Fernet About It: STK Takes on San Fran for U.S. Branca Dominance, Plus Beer Galore



Despite Las Vegas bartenders’ best efforts to personally ingest as much Fernet Branca as humanly possible, San Francisco still has the Italian digestivo’s top national account, pouring 220 cases of the stuff in 2013. But with only 10 months left in 2014, STK in the Cosmopolitan is saying, “Game on, San Fran!” Beginning March 1, the female-friendly and industry-favorite steakhouse (currently Las Vegas’ top Branca account with about 60 cases in 2013) will begin an unprecedented push: $3 per shot or cocktail from 5:30-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. On Sundays, industry members get two for the price of one with their Fernet Branca Challenge Coin (ask a bartender). And during reverse happy hour, shots are $3 from 11 p.m.-midnight, $2 from midnight-1 a.m. Don’t like to shoot yours? Neither do I. Have it the Argentine way—with Mexican Coke—for the same price, or ask for the Vegas Cure, a shot with a Crabbie’s alcoholic gingerbeer back. Rumor has it, STK might even offer buckets of mini bottles. Game on, indeed.

But if beer is more your speed, mark your calendar for April 26 when The Great Vegas Festival of Beer—Las Vegas’ largest handcrafted beer festival—takes over the Fremont East Entertainment District with more than 80 breweries and more than 250 brews; tickets are available now. Last year’s event at Sunset Park was great, but putting on a festival in a park means bringing everything in. And bringing it back out. So the event’s new Downtown location will allow Motley Brews founder Brian Chapin and his crew to create focus areas for beer-inspired culinary menus, mixology, educational elements, interactive exhibits and live music. “We are challenging perceptions of the traditional beer festival,” Chapin says. “Being in the middle of Downtown Las Vegas sets the stage for an unparalleled experience.” Motley Brews is once again working with the nonprofit Nevada Craft Brewers Association, to support our local breweries and prominently feature great Nevada beers. ($35, 4-8 p.m.; 3 p.m. entry with $45 early entry ticket; $75 includes early entry and access to the Brewers Lounge.)

If you just can’t wait till then, GBDC’s Beer Edition kicks off at 1 p.m. March 1 at Ghostbar, with complimentary hefeweizen cupcakes and an open beer bar featuring Barleys Brewery and Tenaya Creek Brewery from 1-2 p.m. RSVP at CocktailCityVegas.com, and wear ’70s gym gear for an additional 30 minutes of open bar.

The Pub at Monte Carlo continues its Gus’ Beer & Bites beer-pairing dinner series, held the last Wednesday of every month. Each interactive dinner features a beer-friendly menu created by executive chef Damis Irizarry to complement the night’s host brand. Firestone Brewing and Henderson’s own Joseph James Brewing Co. have taken their turns; next up is San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Co. on March 19. After that, the rest of the season will feature Redlands, California’s Hanger 24 Craft Brewery on April 30; Stone Brewing Co. on May 28; Utah’s Squatters and Wasatch beers on June 25; and Newcastle on July 30. Each event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception and passed hors d’oeuvres before the seated five-course affair begins. ($64.05 per person; RSVP by calling 730-7420.)

But if you prefer tequila with your meal, Cantina Laredo in Tivoli Village has your number: a four-course Asombroso tequila-pairing dinner March 5 with dishes by chef Damon Workman and four expressions of the “Tequila with a heart,” including El Platino silver, La Rosa reposado, Extra Añejo gran reserva and the 11-year rested Vintage Añejo. The evening begins with cocktails at 7 p.m., and seats are available for $50 each by calling 202-4511.