Wednesday, October 22, 2014

top5 Craft Beer Joints in Viva Las Vegas!

Having been to Las Vegas four times this year for work trips, I've had the opportunity to scope the strip for craft beer. This top5 focuses on where to grab great craft pints in the desert... and believe me, this is no mirage, these places actually exist!

Vegas has forever been perceived as a hard liquor and cheap booze kind of place. Casinos, clubs, and lounges overflow with bottle service and top and bottom shelf hard liquors on the inside, while outside you're guaranteed to run into hundreds of dozens of people walking the strip sipping on cheap, sugary, neon slushy drinks through bendy straws or chugging 24 oz cans of Bud Light Lime in brown paper koozies. But that said, Vegas is a city that knows how to market to the masses and they are catching on to the rest of the Nation's obsession with the craft. Most of the places I list below have opened within the past year or two, with the exception of the Freakin Frog, which is local and national landmark. The Freakin Frog is also home to the Whiskey Attic, which has the largest collection of whiskeys in America. I've had the opportunity to visit both... my friends don't call me Nancy Whiskey for nothing! I enjoy whiskey so much so, that I've decided to also do a blog on whiskey tasting and profiling. I'm hoping to launch the site in early 2015, so if you're also a fan of whiskey too, you should keep a look out for it. 

top5 Craft Beer Joints in Viva Las Vegas!

So, you're in Vegas and feeling like a hunk of burning love for the craft? Then you should visit these tasty beer places in the Sin City, where you can respectfully go to cool your palette in the desert.

  1. Freakin Frog (off the strip, near the University of Nevada... and its totally worth the $20 cab ride) A super hard to find dive bar that appears to be closed in a dimly lit in a strip mall. My cab driver was even nervous dropping me off and leaving me, without me confirming with a friendly wave that they were in fact an open establishment. Inside locals wear down the bar stools and the bartender RJ would be happy to whip you up some fresh tater tots with honey, (it's amazing) the entire kitchen is a small grill behind the bar. This place is a gem of a find. Between their impressive selection of Belgian on draft and hundreds upon hundreds of bottles in their walk-in beer fridge, (see pic on right) there is something here for everyone who enjoys a frothy beverage. I'd recommend Gulden Draak or a regional Imperial Alien Stout and clearly the honey tots! YUM.
  2. Public House (located in the Venetian) As close to a Belgian gastropub you can find on the strip. Their bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable  and you can easily find Belgians, sours, and cask beers a plenty. I'd recommend Kasteel Rouge or a citrus mango Brett called Bright Moments by Tahoe Brewing or any local  Joseph James on tap.
  3. Michael Mina Pub 1842 (located in the MGM) Are you looking for a a local Nevada brew, from Big Dogs Brewing or a rare Gose? We'll you'll find them here. They have a wide selection of bottles and draft and great pub food. I'd recommend the pub burger with a side of their kale Cesar and wash that down with a Gosebrauerei or a rum aged Innis & Gunn.
  4. Todd English (located in Aria) Where world craft and fine hard liquor meet. Excellent selection of global beers on draft, including beers from Italy, Belgium, Japan and Switzerland! They always have a rotating cask, sour, and super rare/foreign beer. I'd recommend going during one of their happy hours, which is 5-7pm or 10pm-12am) when all draft beers are half off. Bottle list is impressive too, including a rare Swiss 225 Saison which is made with water from the Swiss Alps and aged in oak barrels. I didn't get a chance to eat the food, but everything coming out of the kitchen looked delectable.
  5. TAP (located in the MGM) The mecca for sports fans. It's a hot spot for cheering on your local team, while also providing spectators with an excellent selection of craft on draft. Come here if you want to catch a game, grab some great grub, and wet your whistle. May I recommend the Proper Ruben and a glass of Chimay Blanche or a Sculpin IPA.


  1. I went recently and was pleasantly surprised to find a few decent craft beer options. I also visited The Pub in the Monte Carlo - over two hundred beers there, and probably around 80+ on draft.


    1. I read about that location too, but didn't have a chance to check it out yet. I visited Pour24 in New York, New York, because it was rated really high on yelp, but was disappointed to find out that it wasn't really a bar, but more of a beer stand. It missed the mark on ambience and food for me, but it did have a few nice beers on draft.
      Maybe I'll stop by the Pub at Monte Carlo tonight and check it out as long as I'm still here, in Vegas. Thanks for the tip! Cheers!

    2. So I had I chance to stop by the Pub at Monte Carlo during their happy hour which is from 3-6pm M-F, when their all drafts are $3 cheaper, a really great deal. They do have an extensive beer list, local, domestic and international, but I was disappointed to find out the first two beers I tried to order, they were out of... Alaskan Stout and Ballast Sculpin. I opted for a Ballast Black Marlin, which was delicious. When I travel I like to order beers that aren't sold in Chicago so I was a bit disappointed about the unavailability of some their drafts that they had listed on their menu. I also noticed every single beer in the bar was served in a British pint glass... It didn't matter if it was an ipa, stout, Belgian, or a wheat. My cicerone friends would be freaking out. Luckily it worked for my porter. This bar overall is a good option for craft beer, a sports game, and some pub grub, but it still doesn't make my top5 in Vegas, but definitely would be in a top10. The bartenders and staff were very friendly and welcoming.

    3. That is always a shame when your first choice beer is out! Tough to manage large tap lists with physical menus.

      I only went during Happy Hour too - definitely made it more feasible to stay for a few!

      Thank for the update and of course, the original list!

    4. You're welcome. Thanks for reading and posting your comments!
      Cheers, Nancy

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