Andrew Pollard is one of the most recognizable faces on the Las Vegas cocktail scene. If you occasionally enjoy yourself tippling, you’re likely to have encountered the exceptionally attired and well-coiffed mixologist—possibly with a Fernet-Branca in hand—at cocktail events and watering holes across the Vegas Valley. Now, after six years with Breakthru Beverage, he has returned to the Strip as the assistant director of beverage development at Wynn Las Vegas.
It’s as if Pollard was destined for the role. As a teen, with the approval of some apparently very understanding parents, he built himself a fully functional bedroom wet bar for entertaining. And he’s been entertaining since his very first Rusty Nail (“I had Drambuie!”).
With a local career that has taken him from Henderson’s Al’s Garage to the Cosmopolitan’s Vesper Bar, Pollard brings a varied background to Wynn. As his roles have changed and progressed, so has his palate. The “Fernet Guy,” as he’s known in some circles, hated that bitter amaro the first time he tried it. But because of the ever-evolving industry tradition of the bartender’s handshake—a shot shared amongst barkeeps—Grand Marnier begat Bénédictine, which gave away to Chartreuse, then amari and finally Fernet because, “There’s nowhere else to go. It’s the end of the line.”
Pollard reflects wistfully on his Cosmopolitan days, which, he says, “changed the way Las Vegas is drinking today. We tried something different, something that hadn’t been done before, and it worked. We really took a chance.”
He’s excited about “moving the needle” on an already fantastic cocktail culture at Wynn, where he’ll be overseeing development and assisting more than 20 venues dotted across both Wynn and Encore. He’s particularly excited about being intimately involved in the upcoming Paradise Park project. Could a destination cocktail bar a la Herbs & Rye or Vesper be in the resorts’ future? Pollard replies with a wry smile. “It is. It absolutely is.” Consider us excited.