Las Vegas’ Golden Monkey Tiki Bar Needs to Do More

We landed at Resorts World in Las Vegas to have dinner in their Famous Foods dining court, but I wanted to check out the Mai Tai at The Golden Monkey, a modern tiki bar that’s drawn mixed reviews. Indeed the lounge has some legit tiki touches including a wall of tiki mugs, though there is lots of light coming in from the adjacent hallway and some walls that are somewhat bare.

There were a few parties inside, so we sat at the bar. The bartenders couldn’t have been friendlier and the rest of my group also did drinks. The cocktail menu is a mix of classic exotic drinks such as the Saturn and Three Dots & a Dash, and some modern ones featuring ingredients such coconut fat-washed whisky.

The Mai Tai features Mount Gay Eclipse and Myers’s dark, with Giffard Orgeat, Thai Basil Syrup and Lime. I don’t find the Giffard to be a pleasant flavor and the Thai Basil Syrup didn’t do anything for me either. With the delicate Eclipse rum forming the base, this wasn’t a particularly flavorful Mai Tai and leaned tart.

The Polynesian Pearl Diver that Mrs. Mai Tai ordered was a lot better, though. This features two great rums, El Dorado 12 and Smith & Cross, and one okay rum, Brugal 1888. There’s also Falernum, Cookie Butter, Orange, Lime, Cream, and Bitters. This was a very nice cocktail and our friends liked theirs as well.

This was our second visit to Golden Monkey on a Saturday and the customers inside have been small both times (meanwhile, off-strip bars The Golden Tiki and Stray Pirate were packed earlier in the day), which is not a good sign for the longevity of venue. The lack of signage inside the hotel makes it hard to find even if you’re looking for it, which I’m sure doesn’t help. I don’t mind modern tiki in the least, but the lack of outreach to the tiki community and the poor Mai Tai means that many feel this place isn’t worth seeking out. Its fine but they need to do more to last long-term.

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