There are between 70 and 80 nights a year when 50,000 or so people pass through the doors that divide the walkway between the Allegiant Stadium and Mandalay Bay Casino. Sean Christie, the CEO of Carver Road Hospitality, says that on the one or two days a week that the stadium hosts a Raiders football game or Taylor Swift concert, or even the Super Bowl in 2024, scores of people will walk past Flanker Kitchen + Sports Bar — and those people will need to eat.
The new bar and restaurant is positioning itself to be one of the best — and most visited — sports bars in town, when it opens on June 10. With a walk-up window, boozy shakes, massive TVs, fun lighting, and a speakeasy-style suite, Christie intends to lean into the leading event of the night. “Allegiant will have a 12 percent uptick in events compared to 56 last year,” says Christie. “That’s a lot of people moving through this area.” That means when Beyoncé headlines the stadium this August, the cinema-style signage that wraps around the front of the bar, facing the escalators that lead up to the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, will read something like, “Welcome Bey-hive.” The outward-facing speakers will blast music from her albums, the bar may offer a special Beyoncé cocktail, and the TVs — well, some of them will still show the night’s sporting events — but many of them will display Beyoncé music videos.
It’s surprising that more bars and restaurants near the stadium decline to lean into the night’s programming. The exodus of fans that fled Allegiant following Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour show in March meandered through Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, the Luxor, and New York-New York to get back to their hotel rooms or ride shares — and nary a Swift song beckoned Swifties into surrounding the bars and restaurants. And Christie is banking on that missed opportunity.
At more than 8,000 square feet, Flanker will have a bar that stretches across one wall and a trio of private dining suites opposite the bar. Like Carversteak, another venue by Carver Road Hospitality, Flanker will have adjustable partitions that can customize the sizes and shapes of the private rooms, which can be used for dining, meetings for conventioneers, and private watch parties. When it opens next month, Flanker will boast a dynamic ceiling lighting design inspired by the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix track at night. Strips of light will guide guests through the main dining room and toward the bar’s massive 30-foot-long and 9-foot-tall LED viewing screen.
Las Vegas is booming into a real sports town in recent years — with the F1 Grand Prix hitting the Strip this November, the NFL Draft taking over the city last year, and the Super Bowl on its way. And Christie says that all necessitates a new era of sports bars. Sure, the walk-up window will sell sandwiches, hotdogs, and drinks for sports fans to take en route to the stadium, but the bar will also offer loads of screens, a sound system, and themed programming for watch parties. With room for 375 people, including a 24-seat indoor patio, the bar also has a back wall of lockers. Opening the right locker will give way to a hidden private room that can be used for karaoke or gameday viewing.
Chef Daniel Ontiveros, Carver Road Hospitality’s corporate executive chef, describes the food as elevated bar fare, with bites like a puff pastry pretzel dog, fried chicken, fish and chips, and nachos. The burger menu will have selections like a truffle burger with truffle aioli and raclette cheese, a wagyu burger with bacon onion jam, and Ontiveros’s favorite, a Western burger with barbecue sauce, crispy onion rings, and roasted jalapeno aioli. For boozy shakes, both the bar and walk-up window will have a s’mores shake with rocky road ice cream and chocolate rum and an Elvis shake with banana bourbon and crispy bacon peanut butter ice cream. Also on the menu are steak and fries, a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, crispy wings, salads, fried mac and cheese, and a kid’s menu.
The bar will offer a robust selection of beer, canned beverages, frozen concoctions, and cocktails on draft. Christie, who got his start working at the House of Blues just across the casino floor from Flanker, says that the restaurant fills a gap in the resort’s offerings, providing something more casual than Retro by Voltaggio and S Bar but more cozy than the Mandalay Bay’s quick-service offerings like those at Citizen’s. “We want it to be a place families can take their kids after going to Shark Reef that day, but also good for convention groups who want something more low-key than the Foundation Room.” Flanker Kitchen + Sports Bar will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It opens on June 10, just in time to christen the bar with a watch party for the UFC 289 fight.