History in the making: A guide to Vegas’ inaugural parties

President Barack Obama.
Photo: Tom Donoghue /www.donoghuephotography.com

Where you are during Barack Obama’s inauguration will likely be remembered for your lifetime.

If you aren’t joining the masses on the National Mall and are planning to watch the broadcast, you’re in good company. Obama’s swearing in is expected to be viewed by billions worldwide - numbers normally reserved for sporting events of international scope like the Olympics and the World Cup - making it one of the most-covered live events in television history.

The $100 million ceremony and celebration will be one for the history books, full of buzzword-cluttered rhetoric, political rituals and legendary performances. Aretha Franklin, composer John Williams, violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill will provide musical interludes. There will be prayers, a parade, a poem and parties.

And you’ll be treated to prettier visages than those of weathered politicos, as dozens of celebrities will be in attendance. The hottest ticket this week isn’t NFL playoffs, but rather a presidential swearing in.

Still, the A-listers and the civilian audience alike will probably be more star struck by Obama as he places his hand on Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural bible, is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and delivers his first official presidential address to an expectant world.

If you’d like to share this momentous occasion with other giddy onlookers, in a place more exciting than your living room, you can do so in several spots around Las Vegas.

We’ve classified the events according to political parties, but of course, following Obama’s lead, we encourage bipartisan mingling.


A ginormous, record-breaking 130’ by 40’ LED video screen calls the huddled masses to the Strip-side patio in front of the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Full-sound CNN coverage will stream live beginning at 8 a.m. There is zero charge and zero discrimination. Come one, come all, come as you are and watch and listen to the most anticipated inauguration in years.


This party’s motto might as well be, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” The famed Toby Keith, despite declaring himself a Liberal, is a country singer from Oklahoma who used to work in the oil industry, supported Bush and wrote the pro-Iraq War battle cheer “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue.”

Toby Keith’s I love this Bar and Grill is all about American pride and patriotism, and in that spirit they are offering all-you-can-eat pork or beef ribs, apple pie and chicken and dumpling soup for $17.89, the "All American Martini Trio" featuring red, white and blue martinis for $17.89, and the "Bailout Bucket of Beer" for 50% off.

Y’all come by from 11:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., and catch some live (we’re guessing country) music from 9:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

The Constitution Party:

If you’re a lover of the good ‘ol days, heroes of the glorious past and old-school tradition, head to the legendary Hilton Theater, home to Barry Manilow and, back in the day, Elvis Presley.

Doors open at 8 a.m., admission is gratis, the screen is a respectable 18’ X 32’ HDTV with state-of-the-art theater sound, 1,635 seats available, and smoking is not allowed.

The Libertarian Party

In the spirit of minimally regulated borders and non-interventionism in foreign policy that respects freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries, SUSHISAMBA will showcase Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian culinary influences at their inauguration bash.

Next door at Sugarcane Lounge, watch the live full-screen broadcast from 6-10 p.m. while enjoying red, white and blue cocktails ($11 each, $70 for the “All-American cocktail tree” of four glasses of each cocktail).

We haven’t heard yet of any park picnics, but if we do we’ll be sure to notify the Greens.


Jennifer Grafiada

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