Category Archives: Las Vegas Bars

Tiki-Style Bar In the Works for Mirage

Guests of Mirage recently received an intriguing survey from the Strip resort.

Casino surveys often telegraph plans already in motion, and this one’s juicy because it asked guests to provide feedback about a new tiki-style bar “situated on the waters overlooking the iconic Mirage volcano.”

Mirage volcano

A new tiki bar overlooking the Mirage volcano would be fire. Also, possibly lit.

Here’s a look at the concept, although this isn’t a rendering of the actual venue, “but rather to give a general sense of what it might look like.”

This is one of the best ideas we’ve seen floated in awhile.

Please make it look like that, Mirage!

The survey also said, “this tiki-style bar features table and bartop seating, a range of beer and cocktails, as well as a grab-and-go daiquri bar.”

If you grabbed a daiquiri at this bar, why would you want to go anywhere?

While we weren’t one of the customers asked, we love this idea, and it’s a great fit for the Mirage.

Here’s another image to give a sense of the space.

In Vegas, we’re spoiled rattan. It was either that or a “frond or foe” joke, sorry.

One can never have too much tiki.

Vegas has some great tiki bars off-Strip, including Frankie’s Tiki Room (try the Fink Bomb) and Golden Tiki (check out the shrunken heads).

Ellis Island had a fun pop-up tiki experience on the second floor of its Front Yard. It ended Aug. 1, unfortunately. They’re doing more pop-ups in the future, possibly for Halloween and definitely for Christmas.

Tikiwise, Mirage doesn’t need surveys, they just need us!

Love the concept, it’s a great new addition to augment the volcano eruption experience and they’ll be printing money, so let’s make this new tiki bar a reality at Mirage.

Overlook Lounge Opens at Wynn, Q&A With Resort Mixologist

Wynn Las Vegas recently opened Overlook Lounge, a major redesign and rebrand of the former Parasol Up lounge.

The official name of the new bar is Overlook Lounge, Spirits and Aperitifs, but our shorthand for it is “glorious.”

Overlook lounge Wynn

So much eye candy, you’re likely to get cavities.

Don’t freak out parasol fans, as the parasols and Parasol Down are still around.

Umbrella aficionado? You’re covered.

The interior design of Overlook is courtesy of Todd-Avery Lenahan, President & Chief Creative
Officer of Wynn Design & Development.

Lenahan is firing on all swatches with this seductive new offering, and the lounge is a cavalcade of jewel tones, crystal chandeliers, period furnishings and beautiful art.

Our home looks exactly like this except for the everything.

Overlook has the kind of opulence guests have come to expect at Wynn, setting the stage for an
outstanding cocktail program.

Enter resort mixologist Mariena Mercer Boarini.

That’s not a bar spoon, it’s a magic wand.

We should say up front you already know Mercer Boarini, even if you may not recognize her name.

She’s the inventor of the Verbena cocktail at Cosmopolitan. If you don’t know the Verbena, you’re doing Las Vegas wrong.

Now, Mercer Boarini oversees the cocktail program at more than 30 bars and restaurants at Wynn and Encore.

We loved our drinks and we hate everything.

We snagged an interview with Mercer Boarini, which we’ll share in an upcoming podcast episode. You can listen to the full interview on the YouTubes, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Here are some poorly-articulated questions and very patient answers from our chat with cocktail imagineer and possibly mad scientist Mariena Mercer Boarini.

Vital Vegas: You’re the mixologist for Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. That seems an overwhelming task.

Mariena: We have 31 different bars and restaurants that I get to design for, and it just continually keeps me engaged and excited and telling kind of fresh new stories through my cocktails with all of the different outlets.

VV: So, tell everybody what’s going on at this new lounge.

Mariena: Overlook is an exciting new lounge that we’ve opened, it takes the place of Parasol Up
which has been an amazing cocktail haven for Las Vegas. I’ve been here for many years working and so I remember when it opened and almost being intimidated by the cocktail haven that it was. So, it was a really cool moment in my career to be able to to do something in that space. We worked with our Chief Creative Officer of Wynn Design & Development, Todd-Avery Lenahan. You’ll hear me talk about him a lot, and I’m the hugest fan of everything he does.

VV: Also, referred to as a “design god” in Wynn fandom circles.

Mariena: His design is so inspiring. How it’s worked with the two projects we’ve done together,
with one more coming up, is I need to see the space or get the design deck back before I start telling my story because I want to tell his story, the story he’s telling with the design. It’s Overlook Lounge, Spirits and Aperitifs, so I already thought, wow, to be able to tell the story, the
romance of aperitivo hour, is really special because nobody’s doing that in Las Vegas on that level. I’m a very analog person, so I write a lot of Post-it notes everywhere, but I only had one
Post-it note out, it said, “Iconic.” That was the only thing I could think about when I saw his
design.

We see faces in everything. You?

VV: Can you talk about the cocktail menu?

Mariena: You’ll see that all of the cocktails have one-word names and they’re kind of oblique references to different people or places in fashion, film, history, mythology. They tell that kind of story through the spritzes, because I thought to myself, how does something become iconic? And I just started writing words down like “Madonna,” people or places that usually just have one word that you can refer to them as, or recognize them, are iconic. The cocktails have names like the Evangelista, the Coco, Aurora, named after the goddess of sunrise. Every spritz has a finishing perfume.

Insert “putting on the spritz” joke here.

VV: Can you explain what that is?

Mariena: I designed a line of aperitif parfums, edible ones. I like to say if maybe Picasso had his
blue period, I’m in my aromatic period. Everything is about aromas. Last year, I was really into flavor. I was reading about gastrophysics and gastronomy and trying to figure out how the brain is perceiving flavor and the palette and all those things. This year, it’s all about aromas for me. So, you have millions of olfactory receptors, but you have thousands of taste buds, so you do taste predominantly with your nose. Eighty percent of flavor comes through aromas, so I thought this would be a really fun concept to be able to kind of elevate, manipulate, play with different flavors and aromas through aromatics. Also, it’s a really fun way to play with memory and nostalgia because the shortest jump to your brain is through the olfactory bulb, so it’s the easiest Way to access nostalgia and great memories and things like that.

These shot glasses are huge.

Mariena: So, I wanted to do four iconic locations and encapsulate those in an aroma so each one has their own beautiful vintage atomizer so you can atomize the aroma on top of the cocktail. There is Milan, which I closed my eyes and thought “What does Fashion Week smell like?” “What does a supermodel smell like?”

VV: O.K., that could go badly.

Mariena: My brain can be a little odd sometimes. Some fancy perfumes and hair products and maybe you know like a cheeky cigarette here or there, so there’s even a little bit of layer of smoke to it. And jasmine and some floral elements. I won a global mixology competition in Morocco, in Marrakesh, so when I close my eyes and I think of that memory I smell Bombay Chai, Madagascar vanilla and apricot, so that’s the Morocco. I did the Amalfi coast in Italy, and Paris. When you spray this mist, this aroma, on top of the cocktail, it really gives it a sense of place and a really unique experience for guests.

VV: The Hudson was delicious, but we have to talk about the Cleo. This is going to be the destination cocktail for the Overlook lounge.

The Cleo is the newest must-try cocktail in Las Vegas. Bonus: Electric Dust.

Mariena: It’s such a fun cocktail, right? This is a dragon fruit margarita. It’s not an overly sweet
margarita, I stick to what’s called a “Tommy’s margarita” style, so it tends to be a lot more dry, but very spirited with the agave, so it’s usually two full ounces of tequila, and then it has this beautiful dried dragon fruit chip on top, dusted with something called Electric Dust. Electric Dust is something I’ve done independent of the Wynn. It was my pandemic passion project. I created the cocktail program at The Cosmopolitan, and I was there for 10 years, and I created a cocktail called the Verbena, heralded as the most popular specialty cocktail in Las Vegas.

Meet your new BFF, Elias.

VV: Um, you’re being modest, the world.

Mariena: So, basically, people love that flower so much, the “buzz button,” the garnish on the Verbena cocktail. Everywhere I go, if I ever casually say I worked at the Cosmopolitan, it was always, “Have you ever had that flower drink?” I loved that it meant so much to so many people. So, during the pandemic, I just had a lot of creative energy, so I took that flower, and I’ve always loved chemistry, alchemy, the science of life, so I started experimenting with it. I found a process to make it shelf stable, but retaining all of the effects of the buzz button. The buzz button is a natural alkaloid, it speeds up your salivary glands and turns you into a super taster. It’s a natural phenomena where some people have more densely-packed taste buds on their tongue, so it enables them to taste at a higher level. This buzz button, when you consume it, your tongue starts tingling and basically what it’s doing is activating and awakening all your salivary glands to help you taste at a higher intensity, so it’s a journey of flavor.

We can speak from experience, Electric Dust is a journey of flavor, and we aren’t surprised Mercer Boarini filed for a patent.

There’s a lot more cocktail talk in our interview with Wynn mixologist (along with more photos of the Overlook lounge and its cocktails), so give it a listen.

Wynn Las Vegas has delivered on all its promises with Overlook. It’s rare when a resort overhauls something as popular as Parasol Up, and it was worth the investment.

Visiting Overlook lounge is elegant without being pretentious, and the cocktail menu is simple,
accessible and full of twists.

Drop by Overlook at Wynn Las Vegas, and definitely try the Cleo to see what all the buzz is about.

Superfrico Restaurant to Open at Cosmopolitan

The demented geniuses at Spiegelworld have announced the replacement for the shuttered Rose.Rabbit.Lie. at Cosmopolitan resort.

It’s a new dining and entertainment concept, Superfrico.

Superfrico, of course, is Italian for “it doesn’t mean anything, really, they made it up and also the domain name was available.”

If Superfrico has one tenth the magic of this one dude in “Opium,” they’ll be a huge success.

Actually, “frico” is north eastern Italian dish consisting mainly of cheese. In one version of the dish, shredded cheese is added to a frying pan until it becomes malleable and crispy. Plus, you know, “super.”

Spiegelworld let the Hollywood Reporter break this news, which we would deeply resent were it not for the fact Spiegelworld tends to kick ass and we can’t wait to see what’s in store at Superfrico.

Superfrico is described as “a fully integrated dining and cocktail concept” and debuts Sep. 24, 2021, along with the return of its neighbor “Opium,” produced by the aforementioned Spiegelworld.

Spiegelworld also produces “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and “Atomic Saloon” at Venetian.

Atomic Saloon

Any chance to share our photo from “Atomic Saloon,” we’re taking it.

While “Absinthe” is widely regarded as the best show in Las Vegas, according to us the last time we saw “Opium,” the title of “Best Show” may have to be shared.

All the Spiegelworld shows are variety shows with hefty amounts of raunchy comedy. “Opium” wasn’t a strong contender for “Best Show” when it opened, but a good number of changes have been made (including softening its science fiction theme), and it’s utterly mesmerizing.

The strength and originality of “Opium” bodes well for the new restaurant concept, and guests can expect the unexpected.

Superfrico’s “Italian-American-Psychedelic” menu will feature pizza, pasta, steaks, seafood, small plates and “photo-worthy desserts.”

Our pal and Spiegelworld’s head oddball, Ross Mollison (pictured below), says inspiration for Superfrico came from Tokyo’s Robot restaurant. Let’s just say Robot restaurant is all about sensory overload.

Ross Mollison

Producer Ross Mollison throws away more great ideas in a day than most people have in a lifetime.

A unique element of Superfrico will be its overlap with “Opium.”

As the Hollywood Reports relays it, “Superfrico’s interconnected bars, lounges and dining rooms will create a ‘clusterflourish,’ as Mollison puts it, as performers come and go from their dressing rooms to the Opium theater through Superfrico’s kitchen and dining rooms.”

Dibs on Clusterflourish as a band name.

While a previous Spiegelworld effort at Cosmo, “Vegas Nocturne,” ended prematurely (it lasted six months), Superfrico sounds like it could go the distance.

Supper clubs—where food, drinks and live entertainment collide—are all the rage in Las Vegas at the moment, with Delilah opening at Wynn (in the Alex restaurant space) and “Mayfair” replacing Hyde nightclub at Bellagio. The results aren’t in for these venues just yet, but Superfrico could add some critical mass to the trend.

We aren’t a huge fan of live entertainment in restaurants, but Mollison assures the curated “moments” at Superfrico won’t interrupt the flow of the evening.

We hope this artwork, by NYC-based artist Adehla Lee, helps clarify what Superfrico actually is. You’re welcome.

Ultimately, Spiegelworld has earned its stripes in Las Vegas, and we’re up for anything they’re up to.

Spiegelworld exudes creativity, and while Las Vegas has lots of amazing restaurants, not many have bubble blowers, sword swallowers and contortionists in the mix.

Visit the predictably weird-ass official site for Superfrico here. Watch for more teases on the Twitters.

Spiegelworld has the chops to deliver on its promise to shake things up and deliver an experience you can’t find anywhere else.

We can’t wait to give Superfrico a go.

Balloon Ride and Bar Set to Lift Off at Area 15

Area 15, touted as an “immersive art and entertainment district,” is getting a new bar, but with a twist. It’s also a balloon ride.

The new bar, called Rise, is slated to open in fall of 2021.

Rise will double as a thrill ride, courtesy of a tethered balloon.

Guests will be lifted 131 feet into the air, which seems very specific, but we are a global leader in snark, not a global leader in tethered balloon structures.

Rise bar Area 15

Viagra co-branding opportunity here, Area 15. Just saying.

Guests will be lifted via a 16-person gondola and enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the Las Vegas Strip.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for children. We assume the kids won’t get to have cocktails, which is one of the reasons it sucks to be a kid. Another is parents yelling at you while you’re trying to enjoy playing sports. These idiots need to STFU, seriously.

Most media reports about this new bar attraction featured cutting and pasting from the news release. In fact, we couldn’t find even one story that mentioned this is a tethered balloon, despite the fact the news release clearly says, “Manufactured by Aerophile, the global leader in tethered balloon structures, Rise will be the first of its kind built in the United States.”

At which point somebody, anybody, needed to say, “What could possibly go wrong?”

That’s why you have us.

What could possibly go wrong?

Don’t miss the sweet art just outside the entrance to Area 15 while you’re there. Sorry, “Art Island.” Marketing!

In a longstanding tradition of Las Vegas media having very short memories, nobody mentioned the fact Las Vegas already tried a tethered balloon attraction. It was called Cloud Nine.

Cloud Nine was across from Mandalay Bay and closed after high winds trashed the balloon. Thankfully, nobody was injured.

Cloud Nine seemed like a good idea at the time.

We are sure Rise and its builders and operators are well aware of the sometimes fierce winds in Las Vegas, so this new bar attraction will go off without a hitch.

Rise definitely fits with the quirky offerings at Area 15. The interactive mall sits just off the I-15, just west of the Las Vegas Strip.

We initially predicted Area 15 would be a colossal failure and an embarrassment to malls everywhere.

Then we actually went, and realized it’s awesome.

The anchor of Area 15 is Omega Mart, a massive, mind-bending art exhibit with a mysterious twist. Omega Mart is easily the best non-gambling thing to do in the history of Las Vegas. Mainly because Nevada brothels aren’t technically in Las Vegas.

Area 15 also features a 360-degree Van Gogh exhibit, Particle Quest (augmented reality), Wink World ( psychedelic art house), Oz Experience (more virtual reality), Haley’s Comet (indoor zipline), Birdly (flight simulator), Brainstorm (more interaction), Lost Spirits Distillery (we don’t exactly know what it is), Dueling Axes (ax throwing with a full bar), Five Iron Golf (golf simulator),
Virtualis (free roaming virtual reality) and Museum Fiasco (badass “immersive sound and light spectacle”), among others.

Here’s a look at Museum Fiasco.

Area 15 isn’t your grandpa’s shopping mall, and the venue continues to serve up new ways to entertain and intoxicate.

As we have heights challenges, we may not personally do the Rise experience, but it’s sure to give guests a new perspective of the Las Vegas Strip, along with copious libations, so we’re onboard.

Word is Harrah’s is Getting a Walk-On’s Sports Bar and Restaurant

As we’ve shared exclusively, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill has permanently closed at Harrah’s.

Now, we’re hearing what could take its place.

A few weeks back, we were told the Toby Keith spot would have a new (and very expensive) sports-themed bar and restaurant, in partnership with a well-known, retired athlete.

This just in: The athlete’s name is Drew Brees.

As-yet-unconfirmed, but the association with Drew Brees leads us to believe Harrah’s will be getting an outpost of the business he co-owns, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux.

Vital Vegas. Spoiling surprises since mid-2013.

Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The first Walk-On’s opened in 2003.

Walk-On’s seems a great fit for Harrah’s, as it has been transitioning into a convention hotel due to its proximity to the Caesars Forum conference center.

While the former Toby Keith’s space isn’t readily accessible to Las Vegas Blvd., it’s in the perfect spot to snag ravenous conventioneers. The idea is for it to be the go-to post-meeting hangout.

Here’s a video about the company.

Co-owner Drew Brees, of course, is a former professional quarterback who played 20 seasons in the NFL, most of that time with the New Orleans Saints.

While Harrah’s has lost a good deal of its Mardi Gras theme, that New Orleans connection could still be a marketing hook.

There’s no timeline for when Walk-On’s might join the Harrah’s restaurant line-up, which means they’ll have time to reconsider that apostrophe that’s going to drive us nuts.

Stay tuned for more about the new sports bar and restaurant coming to Harrah’s.

Paris Las Vegas Confirms Vanderpump Lounge to Replace Laurel Lounge

It took a minute for Caesars Entertainment to confirm our scoop, but a new Vanderpump lounge will replace the closed Laurel Lounge at Paris Las Vegas.

The reason is fairly obvious: The Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesars Palace is absolutely crushing it, so Caesars wants to make the most of that surprising success.

Vanderpump Paris lounge

This seems a great fit for Paris, what with all the fancy.

We say “surprising” because the lounge that preceded the Vanderpump lounge at Caesars was Fizz. Despite having the seal of approval from Elton John (his husband David Furnish operated
the venue), the place (wait for it) fizzled out in 2017.

Fizz lounge Caesars Palace

Fizz was gorgeous but never caught on. Try, try again.

After Fizz, the space was dubbed Cocktail Lounge. We are not making this up.

The Vanderpump Cocktail Garden, however, has taken off, and we hear it’s become one of the most financially successful, if not the most successful, lounge at any Caesars Entertainment resort in Las Vegas. No small feat.

As for the new lounge, it’s called Vanderpump à Paris. In French, an “a” with a thingy over it means “at.” Think of all the cost-savings resulting from simply eliminating an entire letter from the name! We aren’t going to use the accent mark because it’s an annoying affectation, but you do you.

We’re just happy they didn’t put “Le” in front of the name. They do that with everything at Paris. It’s wasn’t just the Village Buffet, it was Le Village Buffet. Which is closed and not coming back, by the way. “Au revoir,” Le Slightly Better Than Average Village Buffet.

Le Village Buffet closed

Lots of changes the works at Paris. Say goodbye.

From the news release, “Vanderpump a Paris will feature delectable dishes, whimsical and unique cocktails, and a lush, elaborate atmosphere with eclectic, Parisian-inspired design details.”

Fun fact: Whimsical Cocktails was the name of our band in high school.

Lisa Vanderpump says in the news release, “After living in France for many years, it has been such an incredible journey to make our ideas a reality and, working with our extraordinary design partner Nick Alain, we have created a design unlike anything we’ve ever seen, with epic visual statements—it is our hope to bring the stunning visuals of Paris into the heart of Las Vegas. The food will be sexy and delicious, the cocktails exquisite and unique, and the overall experience will be one that is unforgettable! It’s really been a labor of love and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

On the Nick Alain front, the designer and longtime Vanderpump collaborator sort of tipped everyone off about the new lounge by sharing a photo from inside the former Laurel Lounge on Instagram. Oddly, Caesars is more upset about us spoiling their surprises than this guy. Go figure. We do that a lot. We actually shared Lisa Vanderpump was coming to Las Vegas long before (Feb. 2018) her Caesars lounge was announced (Nov. 2018). Not that everything has to be about us, probably.

We probably should’ve covered this ground sooner, but in case you don’t know who Lisa Vanderpump is, we’re right there with you. She’s a restaurateur and TV personality, mainly known for her appearances on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules.”

Vanderpump Rules

You’d be surprised how many opinions we have about things we know nothing about.

She and her husband have owned 36 restaurants, bars and clubs in L.A. and London.

The Vanderpump at Paris lounge will have about 200 seats, featuring ornate awnings, signature light fixtures and an entrance flanked with statues.

The news release says this about the cocktails, “Like Vanderpump’s other locations, the cocktail menu will feature the unique and never-before-seen.” Which we’re pretty sure means the same thing, but let’s just say we’ve tried a few of the drinks at the Caesars location and they were tasty AF.

We’re pretty sure a publicly traded can’t put “tasty AF” in its news releases.

Vanderpump at Paris will also have “light bites.”

While we were skeptical about the Vanderpump experience, the team at Caesars Palace proved us wrong, and we’ve enjoyed our visits a lot.

Before wrapping this up, we should bid a farewell to the Laurel Lounge at Paris. Cost-cutting measures at Caesars Entertainment have led to the demise of these popular VIP lounges. The free “light bites” and unlimited hooch were fun while they lasted.

There’s a lot going on at Paris, and look forward to a Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart restaurant concept to be announced soon.

The new Vanderpump lounge at Paris Las Vegas casino opens in winter 2021.