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.
For more than a decade, David Forst has been a prominent player in the Las Vegas hospitality industry, working as head bartender of both Shibuya and Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand and Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Now at Wirtz Beverage Nevada, the certified Cicerone who’s on his way to becoming a master sommelier is in charge of special events, where he can use his knowledge of beer, wine, spirits, cocktails, cuisine and customer service standards. 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?
I like the local scene in Las Vegas, which is really developing. If you haven’t, I recommend you check out some of the great bars and lounges off the Strip. It’s a nice departure from the fast-paced atmosphere of the city’s main corridor. I like to grab a bite and a handcrafted cocktail at Herbs & Rye. Or, I’ll sip on something brown at Vintner Grill. If it’s craft beer I’m after, Aces & Ales is always a sure bet.
Which cocktails are most memorable?
The Monkey Gland at Herbs & Rye is a great cocktail and also one that sticks with you. The recipe is simple: Ford’s Gin, fresh squeezed orange juice and a dash of both absinthe and house-made grenadine. But the story behind the drink is what makes it really intriguing. I encourage you to find out for yourself.
At Vintner Grill, I always go for a whiskey-based cocktail. Usually, I’ll pick the Manhattan with Basil Hayden’s Bourbon or I’ll sip on some Glenfiddich 15 year Solera Reserve Scotch. It all depends on my mood.
As for Aces & Ales, it has one of the city’s best craft beer menus. There are at least 50 beers on tap there any time you walk in and there are tons of quality options. The selection is always outstanding.
Why do you enjoy going there?
In addition to a great beverage program, great ambiance and staff service are what keep me coming back to a place.
Herbs & Rye is low-lit with chandeliers and tall, leather-backed booths reminiscent of a speakeasy. It’s a very cool vibe. And, their bar program incorporates a great spirit selection.
Alternatively, Vintner Grill reminds me of a cozy beach house with its white and green décor, paneled wood ceilings and old movies playing on screens throughout the space. The wine list here is another hidden gem.
The guys and gals at Ales & Aces are very knowledgeable about craft beer. They can help you select exactly what you are in the mood for. I recommend the Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout or go global and try the Kasteel Donker Belgian Dark Strong Ale. Both are extremely delicious.