Restaurateurs like to throw the word authentic in with almost every Irish Pub that opens in the United States. It is unfortunate there is no way to authenticate this because you just never know what you will get and authenticity is probably not it. Rí Rá inside the Shoppes at Mandalay Bay has created such an Irish experience you will never look at pubs the same way again.
How authentic is Rí Rá? So authentic that they actually bring people over from Ireland on work visas to complete the staff. Nothing gives you more of a sense of being in an Irish Pub than having someone from Ireland pouring you your beer. Which is another important aspect of Rí Rá. To properly pour a Guiness there are actually six steps to the process. Never having enjoyed a Guinness before, I thought I would give it a shot and see if there was something to this. There certainly was something to it. Not poured like your typical beer, my Guinness tasted light and refreshing. If you have not had a Guinness poured correctly, quite simply you have not had a Guinness.
So if a pint or properly poured Guinness and a bartender regaling you with stories of Ireland are not enough to give you an authentic feeling, Rí Rá has even more for you. Rí Rá will bring in bands directly from Ireland and have them perform as the house band for seven to ten day periods. Again there is nothing like having the real thing, the energy and music let you know right away they are from Ireland and with everything else at Rí Rá, it really lets you appreciate Ireland. Finally take a walk through Rí Rá and you will find a beautiful bar and restaurant, an amazing place to take in any sports event but you will also find plenty of knick knacks brought over directly from Ireland, again just another way Rí Rá goes the extra mile to give you an experience you will remember long after you leave Las Vegas.
You can’t spend a leisurely evening in an Irish Pub without eating a few plates of food to go with your pints of Guinness. The only way to start off your meal is with the Irish Potato Cakes. I have been told that you give someone Irish a pint and some carbs and they’ll be happy. The fish n’ chips are certainly a classic dish and the expectations were high for this one. Rí Rá did not disappoint, fresh North Atlantic Haddock with a very light, yet crispy batter that let you enjoy the crunchiness and fried flavor but it let you enjoy the most important part, the fish. Many places do such a heavy batter that you lose the fish, not the case at Rí Rá. The other dish that lets you know this is an Authentic Irish Pub, they serve Bacon and Cabbage. Yes Corned Beef and Cabbage is extremely popular and Rí Rá does serve both versions, but the corned beef variation was created in America. The bacon version is 100% Irish, give it a try, you are likely to that the Irish had this recipe right.
If you or someone in your group is not up to turning Irish at Rí Rá, they have a really inventive menu that offers most standard American dishes, but often with a twist. If you want a burger, you can find one with Guinness barbeque sauce or another burger with a patty made of ground lamb and rosemary and topped with crumbled goat cheese. You certainly will not go hungry at Rí Rá, they have an assortment of salads, seafood, steak and of course Cheddar Mac and Cheese. You won’t find this mac and cheese anywhere else as Rí Rá creates this version with Irish cheddar sauce, cavatapi pasta, wild mushrooms and crumb topping and you can add shrimp or chicken to finish it off.
“It has been a fabulous first year. We really didn’t know what to expect at this location but it has went from good to better,” assistant manager Paula McKenna said. “The atmosphere at Rí Rá is very much like a family.”
Rí Rá could not have asked for a better day to celebrate their anniversary than St. Patrick’s Day. Rí Rá opened up at 5:30 a.m. and it did not take long for the pub to get packed and the line of people waiting to get inside continue to grow. The day kicked off with Six Nations Rugby matches that had the bar in a frenzy all morning long. Throughout the day they also had a parade led by a bagpiper and featuring musicians and a group of amazing dancers from the Martin Percival School of Irish Dance as well as a life-sized bottle of Guinnes beer. They made their way through Mandalay Bay and then back to Rí Rá for plenty of live Irish music.
Most people come to Las Vegas to escape from their everyday life. Take one step further on your next trip and leave Sin City for a few hours and take a trip to Ireland and let Rí Rá show you what being Irish is all about.
For more information on Rí Rá, visit: http://www.rira.com/rira/las_vegas.html