A couple of us nerds (and a bunch of other guys, too) are heading to Las Vegas this weekend. We’ll keep the details of our trip off the record, except of course for the beer.
For a place that caters to so many tastes, it’s no surprise that there are a couple of decent beer joints in town. It takes a bit of searching, but they’re there. We’ve managed to check a couple of them out, and I know of at least two more that I’d like to visit at some point.
Places I haven’t been
–Yard House, Town Square
The only Yard House I’ve ever been to was in Pasadena, Calif., but they seem to be sprouting up everywhere — including Houston (need to check it out soon) and Vegas. The one in Vegas is at Town Square, a shopping and entertainment complex on Las Vegas Blvd., south of McCarran Airport (meaning, south of the Strip). It’s a bit out of the way, but might be worth a side-trip at some point.
–Pour 24, New York New York
I’ve walked past this place a couple of times but for some reason have never stopped to get a beer. It’s a pseudo-bar upstairs at NYNY, near the walkway to the Excalibur (and Luxor and Mandalay). I say “pseudo-bar” because you don’t actually walk into the place; it’s just sort of sitting there among the other tourist traps (water massages, cheesy picture stands, oxygen bars, etc.). I don’t want to knock it, though, because their selection seems pretty good. I’ll try to make a point to get a beer or two at Pour 24 this trip.
Places I’ve been
–Triple 7 Restaurant and Microbrewery, Main Street Station casino
We had dinner and beers here on our last trip, in September. The food was decent and the beers were well worth trying. They’ve got four or five year-round selections, and usually a seasonal offering or two. According to their site, they currently have CherryAnn, a “cream ale spiked with … cherry juice”, and Problem Child Imperial Porter, a 9.5% abv monster. When we were there, most of us opted for the 5-beer sampler for $6-$7, which is a bit of a steal considering Vegas prices. You can even order the microbrews while gambling on the casino floor. And if you haven’t been before, you should definitely check out Main Street Station — it’s one of the coolest casinos downtown.
–Burger Bar, Shoppes at Mandalay Bay
The crown jewel of the Vegas beer scene, at least as far as I know. You’d never guess it from the name — its main calling is a gourmet-yet-casual burger restaurant (the burgers are delicious, by the way). But hidden inside their drink menu is a ridiculous selection of great beer. They’ve got all sorts of stuff — from microbrew classics, to vintages of rare beers, to macro-lite stuff for the less adventurous in your crew (the waitress might make fun of them, though). The two times I’ve been there, I’ve had:
-Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
-Bitch Creek ESB
-Lost Coast Winterbraun
That’s quite a lineup, especially when you consider you couldn’t get any of those in Houston at the time (the Stone SSRA just made it here recently). Unfortunately, they don’t put their beer menu online, so you can’t do any advance planning. So it’s a bit of a game-time decision, but with so many great choices, it’s hard to go wrong.
They don’t take reservations, so be ready to wait a while for a table around peak hours. You won’t have too much trouble killing time, since it’s in the shopping mall between Mandalay Bay and the Luxor.
I’m sure there are a couple of other places in Vegas to find a good beer. If you know of any, pass the word along. I’ll make sure to report back next week.