Las Vegas isn't known for its hidden hotspots. If something gets an ounce of popularity it's marketed to death in one of those "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" commercials or featured in a movie or television show. Before you know it, your favorite Vegas spot is the backdrop for a murder scene on "CSI Las Vegas."
While it may be hard to believe, hidden gems can still be found in Las Vegas. Among them is Mandarin Bar inside the Mandarin Oriental. And this bar is only hidden because it wants to be.
First, it's likely that you've never heard of the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel doesn't have gaming, which is normally an entry point for wandering tourists. Additionally, you won't find a pedestrian entrance on the Las Vegas Strip. You'll have to either drive up to the valet or awkwardly walk around The Shops at Crystals to reach the entrance.
Once you manage to find the hotel, you still won't find any sign of Mandarin Bar until you reach the elevator. The bar is located on the 23rd floor, to the right of the check-in counter.
The modern décor really stands out. There are oversized leather chairs, a squared bar with a towering liquor shelf and dim, strategically placed lighting. The focal point of this room, though, is the view. Floor-to-ceiling windows can be found on three of the four walls, giving you an unparalleled view of the Strip no matter where your seat is.
The drink menu is filled with tastes that you'll only find at Mandarin Bar, such as the The Mandarin Martini (aka the Golden Leaf), which pairs up Hendrick's gin, Aperol, muddled mandarin, pineapple, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. The rest of the cocktail menu focuses on high-end spirits usually paired with fresh fruit or fresh herbs. If the menu doesn't satisfy your palate, the bartenders, who are also mixologists, can whip you up a fresh creation based on your taste preferences.
If you find yourself too engulfed in the view and cocktails to make that late dinner, there is also a menu filled with light, Asian-inspired bites.
In a city full of see-and-be-seen venues and outlandish behavior, Mandarin Bar provides that rare place to just get away without ever really being away from anything.