder tradition than annual family eggnog-chugging contests. Backed by the orchestra's lush harmonies and the soaring sounds of the Las Vegas Master Singers, singer Kristen Hertzenberg from Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular lends her gold-plated vocal cords to the performance, and Jersey Boys star Travis Cloer channels his time spent on Broadway to charm listeners and hail postshow cabs with dazzling grace.
A nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities, New Vista Community hosts festive fundraisers throughout the year. Savvy to the pulse of the community, event organizers throw raucous events such as wine walks, which regale guests with the foolproof combination of fine food samples, wine and cocktails, and live music. Guests at the Brew's Best Hand-Crafted Beer festival sip free samples of regional brews, and at the lighthearted Adam & Eve's Love Fling, love-happy attendees and confused mannequin collectors bid on bachelors and bachelorettes.
Though many in the community may know New Vista Community primarily for these events, the organization dedicates its best energies to help those with disabilities. Founded in 1984 by three sets of parents with intellectually challenged kids, the charity provides group homes, assisted living, job training, and field trips to kids and adults.
For more than 30 years, Lee's Discount Liquor has stocked its shelves with myriad spirits, beers, and wine, earning a readers' pick as the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Best Liquor or Wine Store of 2012. Prospective imbibers get lost in a fluorescent catwalk of domestic and international tequilas, rums, cabernets, and microbrews, which deck out beverage collections with enough flavors to match any type of cuisine or postage stamp desired. Lee's Discount Liquor also hosts in-store tastings and an annual spirit-sampling event, which merges its myriad sips with entertainment from live bands.
The ultra haute guides at Elite VIP Tours lead groups to Vegas's hottest and most coveted clubs and venues. Whether on a club hop in a luxurious party bus, a walking tour of the nightlife, or a jaunt to some of Vegas's most exclusive day-club pool parties, guests enjoy the special attention of a VIP host and the right to dodge any lines and cover charges they come across. Venues change to keep the tour as hot and fresh as a biscuit made by Gucci; past locations have included Tao inside the Venetian, LAX inside the Luxor, and Pure inside Caesars Palace.