Mandalay Bay has always maintained one of the largest and most diverse samples of entertainment, dining, and nightlife on the Strip, but right now the property’s offerings are somewhat in flux. Restaurants are making changes as they wait for Las Vegas convention traffic to pick up, and flagship nightclub Light only recently announced it will reopen next month.
But a new nightlife spot has emerged on New Year’s Eve and stands ready to fill any perceived void with an intimate and luxurious lounge experience.
SBE, the hospitality giant that operates Mandalay Bay’s Citizens and Kumi restaurants, as well as the connected Delano Hotel and Hyde Lounge near T-Mobile Arena, has opened the first standalone location of its S Bar concept on the Strip, a cocktail-centric experience that falls under the company’s high-end dining brand Disruptive Restaurant Group. Other S Bars are located at Japanese Katsuya restaurants, but the Vegas version is a glamorous revamp of the old Red Square space right next to the casino.
“The response has been good so far; we were almost full on New Year’s Eve,” says general manager Tylor Kezar. “We weren’t sure exactly how this opening day was going to go, but there were nothing but compliments and appreciation.”
Kezar, who has worked with SBE long enough to help open SLS Las Vegas (now the Sahara again) and its clubs and lounges Foxtail, Life Nightclub and the Sayers Club, says the S Bar experience is an intimate and luxurious vibe. , a VIP atmosphere for every guest, terrific craft cocktails and a rising energy level throughout the night.
“I think it really complements the property, because we should be able to catch the first crowd before they go out for dinner or a party, catch the convention clientele and welcome them with a nice cocktail or even the opportunity to dine with us, and roll into this element of ultralounge nightlife later on the weekend,” he says. “Being a charming place, I think we will fit in well.”
A striking entrance in gleaming gold catches the eye of passers-by, and the interiors of the S Bar are set off in jewel tones of red and blue against natural colors and understated design elements, plus plenty of ultra-comfortable furniture. .
The cocktail and bite-size menus at this brand new spot started small and are expected to expand in the coming weeks. But the flavors are there, with lobster mac and cheese ($28), tuna thrust ($26), sticky char siu pork belly bao ($21) and choice steak tartare ($24) to satisfy your cravings.
The beverage program is managed by Yael Vengroff, head of bars and mixology for all S Bars and Katsuyas, and he uniquely splits the difference between bottle service and bespoke mixology. “Tableside Sips” lets guests choose a bottle of their favorite spirit with handcrafted mixers for a personalized experience, while the signature cocktail list ($11-$24) lets Vengroff show off his creativity.
“It’s definitely a different program than what we see at the S Bar in LA and New York. There’s an element of freedom, but it’s also restricted,” Vengroff says. “There are four or five cocktails on the menu that drink like a highball, like a Japanese whiskey and a vodka soda or tonic, but they’re just full of flavor.”
This is accomplished through a sour water solution that acts like the normal citrus or sour element, leading to clear drinks that “completely bug you, because they’re filled with pear or coffee or other flavors,” she says. “It’s definitely a double take moment. I like things that play with fantasy and things with ethereal qualities, and that’s a lot of what this program is built on, things that are delicious and simple. but visually misleading.
S-BAR Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7707. Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-midnight; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.