Photo credit: A.D. Cook & 18bin & Joe Urcioli
18bin Proving to Be a Good Fit for the Arts District
In late September 18bin opened in the heart of the Las Vegas Arts District in a space that formerly housed Bar Bistro and most recently Urban Lounge. It would seem the location at Charleston and Art Way between Main and Casino Center, adjacent to the Arts Factory warehouse and gallery, would beg for a venue with a cool art vibe and it seems that 18bin is a perfect fit.
The bin in the name alludes to the group’s 702bin location in the Downtown Container Park, which Sonny Ahuja and Don Welch opened in 2013. The 18 references its historic 18b district site spanning 18 blocks that is home to more than two dozen art galleries and studios, along with boutiques, stores, bars and restaurants.
While the 702 sister restaurant only encompasses a mere 640 square feet in the shipping container space its housed in, 18bin dwarfs it in size, measuring 4,000 square feet of interior space and 5,000 additional square feet of patio. Don Welch flexed his creative muscle to create an eclectic art décor, with artwork and murals by local artists, colored windows, mismatched vintage hanging lights, rustic wood tables and flooring, plush brown leather booths and the centerpiece of the bar: a large mural celebrating the 1973 underground movie They Call Her One Eye.
Welch is equally proud of the patio, which he referred to as his baby. Interspaced throughout the area with several tables are trees, vines, flower beds and herbs. There’s also a wonderful artistic functional wood-carved creation of a table and chairs which I found to be quite comfortable.
The restaurant’s website describes it as a meeting place, and it has all the fixings to fit the designation: with board games, video games, a legit sound system playing mainly classic rock and a vintage TV outfitted with a VCR and old movies that patrons are free to play while they hang out on a comfy couch and chairs. The elevated space the TV is set up on doubles as a stage, where DJs and live bands perform on select nights.
The beer selection, which includes 9 drafts and 2 dozen bottles and cans, is rounded out with an international selection with a wide range of beer styles, most of which are not found everywhere. During my visit I found Delirium Tremens, Bavik Super Pils, Konig Ludwig Weissbier, Hofbrau Dunkel, Fuller’s London Pride, Einstok White Ale, Lindeman’s Cuvee Rene, Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, Boon Kriek, Tre Fontaine Trappist and Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel. There is also quite a large spirits list, with dozens of bourbon, whiskey, scotch and rye expressions from around the world; more than a dozen mescals and tequilas; and a collection of gin, rum, vodka and several liqueurs.
Heading the kitchen is Executive Chef Jenn Landry, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of New Orleans with nearly 25 years of experience (for more on Chef Landry, see Pat Evan’s Chef Spotlight in our Dec. issue https://lvfnb.com/articles/chef-spotlight-fa3b60988d11). In describing her food menu she said, “Like the décor, nothing matches, but everything fits well.” We enjoyed her beet salad with grapefruit segments and charred grapefruit vinaigrette; carrot/parsnip hummus (which changes daily); clam bake with potatoes, Kalamata olives, white wine and chorizo; and her New Orleans influence shined brightly in her jambalaya made with Andouille sausage and herb-marinated chicken served with long grain rice and southern spicy sauce chicken lollipops. We finished with a very decadent and unique addicting dessert: bacon-crusted monkey bread with pork belly caramel.
As is fitting for a location brimming with culture, 18bin is family friendly, with no gaming or smoking and only the bar area off limits to minors. 18bin is also friendly to your wallet, with food items mainly from $7-12 (and are not increased during First Friday) and during the daily happy hour from 3-6 p.m. there are even deeper discounts with draft pints beginning at $3.25, house wine and well drinks for $5.50 and food offerings such as 3 roast beef sliders for $8.
18bin is open Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m. and beginning on February 29 a weekend brunch will be served. To view the complete food and drink menus visit https://18binlv.com/eat.
107 E. Charleston Blvd., Suite 150
The Front Yard at Ellis Island Hosts Its First Beer Dinner
Ellis Island’s The Front Yard, which opened in late 2019, hosted its first beer dinner on Feb. 6. Held in the second level of the new venue, the six-course beer dinner proved quite popular, as it sold out to the first 50 attendees to book it.
The evening began with a welcome beer, a traditional Bavarian Hefeweizen with slight notes of banana and clove. We were welcomed by Head Brewer Michael Keys, who shared how he and fellow Head Brewer Eddie Leal have been brewing since they were kids, before they were old enough to drink legally, and that the longtime friends and co-workers had celebrated their silver anniversary of brewing for 25 years by coming over to brew together at Ellis Island two years ago. Throughout the evening we were entertained with comments about the food and beer pairings from Michael, Eddie and Ellis Island Corporate Chef Joe Perez.
The first course paired Elote Bites—a cheesy deep fried Mexican-style cornbread with roasted corn and poblano crema—that complemented the easy-drinking Mexican Light Beer it was paired with.
Next up was Smoked Salmon Carpaccio with an avocado salsa paired with Rauchbier, of which Eddie said is a very unique beer made with malt smoked with beechwood that made the brewery smell like a campfire when they brewed it. Michael added that this style originated in Baumberg, Germany and is one of his favorite beer styles, and was a test beer for entry to the Great American Beer Festival. I must confess this has never been one of my preferred beer styles, but this version changed my mind, as it had just a touch of smokiness to make it enjoyable and was a good match for the slightly smoked salmon dish it was matched with.
Belgian Beer Cheese Soup, which Chef shared is going on the new menu, was served alongside the brewery’s Belgian Tripel, which was one of the prime ingredients used in the dish. Eddie commented that he added Belgian candi sugar to the brew, and though it weighs in at 8% ABV, it doesn’t taste that strong and could sneak up on you.
Mussels with Spicy Sausage was matched with a Czech-style Pilsner brewed with Noble Czech hops, which was enhanced by the flavor in the dish. Michael and Eddie related that Pilsner is a go-to style for brewers, as they are often glorified janitors and a well-made Pilsner is a great beer to be refreshed with after a hard day’s work.
Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta was made with the California Common it was paired with instead of using stock. Eddie related that this is the same style as the iconic Anchor Steam and is an amber lager with Northern Brewer hops fermented at ale temperature to get more character.
The finale was Smoked Bourbon Ice Cream with sweet pralines and a caramel Stout reduction matched with an Oatmeal Coffee Stout infused with cold brewed coffee from the local Bad Owl Coffee Roasters. Eddie said he added the coffee grounds in a separate tank at a cold temperature so the coffee would add less bitter flavors.
This inaugural beer dinner hit all the right notes, with use of a sound system making it easy for all to hear the comments; seamless service with no lags, even though servers had to lug trays full of dishes up to the second floor; a great price of only $50 for six courses, which also included a commemorative engraved pint glass; and most importantly, outstanding food and beer.
Look for more special events, which I’m told will include wine dinners, spirits pairings and more beer dinners.