If you’re not a UNLV student, you might have missed the transformation of a stereotypical gaming bar on East Flamingo into Bar Code. Its rather generic name provides little clue as to what lies within—a well-lit, contemporary space offering an updated spin on bar food.
Bar Code’s menu focuses on burgers, a good thing since the flavorful patties—which blend shortrib, brisket and ground chuck—deliver just the right amount of fattiness. Start off with the Americana ($10), a burger so American it might as well be flown to your table in the talons of a bald eagle while Lee Greenwood plays in the background. If this combination of Kraft American cheese, onion crisps, dill pickles, Heinz ketchup and French’s yellow mustard can’t make America great again, nothing can. In a show of attention to detail, the buns are griddled inside and out, added fortitude that can stand up to the juicy burgers.
The NYC Burger ($11) also delivers, its surprisingly smoky pastrami striking a balance with spicy mustard and Swiss cheese on a pretzel bun. Even the smoked Boston butt on the BBQ Big Burger ($11) is better than it needs to be. If you want to veer farther away from the typical, the New Zealand-style lamb burger ($14) offers a gyro-esque experience, layered with cucumber, goat cheese and sharp harissa.
Sides are also a hit. The fresh-cut fries ($5) are noteworthy, but be warned: Sriracha ketchup can be a bit off-putting if you’re not expecting hot-sauce undertones. The pickle chips ($6) are outrageously good, possibly the Valley’s best, with sriracha ranch serving as a perfect foil to the tart and crispy dill chips.
One caveat: Bar Code is a real-life bar, where one must contend with real-life smoking, more so late in the day or early in the morning. Regardless, the burgers are worth the visit.
Bar Code 1590 E. Flamingo Road, 702-294-2633. 24/7.