Living Like a Local in Las Vegas

Mixologist Mariena Mercer shares her hometown favourites 

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Mariena Mercer grew up captivated by the glamour of the Strip. Today, as “chef mixologist” at The Cosmopolitan, she has managed to keep that captivation well intact. Here the hometown girl shares some of her Sin City favourites.

Where to shop

“I love Rent the Runway at The Cosmopolitan, as it has fabulous couture gowns [to rent], if only for the night. We’ve also got some great shopping districts sprouting up around town,” Mercer says. Town Square’s Bohme Boutique, a women’s clothing store opened by a pair of sisters, “has a great selection of denim.” 

Where to brunch

DW Bistro is the hot weekend brunch spot in Las Vegas,” Mercer says of the local favourite. Executive chef Dalton Wilson’s menu combines Jamaican and New Mexican spice with plenty of milder options. “I like the quiche, but they have something different every week.” 

Where to dine

Located just off the Strip, Carson Kitchen, headed by chef Kerry Simon, “packs a punch of flavour and has an innovative, out-of-the-box approach.” Try the bacon jam—caramelized bacon reduced with sherry vinegar and served with toast. “It has this spice and is layered with so many flavours, it’s divine.”

Where to have a drink

Velveteen Rabbit in the Arts District has great decor and a seasonal cocktail menu. Every time I go there, it’s a unique experience.” Herbs and Rye is another of Mercer’s go-to favourites. “It’s predominantly locals and has a family feel.” 

Girls’ night out

Mercer admits she’s biased, but recommends The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan. “Every time my girlfriends come into town, that’s where I bring them,” she says. “It’s a three-storey chandelier—what more could a bunch of girls want?” Order Mercer’s off-menu Verbena cocktail. A play on the margarita, it is garnished with a Szechuan flower that offers a tongue-tingling taste adventure. 

Favourite day trip

A 30-minute drive from the Strip, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area “is a magical place; there are so many different trails and the weather is always perfect,” says Mercer. “Get up early and hike down Ice Box Canyon to the creek. It’s beautiful.” 

Best bird’s-eye view

Nearby Mount Charleston has some spectacular aerial views. “In the summer it’s much cooler, so it’s a great escape from the Las Vegas temperatures.” 

Arts highlight

“On the first Friday of the month, the entire Arts District comes alive for First Friday; there’s handmade art, art exhibitions and live music.”

Getting There: WestJet flies to Las Vegas 81 times a week from 11 Canadian cities.