After he opened Light in midtown Manhattan and then the big Vegas nightclub version of the hot-spot venue at Bellagio in 2001, Chris Barish was dubbed the “King of Clubs” by Vanity Fair magazine. Now he’s back on the Strip with a very different concept but similar philosophy, opening the latest outlet of his Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at Venetian this past week.
“It’s funny, it’s almost to the day we’re opening here that we opened Light at Bellagio,” Barish says. “There was almost nowhere to eat [in Las Vegas] back then. You had Le Cirque and Prime, but there wasn’t anything like the options of today. I remember going to a dinner on [the Strip] and sitting at a table too big in a seat too sunken-in in a room too bright. It’s so great now, to have all these options, a natural evolution. If you’re going to come here and go to a great show or go to a great club, you should have a great dinner experience.”
With its upbeat, modern design by the Rockwell Group, a soundtrack of golden-era hip-hop and vintage pop, and a menu of classic Americana updated with powerhouse flavors (and signature, over-the-top CrazyShakes), Black Tap Las Vegas aims to do just that—offer a great and memorable experience for lunch and dinner. Barish and chef/partner Joe Isidori acknowledge the Strip is crowded with burger joints, but there’s clearly something that sets Black Tap apart.
“The restaurant business is always daunting. You always have to be on your toes and put out the best possible product,” Barish says. “If you go down our block in New York, there’s 12 restaurants on that block. It’s overwhelming. But it always goes back to you having a great product, and here we have some 7,000 rooms above us and lots of people that want to eat a burger and have a beer, and maybe try a milkshake or experience a great cocktail program.”
Just like when he helped create one of the most influential nightlife experiences in Las Vegas history, Barish and Black Tap are shooting for something more than just the obvious—in this case, a delicious burger. “It’s the look, the feel, the music and the fun that all blends together.”