Category Archives: Panty-Dropper Cocktails

Golden Nugget Serves Up Eight Bar Cocktail Crawl at an Irresistible Price

If you’ve ever needed an excuse to explore the bars at Golden Nugget, now you have an enticing one.

The downtown casino offers what it calls a “Sip & Stroll,” which includes eight cocktails at
different Golden Nugget bars and restaurants.

Golden Nugget bar crawl

Fear ye not, for while the libations are vast in number, thou art a master libator.

The price of the “Tour de Hooch” is $40, which works out to roughly $5 per cocktail (we are a
Las Vegas blog, not an abacus). Most of the drinks included in the stroll typically cost $10-15 a pop, so the cost savings are significant.

Now, while this blog was up for sacrificing its liver to complete the crawl in a single evening, lightweights will opt to spread out the crawl over two or more days, or do the crawl with a
friend and share the bounty of booze.

First, we hit Bar 46, a fairly new bar that straddles the casino and Fremont Street promenade. The drink was a Maker’s Mark Manhattan.

Maker's Mark Manhattan

This Manhattan is made with bourbon and sweet vermouth. Vermouth is either dry or sweet, presumably because somebody drunk on vermouth thought those were opposites.

Let’s say right up front that doing the “Sip & Stroll” without making friends with your various bartenders means you’re not getting the most out of your forty bucks.

This is Jesus. Yes, our first drink of the evening was made by Jesus.

Golden Nugget bartender

Bourbon is a kind of whiskey. It prefers to be called “bourbon” because in Vegas everyone uses a stage name.

Next up, it was a Peach Bellini at Grotto Italian restaurant.

Given there are several restaurant bars included in the “Sip & Stroll,” there’s some strategy to the order in which you imbibe. Do you want snacks along the way or a full-on meal? That was a rhetorical question, by the way. It’s strange how you answered it in your head. And now it’s even weirder that you’re noticing that voice in your head. It never stops. And if you think about it, a blog actually changes what the voice in your head is saying. See? Now, the voice is saying what we want it to say. Rest assured, however, we will only use this power for good. Probably. Why don’t you slip out of those undies while you gaze upon what turned out to be our favorite panty-dropper of the evening.

Peach Bellini

A Peach Bellini cocktail is made with sparkling wine and peach juice. And, if you schmooze the bartender, love.

The Peach Bellini at Grotto ended up being our favorite of the entire “Sip & Stroll,” but we’ve got a long way to do, so pace yourself.

Next, we hit the bar at Red Sushi for sake. Apparently, it is bad luck to drink sake alone. Thankfully, we refer to ourself in the first person plural, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Sake

“Fermented rice” just sounds so sexy, doesn’t it?

 

If you think about it, Golden Nugget’s “Sip & Stroll” is more than just a bar crawl. It’s a world crawl. The Manhattan was invented in (wait for it) Manhattan. The Bellini comes from Italy. Sake comes from Japan. The little coupons are like your passport, but instead of jet lag, you get a hangover!

Enough ruminating, let’s get back to the intoxicating.

Ice Bar is a stand-alone lobby bar near the hotel’s registration desk. Ice Bar provides a great view of the hotel’s shark tank and scantily clad dealers at the pool’s table games. Please stay focused.

Ice Bar’s cocktail was the easiest to make of all the featured drinks: A Sapphire Martini. The recipe? One part Bombay Sapphire gin, one part more Bombay Sapphire gin and one part glass. And possibly olives.

Sapphire gin martini

Bro. Everyone knows two olives are bad luck. It’s Vegas!

As we are not a gin drinker, the Sapphire Martini was our least favorite of the cocktails. However, having taken our own advice, we got to know the bartender and persuaded him to make up for his olive gaff by improving the drink immeasurably with sweet and sour and a little soda water. All was forgiven!

It was about time to have dinner, but not before another cocktail, a simple glass of Champagne at Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse. The restaurant’s prix fixe menu is highly recommended. It’s not on the menu, but you can find it online if you know where to click. Typically, at the end of that last sentence.

Vic & Anthony's Golden Nugget

See, Efrain? We weren’t kidding when we said you’d be Internet famous.

It was time to peregrinate (a fancy form of staggering) to Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar for a margarita and grub.

Cadillac Mexican margarita

Margaritas are most-often associated with tequila, salted rims and people making asses of themselves.

We took advantage of the stop at Cadillac by ordering some tasty quesadillas. If you prefer not to have your face melted off, order them without the pico de gallo, teeming with what we can only assume were jalapeno peppers or possibly lava. Luckily, the margarita served as an effective cooling agent.

Quesadilla

Future promotion: “Munch & Stroll.” Or when the furry convention is in town: “Leg Hump & Stroll.” This is why we are a marketing genius.

Six drinks down, two more to go. Hey, we’re better at math than we thought.

It was time for Chart House’s contribution to the festivities, a Mango Mojito.

Mojito

Mojitos are Cuban, further advancing our belief the “Sip & Stroll” is a great way for one’s liver to see the world.

While at Chart House, don’t miss the aquarium. Although, that’s pretty much impossible given it’s the size of the actual Cuba.

Chart House aquarium

Chart House’s aquarium holds 75,000 gallons, so at this point in the bar crawl, we had that in common.

And, finally, we headed to Rush Lounge for the grand finale, a chocolate martini.

Chocolate martini

It’s believed the chocolate martini was invented by Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor in 1955. It’s on the Internet, so it has to be true.

So much liquor, so little memory of so much of that liquor.

Still, the Golden Nugget’s “Sip & Stroll” is a fun idea and we’d love to see it catch on at other Las Vegas resorts. We’ll take a 50-70% discount on nature’s perfect food (cocktails) anytime!

Find out more about the “Sip & Stroll” bar crawl at Golden Nugget. “Sip & Stroll” tickets can be purchased at the hotel’s box office, front desk or in VIP Services, whatever that might actually be.

Full disclosure: Golden Nugget is a member hotel of the Fremont Street Experience where we currently work in marketing. Our opinions are our own, unless our girlfriend says otherwise.

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 6: Chumlee, Cheese Whiz and Cocktails

Our sixth installment of the Vital Vegas Podcast is live, so let the festival of WTF begin!

Vital Vegas Podcast

Vital Vegas is to podcasting as pig farms are to fragrances.

In this installment of the Vital Vegas Podcast, we purport to chat exclusively with Austin “Chumlee” Russell, of “Pawn Stars” fame, about his recent arrest on charges related to drug and gun possession.

Chumlee

The awkwardness runs deep for fan favorite Chumlee at the moment.

We also superficially discuss the latest Las Vegas news, and trot out some filler in the form of “This Week in Las Vegas History.”

Hard Rock Las Vegas

On March 10, 1995, the world’s first Hard Rock Hotel opened in Las Vegas, bringing with it a slew of rock stars. Which may explain the proliferation of pharmacies on the Las Vegas Strip, if you get our drift.

Our favorite part of this week’s show is an interview with renowned pizza god Tony Gemignani, the aforementioned “cheese whiz” and mastermind behind the best pizza joint in Las Vegas, Pizza Rock.

Tony Gemignani not only tells us how to pronounce his name, he also talks candidly about the International Pizza Expo recently held in Las Vegas, and also shares how he was banned from competing in the World Pizza Championships for winning too often. Gemignani also talks about the potential expansion of his growing pizza empire to the Las Vegas Strip.

Tony Gemignani

Tony Gemignani opened the International School of Pizza and certifies pizza chefs from around the world. This blog is certifiably nuts about Pizza Rock.

This week’s episode also features our quick picks of 10 great bars where one can grab a cocktail in Las Vegas. We break our picks into two parts, one devoted to fancy bars with great views, another consisting of downtown bars that are fun and cheap.

Here’s the list we slapped together in five minutes.

Upscale, Fancy Las Vegas Bars With Stunning Views

1. 107 Sky Lounge at Stratosphere
2. VooDoo Lounge at Rio
3. Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris
4. Skyfall at Delano
5. Mandarin Cocktail Bar at Mandarin Oriental

By the way, if it’s views you’re after, check out our list of the 10 Best Views in Las Vegas.

Fun and Cheap Downtown Las Vegas Bars

6. Longbar at The D
7. Triple George Grill
8. Therapy
9. Outdoor bars at Binion’s
10. F. Pigalle

Therapy

The bar at Therapy provides just that. Therapy, that is. Please try and keep up.

Las Vegas simply has too many great bars to make a definitive top 10 list, sorry. But our slapped-together list should keep you busy.

This episode of the Vital Vegas Podcast has as much Las Vegas as it’s physically possible to squeeze into an hour without the use of subliminal messages. Thanks for listening.

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Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho Las Vegas Opens, Could Bring Much-Needed New Energy to Rio

There are a few things you know about Guy Fieri’s restaurants before you even set foot in one, starting with what they’re not.

They’re not pretentious, they’re not understated, they’re not about nuance or gourmet dining.

What they most certainly are is over-the-top, indulgent, audacious and unforgettable. Just like Las Vegas, come to think of it.

Guy Fieri’s second restaurant effort in Las Vegas, El Burro Borracho, opened at Rio Las Vegas on March 4, 2016.

El Burro Borracho Las Vegas

Welcome to Ciudad de Sabor. Which we’re not translating when you have the whole Internet at your fingertips.

“El Burro Borracho” translates as “drunk ass” in Spanish, so we’re not left to wonder what’s in store at this lively spot that’s taken up residence in the former Buzios Seafood space.

If you’re unfamiliar with Guy Fieri, you need to invest in a television. Fieri (real name: Guy Ramsay Ferry) hosts 90% of the shows on the Food Network. He’s the guy a lot of people love to hate, but unless you’re a food snob, his crowd-pleasing Vegas restaurants, including Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at the Linq Hotel, possess a lot to love.

El Burro Borracho, which will inevitably have a nickname, is a long, narrow space, with a bar (pictured below) as well as a long counter area running along an open kitchen.

El Burro Borracho Las Vegas3

You know you’re in for a good time when the hooch is right up front.

The menu at El Burro Borracho is in the realm of Mexican food, although purists are sure to discover a lot of WTF.

There’s a variety of comfort and bar foods in the mix, including nachos and street corn and jalapeno poppers and quesadillas and other favorites.

El Burro Borracho Rio Hotel

The chips are on the house. A lone fried pork rind is included to remind us about the resilience of the human arterial system.

You’ll also find soups and salads, hamburgers, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and chimichangas.

We went with the Al Pastor tacos ($17), with marinated pork shoulder, grilled pineapple serrano salsa, avocado crema, pickled red onion and cilantro. Delicious and filling.

El Burro Borracho drunk ass

Al pastor tacos were inspired by the spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Look how much more worldly you are now than five minutes ago. You’re welcome.

Desserts include house-made churros, fried ice cream, chocolate flan cake and other temptations.

Check out the full El Burro Borracho menu on the Rio Las Vegas Web site.

As for the cocktails, they were plentiful and strong, stealing the spotlight by appearing before the food in the restaurant’s menu. The signature cocktails are priced at $15, and most could easily serve four people.

El Burro Borracho

This is how the burro ended up so borracho.

We went with the Aztec Punch, a true panty-dropper cocktail if ever there were one.

The Aztex Punch has El Jimador tequila, Sailor Jerry spiced rum (regrettably not Captain Morgan, but we’re not entirely inflexible), orange and pineapple juices, peach syrup, strawberry puree and a dark rum float.

El Burro Borracho Rio Las Vegas

Pineapple juice contains bromelain, which is believed to help prevent cancer. You can totally use that as an excuse for having a sixth Aztec Punch.

El Burro Borracho faces the hotel’s pool area, and there are plans to open a “taco stand” in the back portion of the restaurant, accessible to those at the pool seeking munchies and libations in ridiculous quantities.

El Burro Borracho

This “taco stand” area should be hopping as things heat up in Las Vegas.

Currently, Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho is open 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The restaurant is technically in a “soft opening” until the official grand opening, April 1, 2016.

The copious amount of liquor, friendly staff and party atmosphere make for a fun night out at El Burro Borracho.

Rio Las Vegas could certainly use a shot in the arm, with many of its retail shops closing and a large section of its casino floor devoted to timeshare sales. We are not making this up.

The upstairs BK Whopper Bar has closed and will soon be replaced with a Smashburger.

BK Whopper Bar

Out with the old, in with the smashed.

KISS Minigolf will be moving into the former seafood buffet space (zero construction has started yet from what we could see), so that could also contribute a new sense of energy to the resort, as does the hotel’s show (recently relocated from the Venetian), “Rock of Ages.”

We hear a new “high-profile restaurant concept” is yet-to-come, and will sit in the space once occupied by Antonio’s Italian Ristorante.

If a hotel is looking to amp up its vibe, Guy Fieri’s brand seems a good fit. El Burro Borracho is a great place to kick back with friends, numb some brain cells and fuel up for a Las Vegas adventure.

Because when was the last time you saw someone wearing an “I Got Nuanced in Vegas” T-shirt?

Guy Fieri's El Burro Borracho at Rio

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Cosmopolitan’s Two Kick-Ass New Offerings: Clique Lounge, Race & Sports Book

Already one of the most popular and appealing resorts in Las Vegas, Cosmopolitan continues to unveil new offerings. Most recently, Cosmo opened Clique Bar & Lounge, followed by a new Race & Sports Book.

We’ve got all the scoop, as well as so many photos the world may soon experience a pixel shortage.

Clique Bar & Lounge Las Vegas

Clique Lounge is mere feet from the Cosmo’s new high limit slot parlor. We call them parlors to make them sound fancier.

Clique Bar & Lounge was created in partnership with Clique Hospitality in the space formerly occupied by Cosmo’s Book & Stage.

The lounge’s interior is understated by Las Vegas standards, managing to feel upscale without being ostentatious, exuding a vibe welcoming even to those who may not love the more pretentious aspects of Sin City’s nightlife scene.

Cosmo Clique lounge

We’re getting to the cocktails. You should really try and keep that drinking problem  of yours in check.

Clique (pronounced “click,” not “kleek,” by the way) is a lot about the exceptional cocktails and serious mixology, a claim made by most, if not all, Las Vegas lounges and bars.

Clique fulfills its promise, making it a stand-out in a town famous for its innovations in the realm of libations.

Clique Vegas

These are the Don Sandia shooters. Edible shot glasses for the win.

Bargain-hunters may feel a bit of sticker shock at Clique, but $18 specialty cocktails are quickly becoming the norm on the Las Vegas Strip.

Ultimately, that’s not the price of a cocktail so much as the price of an experience, and Clique delivers one guests are unlikely to soon forget.

Clique Cosmopolitan

Bonus points for adorability.

Some of the more remarkable cocktails at Clique are prepared tableside by expert bartenders. Sorry, mixologists. It doesn’t matter what you call them. They facilitate the happy.

Clique mixologists

Mixologists Justin and Anthony may very well have degrees in chemical engineering.

Each cocktail presentation is more dramatic than the last. The tableside cocktails break down into three groups: Barrel Smoked ($30), Table Infused ($25) and Caramelized ($25).

One of the more entertaining presentations is for the Bow Street Banana, which includes capturing smoke in your glass. It’s hard to explain. Just go with it.

Clique mixology

You thought we were making this up?

Please note there are some rules around these tableside cocktails, including the possibility there may be a one drink minimum for each person in your party. At $25 to $30 a pop, that can add up.

Clique mixology

We’re pretty sure they can’t put “Barrel Smoked” on the menu unless there are actual barrels involved.

Here’s the full menu for Clique Bar & Lounge.

A delicious diversion at Clique is the other menu, the food, or “Table Snacks.” Food is served from 5:00 p.m. to midnight.

Recommended are the Pizza Pockets ($14) and Mini Sliders ($18), the perfect complement to your drink of choice.

Clique Pizza Pockets

One of our few quibbles with Clique involves not being able to dip a square Pizza Pocket into a round sauce cup. Related: We needed an excuse to use the word “quibbles.”

You won’t want to leave Clique without having the heavenly Deep Fried Oreos ($9) with vanilla anglaise sauce.

Clique deep fried Oreos

Tried to limit ourselves to a dozen of these. Failed.

The staff at Clique is as memorable as the beverages and food.

The bartenders all appear to be models, and that also goes for the cocktail waitresses. The team at Clique seems to be able to balance good genes with a high degree of menu knowledge and ability to hold a conversation.

Clique waitress uniform

Hey, we had to share the cocktail server uniform. The things we do for you.

Here are more photos from Clique Bar & Lounge at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

Clique Lounge at Cosmopolitan

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But wait, there’s more! It’s Vegas, after all.

Also new at Cosmopolitan is a sparkly new Race & Sports Book. Even if you’re not all that into races or sports (we aren’t), we suspect you’ll find this new venue enticing (we did).

Cosmopolitan Race & Sports Book

It’s sort of the way you’d want your den to be if you had a couple million bucks sitting around.

Cosmo’s new Race & Sports book has a lot to love, including comfy chairs, an epic hell-ton of TV screens, and even some Millennial-friendly games like tabletop shuffleboard and pool.

Cosmo sports book

The aforementioned comfiness.

Social spaces with non-revenue-generating games are a thing in Las Vegas at the moment, so cut them some slack.

Cosmopolitan Race & Sports Book

A little race, a little sports, a little blackjack, a little foosball. What’s not to love?

Near the Race & Sports book is a collection of table games, the kind that actually make casinos money.

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Cosmo’s nailing it.

The new Race & Sports Book is just inside the Cosmo’s Las Vegas Boulevard entrance, near Chandelier Bar. Which we swear we’re not just mentioning so we have an excuse to share this photo we took.

Cosmopolitan Chandelier Bar

Don’t just sit there, pin something.

There’s still some construction going on in the adjoining Lucky Cat space. That’ll be a small Starbucks in time.

Cosmopolitan’s Race & Sports Book has its own specialty cocktails and food items, several of which can be seen in the photo below, because we’re all about giving you the tools you need to get the most from your Las Vegas sojourn. The legal ones, anyway.

Cosmo Sports Book menu

The Race & Sports Book cocktail menu references six sports and a legally non-binding agreement.

The Race & Sports Book at Cosmopolitan has a little something for everyone, and it’s well worth a stop.

Cosmo sports book

Choose your source of adrenaline.

Both Clique Bar & Lounge and the Race & Sports Book are wins in our opinion. Along with the casino’s renewed focus on gamblers, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas remains one of our favorite places to drink, play and people-watch. Let us know what you think.

Cosmopolitan Race & Sports Book

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Stratosphere’s Level 107 Lounge Becomes 107 SkyLounge, Keeps One of the Best Happy Hours in Las Vegas

We’ve long sung the praises of the happy hour at Level 107 Lounge at Stratosphere, and we won’t need to change our tune now that it’s become 107 SkyLounge.

The “107” in 107 SkyLounge refers to the floor the bar is on, and the view alone would make it a must-do in Las Vegas.

107 SkyLounge

Guys, Spanish Flies aren’t real. This view, however, is.

But 107 SkyLounge ups the ante with not one happy hours, but two.

There’s an early happy hour, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., where appetizers are half price and cocktails are two-for-one.

Appetizers are half price during a late happy hour, from 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. And there’s another two-for-one cocktail happy hour from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

Both the food and drinks are great, and the discounted prices make them even more appealing.

White Peach Margarita

The White Peach Margarita should serve all your panty-dropping needs.

The food, small plates and appetizers, come from the same chefs as the Strat’s Top of the World restaurant.

107 SkyLounge Stratosphere

Please don’t confuse the sliders at 107 SkyLounge with the sliders at Skyfall Lounge at Delano. Significantly better value here.

DJs do their thing starting at 11:00 p.m., so that’s either a reason to stay late or to leave early, depending upon your level of enjoyment of the DJ experience.

Making 107 SkyLounge an even better value is the fact visitors going up to the Stratosphere’s observation deck pay $20 to do so ($12 for hotel guests, $10 for children ages 4-12). If you say you’re hitting 107 SkyLounge, you get to ride in the super fast elevators—they travel three floors per second—free of charge.

Here’s more about one of the best happy hours in Las Vegas.

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A Meat-Lovers Paradise, Fogo de Chao Brazilian Restaurant, Opens in Downtown Summerlin

The folks at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse, invited us to dinner, and you’d better believe we accepted.

This is the second location for the Fogo de Chao, a restaurant whose name: 1) technically requires a tilde over the Chão, and 2) you’re pronouncing “Chão” wrong.

Fogo de Chao

Fogo de Chao literally means “fire on the ground.” And, yes, photo captions are where this blog keeps the bulk of its utterly useless information, thanks.

Seriously, though, you’re pronouncing it wrong. It’s Portugese, a language that mysteriously adds a soft “n” to the end of words that don’t actually contain any.
Here’s the correct way to say Fogo de Chao.

That’s right, it’s pronounced “fo-go dee shown.” There will be a quiz.

Now that we have the formalities out of the way, let’s eat. And drink. Although, not necessarily in that order.

Fogo de Chao

All great meals start with a panty-dropper, in this case, the Ruby Red Martini, with Ketel One vodka, ruby red grapefruit, lemon juice and black salt.

In case you’re not familiar with Brazilian restaurants, it’s not your typical style of service. Rather, it’s “espeto corrido” or “continuous service.” While you have a primary server, once you flip over your coaster (green on one side, red on the other), multiple gaucho chefs approach your table bearing gifts.

Or, as our dining companion put it, “I turned over my button and all these men approached me and offered me their meat.”

Fogo de Chao

Pace yourself.

The meat served at Fogo de Chao is remarkably good, perfectly seasoned, roasted over an open fire (called “churrasco”) and carved tableside.

The charming gentlemen delivering your meats aren’t servers, they’re Brazilian-trained gaucho chefs. About 90% of the chefs at the Downtown Summerlin location of Fogo de Chao are from Brazil.

Fogo de Chao

The team at Fogo de Chao works like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows everyone else’s job, which comes in handy when you’re looking to get your next cocktail, trust us.

Beside the protein, there’s also a gourmet Market Table and Feijoada Bar, with salads, soups, vegetables, Brazilian side dishes and feijoada, which we luckily had a news release to inform us is a traditional black bean stew with rice, fresh orange and yucca flour.

Fogo de Chao

Some colorfulness from the Market Table.

The stars of the show, though, are the meats. There’s Picanha, the restaurant’s signature sirloin, filet mignon, our personal favorite, lamb, chicken wrapped in bacon, chicken legs and others.

When you want to pause the meat delivery, you simply flip your coaster over to the red side.

Fogo de Chao

Green means “yes,” red means “chill.” Think of it as a gaucho remote control.

The cost per person for the “churrasco” experience is $49.95. Visit the official Web site for more details, including what are rumored to be great happy hour values. We were far too busy shoveling food to stop and take notes.

Fogo de Chao

The two private dining rooms are adorbs, assuming that’s something people still say.

http://www.fogodechao.com

Fogo de Chao dessert

Molten lava gets a bad rap. You’ll want to try the cake version.

Fogo de Chao is truly a distinctive and memorable experience. The service is exceptional, even in a town where exceptional service comes standard.

Fogo de Chao is a must-visit for Las Vegas locals, and while many visitors won’t venture to Summerlin (about 20 minutes west of The Strip), if you do, this should be on your short list of restaurants to try.

Enjoy more photos, and please resist the temptation to lick your computer monitor or smartphone.

Fogo de Chao Las Vegas

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