Fun Times at Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas

We skipped Frankie’s Tiki Room on our last trip but made a point of visiting this time. Knowing that it can be crowded and extra smoky during the evenings, we visited right after a late breakfast on Friday morning around 11:00. Only two other people inside and it still smelled like smoke.

The inside of Frankie’s is a delight, with so many pieces of art and some really excellent tikis and decor. I like how there are different sections to hang out in, from the booths to the bar to the tables in between.

Service is from the bar, and obviously with a light crowd was super efficient and friendly. There is a jukebox where you can select some songs, but we sat underneath their loud air purifier so couldn’t hear the exotica very clearly (but, air purifiers are nice). It is super dark inside, one of Frankie’s charms.

Our drinks were… okay. They were prepared via free-pour so your mileage will vary. The Mai Tai is unbalanced and leans sweet, but I ordered the off-menu Rum Rum Rudolf (from the Liquid Vacation book) that was really great. Mrs. Mai Tai thought one of her drinks was okay but the other wasn’t very flavorful.

Being a dark tiki bar where the outside world is completely shut off, it is easy to see why people love this place. It feels surprisingly large inside and there are video poker machines at the bar if that’s your thing. We did have a good time at Frankie’s.

Brunch at Red Dwarf Bar in Las Vegas

Red Dwarf is a newish dive bar with tiki leanings. This differs from Frankie’s which is a tiki bar with dive leanings. We were told to check this place out as friendly bar that also serves Detroit-style pizza (crust, cheese, then sauce). Their Sunday brunch starting at 11:00 am was perfect for us.

Inside, there are quite a few tiki elements, but certainly is not as immersive as Frankie’s or Golden Tiki. We tried to sit in one of the booths but it was super tight so we switched to the bar, which actually worked out for us better. Service was friendly and prompt at the large center bar with two sides. Warsaw Poland Bros played live surf and Slavic American Ska and really were fabulous. They even had groovy ska number about the Red Dwarf bar! Sound was at a perfect level – we could easily hear the music but we could also hear ourselves.

Red Dwarf has a large beer selection, including the option to do the “Dungeon Master Challenge” where you roll a D20 to see what beer and shot you’ll get. We tried the Dwarf Piss, a very nice $4 lager that’s exclusive to this venue.

A small cocktail menu is also available. They are prepared via free pour but overall were pretty decent. The Mai Tai is credible and includes a small portion of Falernum as a little twist, and I enjoyed a second made with Appleton Reserve 8 rum from their collection. Mrs. Mai Tai had the very good Blue Hawaiian riff called “I Just Blew Myself” because it is served flaming.

The pizza is fantastic here, but sometimes sells out by late evening especially on the weekends. Brunch is really an awesome option here – really relaxing and with well-mannered regulars, but be sure to get there early. No smoking, except outside on their small patio.

Plenty of seats at the large two-section bar

The Chandelier at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

We somehow got a table right away at the very busy Chandelier bar at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas last Thursday night. Despite a few clubby elements they let a few of us folks outside the target demo have a round of fab cocktails.

As far as I can tell, the cocktail menu is completely different depending on what level you’re on. We were on level 1.5 (yes… that’s what they call it) and in addition to drinks I ordered a very nice shrimp cocktail.

My drink was the Cigar Lover’s Manhattan, which featured rum along with whiskey. And a very tasty chocolate cigar. Really great and worth a little premium.

Mrs Mai Tai had the We’re All Mad Here with Empress Gin, elderflower, lemon, and ginger. Very… transformative but also quite balanced.

We passed this bar on Friday and it wasn’t nearly as busy, which surprised us a little. Cocktails were really good here.

1923 Prohibition Bar: Speakeasy Bar in Las Vegas

We ran across the 1923 Prohibition Bar in the shopping complex between Mandalay Bay and Luxor, and once we entered through the “secret” entrance decided to take a load off with a cocktail.

As Prohibition style bars inside Casinos go, 1923 bar is pretty reasonable. Totally cut off from the shopping area and tourists, and a relaxing vibe with vintage touches inside. There are TV screens here showing period or venue-specific content (not sports/news, thankfully), plus music that is relaxing but isn’t period, so this is not 100% committed to the theme. They do however do burlesque here some nights and during mid-day when we went it was totally chill.

There’s a Mango Mai Tai on the menu, featuring Bacardi Mango Rum alongside Appleton Signature Rum and the standard 1944 ingredients. They also have Appleton Reserve and Rhum Barbancourt on their spirits list. I thought I got lucky to find a good 1944 Mai Tai in Vegas, and ordered one just with Appleton Reserve. Sadly, they said they were out of all of their rums except Myers’s.

Rather than fight a losing cause I ordered the Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned that was quite serviceable and set the mood for the venue quite well.

Check out 1923 Prohibition Bar the next time you’re in the area.

Golden Tiki in Vegas’ Chinatown

We made reservations at The Golden Tiki for 7 pm Friday and had a pretty good time at this Chinatown destination. About the same experience for us as last time: good (but not great) cocktails, some good food, interesting decor, and mostly lots of good smoke-free energy. We arrived a little early and got to span the transition from Happy Hour to regular service, so we took advantage of some of the Happy Hour specials.

We were seated back in the far lounge (right next to where we sat last time), which isolated us from the energy of the main room but also avoided some of the crowd. There was a band playing when we arrived but after they ended there wasn’t music playing in the back and that brought the energy down.

Food was pretty good, including the Fried Rice and I especially liked their Crab Rangoon. Service overall was on point and the waitress did do a good job explaining things about the cocktails. One of our party felt a “2 skull” cocktail didn’t have any taste of alcohol and the server said that cocktails were batched and so it would be impossible for booze to not be present.

Which of course lends the question about the quality of this and other cocktails, when batching is a factor. Just so you know.

My Mai Tai was fine, and would be great if you love a very orgeat-forward and sweet Mai Tai. I did enjoy the Lemba Lemba Akulapu cocktail with three rums, juices, and spices – and this four skull cocktail definitely had some booze! We’ll make more of an effort to try and sit in the main room at the bar, where maybe we can possibly work with the bartenders, but cocktails here overall are fine as is.

Lost Spirits Distillery: Intimate Vegas Cirque Experience and Rum Tasting

We finally had the opportunity to check out the Lost Spirits Distillery experience in Las Vegas. This adults-only venue is an intimate cirque-style experience including burlesque, magic, and singers. Being able to see acrobatic performances so close was really a treat, and everyone really seemed to be of the highest class within their chosen genre.

The venue has a series of corridors and stages, plus some lounge spaces. So it very much is a choose-your-own-adventure and with performances happening simultaneously you literally can’t see everything. But the organic nature of the exploration is half the fun.

Rum is certainly a key aspect, with attendees given generous pours of several of Lost Spirts’ robust rums, plus tastes of their sweetened pineapple and cherry rums. All the rum tastings are included with the admission, but there are also bottled/batched cocktails available for purchase as well. These cocktails are by Alex Velez of Drink Masters fame, and the one cocktail we tried was fantastic. Bottles of various sizes are available for purchase.

Our friends Brenda and Glen know Lost Spirits co-founder Bryan Davis, and we met up with him and he showed us around the distillery portion and gave us some heads-up about some of the key performers – including one artist with an act that literally cannot be described with words – simply incredible. We appreciated the VIP treatment and thank Davis for the hospitality.

We entered at 7 pm, but they don’t kick you out once the 9 pm group comes in. So you can take your time with your rum tastings and find some time to enjoy the ambiance of the immersive space.

Rhumbar at The Mirage

We wanted to see the volcano erupt at The Mirage before it closes and had a few minutes to spare so we grabbed a quick drink at Rhumbar. A very nice hotel bar with a cool retro vibe. There’s an outdoor portion we didn’t visit but the inside was cool and there’s also a slushy station outside.

The “Mai Tai or Die” has Rhum Clement bland, Avuá Cachaca, pineapple, orgeat, and a Myers’s float. As pineapple Mai Tais go this one was pretty good and the rest of the menu looked legit.

It’s a shame the volcano is going away but the Mai Tai helped dull the pain.

Note: Sounds like The Mirage will stay in current state until around mid 2024, then be completely “reimagined”. So there is still lots of time to check out the volcano and resort.

Golden Tiki

Our last Vegas trip was 2016, before Golden Tiki opened. So we made visiting a priority with a dinner reservation on Sunday. We entered the brightly colored yet still dimly lit space with so much to look at, while being serenaded by the retro stylings of Dino a’ la Carte. We were seated nearby Dino, who soon welcomed us and congratulated us on our anniversary (noted in our reservation). Thereafter the waitress surprised us with an anniversary cocktail flight and a Dole Whip.

Service was a strength here, as our waitress was quite attentive through various rounds. Dinner isn’t served until after happy hour ends at 7 pm, so this added additional layers of service calls. I tried the pork sliders and spam musubi and both were pretty good.

Golden Tiki is gorgeous, with different themed areas and lots of little details. Some Disney style elements, lots of shrunken heads, and some raunchy stuff especially in the restroom. The large layout leaves plenty of seating for groups and this feels like a perfect tiki bar for Vegas.

The Mai Tai was okay, definitely leaning sweet and easy to drink. Mrs. Mai Tai said the Painkiller tasted like it had coffee liqueur, a welcome addition. Her Trial by Fire didn’t provide the coconut and chocolate flavors advertised on the menu, but I thought it was pretty refreshing. She for sure liked the Strawberry Batida. Meanwhile, we both felt the Piranha Punch was too sweet, but I really loved the Hemingway’s Ruin which adds Don’s Mix to the standard Hemingway Daiquiri template.

We made sure to get a photo in their signature clam shell. There is so much to see here, we’ll want to return again, and everyone treated us so well. We also enjoyed the no smoking policy, which combined with better cocktails allows us to tap Golden Tiki as our favorite in town.

Tiki di Amore

We were tipped to this tiki bar attached to an Italian restaurant, Casa di Amore, in the Vegas suburbs. The restaurant is open on Monday but the Tiki di Amore patio is only open Fri-Sun, a detail not listed on their website (I missed the notice on their Instagram). But since we were in the mood for Italian food we stayed anyway and found two seats at the bar.

The place is old school Italian, complete with a singer who sang all the favorites including “That’s Amore” and “New York New York.” The food was pretty good too. Loved the meatballs and Mrs Mai Tai said the soup was great.

I tried the Mai Tai off the tiki menu, but it for sure didn’t contain the Martinique Rhum referenced, and I couldn’t get much Jamaican rum taste either. A very sweet Mai Tai.

Thankfully, the Manhattan was better. Seems like a classic cocktail kind of place. Staff was friendly and helpful.

The outdoor patio out back is nicely appointed and includes two Moai from the old Aku-Aku at the Stardust.

Island Time Floats Tiki Bar

Regular readers will know that I try to paint with a wide brush and give a lot of leeway regarding what is tiki. Even on the Las Vegas Strip. Call yourself tiki and do something nodding in the directions, then sure. I’ll call it a tiki bar.

Island Time Floats is not a tiki bar.

There weren’t any tikis whatsoever, nor any nods toward the genre. Heck, a Mai Tai wasn’t even on their cocktail menu.

Nonetheless the bartender was happy to make one upon my request, but it was made as expected.

  • Malibu Rum
  • Admiral Nelson Spiced rum
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Grenadine
  • Myers’s Dark Rum float

As these things go it wasn’t bad if you drink from top to bottom, but needless to say this isn’t on the Mai Tai recommendation list. Oh well.