If you wanted to create the best sports bar in Las Vegas, you might want to start off with some of the best sports memorabilia you can find, make it look like you stole a wall from a sports book and throw it up over your kitchen for everyone in the restaurant to enjoy the games. Then finish it off by grabbing a chef who knows how to turn sports grub into the best gourmet comfort food around, and you would be on to something.
That’s the recipe that TAP Sports Bar at MGM Grand Las Vegas used, and they hit a home run and made a touchdown as this is a place where you will want to high five any and every game. TAP has 60 HD flat-screen televisions, and the only thing that might distract you from the action is all of the iconic sports memorabilia on every wall inside of TAP. The entire sports world is covered, but TAP also takes pride in the historical sporting events that have taken place at MGM including: the gloves and shorts worn by former Lightweight Champion Chuck Liddell during his victory against Tito Ortiz at UFC 66 at MGM Grand’s Grand Garden arena on Dec. 30, 2006; a signed hockey stick from the 2012-2013 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angles Kings; and a signed jersey from Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson.
The beautiful wood design, televisions and memorabilia will get you in the door, but it takes more than a beer and burger to keep your interest in Las Vegas. A sports bar is what TAP is by definition, but when it comes to the food that Executive Chef Steve Barr, instrumental in the success of the Yard House, has put together, TAP is likely to redefine what you should expect in a sports bar. It all begins with the meat, which is smoked and roasted in-house. The sausages are all prepared daily in-house as well. Freshness and flavor is what makes this menu special at TAP.
The sandwich menu is going to make other sports bars jealous, and most other restaurants in Las Vegas are going to have to step up their game to keep pace with what is being produced by TAP. The open-faced steak sandwich is created with steak that is lean and tender. You would be quite content if they served that to you at your typical steakhouse. But, taking this to another level of sandwiches, TAP adds beer-braised mushrooms and horseradish cheddar cheese, creating a sandwich loaded with richness – and just a slight bite from the horseradish to make it interesting. The proper Rueben will give you a chance to see what the TAP in-house smoking and roasting can do with the pairing of pastrami and corned beef. If you want a little more of a game-day feel, the bratwurst on a pretzel roll with kraut is great choice.
The sports bar and the burger are a match made in heaven; you truly can’t have one without the other. The first thing you are going to realize about the TAP burger is you have to cut it in half because it is so big. You can have one part during the first half of the game, and the other part during the second half. Beyond being one of the biggest burgers around, it is made from high quality top ground and each bite is juicy and loaded with flavor. Your choice of toppings lets you really get creative and gourmet as you can choose toppings such as crumbled blue cheese, horseradish cheddar, TAP steak chili or a fried egg, just to name a few. This is one burger that definitely comes as you want it! If you are looking for something not quite as overwhelming that you can share, try Little Phillys, made with shaved rib eye, or the Juicy Lucy, not created exactly as the namesake, but they do give you that great hot, greasy and cheesy old fashioned burger.
If you just want to sit down for a game with a beer, sometimes appetizers and friends is the way to go, and TAP has put together one addicting appetizer menu. The first item that caught my eye, because you don’t see it very often outside of the Midwest, was the Wisconsin Fried Cheese. These are simply cheese curds that are battered and deep fried, but they are the ultimate bar food and nothing goes better with a beer. Mozzarella sticks are seemingly everywhere, but it is the cheese curd that gives you a much bolder flavor. Order that along with the Pretzel & Cheese, and you will be in appetizer heaven. A fresh, warm, soft sourdough pretzel that is served with a glorious creamy cheddar cheese dip spiked with horseradish. Chef Barr does know how to work with his cheeses; the dip steals the show here as it almost leans toward the richness of a cream cheese with all of those other flavors rolled in. You can also find TAP nachos, loaded fries and braised bacon corn dogs. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get past the appetizer portion of the menu.
Much of this menu is meant to be enjoyed with a beer, and TAP gives you a lot of flavorful and unique beers to choose from. If you prefer draft beer, TAP offers most of the classics, but you are also going to find selections such as Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat, Firestone Union Jack and Green Flash West Coast. If you can’t make up your mind, go with the sampling flight of beer and you get more than a little taste with each one. The bottled beer selection will provide you an even wider variety of craft beers, and the staff can make some great recommendations. One drink I would suggest you try before leaving TAP is the Dark & Stormy. A perfectly balanced drink that was created with Gosling’s Black Seal rum, hand-pressed lime juice and Gosling’s Ginger Beer, the strength of the rum is still noticeable but cut down drastically by the lightness of the ginger beer, allowing the drink to go down incredibly smooth.
TAP opened in 2013 and quickly has become of the most highly thought of sports bars in all of Las Vegas, and with good reason. Combining the best of all worlds when it comes to the sports bar is exactly what TAP has done. A beautiful setting that oozes sports in every corner, a beer and cocktail menu that was crafted to appease anyone, and a menu that says sports bar but tastes gourmet makes TAP the place to catch the biggest games of the year or just to go and have a great time and take in all of the amazing aspects of this restaurant.
For more information visit TAP