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Monday, April 18, 2005

And Now...The Rest of the Story

Photo By: Andy Martello Whenever we go to Las Vegas we always see our good friend, Greg. Whenever people we know are going to Las Vegas we insist that they go see our good friend, Greg. Why?

Greg is arguably the best bartender on the planet, if not one of the genuinely nicest guys I know. He's a hell of a good mixologist and something of a charismatic and funny guy. He is generous with the drinks and always makes the atmosphere at the Rum Jungle, our favorite club in Vegas, fun and enjoyable for all.

We met Greg several years ago and after many visits simply to drink and enjoy his company, we became good friends. We always make sure to visit him at work and try to make at least one social call for lunch, dinner, or other fun whenever we're in town. We share holiday phone calls, send each other Christmas cards, and we always have fun.

This trip was no exception.

Greg works day shifts in order to take care of his kids and be a great dad at night. He's there Wednesdays through Sundays from about NOON to 7PM. We only had a couple of days in which we could hook up with him this time around.

When we finally got to see him at the Rum Jungle we of course enjoyed some great drinks and were fortunate enough to be able to get together for dinner later that night.

Greg INSISTS on taking us out all the time, but we manage to spoil him when we can. This time around there would be no spoiling from us. Greg blew us away.

That day at the bar we noticed a well-dressed man who looked somewhat familiar to us, sitting at the other end of the bar. Before too long Greg informed us that the guy was another one of his fans and regulars, Palms Casino owner, George Maloof.

Mr. Maloof had been trying to lure Greg over to his casino and various bars since before The Palms had opened. Greg was not only happy where he was at, but confessed that in the beginning he'd told Mr. Maloof many times that The Palms was in a lousy location and would never work. Marketing proved Greg wrong and the two of them share laughs about it to this day.

Greg still won't head on over to Maloof's clubs because he likes where he's at and needs the flexible schedule to take care of his kids. The guy has integrity. Maloof still visits often because, as I said, Greg is the best damn bartender on Earth.

That night we hooked up with Greg at Gameworks to play some video games, drink, and later go somewhere for dinner. Unbeknownst to us, Greg had made arrangements at Smith & Wollensky, a very upscale steak house, with superb food. We've got one of those restaurants in Chicago and we were both very aware of the reputation and the quality, if not the price tag involved with a meal. We tried to insist that Greg need not take us there but he would have none of it.

In fact, the current manager of S & W, Justin, was a good friend of Greg's, and a former bar-back of his. The place was packed and full with reservations, and yet Justin was able to walk us in without any trouble. We even got a great bottle of wine sent our way before we'd even looked at a menu. Very cool.

Before we know it, Greg had ordered us all filet mignon & lobster tails, which were cooked to absolute perfection and we had a most amazing time eating, drinking, and laughing.

Photo By: Andy MartelloSeveral times I told Greg that we'd intended to take HIM out. Several times we mentioned he didn't have to spend all this cash on us. Every time he just smiled it all off. One last time before the meals came we told him he didn't have to do this. Greg just said, "Believe me. I've had a good week, a good day in fact. Besides it is April's birthday and...well, I did mention the guy owns a hotel and casino, right?" Basically he was saying that he was GROSSLY over-tipped at work and money was not an issue.

After that conversation it dawned on us that George Maloof bought us our dinner. The next morning we all laughed a good laugh at how much fun we had the night before, how cool Greg is, how great the meal was, and how much mileage we'll get out of telling people George Maloof bought us dinner.

We'll get Greg back for all his generosity one of these days. Right now we're lamenting over the facts that I didn't speak to Mr. Maloof to try and drum up work, knowing that his casino is much more centered around hot Playboy models, and that April did not mention opening up a branch of her store, Marche Noir, at The Palms (one of their target locations). We're both awful at tooting our own horns I guess. At least the dinner was good. LOL!


Blogger Becky said...

I love Vegas, too. I've yet to make it to Rum Jungle, but I've passed by it many times. My brother works in the industry, having just accepted a position at La Reve (he's a wine guy).

Glad to hear you had a great time.

3:00 PM

Blogger Andy Land said...

If you go to the Rum Jungle, be sure to go during those times I listed and ask for Greg. Be sure to tell him you are a friend of mine and you'll get the royal treatment. I've sent many a friend there and they always come back amazed at how many tasty and free drinks they received just for passing along my name. ;)

And be sure to return the favor by passing along any of my info to anyone you know who works in Vegas. I'll be living there in a few years and I ned all the connections I can get in order to get some prime entertainment work.

3:39 PM


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