weather icon Mostly Cloudy

NoMad bar brings gritty New York hipness to Las Vegas Strip

Updated October 9, 2018 - 9:27 pm

Don’t look now, but another batch of cool kids from New York City and L.A. are rolling into town this weekend, riding a wave of national and international press. NoMad Las Vegas, a boutique property within the rechristened Park MGM, begins accepting guests on Friday, with its attached NoMad Bar opening for business that evening. (An opening date has yet to be set for NoMad Restaurant.)

If we are to believe Food & Wine magazine, “The Nomad Era Starts in Las Vegas, and the Rest of the Year Will Be Crazy.” (That’s the headline of an article published online last week.)

NoMad is a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant opened in 2012 by Eleven Madison Park owners Will Guidara and Daniel Humm. Located in a restored Beaux Arts building in the Manhattan neighborhood of the same name, it oozes an only-in-New York brand of gritty, preternatural hipness that conjures images of an early ’70s Mick Jagger and The Stones slumped on a couch at 4 a.m.

More important than the vibe, New York’s NoMad has become a mecca for serious cocktail aficionados. Last week it secured the No. 4 spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, and was named the Best Bar in North America during London’s Cocktail Week festivities.

Given all of that, the brand’s expansion into Las Vegas (by way of Los Angeles) is hardly surprising. What is surprising, if not downright shocking, is the notable lack of pretensions of the bar, its staff and its offerings.

“For us the whole idea behind Vegas is having fun,” said managing partner and bar director Leo Robitschek, fresh off a flight from New York, on his way back from London.

“Vegas has become a lot about the big acts and the big names and the big parties, and spraying champagne all over the place. We don’t want to be that place. We want to be a place that you’d want to go to all the time, and you don’t need to spend $30,000 to get a table. We want to be a place where you come in and for any price you can have a good cocktail, you can have a good glass of wine, you can have some good food.”

In keeping with that philosophy, NoMad Bar will not have a cover charge. Nor will it have a dress code, although Robitschek hopes it will be a place “where maybe it feels cool to put on a jacket again.” Tables will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, rather than reserved for those who promise to spend four or five figures. And guests who want to mingle can enjoy a large bar area of mostly standing room.

Accessible via the NoMad hotel’s discreet private entrance across the street from The Park and T-Mobile Arena, the bar and lounge replicates the regal, rock ‘n’ roll chic of the New York original with touches like lush red drapes and chandeliers. But the space is far more open than that compartmentalized space, with clear lines of sight for making eye contact with strangers across the room and taking in the piano player’s performance in one corner. With regard to music, both live and recorded, the team promises it is “meant to be heard, but not at (the point of) sacrificing people’s voices.”

Another difference between our NoMad and the one in New York is the cocktail menu. While the Big Apple’s is arranged by spirits (unaged vs. oak-aged), ours is a bit more whimsical.

Page one is dedicated to Las Vegas classics.

“This is where we took a lot more of the history from Vegas and started playing with drinks that were really popular in Vegas during different eras,” Robitschek said. These include well-crafted spins on ’70s staples such as the Amaretto Sour and Blue Hawaiian, Rat Pack favorites such as the Rusty Nail and the Prohibition-era Improved Whiskey Cocktail, and a seasonal New York Sour with egg whites and a float of mulled wine.

The second page of the menu consists of favorites from the New York and L.A. locations, and represents the more serious, at times flirting with the pretentious, side of cocktail culture. Drinks here tend to blend spirits with savory kitchen-influenced touches, such as the Gentlemen’s Exchange (rye, vermouth, amaro, coffee and absinthe) or the Nod to Nothing (gin, lemon, Cocchi Americano, tea, apricot liqueur, yuzu and sage).

Frivolity returns on the next page, which offers large-format cocktails for two and “cocktail explosions” for four to eight. They include Walter Gibsons presented on a classic cart, a Zombie mixed in a “skull” and the Pretty & Basic, which arrives at your table batched in a crystal pitcher adorned with Barbie dolls.

“It’s sort of being the anti-bottle service,” Robitschek said of the explosions. “It’s actually cheaper than if you would get eight full cocktails. And it’s just fun.”

So will NoMad mark a new era for Las Vegas? Will Guidara laughs.

“We’re not trying to usher in a new era of cocktails or food or service. When it comes to cocktails, I don’t know how what we’re doing will influence Las Vegas. But it’s cool to have been given a platform where we can do exactly what we do in our other NoMads without compromising anything.”


Contact Al Mancini at amancini @reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
How to make authentic Foynes Irish Coffee

The bartenders at Ri Ra will gladly share the tale when preparing their Signature Foynes Irish Coffee with Ri Ra’s custom-blend coffee and Irish-style whipped cream.