The Quad has officially become the Linq, a casino-resort with a convenient name to match the adjacent party corridor running from the Strip to the High Roller observation wheel. That Linq is all about hopping from place to place in search of continuous, casual fun, and it turns out this casino is playing the same game.
There are many bars inside the impressively re-energized property. There’s the infamous, resurrected O’Sheas for beer and shots and, yes, beer pong. There’s Catalyst, where you can catch a little more mixology and even some “flairtending” on weekend nights. There’s Tag, a big red sports bar with almost 300 beers, a hologram blackjack table, beer cocktails and self-serve draft tables. Eventually, a smaller version of frozen daiquiri bar Purple Zebra will be planted between the casino and the Monorail station.
The newest addition to this carousel of cocktails is the one that brings it all together. The recently unveiled 3535 Infusion Bar is the Linq’s “center bar,” located next to the hotel check-in, and it packs a lot of punch for one venue—a sleek bar with unique drinks, a lounge area, six private booths with bottle service or tableside cocktail creation, all female DJs, even a handful of gaming tables.
“It’s hard to make everyone happy, but we’re playing off the idea of bouncing from place to place,” says Ryan Nielsen, general manager of both 3535 and O’Sheas. “We understand this is that center bar and people are not going to hang out for six hours like they would in a nightclub, so we have variations here that could become that meet-up spot before dinner or before the club, or a place for a nightcap, or whatever’s in between.”
Nielsen’s nightcap pick, by the way, is the Carmen, which contains banana- and clove-infused Zaya rum, RumChata, coconut cream and a dash of cinnamon. It’s one of eight martinis you can order as a full drink ($13) or a half-size ($7)—flexibility that encourages sampling until you fall in love with a flavor.
Sampling is the thing at 3535, which is named not only for the Linq’s Las Vegas Boulevard address but also for the 35 house-made infusions that fuel the cocktail menu and are available as single shots or in three-shot flights ($13). The flight is the best way to go, because how can you decide between ancho chile and bacon Jim Beam, blue cheese and olive Aviation gin, and Nutella Herradura tequila? You can’t. So get them all.
“We’ve got everything from fun shots like Skittles vodka for bachelorette parties to dare shots like Sriracha tequila for that guy who does the hot wing challenge,” Nielsen says. He’s careful to note 3535 doesn’t just add fruit or herb purées to the booze. “We’ll use the whole fruit and let time do its work.” The infusions are triple-filtered so you won’t find sediment in your drink, just lots of flavor. No word on exactly how beef jerky-infused Jack Daniel’s has come to exist.
Some infusions are terrific on their own, like the espresso bean-flavored Maker’s Mark, while others are just strange. But when they’re mixed into cocktails, sparks fly. The Thin Mint uses mint Oreo-infused vodka, crème de menthe and crème de cocoa. The Grimlet smooths out the traditional gimlet’s sharp corners thanks to green tea syrup and mint-infused Hendrick’s.
Nielsen says this bar—this entire property, really—is geared toward the younger visitor, and that’s easy to see. 3535 has charging stations next to every seat at the bar. Bottle prices could dip down to $100. The music shifts from bro-rock to Britney to mellow hip-hop in minutes. Yet there’s a heightened sense of elegance that sets it apart from the casino’s other offerings. Drinking at the Linq is now complete.