ML - Vegas Magazine

Vegas - 2015 - Issue 5 - September - Fall Fashion - Kate King

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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INSIDE LOOK photography courtesy of the cosmopolitan of las Vegas (stitched) "cigars in vegas provide a link to the past, to the whole rat pack era of smoking and drinking scotch. it's part of the vegas image." —michael frey A longtime Vegas resident who understands that fine cigars go hand in hand with casino culture, Frey is girding himself for the city's next wave: the anticipated lifting of the US embargo on Cuban cigars. "I think it will create a second cigar boom," he says, recalling the cigar mania of the 1990s, which still resonates today. "Everybody will want to try Cuban cigars, and a lot of new smokers will come into the marketplace. Even though I hear about warehouses full of aging Cuban cigars, I still believe that demand will outstrip supply and prices will get high. People will be Cuban cigar crazy." That condition promises to be especially acute in Las Vegas, according to Frey, because "if you smoke two cigars a year, this is the place where you will smoke them." Frey has spent most of the last 50 years in Vegas. His parents found success in real estate here and had clout with folks in the casino business. It afforded Frey a very Vegasy upbringing. "Most kids go to Chuck E. Cheese's on their 12th birthday; I got to see Elvis Presley," he says. "That was my frst date. I was in sixth grade, and we had seats right next to the stage. My dad arranged for Elvis to put a scarf around my date's neck. She almost fainted. That was my best date ever. Unfortunately, it never got better than that." Frey's boyhood also put him in the catbird seat when it came to getting a close look at the city's showbiz elite. "I remember my parents taking me backstage at casinos," he says. "We'd see guys like Shecky Greene and Sinatra. Cigars were everywhere and you could smoke wherever you wanted—hell, yeah!" Today, he adds, "cigars in Vegas provide a link to the past, to the whole Rat Pack era of smoking and drinking Scotch. It's part of the Vegas image." When Cuban cigars are no longer contraband, Frey predicts that a few things will happen. "For one, the mystique about Cuban cigars will go away," he says. "Right now people think Cubans are the coolest things." Once they lose their illicit allure, the hip factor will diminish. He also sees prices spiking, which should bring a boom in counterfeits. "Right now, for every 100 Cuban cigars in Las Vegas, 65 are fake. Since most people can't tell the difference between a phony and the real thing, the counterfeit business thrives and will continue to do so. It's crazy now, and it's going to get even crazier." V LOCAL LOVES Favorite restaurant: "My absolute favorite is L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in MGM Grand. I like the look, the style, and the food. Plus, the staff is so great there. Overall, it's just a brilliant spot." top store For clothes shopping: "There's a cool place that a friend of mine owns in Cosmopolitan. It's called Stitched (above). They custom-make suits—though I tend to buy off the rack—and have liquor lockers." For a night out with the boys: "Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar. The food there is really good, and they have a very nice patio. There are lots of great beers on tap and plenty of large-screen monitors for watching sports." where he ta es out-oF-town Friends: "We go to the Mirage and shoot craps. I like the Mirage because it's the hotel that changed the paradigm in Las Vegas—plus, it always feels like the best small big hotel in town." charities oF choice: "I'm involved with Nathan Adelson Hospice and the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Larry Ruvo's a friend of mine, and they do such great work with diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's." Favorite neighborhood: "There's a neighborhood called Scotch 80s. It's an old part of town with big midcentury houses and a real cool feel to it." Casa Fuente general manager Michael Fayerverger and actor Dennis Hopper with Frey at the cigar bar during the 2007 CineVegas film festival. PeoPle Power Strip 64 VeGASMAGAzINe.COM

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