Nightlife news & notes: Chinese New Year in a glass and where to sample an Insanely Bad Elf

The Dragon Cocktail, available at the Venetian & Palazzo.

Where can you down a Dirty Dog, sample a Tongue Buckler, chug Three Philosophers and spend some quality time with an Insanely Bad Elf? That’s not a riddle, it’s a portion of the lineup at Big Dog’s Winterfest Beer & Music Festival, an afternoon party featuring more than 35 beers accompanied by local bands on January 28 from 2-9 p.m. This year’s fest also includes limited quantities of specialty pours every hour, including the aforementioned Bad Elf (an imperial red that clocks in at a whopping 11.2 percent ABV), and warm-you-up snacks like Cajun Gumbo and pozole. I’ll drink to that.

January 23 marked the arrival of Chinese New Year, the biggest holiday of the lunar calendar and an event that spans two weeks and combines the consumption of Christmas with the spirit of New Year’s and the specialty menus of Thanksgiving. Even if you aren’t handing out lucky money to friends and family, you can partake in the festivities by touring the over-the-top displays at Palazzo and the Bellagio, sampling dishes like “Auspicious Beginning” at Caesars’ Beijing Noodle No. 9 and (most importantly for this little column) drinking a Chinese New Year cocktail like China Poblano’s Green Tea Sour (made with green tea, Chivas Regal and St. Germain) or the Venetian and Palazzo’s Dragon Cocktail (with ginger liqueur, vodka and lemongrass syrup). Toast the New Year at one of these venues, and head to to learn how to make your own holiday libations and non-alchoholic drinks.

We’ve known for months now that longtime MGM Grand club Studio 54 wasn’t long for this world. This week comes the news that taking its place will be Hakkasan, a Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant and nightclub with locations in London, Miami, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Mumbai. The Vegas venue will be a partnership with Angel Management Group and is slated to open this December.

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