Beer on at Gordo’s, Bubba’s new brew, and the gift of whiskey or tequila … in a box

• Gordon Ramsay continues his British invasion with the Dec. 18 opening of Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace and the Dec. 22 opening of Gordon Ramsay BurGR at Planet Hollywood. The 290-seat pub promises 36 beers on tap plus 24 bottled beers; here’s hoping for some anomalies that will make it a destination spot for beer-lovers to pair with Ramsay’s fried-egg sandwiches and fish and chips. The 200-seat burger/fries/shake joint (well, pudding shake—the bloke’s British, after all) will also have a robust beer program: 30 beers, including large-format American craft brews, plus classic cocktails. Thanks, but I’ll pass on the pudding shake, mate.

• Speaking of beer (and aren’t I, always?), Barley’s Casino & Brewery brew master Bubba is rolling out his new seasonal creation, a strong nut brown ale, for winter. Coming in at 7.7-percent alcohol by volume, the beer is brewed with chocolate, Munich and crystal malts, pure Vermont maple syrup and a good amount of Willamette hops.

• If you’re looking for a great gift for your office holiday party, the Liquor Library—the first and only packaged liquor store located within the baggage claim area of any airport in the country, which opened last month at McCarran International Airport—has you covered. Here I found not only all the usual suspects of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, wine, bubbly and beer at prices comparable to the rest of the city, but also a few things that just scream gift exchange. From the intentionally grungy lifestyle brand Wicked Tango comes Wicked Agave Tequila in a box ($36) and Wicked 87 American Light Whiskey in a box ($34). Given the name and packaging, I assume the recipient’s hangover will be wicked. Just remember, there is such a thing as gift karma.

• Formerly operated by China Grill Management, Red Square in Mandalay Bay is now managed by Light Group and open as of Dec. 10 with a fresh menu, a caviar program and a cocktail list with nine new drinks by Light Group mixologist Mike Monrreal. True, gone is the beloved Chernobyl (think Russian Long Island Iced Tea), but here to stay are the revamped vodka flights and Monrreal’s Sputnik Spritz. And the vodka vault is intact, but now with new (faux) fur coats.

• On the wine front, the Venetian and the Palazzo will kick off the third annual Festivino, a celebration the wines of Bordeaux, on Dec. 15 with a wine-tasting event with hors d’oeuvres in the Palazzo’s Atrium, 7-9 p.m. ($40). Prix fixe wine-pairing menus will also be available for $75 all month at Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro and at Pinot Brasserie.

• Bellagio has announced the lineup of its 2013 Epicurean Epicenter Series, which includes wine dinners featuring Inglenook and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Jan. 26), Justin Winery and chef Todd English (March 9), a beer and barbecue affair (July 6), and the monthly Art & Wine event. A highlight of the series, Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, the exclusive retreat of Chinese royalty and world leaders, will host a four-day culinary festival (Feb. 13-16) in Tuscany Kitchen to celebrate Chinese New Year. Series info can be found at



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