The Residence Bar in San Francisco
Wet Week in Vegas, Continued

Nice Casino, But How are the Drinks?

Greetings from Las Vegas! I'm here visiting the new CityCenter that is made up of the Aria casino and hotel, the Mandarin Oriental hotel, and Crystals shopping center. The place is pretty classy, but you don't come to Alcademics to read about gambling, except taking a gamble on potentially delicious cocktails.

I'm staying at Aria. Here is the view from my room:


I got here late yesterday, so I only had time to visit a few things. I dined at Union, a steak and lobster-centric restaurant in Aria. There are about 12 restaurants in Aria so I'll visit a few of them.

Union has a small cocktail menu with 9 drinks on it. Some look better than others. I avoided the ones with flavored vodka and had one with bourbon a grapefruit, one with tequila, passionfruit, and fresno chili, and a strawberry-basil Caipirinha. They were all not-too-sweet and quite juicy.


I checked out the new Cirque du Soleil show Viva Elvis, and visited the nearby Gold Lounge, where the cocktail list was no good. 

Wandering around the casino I stumbled into Bar Moderno for the best drinks so far. They had drinks with orgeat, rhubarb bitters, and caramelized pineapple puree so you know that somebody who knew what they were doing did the cocktail menu here. They had a version of a Pisco Sour, a Sidecar, and a selection of cheeky "morning remedies" like black coffee and Advil.

On further exploration, it seems a few of the drinks from Bar Moderno are the signature drinks of the casino, available the sports bar and buffet also: the Carmelized Pineapple Sidecar, the Raspbberry Aviation, the Prickly Pear Pisco Sour, the Ginger Cosmopolitan, and the Cucumber Collins.


Off to a second day of exploring. Cheers.


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Bryn Esplin

Camper! I am a fellow cocktail enthusiast and blogger based here in Vegas. There are much better choices out there once you're off the strip. I'd be happy to recommend a few!

Camper English

Thanks Bryn- I don't think I'm going to have too much opportunity to get out of CityCenter on the few days I'm here. At least I'm finding a few good drinks here.

Bryn Esplin

No problem! I've just been a fan of yours for quite a while now, and wanted you to know there are some decent spots in this dry desert. If you change your mind, I'm a great tour guide and would love to meet you!


ooo I arrive in Vegas Saturday and will be visiting Aria for the Elvis show too. Hope you enjoyed it. I'm a huge Elvis fan and can't wait to experience it for myself. Will have to have a drink before at Bar Moderno before (after will be heading to Frankie's Tiki Room). Thanks for the review!


The drink with rhubarb bitters sounds great (anything made with rhubarb sounds great). I was in Vegas this weekend for a conference - wish I would have known you were there so I could say hi!


I had my first pineapple sidecar thanks to the wonderful bartenders suggestion and it led to sitting at the bar for hours. The drink was great and the service was wonderful. This was my first time staying at the Aria and the service caused it not to be my last.

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