Menudo, Spearmint Rhino and Bar Family: Drinking With Nectaly Mendoza

Las Vegas is notorious for being beyond over the top with opulence in all areas related to the word vice.  In this city of excess, one of our very favorite bars is far removed from the star-studded DJ and high roller scene of the strip, that bar is called Herbs & Rye.  Transporting you to a timeless era, Herbs & Rye feels more classic New York than Vegas.  It was recently named best American High Volume Cocktail Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards 2016.

The man with the plan behind this celebrated watering hole is a loveable character named, Nectaly Mendoza. We figured that his former Bar Manager, Joe Pereira, would be a good person to ask about Nectaly and he says of Mendoza. “Lion and lamb.,” says Pereira. “A heartfelt man, who is as sharp as a chef’s knife. My friend and confidant.”  Not in love yet, Herbs & Rye offers a spectrum of drinks with a

Not in love yet? Herbs & Rye offers a spectrum of drinks with a menu that honors classics through the ages from the Gothic Age, Prohibition, Rat Pack, Tiki Boom and modern Revival to bottle service of a 40 oz of Colt 45.  And now ladies and gentlemen, let’s go…

Drinking With Nectaly Mendoza

State your name for the thirsty record.

Hello, world.  My name is Nectaly Mendoza I am the owner of Herbs and Rye restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada.

How did you get started in the hospitality biz?

My whole career in the industry all started off by luck. A buddy of mine, Roberto Mendoza, got a job at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. He gave me the phone number of the lady who hired him and told me to call her to try to set up a job interview. Long story short, the lady left me in her cubicle for nine hours and she felt so bad for me that she offered me a job.

I was hired for a restaurant called Olives and there I met a gentleman by the name of Todd Parmalee. Todd introduced me to my first bar family at Olives and he would later introduce me to one of my biggest mentors, Michael MacDonnell. That my friend is how I started off in the service industry, it was all one big fuck up that turned into something great.

What is your go-to drink order?

I really don’t have any, I drink for the moment, time and for the experience that I’m in. If I’m in Peru I drink pisco sour, if I am at NASCAR I might knock back a few Miller high life’s. If I’m going to sobriety I drink water lately I’ve been drinking a lot of water.

What is your death row drink?

My death row drink would be anything that I could get my hands on (laughing); full-blown relapse. I mean, fuck it. I’m going to die anyway so I might as well go for it. Sorry that was the wrong answer. I mean, I would like water yeah that’s it water, yeah.

What is your hangover cure?

Menudo (Mexican soup). It’s the pho of Mexico.

Do you drink coffee or tea?

I’m definitely a coffee drinker, my favorite spot in Vegas is Makers and Finders. My buddy Josh owns it and he does a great job there. You can catch me there like two to three times a week.

Favorite spots in Vegas for …

  • Classic cocktails – Wherever Jackie Kline is bartending
  • Best place to go on an expense account – Spearmint Rhino
  • Best place to escape the strip – Sand Dollar, Atomic and District One
  • Best pool Cocktail – Anywhere with a frozen Pina Colada machine
  • Most inventive R&D – Velveteen Rabbit

Where do you go for that quintessential “Only in Las Vegas” experience?

I plead the fifth. I still want my friend’s wives to let them come see me!!!

What ingredients are you excited about right now?

Pretty much about everything, not individual ingredients. I don’t really get too stuck on the nerdy stuff I’m going to have a good time, rock out behind the bar and put smiles on people’s faces and on my own.

Who is the best industry drinking buddies for a fun night out?

I hang out with my Herbs and Rye team all day every day. They aren’t just my coworkers, they’re my teammates, my friends, my family. We’re one big unit, wherever they are, that’s where I’m at.

Special shout to any spots that are just killing the game?

Employees Only NY and Singapore, Suffolk Arms in NY, Sweet Liberty in Miami, Half Step in Austin, Polite Provisions in SD, Harvard and Stone in LA, Broken Shaker in Miami, William and Gram in Denver, Dead Rabbit in NY, Clyde Common in Portland … and the list goes on and on. Oh, and where ever Chris Hannah is working.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

Definitely Michael Macdonnell, Franceso LaFranconi, Dushan Zaric, Giuseppe Gonzales. These guys are mentors, friends, and inspirations.

Any advice for aspiring young guns wanting to break into the industry?

No one can take you out of your element but you, give everything you do the best you can offer at that moment. We are human not robots stop trying to be everybody else, just be yourself. Last but not least and don’t be an asshole.

Spill it …. shameless what are you working on right now?

Honestly, I’m working on myself right now more than anything. We are the most important ingredients to anything we do. So right now I’m just focused on the relationship I have with my team, family and myself.

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