Rum in Las Vegas is hard to find but find it I did. And it was good!
Las Vegas has it all; cards, dice, sweet suites, cirque de soleil, limos and even redheads for hire. Alas, the big city in desert is lacking in one department. Rum.
Recently I spent a week in Vegas. During my stay I was on a mission to visit the top cocktail bars at all the great casinos. Mission accomplished, and no hangovers to boot. As my mixology mission unfolded I became more and more aware of the glaring lack of good rum. What gives? I asked the bartenders, who were great hosts, where I could find a good rum offering. All of them answered uniformly, Frankies Tiki Room.
I was off.
Frankie’s Tiki Room is off the strip. It is actually just west of old downtown. This is no tourist bar. You will need a taxi and you will need to give them an address and how to get there because they won’t know it either. Which makes the adventure that much more fun. It’s best you’re in a cab going because you’ll be in no condition to drive when you leave.
Frankie’s has been around for only four years but has made a name for itself with the professional bartenders of the city. The first thing you will notice is that when you enter you will notice nothing. By that I mean Frankie’s is so dark inside and the desert afternoon so bright that you will be effectively blind as you enter. You’ll have to switch to your other Spidey senses.
Cigarette smoke will fill your nose first. Followed by said smoke stinging your eyes. You’ll get some visual feedback from the glass bulbs and blowfish on the ceiling as your shine hits the first table. Your audio cues kick in when the bartender and patrons alike welcome you and encourage you to continue your journey forward. As you get closer to the bar you can smell the 150 plus bottles of rum. Welcome to Frankie’s Tiki Room.
Not only does Frankie’s have a lot of rum but their selection is a good one. It covers all the regions of the world. I spied Bundaberg from Australia and English Harbor from Antigua. The tiki cocktail menu fills two pages and takes twenty minutes to consider. You might want a glass of one of their great rums neat while you decide exactly which cocktail has your name on it.
The bartender is friendly. The place is full of regulars. You can tell by the banter back and forth over and along the bar as people pump quarters into inlaid video poker machines with shit payoff odds. After all this is Vegas.
Once your eyes adjust to the intense dark room you can start to admire the decor. Great tiki god statues, neat tiki paintings, the blowfish noted earlier and walls covered in grass matts. The bar is awesome and long but don’t miss the lounge seating in the back corner. It’s so dark over there I’m sure many people have enjoyed a rum and a rub.
Tiki used to be a huge business in America and after a period of rejection and even contempt for being too cliche or cheap I am glad to see a new resurgence, a new energy in the arena. The key is for people like you and me to support them. So the next time you visit Vegas, build some time in to head off the strip to grab a rum or three and enjoy the real Las Vegas.
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