Carluccio’s Tivoli Gardens
1775 E. Tropicana Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
Tel: 1 (702) 795-3236
Carluccio’s is a local Las Vegas favorite that serves up superb Italian food. Located across the shopping center from the world-famous Liberace Museum, the restaurant was part of Liberace’s dream for an entire center dedicated to his genius. His untimely death left the dream unfulfilled. He purchased the restaurant in 1982 and renamed it Liberace’s Tivoli Gardens. The flamboyant entertainer wanted his restaurant to resemble those fine establishments he had eaten in while abroad. In an attempt to capture that elegant European ambiance, he did much of the interior decorating himself. Some of his lavish touches remain today. The sparkling overhead lighting and the mirrored walls in the piano room are two examples of Mr. Showmanship’s decorating flair.
Liberace was a hands-on owner who left nothing to chance. He proudly oversaw menu planning and liked to entertain showbiz pals such as Dolly Parton and Debbie Reynolds at the restaurant whenever they were in town. It was not uncommon for him to drop in at the Tivoli Gardens after a performance in one of the large showrooms on the strip. To the delight of his patrons, Liberace occasionally entertained them with an impromptu piano selection. After his death in 1987, Carluccio’s purchased the restaurant. Some believe the ghostly Liberace is overseeing his beloved restaurant still.
Several patrons have reported seeing Liberace’s apparition in the piano lounge or standing near the window. A waiter who has worked at Carluccio’s for 14 years told of seeing glasses clinking together and hearing noises such as silverware moving around. One night while cleaning mirrors in the piano lounge, he saw the reflection of a rhinestone-covered cape. No one was wearing the cape. He turned around to see what it was, but nothing was there. A few weeks later, he was asked to lead a Spanish language tour of the Liberace Museum. While leading the tour, he saw the cape he’d seen in the mirror.
A patron even asked a pianist to play a certain selection, only to have him vanish before her startled eyes. Kelly, a bartender who has worked at the restaurant for more than 16 years, believes the entertainer is still in residence. One evening several years after his death, bottles toppled at the bar and the power went out. Someone casually remarked that it was Liberace’s birthday and he might want that fact remembered. Everyone at the bar wished him happy birthday. Suddenly the power came back on and no more bottles fell. Members of the American Ghost Society and Las Vegas Paranormal Investigators conducted two separate ghost investigations at the restaurant. Electro Magnetic Field detector readings were especially high in the back hallway and the women’s bathroom area. Dowsers were also on hand and their findings closely matched those of the EMF meters. These findings bear out the bartender’s experience with toilets flushing of their own accord and water faucets turning on and off by themselves. Several photos were taken during the investigations. Orbs showed up in some of them. During one session, world-famous magician Dixie Dooley conducted a seance in the mirrored piano lounge. No significant findings were reported.