The Friend Formula

By the time Firehouse gained mainstream appeal, the hard-rock band from North Carolina was already facing an uphill battle—grunge was about to change the rock landscape, and that hill was Mount Everest-ian. When the quartet released its self-titled debut album in 1990, the rock scene that had been dominated by oft-ridiculed glam-metal bands was on the verge of a tectonic shift. In less than two years, the entire glam-metal genre would be swallowed whole by the Seattle grunge movement, with only the mightiest of traditional hard-rock acts (see AC/DC, Van Halen and Aerosmith) surviving the purge.

But a funny thing about Firehouse: They not only took full advantage of its brief pre-grunge window—beating out Nirvana and Alice in Chains for the 1992 American Music Award for favorite new heavy metal/hard rock artist—they’ve continued to slog up that hill against all odds, consistently recording and touring throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium. The secret to Firehouse’s endurance? Relying on the same formula that first attracted fans nearly three decades ago (catchy rock songs, emotive power ballads, electrifying concerts), and sticking together (three of the four original members have been around since the beginning). Hey, if you have to climb a challenging hill, better to do so with some friends by your side. –Matt Jacob

Golden Nugget, 8 p.m. Jan. 18, starting at $29 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster

Retro Retreat

On the grounds of the newly remodeled Thunderbird Boutique Hotel & Lounge is a real hidden gem of the city, the Tree of Love Chapel. Bathed in florals and heavenly white décor, the gem of the chapel is the living tree rooted at the alter. When remodeling the grounds the owners wanted to keep the almost 100-year-old tree in its place, so they built the chapel around it, and now you can say your “I do’s” in one of the coolest spots in Vegas.

And it’s not just Thunderbird’s new chapel—the whole hotel grounds offers a cool, Palm Springs-meets-Las Vegas escape, located near the eclectic Arts District and flourishing downtown scene. The 100-room boutique property offers an intimate pool area, and a spacious one-bedroom pool suite that overlooks all the action. There’s also a new lounge and entertainment space with a full menu of eats and drinks.

Delicious food items include a filling hangover breakfast burrito, huge and fluffy pancakes, steak and eggs, pork belly sliders, flatbreads, veggie burger, shrimp po’boy and a seriously delicious dessert—a made-in-house brownie topped with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream. Classic cocktails include the Hemingway daiquiri, Moscow Mule and Rum Runner. In the lounge, there are also beer pong and pool tables, plus bar-top gaming, as well as a stage for live musical performances. Connected to the lounge is a spacious outdoor patio right along the boulevard with fire pits that are sure to keep patrons toasty as the winter season gets into full swing. –Kiko Miyasato

1215 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702.489.7500

Real Throwback

The Classic Jewel is disguised as an urban lounge, but really it’s a bridge—one that tips its hat to our Rat Pack past with Sinatra & Co. memorabilia drinks like the Blinker (rye whiskey, grapefruit and grenadine) and the Hotel Nacional (white rum apricot brandy and pineapple and lime), followed by several locally produced, high-quality beers. –Las Vegas Magazine Staff

353 Bonneville Ave., opens 1 p.m. Sun., 4 p.m. Tues.-Sat. 702.722.6750