Part of Boyd Gaming’s massive multi-million dollar makeover of its properties, Bailiwick at the Orleans opened in December in the former space of Brendan’s Irish Pub. The transformation is like night and day. Whereas Brendan’s was dark, Bailiwick boasts a bright and cheerful atmosphere. There are three environments: a room with shuffleboard and pool tables with free play!, TVs and chandeliers fashioned from steel pipe fittings; one with a gaming-free lounge with rectangular reclaimed hickory wood bar top lined with 40 taps, a velvet sofa and leather seating area and performance stage accented by a graffiti art backdrop where three different entertainers perform each night; and a more subdued dining room separated from the lounge that is still close enough to hear the tunes being played in the next room. The renovated setting is designed to evoke the look and feel of a repurposed 19th-century industrial building, with steel I-beam detailing, a steel louvered entryway and a curated collection of antiques.

According to GM T.J. McNally, the name means passion or hobby and their passion happens to be good food and drink. And that’s exactly what I experienced during my visit. An all scratch kitchen turns out table snacks, several types of fries, chowder and greens, sandwiches and burgers, flatbreads and large plates. The kitchen is in the able and experienced hands of Richard Wells, a chef with 40 years of experience. Chef is practically a native Las Vegan, having moved here when he was six months old. Over the past decades he opened Main Street Station and The Mirage and has been with Boyd Gaming for the past seven years.

Back to the food, I found plenty of unexpected surprises and variations. How about BLT sliders with bacon marmalade and fried green tomato; the #1 selling Nacho Chips, which are house-made potato chips topped with pork chili Colorado, jack cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and ghost chili crema; Peking Flatbread with roast duck, hoisin, tatsoi greens and cucumber; and French Toast—instead of chicken and waffles, fried chicken tenders atop almond French toast and served with maple syrup. If chips and fries are your thing then you’ve come to the right place, with the likes of Brisket Fries—sweet potato chips, smoked BBQ beef brisket and horseradish sour cream or Classic Poutine—potato fries topped with cheese curds, brown gravy and fried egg.

Readers of this magazine should remember GM T.J. McNally, who showed me around The LINQ a few years ago, which I reported on in our August 2015 issue. Now in his new position he has put together a local-friendly hangout with an awesome beer list. One thing sure to keep the locals coming is several offerings from local breweries, with a minimum of six on tap at all times, which during my visit included brews from Big Dog’s, CraftHaus, Hop Nuts, Joseph James, Tenaya Creek and a beer brewed especially for the gastropub: Bailiwick Porter, brewed locally by Triple 7 Brewpub at Main Street Station and infused with vanilla and cherry.

Furthermore, T.J. has curated a well-rounded collection of more than 70 choices covering a wide range of beer styles with some unique brews not found everywhere, like Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA and Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale. Specials on local beers occur every Monday and a tap takeover event each month with a featured brewery offering six of its brews and usually with a rep from the brewery in attendance.

If beer’s not your thing, don’t fret, for there are plenty of other options such as the Out of the Barrel cocktails made with spirits aged in-house in charred barrels for a minimum of 30 days, like the Barrel-aged Manhattan with Bulleit Bourbon Rye, sweet vermouth, orange bitters and Luxardo Cherry and Blood & Sand with Johnnie Walker Black Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy and orange juice. Or, adult shakes, like the Not Grandma’s Pecan Pie made with Dude’s Grandma’s Pecan Pie English Ale, vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce that I found so delicious I could easily drink it all night long.

There are lots of reasons to make Bailiwick your regular comfortable place, like the aforementioned amenities; reasonably priced menu items, most of which range from $8-$12; and the daily Social Hour from 4-6 p.m. in the lounge, during which you can load up on regular size portions of eight different appetizers all priced at $7, a selection of five draft pints for $6 and well drinks for $5.

Bailiwick is open from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday-Monday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bailiwick at the Orleans Hotel & Casino
702-365-7111
www.orleanscasino.com/dine/bailiwick