Skybox Sports Bar at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races offers "The Beast"

July 15, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • The brand new H Lounge at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races opened Friday, July 15.
The brand new H Lounge at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races opened Friday, July 15.

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — There's the "Whopper," " The Foot Long" and "All You Can Eat."

Now make way for "The Beast," the signature menu item at the new Skybox Sports Bar at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

The Beast made its official debut Friday at the grand opening celebration of the Skybox Sports Bar and the H Lounge beneath it.

They are the last projects completed in the casino's $40 million expansion that began last July with the opening of the first table games. The new Final Cut Steakhouse opened in November.

The beast is a 2-pound burger topped with a half-pound of bacon, a head of lettuce and comes with a pound of fries.

Other than calling for the bicarbonate of soda, the only one of 18 contenders who managed to eat the whole thing won a T-shirt. The meal was free, too.

Casino Manager Al Britton said the new restaurants added about 50 employees to the 850 hired since the first table games opened a year ago. That brings the total number of employees close to 2,000, Britton said.

"With over a year of planning, construction and the significant capital investment, the opening of the Skybox Sports Bar and the H Lounge marks the newest chapter in the evolution of Hollywood Casino. They offer our guests another level of social interaction and entertainment," Britton told area government officials and community leaders invited to the grand openings.

The Skybox Sports Bar offers a wide variety of beers on tap and pub food. Between tables and the bar, it can seat about 180 patrons. A video wall holds 18 flat-screen televisions, and another 51 individual screens are tucked into alcoves around the restaurant.

Highlights of the room's decor are multiple display cases that hold memorabilia from some of the region's greatest sports figures.

One holds Baltimore Orioles shortstop/third-baseman Cal Ripken's game-worn jersey, batting gloves and bat. Oriole Brooks Robinson has his own case. Another case holds Baltimore Colts great Johnny Unitas's autographed jersey. Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs occupies another case as does former Redskins linebackerSam Huff.

The H Lounge, a high-energy bar and entertainment venue directly below the Skybox, can seat 160 people.

It will have live entertainment every night in July including the Hollywood Starlets, bands, DJs and karaoke, Britton said.

Reservations are not required at either restaurant.

The casino spent about $10 million in construction costs renovating the gaming floor and adding the two new restaurants, according to Britton.

He said the table game operation began with 85 games.

"Now, we're up to about 105, and we have a 30-table poker room," he said.

Penn National Gaming Inc. has spent more than $400 million since 1997, when it bought Charles Town Races, to build it into a major East Coast gambling operation that draws about 4 million visitors a year, Britton said.

The casino has contributed more than $1 billion in state taxes since 1997, according to a casino economic impact statement. In 2010, it paid more than $17 million in local county taxes that were shared by the school board, county commission and five municipalities.

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