By Danny R. Johnson
San Diego County News was tipped off by fellow reporters who work for the New York Times that we should check out the Mandarin Bar, which is located on the 23rd floor of the newly opened Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas. To be fair and objective, San Diego County News conducted an extensive on-site review of all the major casinos and resorts on the Vegas Strip to determine which establishment could live up to the title of “Best Jazz Lounge” on the Vegas Strip. We have concluded that The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas-Mandarin Bar Jazz Lounge is the undisputed winner! In addition, here are the reasons why:
The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas is located in the CityCenter, which is the heart of Las Vegas Boulevard and is the newest addition to the thriving and vivacious Vegas Strip. The Mandarin Bar, located on the 23rd floor of the hotel, houses the most elegant and best kept secret on the Vegas Strip – the fabulous jazz lounge! All you jazz fans can relax and listen to some of the best jazz groups Vegas has to offer in a quiet non-smoking environment.
The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas/Mandarin Bar Jazz Lounge is a top-notch classy place to relax and wind down after a hectic day on the Vegas Strip – and anyone who has been to Vegas knows how worn out you can get after being on the Vegas Strip for a couple of hours.
Once you step off the elevator and enter the Mandarin Bar Jazz Lounge, a professional maitre d’ who understands The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas’ relentless obsession to customer service immediately greets you. The staff on board this particular evening was professional, courteous and attentive to all the customer’s desires and accommodations. The bar was equipped with a knowledgeable and creative “mixologist” who provided patrons with an array of beautifully arranged cocktails and premium wines from their extensive wine list. The Mandarin Bar can fulfill the desires of any demanding wine connoisseur, which is why the hotel was awarded the coveted AAA Five Diamonds rating.
JAZZ MUSIC REVIEW
On this particular Wednesday evening, the Brian Czach Jazz Trio, which consists of bandleader and drummer, Brian Czach, with Dave Marinelli on piano/keyboards, Fred Watstein on acoustic bass, and an exceptional guest vocalist Pascale Elia, provided the audience with an array of beautifully arranged melodies of jazz classics such as Gershwin’s “Summertime,” and a jazzy rendition of Norah Jones’ Grammy award winning song, “I Don’t Know Why.”
The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas hit a home run when it booked the Brian Czach Jazz Trio to perform in the Mandarin Bar Jazz Lounge. The group has an expansive repertoire, which includes jazz, bebop, pop, and modern music, as well as original compositions. Observing these musicians play in their natural element was nothing short of fascinating and rhythmical outrageous! These cats are old school jazz performers whose timing and tonal articulation is superb.
Pascale Elia is one impressive jazz stylist who has an incredible phrasing and precise timing technique often found in older jazz singers. She is instantly recognizable, blending shades of Brazilian and Cuban sultry without sounding like anyone else but herself. Any way you slice it, Pascale Elia is a singer to be reckoned with. Her reading of Norah Jones’ “I Don’t Know Why,” was exquisite and charming – her voice provided depth and passion to the song, which only a seasoned songstress can deliver. Brian, Dave, and Fred provided graceful and smooth accompaniment, which shows why the group is a sensation whenever it performs.
The 23rd floor Mandarin Bar offer a chic and romantic setting and glittering views of the Las Vegas skyline. With spectacular views high above the Las Vegas Strip, the Mandarin Bar is an elegant hot spot for a night on the town. The interior offers a contrasting dark intimate mood with billowing fabric panels shimmering in the light. Discreet seating arrangements give guests privacy and comfort. The “mixologists” create cocktails according to the flavor and sensation you are looking for. A VIP section with a sliding partition and separate service is available by reservation. Additional amenities include:
Dining Style: Casual Dining
Cuisine: Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service, American, Tapas/Small Plates
Neighborhood: The Strip
Cross Street: Harmon
Menu: View menu on restaurant’s website Price: $30 and under Website: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas/dining/ Email: Molasfirstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (888) 881-9367
Hours of Operation: Sunday-Thursday 5PM – 2AM Friday-Saturday 5PM – 4AM
Payment Options: AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
Executive Chef: Shawn Armstrong / Gianni Santin
Dress Code: Business Casual
Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, High Tea, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
Parking Details: Parking is valet only and will be provided on a complimentary basis for day guests. For overnight parking, a fee of $30 will apply.
Private Party Facilities: The Edge is the most desirable venue in Las Vegas, with a breath-taking view over the glittering skyline of the Strip. Host your event with handcrafted cocktails created by their own master mixologist, Charlotte Voisey and unique hors d’oeuvres created by their Executive Chef Shawn Armstrong. Sommelier, Julie Lin also created the perfect wine list, with a fine selection of wines by the glass from all around the world. The Mandarin Bar can accommodate your party size up to 40 guests. Please inquire for availability and pricing.
Private Party Contact: Melody Sheppard (702) 590-3206
Entertainment: Brian Czach Jazz Trio – Wednesday at 7pm-11pm Chandler Judkins Quartet – Thursday at 7pm-11pm The Definitive Trio – Friday at 10pm-2am Michito Sanchez presents “Trio Caribe” – Saturday at 10pm-2am Mandarin Mondays – Every Monday 6 pm – 8 pm *Happy Hour
San Diego County News extends its appreciation to the Mandarin Bar supervisor, Michael LaPenna, for being such a gracious host. Michael runs a tight ship and made sure all the customers were given the same level of attention and professional courtesy. If you are ever in Vegas be sure to check out The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas-Mandarin Bar – you will not be disappointed.
Danny R. Johnson is San Diego County News’ Entertainment/Travel News Editor, and is based in Washington, D.C.