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Las Vegas: 'Iron Chef' buddies open concept lounge-bar-kitchen counter called Libertine Social

Eating your way through Las Vegas? Here’s a new gastropub from two “Iron Chef America” alums that celebrates unrestrained pleasure in the form of distinctive cocktails and plates.

Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay provides guests with a surprising array of places in which to enjoy creative cocktails and unique food choices.

Chef Shawn McClain, who came up with the concept several years ago, explained that Libertine Social is a departure from the typical concept of “one dining area with an adjacent bar.”

“The idea is to craft your own experience,” he says. “There are so many different ways to experience it. We’ve got a front lounge, we’ve got a big bar, we’ve got a middle-ish lounge, we have a kitchen counter, a dining room, a patio [and] a back arcade bar.”

Curating the drinks is celebrity mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, who met McClain when they were paired together on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” in 2014. McClain says they’ve been good friends ever since.

“When ‘Iron Chef’ came about, I was nervous as all-get-out to do the show. But he [Tony] was definitely a calming force. He had done it once before,” McClain recalls. “I kind of remember him saying, ‘Let’s have fun with this.’ ”

The joint venture, which opened in August, demonstrates Abou-Ganim’s penchant for new spins on cocktails. The namesake Libertine ($16) is a blend of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Campari, limoncello, orange juice, seltzer water and egg white. For group get-togethers, pitchers of the Queen’s Park Swizzle ($58) are made from Eldorado 15-year-old rum, demerara sugar, lime juice, spearmint and Angostura bitters.

The food menu encourages noshing and full-on meals. McClain’s ahi tuna cones ($16) are topped with whipped pink peppercorn crème fraiche. The strawberry gazpacho ($15) incorporates king crab, avocado and hearts of palm.

The “largers,” as bigger plates are called, include harissa-rubbed mussels ($24) and whole Petaluma chicken ($34). Fresh fish (market price) and flat-iron steaks ($41) are cooked on a wood-fire grill.

Libertine Social is open daily for drinks from 3-11 p.m. Dinner service starts at 5.

Info and reservations: Libertine Social, (702) 632-7558


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