It's that time of year when we start to think about gigantic men battling over yards — and we're not referring to Hulk Hogan's neighbors calling the cops about farm animals wandering his property. No, it's fantasy football time.
You've read the guides. You've probably got a punny team named picked out, too. And while beer and pizza are all well and good for your draft, you can do better. Like, Las Vegas better.
Think about it: If you'd go there for a bachelor party, why not for your fantasy draft? It's got all the drinking, gambling, and general dude stuff you wanna do with your buddies, and there's no way your significant other wants to be within an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary of your draft.
Here are the best spots in Vegas to hold your draft.
Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo
Chef Emeril Lagasse’s sports restaurant/bar/sports book is like scoring a touchdown and recovering the ensuing onside kick when you're already winning by 20. Besides the sports book looking like it was ripped out of a nightclub (in fact, it used to be Jay Z's 40/40 Club), it might be one of the most advanced and expensive books in the city. Never mind the 100 screens throughout the property. The betting desk uses CG Technologies, which has an in-game wagering feature to bet on the outcome of individual plays, not just the final score. Witness this in person for the definition of degenerate fun.
Then there are VIP rooms for large groups, full bars on every walkway, and a bar food menu by a celebrity chef. If the game of football died next season, this is where you'd have your last meal.
“Ultimate Fantasy Football Draft Party” at Hard Rock Hotel
UFFDP is to draft day what fireworks exploding over the Statue of Liberty is to July 4. The event takes place at the Hard Rock, and it’s hosted by Yahoo Sports (this year, it was on Aug. 23). That means analysts like Brad Evans and Shaun King will be at the hotel to explain why you don’t need three kickers and should never draft DeMarco Murray before the sixth round. Seriously, that guy's legs are more fragile than Greece's economy.
The package includes two nights in the hotel, two passes for the draft party on Saturday, two passes for the VIP line to Body English Nightclub, and the Fantasy Football Draft Kit. It's basically going for two on every score, and converting every time.
McMullan’s Irish Pub
OK, so this spot is normally where you go for all things United Kingdom- and soccer-related (case in point: when you Google “McMullan’s draft party”, the results include Kilkenny Irish ale, Murphy’s Irish stout, and a whole lot of Guinness). But it also has private rooms, free WiFi, and the banquet hall features its own bar and an indie theater-sized projector screen to connect to your laptop/draft board. You won’t be getting plush couches or bottle service. You’ll get wooden chairs and beer, because this is an irish pub, not a Kardashian baby shower. But that means lots of drinking, and no Scott Disick -- two things we approve of.
Sapphire Gentleman’s Club
No list would be complete without a strip club. This is one of those Walmart-sized strip clubs. And it has draft party packages: $100 a person gets a private VIP room with a 90-inch screen for your draft board, limo pickup, personal host, $50/person bar credit, gift bags, and entry to the pool and day club, among other things. It’s the two things every man wants: football and gift bags.
And strippers. Forget the other two things.
MGM Grand Race & Sports Book
The sultan of Strip square footage takes its sports book seriously. The main floor here has 36 65-inch screens, plus 24 42-inchers scattered around. But you’re coming here for the skyboxes -- second level, overlooking the huge book floor from your ivory tower. Most of the boxes can hold 10 guys. Two can hold 20 and have their own drink server. This is how you step your game up. Literally.
Caesars Palace Race & Sports Book
This is widely considered the champion of the books, mostly because of the environment. Not because it’s necessarily more high tech or opulent than others, but simply because when the game is on, and gas money/rent money/inheritances ride on that still-in-the-air Hail Mary, the booms and throaty howls echoing here will deafen the roulette players clear across the casino floor. You’re coming here for the camaraderie. Unless you’re going in on the private areas (think leather couches, plenty of plasmas, unlimited beer, and a high-end buffet), get there early. This place gets jammed up on a big game day.
The Golden Nugget calls downtown Vegas home, so you’re getting mob-era action here. Think a Rat Pack lounge, but with TVs at every table, a humongous video wall, and a digital betting board bigger than the arrivals screen at most international airports. Plus -- and this is the real reason Golden Nugget is in here -- the hotel has a water slide that routes through an actual shark tank.
Golden Nugget Race & Sports Book
Cool factor: One zillion.