Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

June 20, 2007

Bellagio Closes Fontana Lounge

Posted by Hunter

I have confirmed reports that Bellagio is closing its Fontana Lounge, a small live music/dancing venue overlooking the lake that's been there since the hotel opened in 1998.

Casinos change amenities all the time but this closing is notable because it offered lounge music and a low-key dance environment for slightly older customers, important as most all nightlife is focused on younger patrons and loud, club music.

MGM Mirage hasn't finalized plans for the space, though previously there have been poker tournaments held there and clearly it could be a prime restaurant spot.

Does anyone know of any good alternatives?

Update: See this story for more:

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Read archived comments (19 so far)
June 20, 2007 7:25 PM Posted by charlie

Really sad to see Fontana go...this is the end of era...

As for the future...this is the single greatest 10,000 (or so) sq.ft. of real estate on the LV whatever goes in here will be absolutely a better use of the space (in terms of profitabilty)...

In that spirit (profitability)'s what goes in...
1. The Greatest High Limit Room on Planet Earth..think $1000 table limits...all the time
2. The most exclusive & expensive ultra-lounge on Planet Earth...think $1000 bottles of Grey Goose...all the time
3. The most exclusive & expensive restaurant on Planet Earth..think $1000 tasting menus...all the time

Pick 1, 2 or 3 (or combine all 3)...and you could call it something related to "M" for a THOUSAND.

June 20, 2007 8:02 PM Posted by KY

Any word on the timing? I was disappointed to see this in whatever earlier thread it came up in; I'm finally headed back to Vegas in the fall and had wanted to grab a few drinks at Fontana.

Word on the Internets seems to be that Light has fallen off the radar some. I can't speak to that, obviously, but if it's true maybe this space would be a good way to revitalize Bellagio's nightclub scene, if they want to do so. My money would be on that or poker.

I just hope it's not retail, like Hermes et al down the hall. That seems (to me) like a waste of the space.

June 20, 2007 8:28 PM Posted by Mike E

I read somewhere that they're renovating their baccarat room and will temporarily move the tables there. What an incredible space to play a round of cards, especially while the fountains are going off.

The only baccarat room that might be more elegant than Bellagio's is The Mansion. If they make it look anything like Bellagio's current salon priv�, than please excuse me while I throw up.

June 21, 2007 5:05 AM Posted by detroit1051

If "Eye on Vegas" is right, Light will gut and rebuild in its current space:
I hate to see Fontana go, but the space is so unique, my guess is a "Tao"-like restaurant and club. What a waste of the great setting it would be to make Fontana a permanent poker room.

June 21, 2007 9:38 AM Posted by Brian Fey

All I can say, is it better not be more retail or casino space. But with MGM, who knows!

June 21, 2007 11:21 AM Posted by Dave

I was going to mention this on an open topic thread--last week I was showing some friends around the Strip and promised them drinks at the Fontana as the high point. When we got there the place was filled with poker tables--either tournament space or the overflow from the main room thanks to the WSOP being in town. We ended up getting beers at the snack stand on the ground level and watching the fountains from the sidewalk.

I asked a security guard what was happening, and he said that it would be used for poker until the end of the summer, then closed, renovated, and re-opened as a lounge in December. Now, that's not the word from the executive suite, but that's whats been put out there to the rank and file.

June 21, 2007 12:06 PM Posted by detroit1051

About the time Wynn was being built, staff at Aqua (now Michael Mina)said that Bellagio was going to add another high-end restaurant by building it over part of the lake to the southeast of Jasmine. It never came about probably in part because CityCenter was being finalized at the time. If Bellagio wanted to create the ultimate in a restaurant/lounge, they could build out from Fontana.
Another staff rumor from a year or two ago was that Shintaro was going to be closed and turned into a nightclub. So much for the value of rumors.

Does anyone know whether Bellagio has started the renovation of the high-limit slot area yet? It was scheduled to begin early this year.

June 21, 2007 12:49 PM Posted by mike_ch

This post is almost a construction mini-update, and a bit of a rant at the same time. Hold onto your hats:

Brian, I don't think you have to worry. I'm not sure MGM builds anything other than establishments that dole out alcohol anymore.

I mean, seriously, I understand that as a teetotaler in Vegas I have to put up with this kind of thing, but Harrah's isn't building bars everywhere in their casinos, mostly just letting the old ones hang around and occasionally taking one out and replacing it elsewhere.

MGM is handing more and more and more and more to this "Light Group" who doesn't have a single business venture that I'm interested in while converting their casinos into a giant collection of bars. At Luxor, all they've done is open up two bars (HiLounge, Aurora) with plans to open up two more and a club (Liquidity, Flight, LAX.) Note that they've lost two bars and gained four. And that's in addition to the fifth one by the theater that's getting old.

I can't really complain about losing Fontana because even though I like live entertainment I never heard much music I liked coming out of there, and the nearby traffic artery made it hard to listen. I do hope that whatever replaces it allows that clear line of sight from the traffic artery through the location and out the windows to the other side. Walking through the casino, turning your head in that direction, and seeing the water shoot up through the windows was always fun.

And while we're talking about Light Group and MGM progress as a whole, I guess I should mention that Diablo's at Monte Carlo is really coming together fast. At least half the building is covered in exterior rockwork now. And Excalibur fired off emails saying Dick's opens in a week.

June 21, 2007 12:52 PM Posted by mike_ch

Oh, and something I wanted to mention in the above post but forgot to is that last week a construction curtain appeared in Mirage adjacent to Poker and the casino cage. I'm pretty sure there was a bar of some kind behind there before, so I'm fully expecting another one to reveal itself later.

They may just be de-tropicalizing like I swear they did to California Pizza Kitchen. Who knows.

June 22, 2007 10:30 AM Posted by Mike P.

detroit -

We have a long stay at Bellagio coming up shortly. If I can get a peek inside the high limit slot room without getting the bum's rush I'll report back, and will keep an ear open for any other rumors or solid information I can get.

It's been over a year since we've stayed at Bellagio, and I have to say I'm really looking forward to it. The casino alienated me last year by removing all their playable $1 video poker, and I'm not comfortable enough with my real poker game to dive into the Bellagio shark pit just yet. Maybe I'll save some money by gambling less this trip.

June 22, 2007 10:45 AM Posted by doc_al

I hate MGM. The whole "ti" thing was dumb. The new theme at Mirage blows. I look forward to another Cirque show in Vegas like I'd look forward to a colonoscopy. What I've seen of City Center is cold an uninteresting.

But killing Fontana lounge really takes the cake.

Nice to know that half the strip is in the hands of creative morons.

June 22, 2007 11:48 AM Posted by BillyInLasVegas

Luckily the other half of the strip in the extremely creative hands of Harrah's.

June 22, 2007 2:04 PM Posted by Andy S

Thanks for the news on fontana. Will miss this bar as it was nice to sit outside and watch the strip and the fountains.

I suspect that they will replace it with something like Tangerine @ Treasure Island (anyone else mss Battle bar?).

I'm sure what ever they do it will be "contempary, hip and modern" with absolutely no Italian name or themeing!!

Guess we will see what they do, but it seems strange to close it and have no idea what to replace it with.

Mike_ch - I think you are thinking of the Sports Bar, it was still the same when I visited in January. Has any of the remaining tropical themeing in the casino area escaped MGMs blandification?

The entrance at MC looks very strange, as if you will still be able to use the original entrance from the strip. Will be interested to see Diablo's when I return.

Doc_al I agree with your thoughts on MGM!!

July 10, 2007 2:05 PM Posted by Hunter

The word seems to be the Shintaro is turning into a Light-run sushi joint called Yellow Tail.

July 10, 2007 3:41 PM Posted by detroit1051

Yellow Tail? I always liked Shintaro, but times are a'changing. At first, I thought Fontana would become a Light Group nightclub. I hope this means Fontana will reopen as it was.
Asian and Polynesian are the hot themes in Las Vegas now. Tao has been a huge success at Venetian. ASIA is opening at PH with a "French Vietnamese" theme. Trader Vic's is also opening at PH. I didn't know Trader Vic's was still in business. I first went to the one in the Plaza Hotel in NYC 30+ years ago.
I also didn't realize Diablo at Monte Carlo was going to be a Light Group operation. That means Light Group operates Light Nightclub, Fix, Caramel, Diablo, Jet, Stack, Mist and Bare plus Harmon at CityCenter.
Diablo looks pretty sleazy, imo:

July 11, 2007 11:40 AM Posted by Mike P.

If Trader Vic's web site is to be believed it's the same operation that's been in business for over 70 years. My wife and I had dinner at the one in Chicago's Palmer House on our first date, many years ago. That one is gone, so if we want to relive the experience it'll have to be in Vegas. The Vegas version is going to have an "ultralounge" (whatever that is) -- they're probably hoping not to appeal to my demographic, but we'll give it a try for dinner anyway.

August 29, 2007 11:23 AM Posted by detroit1051

Light closes, Blush opens. Not that I'd go to either one (or be allowed in).

The end of an era is here! Light, the nightclub that revolutionized the nightlife landscape in Las Vegas, will temporarily close its doors after this Labor Day weekend to undergo a major renovation. To celebrate this momentous occasion Light will host �Light�s Out until �08� this Wednesday, August 29th for industry locals, former employees and anyone who wants to have one last blow-out at the club. Many of the city�s nightlife industry professionals have worked at Light or received their start at Light, making it one of the most storied clubs around. It�s no doubt that the folk�s over at the Light Group will take the new concept to the next level! Light�s resident DJs Eddie McDonald, Crooked, Neva, and David Christian will be mixing it up all night - this will be one farewell party not to be missed.

August 17, 2008 8:53 PM Posted by bellagio nut

I'd like to see a place where you could get a quick cup of coffee in the morning, a place to have a drink without deafening noise, a place to get a burger, the keno lounge back, maybe a duck blind over the lake with a few decoys out there. I like Fontana, but I also like the Shinatro. What it needs is a diner, with some big money slots. A decent Italian place that knows how to use a red sauce. The Bellagio has great food except has never been on target with seafood. Maybe this would be a chance to do that. They need something, MGM is really letting the place slide and it shows more everytime I go down there.

September 14, 2010 11:26 AM Posted by lou

I stayed at Bellagio from March 29-April 1 and the Fontana had been turned into a poker room again! And now it will cease to exist. Hope some kind of a magnificent coffee shop will replace it.