‘Hood Guide: Las Vegas Drinking with The Cosmopolitan’s Mariena Mercer Boarini

Mariena Mercer Boarini knows a thing or two about Las Vegas. Now only is she the Chef Mixologist at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, but she’s a born-and-bred Las Vegan with knowledge about all the spots to hit, both on and off the Strip.

Since taking over her well-regarded position at the Cosmopolitan, Mercer Boarini has helped to completely transform the landscape of the mixology industry in Las Vegas and beyond by creating innovative menus, implementing business savvy approaches and introducing fresh cocktail concepts, solidifying her place as a trailblazer in the industry.

“I am a second-generation Las Vegan and have lived here all of my life,” Mercer Boarini tells thirsty. “I live in The Lakes, which is an idyllic community of lakes surrounded by the natural beauty of our mountains. It is the perfect balance to the glitz, glamour, and beautiful chaos of the Las Vegas strip (which I also adore!)”

Start Your Day (coffee, tea, juice)

“Makes & Finders in Downtown Summerlin, a Latin/South America café,” she recommends for a morning pick-me-up. “It’s such an artsy chill vibe, I love just sitting out on the patio after an early morning Yoga class and grabbing a Mexican latte with 5-spice and Abuelita, or enjoying Arepas with my family.”

Lunching or Brunching

“La Strega in Summerlin is my brunch dream!” Mercer Boarini raves. “Located in suburbia, it is Chef Gina Marinelli’s new Italian lunch spot with an open bohemian dining room. “Eggs in Purgatory” and Salmon tartare are a must. I usually grab a Spritz and let the uber-talented Sommelier Stephanie Torres take it from there. This dynamic duo of fierce ladies really know how to brunch like a boss.”

Happy Hour / Sunset Drinks

“Esther’s Kitchen in the Art’s District has half off pasta with a cocktail during their Happy Hour,” Mercer Boarini reveals. “The area is the hub of culture, arts, music, shopping, and imbibing.”

Essential Eats for Dinner & Drinks

“Rose.Rabbit Lie at The Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip where the entertainment and ambiance are raucous, luxurious, and surprising,” Mercer Boarini tells thirsty. “There is such an eclectic dinner menu, but  I always opt for a caviar taco and the Tamarind Bone Marrow. I may be biased to the cocktail menu, but I try and do cheeky irreverent plays on classics. Start your night off with a perfectly crafted Old Fashioned, and then move on to something more risqué, like the Freak in the Sheets.”

Crafty Cocktail Strolling

“The Arts District in the Historic Downtown Las Vegas is the perfect venue for an evening cocktail crawl,” Mercer Boarini says. “Velveteen Rabbit is an artsy cocktail haven run by the magical Dylag sisters. They always have some great music or events going on and it’s just down the street from Jammyland, a cocktail bar and Reggae kitchen. There are tons of vintage and antique stores along the way and some galleries to pick up some local art.”

Classic Dive

“Starboard Tack is in the heart of Old Vegas,” says Mercer Boarini. “This classic bar has been elevated into a neo-classical Rum bar, mixed with tiki, karaoke, a Polynesian kitchen, and lots of revelry.”

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