A spin through the scene at Todd English’s very public P.U.B. opening

Todd English and friends have a toast to celebrate the opening of Todd English P.U.B. at CityCenter’s Crystals on March 16, 2010.
Photo: Denise Truscello/WireImage

It is an event like any other in Las Vegas, but for the juggling dwarf. He is juggling on the red carpet, and he is alone, because the stars of the red carpet have long passed, so he tosses airborne three bowling pins, then four. Then one drops to the carpet, but hardly anyone seems to know or care because the crowd has long slipped inside the rowdy new Todd English P.U.B. at Crystals at CityCenter.

But a nearby security guard, who has been watching the juggling and red-carpet walking for more than two hour, does notice. It seems the dwarf has dropped many bowling pins during the course of the evening. He's not nearly as good at juggling as he is at dressing up in a leprechaun suit and, well, being a dwarf.

There were a number of dwarfs (three or maybe four), one great band (Killian's Angels) and a high concentration of addled scenesters Tuesday night at the opening of English's new club at Crystals. The acronym is to stand for Public Urban Bar, and the James Beard Award-winning chef is not so much embracing Las Vegas as he is gripping it with the same ill intent as when he grabs a pint of rogue chocolate stout.

Let's take a spin through the scene, eh?

Leaning on the bar is Smith Center for the Performing Arts exec Myron Martin. I ask if I can buy him a drink. "Since they're free, sure." I offer him two. I impress Martin, who has fairly toured the globe researching the greatest concert halls in the world, that I've recently been to Cowboys Stadium. At least, I think he is impressed at that. No orchestra pit at Cowboys Stadium, but the Miller Lite Lounge is quite ornate. ... Rick Mazer, president of Harrah's, Flamingo Las Vegas, Imperial Palace, Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon and O'Shea's, out on the patio, texting away in peace and harmony. We talk of the weeklong cancelation of "Donny & Marie" at Flamingo. "She gets all the time she needs," Mazer says. "This has to be incredibly difficult for her. We'd never ask her to perform unless she is completely comfortable performing. It is her call." ... I ask English how his life changed since he was named one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people last year. "At first, I just got a lot of e-mails from my friends, giving me s***," he says. "I got a lot of photos, too, from women that my assistant wouldn't even let me see." Then he offers to buy a shot, strutting to the bar like he owns the place, and orders a shot of some flavor of tequila. His favorite is 1961 Don Julio, but I don't drink so I have a 2010 diet cola. Then he leaves, the shot still on the bar. ... He's off to jam with Killian's Angels, and plays, "Mustang Sally," wielding an acoustic guitar and harmonizing to varying degrees of competence. He finally takes the shot, and says he always wanted to be a rock star, but settled on being a rock-star chef. ... English looks a little like Elvis, doesn't he? ... Southern Wine & Sprits head Larry Ruvo and Michael Severino are on hand, too, and Larry is excited to be welcoming Frank Gehry to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Brain Center for the great architect's first look at the nearly completed center. Ruvo is still blown away by the announced $27 million take last month at the "Power of Love" event at Bellagio. There is no prouder Las Vegan than Larry Ruvo. Severino, meanwhile, still doesn't look quite right without a mustache. ... All proceeds from commemorative P.U.B. glasses are to be donated to the Cleveland Clinic. ... I like that my man Ubiquitous Robin Leach is always tweeting; the glow of his iPhone makes him easy to spot in a crowd. ... Hasn't the beer-pong craze about played out? Not at this place. ... A friend makes a sweeping hand gesture and inadvertently swats one of the costumed dwarves. ... The guy over there who just got soaked with Guinness and whose voice sounds so familiar is George Lyons of KUNV 91.5-FM's "The Lyons Den" Sunday-night music show. "I am soaked to the bone!" he calls out, but seems happy nonetheless. ... Norm's here! So we start talking hoops, but I quickly realize that even after spending a good slice of my life as a sports writer, I have no idea what is happening in this year's tournament. Go Rebels, anyway. ... There is never a bad time to see Ginger Bruner, y'know? ... Mazer says he walked to the CityCenter from Flamingo, a fair hike. ... Something about MGM Mirage PR rep Jenn Michaels: Not a big fan of the banana bread. ... Bartenders at English's place are well-trained: I ask for a pen, which I dropped while carrying English's tequila shot around the bar, and I'm handed a pen and paper. ... Is it just me, or have tram passengers forgotten tram etiquette? We allow the passengers to depart, then we load in. ... On the way out, I run into a black-clad Louie Anderson, and congratulate him on making the Bill Fayne benefit show a couple of weeks ago despite heading to the South Point instead of Southcoast. "Everybody has heard about that," Anderson says, laughing. He was in the right place Tuesday, though.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

Photo of John Katsilometes

John Katsilometes

Get more John Katsilometes

Previous Discussion:

  • At this point, the only constant from album to album is the band’s dedication to ambition.

  • The bravery of the real soldiers is buried under a mountain of hokey sentiment and rah-rah bluster.

  • Everything in theaters this week, plus special screenings and movie reviews.

  • Get More A&E Stories
Top of Story