USA Road Trip: Chapter IV – Las Vegas
If you read our previous blog post about Las Vegas (Nov. 2015), you will know we never made it to our wedding anniversary meal due to the after effects of an all-night poker and drinking session. So, on this visit we had to rectify that and go visit the restaurant we had booked 5 months ago, or as Amanda put it, “we’re celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary 7 months early”.
Prior to the November visit, I had researched bars that the locals use and came up with Herbs & Rye. The decor is referred to as ‘old Vegas’, with its red-flocked wallpaper, black leather and dark wood. It is off the beaten track and would be missed by most Vegas visitors, but call an Uber and check it out for yourselves.
We had not booked a table this time and managed to grab two seats at the bar. The two bartenders, Emily and Clinton, looked after us superbly well all evening. Emily made me the most amazing Bloody Mary cocktails and Clinton is simply the best bartender ever! He talked to us about the place, the drinks, the food and the people. He was so knowledgeable about all things alcoholic and even provided free tasters before we decided what to order. Now this is quite normal for real ale beers in the UK I hear you say, but at Herbs & Rye you get wine tasters and I was even allowed to try a taster from a can of local beer before ordering.
Another great thing about this place is that they have two happy hours; 5pm until 8pm and midnight until 3am. Each offers the same deal and, quite frankly, I challenge anyone to find better value in Vegas. As well as 50% off certain drinks, you also get 50% off specific food options. We both ordered Filet Mignon, which at half price was awesome value, plus it was the best steak I’ve ever had…simply devine.
During our 5 hours in the bar we met a whole bunch of great people. Apart from the bar staff we also met the owners dad and a group of people from LA that run a container exporting company that were interested in shipping Amanda’s almonds, pecans and peanuts to the UK.
If you are like us and love socialising in bars with great people, brilliant drinks, superb food and amazing atmosphere, then do yourself a favour and ensure you visit Herbs & Rye when you come to Las Vegas. You will not regret it and take our advice…sit at the bar rather than a table, order food before 8pm and, if you like steak, order one. If you are hungry, take the 120oz Nectaly’s Ribeye 40 minute challenge!
A little worse for wear, we got back to the hotel in the early hours of Saturday morning and this time it was me who was ill and slept on the bathroom floor. A fantastic night and early wedding anniversary celebrations, but OMG what a hangover!!!
The weather forecast was terrible for today, so rather than chilling by the pool, we went for a walk up the Strip. We got the tram from Mandalay to Excalibur, then took the steady stroll up to the Venetian for a coffee and sticky bun. It’s around a 2 mile walk, made harder by the fact that you have to keep crossing roads by climbing up and across pedestrian bridges that link the various hotels and shopping malls. These crossing points have escalators as well as steps, but for some reason (probably rain related) they were all out of commission today.
As we started to head back, the heaven’s opened and the rain was unbelievable. Massive rain drops hammered down, puddles became lakes and the roadside gutters became raging torrents. We managed to zigzag through hotels and covered walkways to get to the shop we needed to visit and by the time we’d finished in there the worst of the rain had passed.
As I was starting to feel human again, we decided that a ‘hair of the dog’ drink was in order. This is a curious expression for an alcoholic drink taken to cure a hangover. It is a shortening of ‘a hair of the dog that bit you’ and comes from an old belief that someone bitten by a rabid dog could be cured of rabies by taking a potion containing some of the dog’s hair.
We had a couple of beers in bars between the Linq and the Highroller, then headed back to a new area called The Park that we’d found earlier in the day. Located between Monte Carlo and New York-New York, it is a collection of bars, restaurants and shops.
We headed for the Beerhaus, which only opened a month ago and is a fresh take on the classic beer hall. The bar menu offered over 70 beers both local and from further afield. The kitchen menu, although not large, catered for the beer munchies with savory sausages, sandwiches and snacks. The shaved beef sandwich we shared was beautiful. Plus, they had quite a few bar games, including a shuffleboard, table tennis, table football, connect 4 and large block Jenga. The placed filled up steadily and by the time the band were on their third set the bar was bouncing, supplemented by Billy Joel fans that had just left the event venue up the block. This is a top bar that is sure to go from strength to strength.
Although it hadn’t looked likely to be a long night, we rolled into our room at 1:30am. Another great day and night in Vegas with my lovely wife.
We were due to check out today, but had decided to stay one extra night and fly to the next section of our trip on Monday. The hotel front desk wanted $260 for the extra night, but we got one via www.booking.com for under $70 and simply had to link the bookings at the front desk.
The weather was so much better today, sunny and 23°C, so we grabbed some towels and spent the day at the beach. Mandalay Bay has an 11 acre beach and pool complex, which is great. Previous visits to Vegas have both been in November, so sunbathing was never an option. However, today was 1st May and a day absorbing some serious vitamin D was very relaxing after a hectic week of traveling.
The day was completed with a lovely meal at the House of Blues restaurant in he hotel. Billy Idol, the 80’s punk and hard rock musician (White Wedding and Rebel Yell) has a residency here, but was not scheduled to play tonight. Instead we had a good guitarist/singer banging out tunes whilst Amanda had Cajun Chicken Pasta and I had Jambalaya…lovely.
Today we leave Las Vegas and fly to Miami for the second part of our road trip. It’s crazy to think an internal flight will take just shy of 5 hours and include 3 timezone changes. So we fly at 1pm and arrive in Miami at 9pm. We are staying overnight at an airport hotel and picking up a car on Tuesday morning.
That’s Chapter IV brought to a close, leaving the Western States behind and heading over to Florida for an adventure in the Keys.