Local restaurants and bars alike debuted pretty new spaces in Las Vegas over the past year. Gorgeous Mott 32, fun Best Friend, and captivating Mama Rabbit brought feasts for the eyes to the Strip, while La Strega, Lamaii, Greene St. Kitchen, and Hatsumi offered off-Strip eye candy. Take a look at some of the prettiest new restaurants to open in Las Vegas in 2019.
Opened: Late 2018
The Look: The new Cantonese restaurant at the Palazzo, Mott 32, has perhaps one of the most luxurious interiors of any restaurant in Las Vegas. Mott 32’s parent company Maximal Concepts brings a menu of dim sum at the bar and Peking duck on the menu, adding a dash of Las Vegas neon to the space exquisitely designed by Joyce Wang. Diners walk up to the 11,400-square-foot restaurant come to a wrought iron fence surrounding the lounge with works from Hong Kong artist Joe Joe Ngai that include Chinese characters and birds. One of the works in the main dining room features Anna Wong, considered to be the first Hong Kong-Chinese American Hollywood movie star.
Opened: Late 2018
The Look: All things Los Angeles find a home in Roy Choi’s new restaurant Best Friend, the Korean barbecue with LA roots at the Park MGM. Diners walk into a liquor storefront with bar stools for grabbing quick bites or picking up swag. Customers then head into the main dining room through a pink plastic freezer door to find a bar to the right. The dining room in bright colors almost vibrates with its rainbow hues. Plants hang from the ceiling, and a mural from Los Angeles artist Phung Huynh adorns one wall. A deejay booth spotlighting LA artists takes over one wall.
Opened: February 2019
The Look: Natalie Young spent six months scouring the antique stores of Las Vegas to find the perfect tables, mismatched china, buffets, and an old fireplace to decorate the elevated American comfort food in her self-described pre-Prohibition restaurant Old Soul at the World Market Center. A mercury mirror is from around 1860, while the fireplace is from the 1920s. Dramatic blue velvet drapes buffer the entrance from the dining room, while the hostess stand is made from buffet doors, removed to make the piece of furniture open and bigger to fit the space. Young estimates that about 95 percent of the antiques came from stores on Main Street, and many she sanded and stained herself in preparation for the opening.
Opened: February 2019
The Look: Inside Summerlin’s La Strega, greens, clays, and earth tones make up the color schemes, while moon-shaped lights with dozens of discs lights the space. Italian marbles, velvet seating, and eclectic accents look into the open kitchen. The cocktail bar is made from with a custom glass facade from Sicis, a Ravenna, Italy-based glass company. The Loggia offers al fresco dining and cocktails, as well as a “witch’s garden” designed by Marinelli to grow produce and herbs for La Strega’s seasonal dishes.
Opened: February 2019
The Look: Fans of Bank Atcharawan and his Thai food can now dine on his cuisine and drink from his wine cellar stocked with bottles that are not only inexpensive but pair well with Thai cuisine. His sexy new restaurant Lamaii is shrouded in delicate dove grays on the chairs, walls, and booths, coupled with dark woods on the tables. Gold chandeliers and lights hang down to give a space an even more intimate feel, while diners can sidle up to a five-seat bar for a drink before dinner.
The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails
Opened: March 2019
The Look: One part barbershop, one part swanky cocktail lounge, and all found off the casino floor at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The new speakeasy The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails from Clique Hospitality features a barbershop at the front and a cocktail lounge entered through a Janitor’s Closet. The cocktail lounge offers a mahogany bar from Kentucky originally built in the 1800s. Overhead, crystal chandeliers, while a “now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t performance stage” sits at the far end of the room.
Greene St. Kitchen
Opened: April 2019
The Look: The Palms now has Las Vegas’ first permanent work by elusive street artist Banksy. “Smiley Coppers Panel I,” a 2002 piece by the artist, features two heavily armed police officers with neon yellow smiley faces all done in spray paint. The artwork sits inside Greene St. Kitchen. Artwork abounds in the space that features an arcade room at the entrance and a secret door to the restaurant accessed through a former Coca-Cola refrigerator door. The maze-like restaurant designed by Rockwell Group features five spaces outfitted in street art commissioned from Kenny Scharf, Cleon Peterson, Vhils, Pose, Martha Cooper, DabsMyla, Slick, and more. After walking into the restaurant, diners find a tunnel painted by New York City-based graffiti artist CES, who pays homage to New York City’s street art of the 1980s and ’90s with tags from graffiti legends such as Seen, P-Nut, Blaze, and Stay High 149.
Opened: May 2019
The Look: Henderson’s ode to the UNLV basketball program Hardway 8 from Bryant Jane and Lyle Cervenka, the co-owners of Starboard Tack features a wall features a series of photographs featuring athletes out of uniform, just chilling. Hardway 8’s bar is made from reclaimed bleachers from the 1970s, the same bleachers that people sat on to watch Hardway 8, complete with gaming. A smaller bar is dubbed the Trophy Room. The front features a garage door that rolls up during nicer weather. Even the restroom signs are sports themed. Aside from UNLV basketball, the bar pays tribute to jai alai, a popular sport in Las Vegas during the 1960s. A jai alai mural and a pennant nod to that era.
Opened: May 2019
The Look: Dan Krohmer’s Hatsumi in at Fergusons Downtown brought on Ryan Brunty of Depressed Monsters to create the cartoon artwork inside the new Japanese restaurant. The character, named Yerman, dances around the interior of the space, as well as at a building across the street. Brunty’s genderless streetwear clothing line that he launched in 2014 tries to bring mental health awareness to the masses through Yerman, street art, and public speaking engagements.
Opened: July 2019
The Look: Light, airy, and fast-casual. The new Valencian Gold brings paella in a different format to Las Vegas. The restaurant features pops of orange paired with natural woods and a living greens wall make up the space. Two murals add some color to the space that offers floor-to-ceiling windows and clear chairs at the gray tables.
Opened: July 2019
The Look: Southern California’s Water Grill at the Forum Shops at Caesars features an interior from Hatch Design Group fashioned like an old, sea-worn wooden ship with wide plank wood floors, a polished copper bar top, and the large wooden support beams throughout the restaurant. The restaurant’s bar features an oyster chandelier made from 14,000 oyster shells hand shucked by crew members, along with stylish fish scale tile that not only lines the raw bar, but accents each step of the staircase leading to the second level private event rooms.
Opened: August 2019
The Look: Mama Rabbit, the mezcal and tequila bar at Park MGM, tapped DesignAgency to create the look of the cocktail lounge the celebrates all things Oaxaca, the Mexican state where LA’s Bricia Lopez, the inspiration behind the bar, hails. She worked with Anwar Mekhayech to come up with the design and decor for the space. The mural from Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel acts as a starting point for customers, who see the pop surrealist image of Mayahuel, the goddess of agave, and her 400 rabbit children who each represent a different form of drunkenness and spirituality. Mother Natura includes three sculptures — two deer flanking a rabbit — holding a slot machine. The rabbit holds an agave plant, the only reference to the source of mezcal in the bar. The painted walls take their inspiration from the architecture of Luis Barragán, and colorful, geometric patterns pays homage to the region’s vibrant art scene. Two main rooms are separated by double-sided bar that features a 40-foot high open display that showcases Mama Rabbit’s vast collection of artisanal mezcal and tequila bottles. To the left, above a textured brick wall, a grid of 400 barro negro rabbit figurines, custom made by local Oaxacan ceramicists, overlooks the space. Mama Rabbit’s main lounge features gaming, lounging, live music, and DJs, with intimate enclaves and open seating arrangements that create an inner courtyard.
Opened: September 2019
The Look: Chef Dan Krohmer also opened a Mexican cantina at Fergusons Downtown, just across the courtyard from sister restaurant Hatsumi. La Monja, Spanish for “the nun,” takes its inspiration from classic coastal Mexican regional fare modernized. The restaurant grinds its own corn in house for the tortillas and features what it calls the largest mezcal list in Downtown Las Vegas. Two murals anchor the dining room, one featuring a naughty nun and another drama masks. Krohmer partnered with his childhood friend, artist Brent Patten, to create a space and vibe representative of the art and culture of their hometown community in Sacramento.
Opened: November 2019
The Look: Cafe Lola opened its second European cafe-inspired location with floral displays, pastries, and afternoon teas in Henderson. The space features a floral wall display, pink banquettes, a tea and Champagne lounge, a tree with a swing and a bicycle, and a phone booth, all meant to inspire social media snaps. This location has a communal table meant for bachelorette parties or mommy and me teas with a chandelier overhead.
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