Free-flowing tequila and attractive young women in revealing bathing suits are about to play a key role in the Flamingo’s push to broaden its appeal to a wider range of customers.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is scheduled to open a restaurant, bar and live music stage by next summer at the center Strip megaresort.
Drawing upon the mystique of the singer-songwriter’s best-known song, Margaritaville is expected to draw free-spending babyboomers and partying twentysomethings to the largely geriatric Flamingo.
The exact location for the themed bar and restaurant has not been determined.
Meantime, Michael Berk, the Las Vegas-based creator and executive producer of “Baywatch” and its spin-offs, is leasing more than 10 acres of the Flamingo’s pool area to redecorate as a themed enterprise.
Plans call for it to include two year-round restaurants and a seasonal outdoor luau show and “Baywatch Nights” nightclub.
The Flamingo has long been a healthy money maker for its owner-operator, Park Place Entertainment, but company executives believe that its size, location and price-conscious appeal could make it stronger with the proper marketing push.
“It’s a very good property right now, but there is clearly more potential,” said Lorenzo Creighton, the Flamingo’s newly appointed president.
Creighton declined to discuss details of the business arrangements with Berk and Buffett, who was not available for comment.
The pool area made sense because the hotel spent $57 million to remodel it in 1993, but “never pushed it as a revenue source,” Berk said.
The project now jump-starts with the “very ambitious” goal of being up and running by the July 4 holiday, Berk noted.
The Flamingo Grille has closed and will be remodeled as the Baywatch Beach Club with a sit-down menu. The Grotto Bar will become the Venice Beach Grill, selling pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs.
Berk says representatives of Bartender’s Local 165 and Culinary Local 226, which represent Flamingo bartenders and cocktail waitresses, have made “an incredible concession” to allow hiring to conform to the physical expectations of “Baywatch.”
“We expect to have the most attractive women and guys in the city,” Berk said. “The unions understand we’re ‘Baywatch’ and that’s what we’re selling.”