Category Archives: Las Vegas Bars

Tipsy Robot’s Automated Bartenders Are a Riveting New Diversion on the Las Vegas Strip

A pair of robotic bartenders have created some serious buzz since a new bar, Tipsy Robot, opened inside Miracle Mile Shops at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas resort.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

“Kuka” is a German word meaning, “Bow before your new robotic bartender overlords.”

Tipsy Robot is billed as the “first land-based robotic bar.” There’s another pair of robot bartenders on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise liner, but these are infinitely better, because Las Vegas.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

You can’t spell “tipsy” without “tips,” and, ironically, robot bartenders don’t accept those.

As marketing gimmicks go, this is one of the best we’ve ever seen, and crowds were gathering to watch the robots mix drinks even before the venue opened to the public.

We were utterly mesmerized as the dynamic duo deftly delivered drinks. See for yourself in our hastily slapped-together video.

That adorable little dance, though.

So, here’s all the Tipsy Robot skinny.

Guests place orders via one of 33 tablets. There’s a robust list of 18 signature cocktails, but guests may order custom-built drinks, too.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

Park it at a tablet and make some mechanical mixology magic.

For an existing drink, it’s just a matter of making a selection and providing a name and e-mail address.

For custom drinks, guests can choose from virtually unlimited options, from the kind of liquor (Tipsy Robot boasts 172 bottles, or 59 different brands) to exact proportions of liquor and mixers and ice.

There are 14 “portions” in all. For example, we ordered a rum and Coke with two parts rum, six parts Coke and six parts ice. We really like ice.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

Tipsy Robot serves Captain Morgan Silver. We’re trying to get past it.

Once an order is placed and paid for with a credit card (drinks are $14 for a standard drink with one shot of alcohol), it goes into a queue. That’s a fancy European term for “line.”

The robots take anywhere from a minute to 90 seconds to prepare a drink, so the virtual line moves quite quickly.

A fun part of the process is that video displays keep track of where your order is in the queue, and you can tell when your specific drink is being made.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

Analytics! See where you are in the queue, the most popular drinks being ordered and trends related to the consumption of various drink categories. You are officially a world-class nerd.

While a drink is being prepared, an e-mail is sent to the address given when the order was placed.

The e-mail contains a QR code which, when scanned, “unlocks” the drink. This ensures nobody can abscond with a cocktail.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

Set your drink free with your QR code. QR codes are like bar codes. Emphasis on “bar.”

That’s it.

The robots prepare drinks element by element, grabbing ice from a dispenser, extracting liquor from bottles hanging overhead, slicing fruit, shaking up the drink and pouring the cocktails ever-so-carefully into plastic cups.

What don’t the robot bartenders do? They don’t take breaks, they don’t accept tips and they don’t provide straws.

There are attendants in space-aged uniforms to handle the straw thing.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

The robot helpers are called “Galactic Ambassadors.” Just play along.

During our visit, we chatted up Rino Armeni, owner of the 2,500-square-foot Tipsy Robot and Chairman of Robotic Innovations. He said, “I’m very proud that Las Vegas finally has something different, new, and most importantly, ahead of its time.”

Armeni is a charismatic Italian whose enthusiasm is contagious.

“In food and beverage,” Armeni says, “I think we’ve been asleep at the wheel lately. It’s been a matter of recycling, rather than being inventive.”

Yes, he actually said “sleeping on the wheel,” but we know what he meant.

Armeni continues, “We want to be almost like the fountains of Bellagio, the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign. We want people to come and experience this kind of entertainment.”

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

Owner Rino Armeni greets Tipsy Robot guests, assuring them he’s never heard the word “Skynet” before.

Armeni is careful to point out he considers the robot bartenders entertainment, rather than a replacement for actual bartenders.

In fact, Tipsy Robot has a “Human Bar,” with humans serving up the libations.

The robot bartenders aren’t fully autonomous, of course. A human being is still tasked with replacing the liquor bottles.

When we asked an insider how much the robots cost, the answer was along the lines of “a metric ass-ton.”

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

Humans and robots have many things in common, including an ongoing need for lubrication.

Tipsy Robot is looking to crowdsource the names of the robots. Siegfried and Roy leap to mind. Find out more on the Tipsy Robot Facebook page.

Tipsy Robot is open from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10:00 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Here’s another look at these modern marvels. You may not be able to tell these robot bartenders your problems, but you’ll always know the precise size of your pour.

Tipsy Robot Las Vegas

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Mercato Della Pescheria at Venetian Is a Las Vegas Must-Try

There’s an old Italian saying, “Il savio non s’imbarca senza biscotto.” It means, “A wise man never boards a ship without biscuits.”

We have no idea how that phrase relates to the captivating Mercato Della Pescheria at Venetian Las Vegas, but it was the best we could manage after a one-minute Google search.

Let’s eat!

Mercato Della Pescheria

Here’s a fun fact: Guests prefer to sit on the “patio” at Mercato Della Pescheria, despite the fact it’s not, technically, outdoors.

Mercato Della Pescheria has somehow managed to fly under the radar, but it’s easily one of the best Italian restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip.

The restaurant is tucked neatly in a corner of St. Mark’s Square in the Venetian’s Grand Canal Shops. The space was previously occupied by a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, Postrio.

Mercato Della Pescheria

Yes, we made a beeline to the bar. Do you know this blog at all?

Mercato Della Pescheria is Italian for “fish market,” a much less romantic term than “Mercato Della Pescheria.”

Mercato Della Pescheria is a mouthful, and is probably one of the reasons you don’t hear more about it. We’ve taken to calling it “Mercato” for short, or just “Rinaldo,” mainly when we’re drunk.

Mercato was inspired by an Italian coast seafood market. The vast majority of the ingredients in the dishes are imported from Italy, as are the servers, hostesses and managers at Mercato Della Pescheria.

You can see one of those Italian imports at the end of our walk-through.

While we are not a food critic, we can attest to the authenticity of the dishes, as we have eaten in the actual country of Italy.

To start, try selections from the menu’s “Salumeria” section (or “delicatessen”). Here you’ll find exceptional cured meats and Italian cheeses, almost all of which have names with ample vowels.

Mercato Della Pescheria

Stick to the small board. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Sorry about the sports analogy, we won’t let it happen again.

Appetizers include bruschetta (it’s the law), beef carpaccio, fried calamari, meatballs, marinated vegetables and other items.

Oh, and wood-roasted octopus. This is why you bring someone with you to Italian restaurants. They can tell you it’s delicious, and you can just trust their judgment.

Mercato Della Pescheria

Octopuses are soft-bodied, eight-armed molluscs. We can certainly sympathize with the soft-bodied part.

Before you get too far into the menu, you’ll want to try one, or several, of Mercato Della Pescheria’s signature cocktails.

As further proof we are not a restaurant reviewer, we have no idea which signature cocktail this is. We do remember it was absolutely delicious, so take a leap of faith, order something the waitress recommends and know you’ll get something good.

Mercato Della Pescheria cocktail

There’s a chance this is an “Italian Highball,” with Skyy Infusions Georgia Peach vodka, Aperol (an Italian aperitif), white peach puree, lemon and San Pellegrino blood orange soda.

Mercato has a dizzying selection of fresh pasta dishes, which sort of made us wish we were a cow. Because they have four stomachs. Please try and keep up.

If you’re like us, most of the pasta you eat comes out of a “box” or “bag” from a “grocery store.” This is blasphemy to Italians, and once you have pasta made in-house, you may never go back.

Mercato pasta

Fresh pasta, suitable for inhalation.

The rest of the menu is devoted to meat and seafood, from the “coal-fired Josper oven and grill,” whatever that might actually be.

Simply put, every damn dish is better than the next at Mercato Della Pescheria. The veal osso buco was impressive, and we are not personally a veal person.

Mercato Della Pescheria

Sometimes, food is so pretty, you don’t want to eat it. The amazing part is we nearly wrote that with a straight face.

The shining star at Mercato Della Pescheria was the lasagna, the “Lasagna Della Mamma.” It’s easily among the best we’ve ever had. In our lives. And we have lived a fairly long life. Don’t rub it in.

Mercato Della Pescheria

Do not covet our lasagna. We can totally tell you’re coveting.

You will absolutely not have room for dessert, but have it, anyway.

Ask about the tiramisu (sorry, “Il Tiramisu”), as it’s prepared fresh, tableside, with homemade lady fingers, mascarpone cream, coffee and chocolate.

Mercato Della Pescheria

“Grazie!” we exclaimed. “I’m from Poland,” she replied, as we nearly caused an international incident.

While Mercato Della Pescheria isn’t cheap, you get what you pay for, and given the quality and freshness of the food, we consider it a value as well as an upscale dining experience you probably can’t find back home. Unless your home is Milan.

Mercato Della Pescheria

One more panty-dropper cocktail, the Cosmo Bianca, with Skyy Bartlett Pear vodka, St. Germain, lime sour and white cranberry.

If you’re visiting Las Vegas, it’s all about finding unforgettable experiences, and Mercato Della Pescheria is a “bellissima” example of just that.

Find out more at the official site, and make sure to check out the full menu.

Mercato Della Pescheria at Venetian

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Red Rock Resorts Will Reportedly Jettison Five Restaurants and Clique Hospitality

There’s a shake-up on the way, and it could mark the end of five restaurants at Red Rock Resorts casinos in Las Vegas.

Rumors are Red Rock Resorts, also known as Station Casinos, will sever ties with one of its main restaurant partners, Clique Hospitality Group, at the end of 2017.

In the parlance of Las Vegas restaurants: This could be a really big deal.

Red Rock Resort

If you guessed we wrote this entire article as an excuse to share this kick-ass photo we took of Red Rock resort, you could be right.

The change in relationship between Station Casinos and Clique Hospitality is going to mean a number of restaurants will be rebranded or replaced.

If the rumors are true, Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar, Salute Trattoria Italiana and Libre Mexican Cantina will soon be out at Red Rock resort.

At Green Valley Ranch, Bottiglia and Borracha Mexican Cantina will be getting a swan song as well.

Bottiglia

It sounds like Bottiglia is one of the restaurants about to get whacked.

Clique Hospitality was founded by Andy Masi, founder of Light Group, and his partners Brian Massie and Shane Monaco.

Clique Hospitality is, at its heart, a relatively well-regarded nightlife company. The firm’s expansion into restaurants has been less successful. (Don’t even get us started about our experience at their “restaurant” at Mirage, The Still. It was so disappointing, we couldn’t even bear to write about it.)

Replacements for the outgoing restaurants have yet to be finalized. Red Rock Resorts could seek other partners, or just retool the restaurants and manage them in-house.

An interesting side note is Red Rock Resorts recently bought the Palms resort. We predicted Clique Hospitality would play a key role in rebranding the resort’s restaurants, but that now
seems an unlikely scenario.

Palms recently announced it will open a new 24-hour cafe, Lucky Penny, on July 1. The Bistro Buffet at Palms closes June 30, with a new food hall concept coming in December 2017. In the meantime, a temporary offering, Social Table, will operate in the hotel’s former Hooter’s space. Clique is nowhere to be found in plans for the Palms.

Clique Hospitality

What doesn’t kill us can still be fairly awkward.

The falling out with Red Rock Resorts means a hefty chunk of Clique’s restaurant portfolio could be wiped out by the end of the year.

We quite enjoyed Clique Bar & Lounge at Cosmopolitan, so here’s hoping Clique Hospitality will continue to seek out nightlife opportunities around town with other resort partners.

Update (6/15/17): According to Lori Nelson, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Station Casinos, the rumors in our story are unfounded. She states, “The rumors in your blog about the restaurants at Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch Resort are false. We value and enjoy a great relationship with Andy Masi and Clique Hospitality.”

Thanks to the folks at Station for taking the time to reach out.

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11 Panty-Dropper Cocktails to Lubricate Your Las Vegas Visit

There’s a difference between merely doing Las Vegas and doing it right. That difference? Cocktails.

More specifically, we’re talking about cocktails we lovingly refer to as “Panty-Dropper Cocktails.” They’re the kind of cocktails that facilitate social collisions and instigate unforgettable Sin City memories.

Here, we’ve gathered some of our favorite panty-dropper cocktails from across Las Vegas. Cheers!

1. Bathtub Gin Daisy at Freedom Beat Inside Downtown Grand

From what we remember, the Bathtub Gin Daisy has Old Grove gin, orange liqueur and lemon.

Bathtub Gin Daisy

You may as well just skip these photo captions, we’re drunk.

2. Carolyn Cosmo at The Nerd Nightclub at Neonopolis

The Carolyn Cosmo has Grey Goose Le Citron vodka, Pama pomegranate liqueur, Cointreau orange-flavored liqueur, fresh lime and cranberry.

Nerd Carolyn Cosmo

The Nerd Nightclub only has one specialty cocktail, but they chose wisely.

3. Alto Margarita at Alto Bar Inside Caesars Palace

This cocktail features Caesars Select Patrón Reposado tequila, Cointreau liqueur, agave nectar, lime juice and a floater of Grand Marnie.

Alto Margarita

The Alto Margarita is made all the more delicious by the fact it’s free when you’re playing video poker at Alto Bar.

4. Blazin’ Vegas at Pizza Rock

Hold onto your bloomers, this cocktail has Fireball cinnamon whiskey, Apple Pucker, Crown Royal and Red Bull.

Blazin Vegas cocktail

This cocktail will inspire you to not only remove your current panties, but all future panties.

5. Cleopatra’s Smile at Lobby Bar Inside Caesars Palace

Cleopatra’s Smile has Ketel One Citroen vodka, Aperol Apertivo, Pavan liqueur, fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit and lemon juices and clover honey syrup.

Cleopatra's Smile cocktail

There’s a reason Cleopatra smiled so much.

6. Hot Little Mess at Commonwealth

The Hot Little Mess has Bacardi Dragon Berry rum, fresh lime, simple syrup and strawberry puree.

Hot Little Mess at Commonwealth

You say “hot little mess” like it’s a bad thing.

7. Last Dame Standing at Edge Steakhouse Inside Westgate

The Last Dame Standing keeps it simple with muddled strawberries, Gray Goose vodka and fresh lemon juice.

Last Dame Standing cocktail

We do not condone the word “dame,” but we fully endorse this panty-dropper cocktail.

8. The Smash at Therapy

The perfect combination of Four Roses bourbon, blackberries, fresh limes and mint.

The Smash cocktail

The Smash isn’t just at Therapy, it is therapy.

9. Tomm’s Cup at Tom’s Urban at New York-New York

Just your basic masterpiece fashioned from Beefeater gin, Pimm’s (a gin-based liqueur), strawberry puree, ginger beer, simple syrup and lemon juice.

Tomm's Cup

Yes, it’s “Tomm’s.” We’re not that drunk.

10. White Peach Margarita at Stratosphere

It’s entirely possible this cocktail contains Sauza Hornitos tequila, peach puree, sour mix, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and triple sec, an orange-flavoured liqueur. We are not a mixologist. We are a sloppy drunkologist.

White Peach Margarita

Peaches have calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper, thereby making this cocktail a health drink.

11. Ruby Red Margarita at Fogo de Chao

Splash around in the Ketel One vodka, ruby red grapefruit, lemon juice and black salt.

Ruby Red Martini

No, it’s not exactly red. Trust us. After a couple of these cocktails, that inner critic of yours will mellow right the hell out.

Thirsty? Us, too.

Grab the nearest mixologist and drink in all the amazing cocktails Las Vegas has to offer. Livers are fairly inexpensive on the black market, so it’s time to live a little.

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Impossible Burger at Andrea’s is a Good Burger, But a Spectacular Veggie Burger

There’s been a good amount of buzz about a new menu item at Andrea’s inside Encore, the Impossible Burger, so we wasted no time trying the burger that uses “zero percent cow.”

The Impossible Burger is served three ways. We chose the sliders.

Impossible Burger

Some assembly required.

The Impossible Burger patties are served on a hot plate, with the patties still sizzling, and the fragrance is distinctly meatlike.

Despite their appearance, Impossible Burgers are completely meat-free and vegetarian-friendly.

Impossible Burger

“Improbable Burger” is probably more accurate, but doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

According to the Impossible Burger Web site, “Compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s 100% free of hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients.”

We may have removed a couple of Oxford commas from that excerpt, but only because they’re about as necessary as a clever pick-up line at a brothel. Moving on.

Impossible Burger

Yes, they could’ve inserted the meat in the kitchen, but imagine the number of H.R. and health violations.

Impossible Burger meat is a concoction of wheat, coconut oil, potatoes and other all-natural ingredients. We liked it, anyway.

A key ingredient of Impossible Burgers is something called heme. Heme is “an iron-containing compound of the porphyrin class that forms the nonprotein part of hemoglobin and some other biological molecules.” Which, as you can imagine, looks sexy as hell on the menu at Andrea’s.

According to the folks at Impossible Foods, heme “is what makes meat smell, sizzle and bleed.”

Andrea's Encore

Andrea’s is named after Steve Wynn’s wife, Andrea Hissom. (Those are her eyes.) She’s not called Andrea Wynn, mainly because if she were, Wynn’s former wife, Elaine, would rain down hell fire and haunt us all for an eternity.

The three sliders are served with frisee (or endive, a member of the chicory family), kimchee (think vegetables with a personal hygiene problem) and pickles (think cucumber with a personal hygiene problem).

Impossible Burger sliders come with two delicious sauces, kalbi and kochujang aioli.

Yes, we took notes for a change.

The sliders cost $20, and were undeniably delectable. Millennial translation: They’re amazeballs.

Impossible Burger

We’re nominating the Impossible Burger as the best veggie burger in Vegas, emphasis on “nom.”

While Impossible Burgers are, indeed, tasty, we can’t say they’re indistinguishable from beef hamburgers. Veggie burgers still haven’t managed to replicate the mouth feel of their meaty counterparts, but Impossible Burgers are surprisingly close.

The other two dishes using Impossible Burger meat are the Thai Crispy Rice Cups (made with mint, cilantro, chili, onion, ginger and peanuts) and Ma Po Tofu (a take on meatballs, with chili paste, shiitake mushrooms and green onion).

While you’re devouring your Impossible Burgers, make sure to try one of our all-time favorite panty-dropper cocktails, the Asian Pear.

Andrea's Encore Asian Pear

Bonus: The Asian Pear is meat-free.

If you’re visiting Andrea’s solo, have no fear. We had our Impossible Burgers while seated at the bar.

The Impossible Burger is that rare creature, so to speak, that lives up to the hype.

Andrea's Encore

Andrea’s is a little fancy, so, please, no lederhosen.

Die-hard meat eaters may ultimately prefer a traditional burger to the Impossible Burger at Andrea’s, but there’s a lot to be said for having a viable alternative to meat, especially if one is toying with the idea of cutting back on meat, or even going whole hog vegan or vegetarian.

Yes, we see what we did there, although we’re not entirely sure what.

Encore Las Vegas

What, you thought we’d miss an opportunity to share a gratuitous photo of Encore? Do you know this blog at all?

The bottom line is this: Impossible Burgers don’t feel like a compromise or sacrifice. Whether you’d like to save a cow or possibly save the planet, meat-free food is inherently more appealing because it’s also free of guilt.

If you try an Impossible Burger, let us know what you think. Visit Encore’s Web site to learn more.

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The Nerd Nightclub Opens at Downtown’s Neonopolis

A new nightlife offering has opened at downtown’s Neonopolis, The Nerd.

The Nerd nightclub takes up residence in the former Drink & Drag space and offers bowling, pool and frosty beverages. No drag queens, but you’ll survive.

The Nerd nightclub

Fun fact: The stigma of being a nerd vanished about 15 minutes after Bill Gates made his first billion.

The Grand Opening of The Nerd was attended by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and other tenants of Neonopolis, a shopping center that has struggled in the past, but which seems to be building momentum with new businesses like Fremont Arcade and an eSports arena.

The Nerd nightclub

You can keep your cornhole. We’ll opt for pool every time.

The Nerd is on the second floor of Neonopolis, and features a 12-lane bowling alley, four pool tables, a dance floor and DJ booth.

The Nerd nightclub

We hear The Nerd’s dance floor features go-go dancers on the weekend. Guess we have some further research to do.

So far, The Nerd feels a bit hastily put together. There’s no permanent signage to speak of, and while there’s a full bar, there’s no signature cocktail menu. During our visit on opening day, however, there was one specialty cocktail being served, the Carolyn Cosmopolitan (named after the mayor, of course), and it was delicious.

The Nerd nightclub

A certified panty-dropper cocktail. All due respect, Mayor Goodman.

If you’d like to make the Carolyn Cosmo at home: Grey Goose Le Citron vodka (2 oz.), Pama pomegranate liqueur (1 oz.), Cointreau orange-flavored liqueur (1 oz.), fresh lime and a splash of cranberry.

There’s no food currently being served at The Nerd, but that is likely to change in the future. (Related: We’ve heard a food truck may take up residence in the courtyard of Neonopolis, which would certainly help to satisfy our drunchies.)

In fact, The Nerd’s owner, Jonathan Borchetta, seems to have lots of plans in the works for the place. Some of the most ambitious are off-the-record for the time being, but stay tuned. Borchetta is also owner of the VooDoo Zipline at Rio Las Vegas.

The Nerd

Jonathan Borchetta receives a Proclamation from Mayor Goodman. In Las Vegas, it’s the law.

Borchetta understands The Nerd is in a challenging location, but thinks the quirky theme and libations will win the day.

He’s also enticing customers with the promise of free bowling and pool. We’re sold.

The Nerd nightclub

Bowling continues to be one of the best ways to humiliate yourself in front of your friends.

Speaking of the nerdy theme, The Nerd has ample movie and TV memorabilia on display, will sell comic book and pop culture costumes for those into cosplay, and anyone wearing a costume will get half-price drinks.

The Nerd

We’re thinking “Breaking Bad.” There was a placard, but this blog is more of a drinker than a placard reader.

There are also classic video games throughout the venue, and those, too, are free to play.

The Nerd nightclub

Even if you’re wasted, you’ll be able to tell you’re at The Nerd.

We fell in love with the Drink & Drag space during its short run at Neonopolis and were sorry to see the establishment close. The Nerd has a lot of potential, and we look forward to seeing what’s next.

If The Nerd can tap into the gamer and Comic-Con crowds, while wooing the cool kids who frequent Gold Spike and Fremont East, it truly will be the revenge of the, well, you know.

The Nerd Nightclub at Neonopolis

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