BY JORGE LABRADOR DECEMBER 12, 2014
It might serve as a lobby bar, but calling Bound by Salvatore simply a lobby bar would be a disservice to "the journey."
"A great bar is one where you walk in, you start to feel a beat. … The beat of your soul, the beat of your heart," says Salvatore Calabrese, the bartender, mixologist and author behind Bound and several other high-end drinkeries such as the Playboy Club in London.
"You could be one of the greatest mixologists in the world but it doesn't make you a great bartender." Calabrese believes a great bartender should be hospitable and social, but also give space when needed, and that's in addition to crafting "the journey."
He compares a cocktail to life's journey: The initial taste is childhood, where you want to know it all, but are still taking little steps into a big world. The middle notes are youth, as it has "all of the experiences," while the lingering aftertaste is maturity, as it carries a sense of reflection and contemplation.
That's the kind of enthusiasm that shines through in all the little details at Bound, which features beautiful glassware, exclusive spirits, elegant lounge seating and the star, a handsome, hardbound-leather cocktail list.
The list features Calabrese's trademarks, like the Breakfast Martini (with gin and fresh orange marmalade) as well as a few of his exclusive-to-Bound espresso cocktails like the Wake-Up Negroni, which is served in a moka pot. These came about as a result of his tinkering with espresso, replacing the water with such spirits as beer and champagne.
Calabrese isn't always in Las Vegas, but Bound's bartenders are similarly curious and passionate about their trade. Calabrese credits this to bartending being seen increasingly as more of a craft than something done "between jobs."
There are plenty of places in Las Vegas to grab a drink, but a journey? That's a much rarer spirit, and it's one Bound never seems to run out of.