Aces and Ales Comes To Tenaya

Aces and Ales Tenaya EntranceBack in April I wrote with much enthusiasm about my visit to Aces and Ales, just east of the Boulder Highway on South Nellis Blvd:

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.

So, when I heard that they opened a new location in Summerlin (opened on Jun 21st) I just had to check it out!

Aces and Ales Tenaya BarThe new location at 2801 North Tenaya Way is not a carbon copy of their original location, but they got the important stuff right. There’s comfortable seating, friendly staff, an amazing selection of reserve, limited and other hard to find craft brews in the fridge and enough flat screen HDTVs that you can easily catch a game or three no matter where you choose to sit.

Aces and Ales Tenaya Mac and CheeseI went for their House Mac and Cheese ($9.50) for comparison (I loved this dish at the original Aces and Ales). I was not disappointed. It arrived in the skillet it was cooked in, just like at the original Aces and Ales – and was just as creamy and delicious. We also tried an order of their Arrogant Bastard Fried Zucchini ($6), which has a similar batter to their fantastic onion rings, but with a little extra spice. There are three sauces to tame that spice… ranch, blue cheese and marinara. I thought the marinara was the best match. I can’t say they are quite as good as the onion rings, but we did clean our plate.

So what’s different about the new Aces and Ales? Well, I didn’t see a pool table or any video games. Instead, they do have a nice outdoor patio for when the weather is a bit less oppressive. The music is a bit more diverse, covering everything from Lady Gaga to Johhny Cash while we were there. The new location is bigger, brighter and feels a bit more upscale. The happy hour specials didn’t carry over from the original bar, so you’ll still have to go to South Nellis for that burger and a beer special I raved about from 12-3.

Oh, and there’s one other little change. Fifty taps! That’s easily twice as many as you get at the original location, and the beers they put on them are just as special. They’ve got a great selection of popular craft brews from the likes of Stone, Deschutes and Lagunitas, plus a selection of local Las Vegas brews from Big Dogs, Tenaya and Joseph James. There’s plenty to choose from whether you’re looking to try something new or indulge in an old favorite.

Aces and Ales Tenaya KegsAnd just like the original, they change the taps and clean the lines regularly. Unlike the original, you can watch them do it. The kegs and lines are on display inside a cool glass case near the entrance that reminds me how much I want to set up a kegerator at home.

Looks like Las Vegas has another great beer bar!

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Website: www.acesandales.com

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Radio City Pizza: Grab a Slice on Fremont East

RCP-entranceThe Fremont East district is heavy on bars, but short on food options. Le Thai is a great option if your looking for something exotic and spicy, but where do you go for old-fashioned American drinking food? Look no further than Radio City Pizza at 508 Fremont St East.

Radio City offers cheese pizza by the slice for $3.25, and there’s a long list of toppings they will add for just fifty cents. If you’re real hungry you can get a full pizza made fresh for $16.50 with $1.50 toppings. Garlic knots ($6 for five knots) are chewy and loaded with garlic, a great starter if you don’t mind the inevitable garlic breath. Their buffalo wings and meatball appetizers are also quite popular.

RCP-Cheese-SliceI know that what constitutes “good” pizza is a highly contested issue, so I won’t give my personal opinion, just a description:

RCP’s pizza is thin-crusted, but it’s not quite fold-it-over NYC style as one might suspect – given the name of the place. Instead, it’s more like the Italian bakeries on the North Shore of Boston make it… it has a crisp bottom, chewy middle and a sweet sauce under a layer of cheese that is cooked just to the point where browning starts, leaving just a hint of glistening oil.
Radio City Pizza Ham Slice
Toppings are of good quality and they give you enough to get a taste in each bite. All the slices start out as cheese, toppings are added when you order. Of course pizzas with toppings will be a little better if you order a full pizza so that it’s made fresh. Also, the more recently your slice came out of the oven the better it will be, so if you’ve got the time it might be worth waiting for a new pie to be made.

While you wait, you can enjoy the nice patio out back, with open-air dining, watch some sports on the numerous tvs, or kick back with a craft beer (taps when I was there included Sierra Nevada Pale, Magic Hat #9, Goose Island Honkers, Pyramid and Pabst). Cocktails are also available – half the bar seems like an homage to Ciroc vodka.

RCP-open-air-seatingRCP is open until midnight weekdays and 4am on the weekends – perfect for a late night bite. If you want your food quick, just belly up to the bar in front, but when the temperature is right, the best experience is hanging out in the open air patio out back.

Website: www.radiocitypizza.com
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Aces and Ales – Serious Beer

Aces and Ales EntranceAces 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 Tap WallAces 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.

Aces and Ales Jolly Pumpkin Oro de CalbazaLook 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. Aces and Ales Beer FridgePhantom 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).

Aces and Ales Mac and CheeseNot 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.

Aces and Ales Cheeseburger and Onion RingsThe 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.

Aces and Ales Pool Table

  • 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.

Website: www.acesandales.com
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Park on Fremont – A Peek Down the Rabbit Hole

Park_on_Fremont-behind-the-barMaharaja Hookah Cafe, at 506 Fremont Street, has finally been replaced. The new gastropub that takes its place, called Park on Fremont, had it’s grand opening at the end of March. A few short days later (after the crowd dissipated a bit) we wandered in to take a look. I’m not sure what they’ve been smoking in there since the hookah lounge closed.

Park on Fremont Men's RoomOur visit was a short one, but I can tell you a few things: The food coming out of the kitchen looked good, and diners seemed happy. Cocktails are served in mason jars. The decor is unique and interesting. There’s Lewis Carroll inspired artwork everywhere, there’s a mounted deer head with copper assault rifles for antlers (I can’t make this stuff up), and behind the bar is what can only be described as a twisted taxidermist’s collage. Even the restrooms are wildly decorated. Music leans towards 90′s grunge. It’s all a bit of a trip.

I dragged my girlfriend in here for a beer after a couple of happy hour cocktails across the street at Downtown Cocktail Room (liquor before beer, you’re in the clear). We sat at the copper topped bar, admired the copulating birds in the taxidermy display, and gaped at the beer list. Park on Fremont has the strangest beer list I have ever seen. Most bars either carry a bunch of the standard macro-brews (Bud, Coors, Corona, etc.) and maybe one or two of the bigger microbrews/imports (Newcastle, Sam) or they carry almost exclusively micros, with maybe one or two macros. Not this place. This is the something-for-everyone beer bar.

Park on Fremont Beer ListWhether you’re a gangsta looking for some Colt 45, a hipster looking for a PBR, a hop-head looking for Dogfish 120 minute IPA or a Belgian beer snob looking for a glass of Chimay Cinq Cents – this place has what you’re looking for. There are roughly sixty beers on their list, some 40′s, some cans, some bottles and some drafts. The only organization to the beer list is that drafts are stacked at the end – not that the drafts are marked or anything, they just seem to all be in the bottom right corner of the list. Otherwise there’s Schlitz next to the Chimay, Moosehead next to Young’s. It’s chaotic.

Our friendly bartender brought us our beers (a Tetley’s ($6 pint can) and a Shift ($5 12oz can), cracked open. No glass was provided. We paid, tipped and left after just one beer. No doubt we’ll be back, though. I’m eager to try out the food, and this place has, by far, the broadest selection of beers downtown. I look forward to doing some additional “research” for a full fledged write-up sometime soon. Stay tuned.

Park on Fremont Tables

  • Park of Fremont opens at 11am daily.
  • There are no prices on their drink menus, so ask before you order if you’re watching your budget.
  • I am not a fan of Bloody Marys, but I understand this place has a killer version, made with bacon infused vodka. Give it a try and click “Leave a Reply” to tell us all about it.

Website: parkonfremont.com
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