I know what you are thinking…”Man, this guy loves himself some Vegas.” While I spend about 5-6 weeks a year in the city for work. Yes I do! From the sights, the sounds, the food, the drinks, everything about Vegas is about experience. It always has been. Since the very beginning Vegas was a destination people went to so they could forget the real world exists for just a little bit. filled with extravaganza around every corner, whether you are on Freemont Street in classic Vegas or on the strip in a modern resort, there is always something to see or something to do, you never have to go far.
In this edition we will travel from Excalibur, a classic from the family friendly Vegas full of show, excitement and literal magic. Afterward we head to The Park Vegas a more modern venue with a cavalcade of restaurants an shops. Finally we hit up Mandalay Bay for some late night drinks and people watching.
We begin our evening at The Lounge inside Excalibur. A nice chill bar with live bands and sound that is not overwhelming. I hate nothing more than having a cool bar but the music is so loud you cannot have a conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some live music, but if I wanted a raging concert i would pay to go to one. Nothing annoys me more when an audio engineer treats a bar like a stadium, but the Lounge though has a full handle on the volume of their venue and the audio mix is just as good as the drinks. The bar is well maintained and has a great view of passing traffic and gaming action. Eddie was behind the bar the night we visited, his drinks are fantastically mixed with just the right amount of liquor.
Presentation: standard plastic cup over bar ice and garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.
Flavor profile: fantastically island classic and mainland mix with a pleasant combination of pineapple and Grenadine. Not too sweet and liquor rich.
Our next stop is The Park Vegas, a newer MGM property with plenty to offer when it comes to food and drink. The place is choc-full-o food counters, restaurants, bars and more. Or desire was to hit up Best Friend, a Korean BBQ joint owned by celebrity chef Roy Choi. The food is absolutely amazing, which is to be expected. The establishment, while it takes reservations, is not much of a “sit down” restaurant, but rather is very much lunch counter style with a few standing tables for hunkering over your food while you stumble through Vegas. Which is proper, as that is exactly what most people are doing. The line was not long and I was more than happy to find out the bartender was knowledgeable enough to make a Mai-Tai. I figured, hey what the heck, the place is owned by a celebrity chef…their bartender has to be half-way decent. And while I did not manage to get his name during the busy bustle of the ordering counter, his skills with a Mai-Tai did not disappoint.
Presentation: Served in a standard plastic bar cup over crushed ice and garnished with a brandied cherry and orange wedge.
Flavor profile: A nice refreshing mix of fruity that was surprisingly not too sweet considering the lack of lime in the mix with a good pour of liquor.
Our final stop for the evening is Rhythm and Riffs Lounge, nestled in the middle of the Mandalay Bay resort this location is good spot to wind down an evening of walking and drinking. The bar sits on the main thorough fair of the casino floor which makes for a great cross traffic of entertainment as you enjoy your drinks. There is a small stage where they have live bands and DJs, and while there was no entertainment playing the night we went, the bar was bustling with activity and all the tables were full. Despite the busy evening the bartender was more than amiable with a great attitude and some fun stories about her evening of clientele. Add to this good attitude the willingness to make a Mai-Tai and you have a winning combination. Overall I enjoyed the time we spent at this location for our last bar of the night and it a spot I would gladly come back to again.
Presentation: Served in a standard plastic bar cup over wet bar ice and garnished with a two
maraschino cherries and an orange wedge.
Flavor profile: Overall tasty, a little on the fruity side with the juice and a bit heavy on the grenadine, which is not a usual ingredient. Once the ice melted some, the sweetness blended with the liquor much better, which was a bit heavy on the front end.
Such an incredible night of walking the strip, spending time with friends, and of course nursing a Mai-Tai. Nothing quite compares to the sights and sounds of vegas while enjoying one of the best drinks known to man. Stay tuned for many more Mai-Tai filled adventures and reviews coming soon.
Thanks so much as always for reading and see you at the Tiki Bar!
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