Wednesday, February 08, 2012

No. 213: Fave Vegas Watering Holes - Vesper Bar, Big Dog's Cafe, Frankie's Tiki Room

Slightly amused at the irony that foodventure (or more accurately, drinkventure) #213 is actually about area code 702 . . . but anyhoo, even though Alizé was the over-the-top multi-course affair I had in in Vegas in late last year, there were no shortage of good eats & drinks all over town, both on- and off- the Strip. In fact, there were enough that I decide to split my original one-post roundup into one about drinks & another about eats.

So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite Sin City sips.

Frankie's Tiki Room

Daybreak @ Frankie's Tiki Room
To avoid the heavy traffic along the 15 (damn you Vegas weekend warriors!), I almost always do a red eye, leaving L.A. around 2-3 a.m. & usually arriving in Sin City just at daybreak. And to celebrate that one can imbibe 24/7 in this city, my usual first stop is Frankie's Tiki Room . . . an off-Strip bar serving deceptively potent drinks @ a reasonable price, with a smack of "authentic" Tiki-ness boot. Decorwise, think Tiki-Ti with three times the space to spread out all the kitschy knick-knacks. And of course, being in Vegas, the obligatory video poker @ the bar.
Bender Ender @ Frankie's Tiki Room
Their menu consists of about 20 drinks - a few Tiki cocktail classics (Mai Tai, Navy Grog, Zombies) and a few twists of their own making, all @ $8. Surprisingly, the bartend recognized me from my last Vegas excursion over a year ago (I guess not many people come in at the crack of dawn and declare needing a drink after a night drive from L.A.) so I entrusted him to swizzle something up; it wound up being the Bender Ender (which, according to their skull rating, is on par with a Zombie in potency.) And it certainly did its job in packing an unexpected punch.

For those who prefer less fruit and more spirit, Frankie's also boast an impressive list of about 100 rums that's also reasonably priced -- so save some liver space to try a few that you've been curious about.

Vesper Bar @ Cosmpolitan Hotel
Vesper Bar
Having gone to Vegas as many times as I have, I'm always skeptical of on-Strip recommendations--particularly one that's essentially a hotel lobby bar (the Vesper is right next to the guest check-in), but I decided to give this a go having heard this suggested by multiple drinkbloggers.

Over my three-day Vegas stay, I went there thrice (yes, it's a word!)

In short, I absolutely adore their drinks, which are fun twists of the classics, often kissed with a curiosity-inducing spice or herb that keeps me sipping on and on, delightfully discovering new aromas, flavors and textures along the way. My personal fave? Well, I actually have two, depending the occasion...
Hot Mule @ Vesper Bar
If it's hot out (a.k.a. 90 percent of the time), go for the Hot Mule, their Moscow Mule variation kicked up a notch with Hangar One spiced pear vodka, their housemade ginger syrup and Angostura bitters. Still as refreshing to drink as the original but definitely more fragrant and complex... and delicious enough to win over my vodka-phobic palate.
The Mayan @ Vesper Bar
On the other hand, if you need warming up (say... after clubbing post-midnight *ahem*) go for The Mayan, a Manhattan spin with a little heat amplification. The already spicy Wild Turkey rye is combined with Angostura, Amaro Meletti & "Aztec Spices" (that definitely contained some powdered chilies) balanced with a sweet-smelling cinnamon & fig-infused vermouth--making for a smooth, rich & tingle-inducing nightcap.

Big Dog's Cafe & Casino
Big Dog's Cafe Entrance
If you stayed on the Strip, you probably think Sin City is only the beer-brewing game in town. And while I think SC is alright and a definite notch up from mega-corporate beers, I much prefer Big Dog's heftier and more flavorful offerings.
Balls of Holly Winter Ale
Their canine-themed regular brews run the gamut of beer profiles, from the Leglifter Light lager to the Dirty Dog IPA & Black Lab Stout. Since it's around holidays, they were offering up their seasonal Balls of Holly--a nice Winter Ale that balances its somewhat robust body with effervescent pine & peppermint aromas from the hops (without going over-the-top to smell like a air freshener or candy cane) and a tinge of roasted malty-sweetness.
Sliders & Potato Salad @ Big Dog's Cafe
While you're here, give their sliders & German potato salad a go (which is how I discovered Big Dog's in the first place... though R.I.P. to their filet mignon sliders, my fave from years past.)

And I guess this would be a perfect segue for the next post about my favorite Vegas eats... stay tuned!

Frankie's Tiki Room
1712 West Charleston Boulevard  
Las Vegas, NV 89102-2335
(702) 385-3110

Vesper Bar @ The Cosmopolitan Hotel
3708 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV
(877) 551-7778
Facebook (for Hotel)
Twitter (for Hotel)

Big Dog's Cafe & Casino
6390 West Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 876-3647


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...