Aces and Ales is a standalone pub at 3740 South Nellis Boulevard, (just east of the casinos on Boulder Highway) which offers, as the name implies – video poker and beer. But that hardly tells the whole story. There are lots of places in Las Vegas to drink beer and play video poker, but this one in particular is worth a special trip. You see, Aces and Ales takes their beer as seriously as Herbs and Rye takes their cocktails.
Aces and Ales maintains more than twenty taps and regularly updates their twitter feed to let you know which beers are on, and off. The focus is on craft and imported brews, their ever-changing list typically favoring Belgian style ales and unique American craft brews. The only Anheiser-Bush or Miller-Coors product I spotted was the six-pack holder on our table – used to hold the condiments.
Look for beers from Dogfish Head, Mikkeller, New Belgium (and we’re not just talking Fat Tire), Lagunitas and Ballast Point. The beers range from bathwater light to motor oil dark, from sour to bitter, from session to strong. They are served fresh, from clean lines, in proper glassware. It’s enough to satisfy the most finicky of beer geeks. And that’s just the draft beers.
Then there’s the beer fridge. Any beer geek worth his or her malt will pause in awe of the beer fridge. It’s rare, aged and unusual beer nirvana. Phantom beers you may have heard about, but never caught sight of in a liquor store – much less a bar, live here. There are bottles of Stone Vertical Epic from every year from 2004 to 2008, Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast and Brunch, one-offs and aged beers from Firestone and Deschutes. They’re all kept properly refrigerated, and (if they came that way) boxed. And, since Aces and Ales has the proper license, you can enjoy them in the bar, or take them home for later (this also applies to their draft beers, available in growlers).
Not a beer snob? This place still has plenty going for it. The food is outstanding. They use fresh, quality ingredients. Their thick, beer battered onion rings have batter that’s soft and light but not too greasy and onions that are the perfect combination of crisp and caramelized. Their hearty, flavorful home-style, mac and cheese comes in varieties like buffalo chicken mac, shrimp mac and Cajun mac. Their burgers are among the best pub burgers in Vegas – beer steamed, so they are thoroughly cooked but still juicy and served with fresh, crisp lettuce, tomato and onion on a soft white bun that held up surprisingly well. I am consistently impressed with their kitchen. If the beer wasn’t so amazing I would write this place up on the merit of its food alone.
The service is good too, with servers that can offer real, meaningful and experienced advice on which beer to choose and what food to order. My server’s overly enthusiastic endorsement of the onion rings might have been suspect at another restaurant, but it came off as genuine and turned out to be spot on. “They’re money!”
To complete the Las Vegas pub experience there are televisions everywhere, with private listening stations so you can follow your favorite game, and the commentary. There’s a couple of pool tables, some classic arcade games, a small stage, some interesting things plastered to the walls, and I imagine there’s some video poker. I got so caught up in the beer and the food that I never got around to checking it out.
- If you are there at the right time, you might just meet up with rock guitarist Keri Kelli – he’s one of the owners.
- Order your beers by number, not name. Numbers are easier to understand when slurred, and the waitstaff insists on it.
- All drafts are priced the same, but serving sizes vary from beer to beer.
- Go between twelve and three (day or night) and you can get any burger and any draft for $10
- Sunday is a great day to get your drink on at Aces and Ales. From 8am to 8pm all drafts are $4 each (regularly $6) and growler fills are half price.
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