I did the whole one-last-drink thing at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Center Bar before they shut it down for renovation. I reminisced with friends about crazy nights here. I gave in to cheesy Vegas sentimentality, and as a result, I was convinced I’d hate whatever replaced it. So I went back, to hate on it. Except I love it.
Unveiled early this month, the Center Bar renovations mean much more to the property than just a spruced-up drinkery. The sleek new design brings in a memorable LED installation on top of the bar, hi-def screens showing sports and music videos and a spinoff lounge area—much different but still cool. More importantly, the Center Bar feels better connected to the surrounding casino space, not just an island planted in the middle of it. Everything is diffuse. Chilling in the lounge could certainly lead to dinner at Nobu. An extra Fu Fu Cachu (Malibu and pineapple) or Cîroc Obama (it’s chocolatey) and you might need to visit the also-new Pizza Forte a few steps away, which is legitimately delicious and open until 3 a.m. on weekends.
Nostalgia aside, the Hard Rock’s heart needed to be replaced. The new model is nothing like before, and that’s not a bad thing. Go see (and drink) for yourself, and maybe make some new stories to tell.