Travel Bites: Custom Wines and Faux Fur at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay

From exclusive wines to faux furs, ice bars to headless Russian leaders, Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay offers a host of memorable destinations for discerning imbibers. On a recent visit, I spent an evening at the gorgeous Las Vegas south strip location, enjoying food, drink, and fabulous friends.

We started with wine and dinner at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole. The West Coast sister of Palmer’s lush New York restaurant is great for parties large or small and offers a gorgeous custom glass wine cellar, with harness-clad attendants lovingly dubbed ‘Wine Angels’. Sommelier William Sherer has helped to develop an extensive collection of palate-pleasing wines, including the restaurant’s custom Charlie Palmer champagne and the delish ISC pinot noir. The ISC wine, which stands for International Sommelier Conspiracy, is not only perfect with many of the restaurant’s dishes, it also features a former Aureole chef, Bravo Top Chef contestant, Bryan Voltaggio, on the label.

After dinner at Aurole, we took a quick jaunt to Red Square, easily spotted with a towering, headless Lenin statue next to the front door. The Russian restaurant’s bar guests are offered luxurious fur coats and hats for a shot of top-notch vodka in the bar’s stainless steel cold room. The room, built to house the restaurant’s liquor selection, is small but comfortably fits a group of eight. Though we didn’t stay in the cold for long, the icy toast was a fabulous way to mark a memorable moment.

minus5_stockshotFrom there, it was a short walk to Minus 5º, an ice bar recently opened in the hotel. With furs, gloves, and fabric booties, we were waved into a cold lounge made entirely of ice. The bar’s design is custom carved from dozens of blocks of ice and, according to manager Rupert King, is completely melted and rebuilt every few months. There’s a set menu of drinks – each one, divine – served in novelty ice glasses (hence the need for gloves). Seating in the lounge was surprisingly comfortable, with faux fur lining each ice bench. We didn’t stay for more than one drink and both the ice bar experience, and the drinks, proved to be a great time.

For more info on my fave drinking spots in Mandalay Bay, check out the list below:

Mandalay Bay and Red Square
Minus 5º

~Jennifer Heigl

*Minus 5º photo courtesy of Minus 5º.com

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