The relationship between the US and Mexico is one of close neighbors and close friends and it goes back decades. The two nations have influenced one another’s cultures in countless ways. North of the border, Mexican influence is naturally most prevalent in border states like Texas and Arizona, but Mexican cuisine, music, and culture are popular across the United States.
If evidence of that was needed, we need only look to Sin City, where a Texas-based Mexican restaurant and sports bar has gone into partnership with a Nevada entertainment company to open what its website describes as “the first-ever hotel-casino dedicated to the Latino community.”
Ojos Locos occupies the site that was formerly the Lucky Club Hotel & Casino, on Civic Center Drive in North Las Vegas. As well as Mexican food and music, it offers accommodation and, of course, casino games. There is also a strong emphasis on sport, with big screens on the walls and individual screens at each table.
Mexican Hooters for the win
While the website’s description is accurate, a more pithy description of Ojos Locos that has been doing the rounds on The Strip is “Mexican Hooters.” When the venue opened for business on February 06, it was immediately clear from what the serving staff were almost wearing that the epithet was a fitting one.
Elique Vasquez was one of the first customers through the door. A long-time Vegas resident of Mexican origin, he could not have been happier. He explained that he used to visit the venue every Tuesday when it was known as The Lucky Club, but that from now on, it might just be Tuesday three times per week. “It’s like being back home in Guadalajara,” he beamed. Clearly, Mr Vasquez knows what he likes – but there is more to Ojos Locos than underdressed waitresses and complimentary cervezas.
Sin City’s first Mexican casino
Vegas has eateries offering cuisine from every corner of the globe, so a Mexican restaurant is nothing out of the ordinary. But this is the first one to incorporate a casino. What’s more, it’s no mere token effort with a handful of slots. Ojos Locos has taken note of the online options that today’s gamblers have – specifically, in terms of variety and rewards. Online platforms operate in a highly competitive environment and the best US casinos in cyberspace focus on value – for more info click on this. Ojos Locos has taken a similar approach with its new land-based offering.
Slots form the main nucleus of the casino floor with 200 games on offer. There are also 27 game terminals offering traditional casino favorites like blackjack and roulette. But the real hit is proving to be the expansive video poker bar, with 35 terminals. To stay one step ahead of the competition in Vegas, Ojos Locos is actively seeking to win and retain casino customers with its JefeBet Rewards program, too.
Music and entertainment the Mexican way
Ojos Locos says it is committed to offering “a robust calendar” that will comprise concerts featuring Latino artists, food festivals, Mexican rodeos, and various other entertainment. For example, this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration promises to be like nothing Vegas has ever seen before.
The Fifth of May celebration is a little like the Fourth of July in as much as it commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. But it is different to Mexican Independence Day and over the years, it has become more of a celebration of US and Mexican ties. It’s hard to think of anywhere better to celebrate than Las Vegas, and Ojos Locos is certain to be packed with partygoers on May fifth!
Genuine tried and tested Mexican fare
As we mentioned, there are already plenty of Mexican restaurants in Mexico. Some are excellent, others less so. Ojos Locos operates to a tried and tested formula, echoing the other 25 venues across the United States.
You’ll find Mexican and Tex-Mex staples such as tacos, elote, and the house special ceviche, plus a range of sandwiches, chicken wings, and so on. The drinks menu is just as tempting, with a firm emphasis on fun, such as the soccer-ball-shaped glasses for self-pour drafts. There is also a great range of cocktails.
Newly refurbished accommodation adds a touch of luxury
When the property was acquired, it is fair to say the former hotel and casino were a little down at heel. Ojos Locos has partnered with Hotel Jefe to take care of the accommodation side of things, and they have invested heavily in the extensive renovation.
At the time of writing, around half of the 90 rooms have been renovated, and the rest will be done by the end of the year. The result is an impressive transformation, and even though the renovations are not yet complete, Hotel Jefe is already looking like one of the best hotels in North Las Vegas. With a wide choice of rooms and suites, there is something to suit every need and all budgets.
A passion for sport
Ojos Locos covers all the biggest sporting events, with a special emphasis on Mexican favorites such as UFC Fight Nights and international soccer fixtures. These have already proved massively popular in the few weeks that the venue has been open, and it seems set to become one of the go-to spots on this side of Vegas for sports fans.