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.
Michael Shetler is probably best remembered from Rosemary’s Restaurant and Sage at Aria. Now he’s a craft portfolio specialist at Wirtz Beverage Nevada. Shetler was the director of beverage, overseeing all 26 beverage outlets. In addition to sommelier and cicerone titles, he’s also BAR Ready and holds a beer judge certification. Here he shares three of his favorite off-Strip places to drink when he’s not working.
Which bars or lounges do you turn to when you’re not working?
While there are many terrific establishments, in my opinion, you really can’t go wrong with Velveteen Rabbit, Herbs & Rye or Atomic Liquors. They’re all exceptionally unique, and in terms of beverage programs, putting out really interesting things. If you haven’t visited any one of these places already, put them on your "must-try" list.
Which drinks are most memorable?
When I visit the Velveteen Rabbit, I prefer to drink a Saison Dupont on draft or one of their original, seasonal specialty cocktails. Right now, I’m liking the Burning Bush, made with Bols Genever, Crema de Mescal, fig shrub and peppercorn bacon bitters.
Herbs & Rye is known for having one of the most comprehensive classic cocktail lists in town, drinks like The Original Collins, Pimms Cup, Manhattan, Negroni, Sazerac and Pisco Sour, among many more. There are a ton of really excellent options to choose from.
Atomic Liquors has an outstanding selection of craft beers including local breweries like Tenaya Creek Brewery, Joseph James Brewing Co. and Big Dog’s Brewing Co. as well as a great sour beer selection. Their menu rotates so there is always something new and exciting to try.
Why do you enjoy going there?
I really appreciate the independent businesses whose owners are present and engaged. They have well-conceived beverage programs that are executed flawlessly, always with a wide range of well thought out and interesting beer and spirit selections.
It’s great to see quality independently owned establishments with a vested interest in the Las Vegas hospitality industry grow over the last several years. Many of these fine places do not serve food or offer gaming and they still draw incredible crowds; it’s a testament to their strong beer, spirits and mixology offerings and total beverage programs. They stand on their own merits. And, it’s a sign that the beverage culture here is moving forward in a really positive direction.