The Wall—Self-Serve Beer and Much to Entertain You
Want a beer? Why not get up and after perusing 60 choices, grab a glass and pour it yourself? Don’t want to commit to a full pint, but maybe just a few sips? Go for it. What I’m describing is The Wall, a fairly new (opened in Dec. 2018) attraction in the Masquerade Casino area of the Rio, which has not yet received the attention it truly deserves, especially since it happens to have the best beer selection in the Rio, as well as one of the best in town and some quite unique amenities.
To use the serve-yourself option you simply give a credit card to the bartender and in return are given an RFID card that when placed above the tap of your choice, allows you to pour as much as you want, while displaying the cost per ounce and how much you are adding to your tab as you pour.
As for the selection, the taps are on three walls, which during my visit included a decent amount of local brews: Able Baker Atomic Duck and Chris Kael Impal’d Ale, Bad Beat Gosa Mosa, CraftHaus Lowlands Clan Wee Heavy and Silver State Blonde, Tenaya Creek Imperial Stout and Trustworthy IPA. There is definitely no crap on tap and all are worthy choices with enough variety to satisfy pretty much any beer lover. Standouts to my preferences included Crooked Stove Sour Rose, Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA (one of my all-time favorites), Garage Brewing Marshmallow Stout and Mango Hefe, Pfriem Flanders Blonde Kriek and Prairie Sour-Fruited Karate Chimp.
In addition to the plethora of self-serve taps, there are also 70 can and bottle choices at the bar, which thanks to The Wall having an off-premise license, you can also take home or to your room. This option also has local brews, including Able Baker Cozy Catastrophe Imperial IPA, Bad Beat Oktoberfest and The Ringer Pilsner and CraftHaus Evocation; and notable brews like Decadent Ales/Evil Twin Delight #2 Imperial Stout and Evil Twin Doughnut Break Imperial Porter.
But the beer is not the only attraction here, as there are a bevy of entertainment options in several spaces, at least one of which should appeal to you. Walls are decorated with graffiti-style artwork and a room is filled with original pieces from local artists (all of which are for sale); 18 gaming consoles (high-end Alienware Aurora R7 PCs powered by GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs offering high-end graphics and settings) are available for online gaming; another area offers vintage video games, pinball, air hockey, ping pong table, an old school photo booth and oversized Jenga and Connect 4 and arriving soon, four pool tables; and another has large TVs and couches for viewing sports programming.
Yet another enticement is a kitchen helmed by Renzo Verastegui, who attended culinary school in his native Peru before spending 14 years on the Strip in fine dining (such as Drai’s) and casual eateries. 80% of the street food menu options are Chef’s creation, with the likes of tacos (carnitas, chicken satay or beer tinga), wings (BBQ, Carolina gold or gochujang), sliders (hot Nashville chicken or sloppy burger), elote hot dog (with roasted corn, cotija cheese and cilantro crema), authentic Peruvian salchipapa fries (with all-beef hot dog, fried egg and Aji Amarillo crema), one of the best Angus burgers I’ve tried in quite some time (with grilled onion, vine ripe tomato, pickle and aioli) and churros topped with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. Not only is everything quite good, but the prices are more than reasonable, with price points ranging from $7-$12.
Currently The Wall attracts 70% tourists and 30% locals, which is likely to change, as GM Craig Crist, who took the position two months ago, is working to proselytize the good word of great food and beer and also publicize The Wall’s reasonable price points warranting classifying it as an establishment with locals pricing. Furthermore, the attraction is somewhat family-friendly, but those under 18 need to be with an adult in areas other than the bar, and guests must be over 18 to rent the gaming consoles.
Beer District Brewing Opening Soon
In the works to open soon (possibly before the end of the year) is Beer District Brewing, located at 914 S. Main St. just a few blocks north of Charleston. I stopped in last month to visit with co-founders Jimmy Doyle and Clyde Lipp and found construction in full swing and the brewing equipment partially installed. The 10-bbl brewhouse will feature eight 3-bl fermenters, with plans to brew a base beer and then split it into three variations/fermenters. A tasting room will be equipped with 20 taps, a marble bartop, indoor and outdoor seating and a parking lot with about 20 spaces. I promise more to come once the brewery opens its doors. In the meantime, check out their progress at www.facebook.com/thebeerdistrictbrewery.