Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's beverage players to share their recommendations for a random feature dubbed Cocktail Confidential. Know a bartender who wants to share some top cocktail spots? The tipline is open.
Drew Levinson is the guy at Wirtz Beverage Nevada overseeing the team of cocktail, spirits, beer and wine specialists as the director of strategic activation. Levinson kicked off his career in his native Aspen, Colo., where he helped open Jimmy’s Restaurant & Bar after graduating from Skidmore College in 1997. A move to New York City had him working for a beverage consulting company handling Seagrams, Schieffelin & Somerset, and Borgata Resort in Atlantic City, who hired him to become their opening beverage manager. In 2004, he moved to Las Vegas to become the master mixologist and beverage manager at the Bellagio. For the past six years, he’s been with Wirtz. Here he shares three of his favorite places to grab a cocktail when he’s not working.
Which bars or lounges do you turn to when you’re not working?
I am usually always working, which means my free time is rare. However, because of my line of work, I do have the great privilege of visiting many restaurants, bars, lounges and resorts. There are so many new and interesting spots to try! That said, some of my personal favorites right now are Mercadito, Velveteen Rabbit and Vesper Bar.
Which cocktails are most memorable?
They all have memorable cocktails for different reasons. Mercadito’s margaritas and cocktails on draft are setting a new standard for Las Vegas, allowing for quality beverages at quick service.
Velveteen Rabbit is always experimenting and keeping it edgy; try their barrel aged cocktails and awesome selection of craft beers on draft.
Vesper Bar is a go to for great cocktails both traditional and rifts on the classics. Try anything with Ford’s Gin — their house gin — or ask for a Red House, not on the menu, but the bartenders will give you a funny look and be happy to oblige!
Why do you enjoy going there?
All of these establishments are about quality. No matter what you order, you will be pleased with your selection. And, they are always pushing the envelope but only in ways that enhance your experience. It’s fun to see what they will come up with next.
Anything else you want to add?
Keep an eye on downtown Las Vegas, specifically Fremont East. New and amazing bars are popping up regularly. Check out the bars (yes there are two) inside The Inspire Theater. You won’t be sorry.