A little-used event space in the back of Downtown Cocktail Room has come to life with the January unveiling of Mike Morey’s Sip ’n’ Tip. Neither a dive bar (far too clean) nor a speakeasy (a neon sign arrives in two weeks), the Sip ’n’ Tip (as owners Michael and Jennifer Cornthwaite call it) brings Downtown’s diverse patrons a new place in which to enjoy a beer and a shot in an intimate environment that emphasizes quality and simplicity.
Enter from the alley between Las Vegas Boulevard and Sixth Street or cross over from inside Downtown Cocktail Room—both bring you to a small, unfinished anteroom with exposed lath and plaster where you’ll also find a portrait by artist and DCR fixture Michael Wardle of the bar’s namesake. Mike Morey was a local lawyer, actor and regular of unmatchable devotion to DCR and its staff. After Morey passed away suddenly in 2015, the Cornthwaites decided to name their next project for him. Through a second set of curtains, enter the one-room bar, which offers seating at four wood-grain booths and on 14 barstools. The once-maroon walls have been ripped down, revealing roughly textured brick and mortar, and the backbar has been neatly done up to match. A fancy mirror at the center becomes a TV when needed. Beneath the solid wooden bar with iron edging, you’ll find more coat hooks than a town that spends nine months of the year eschewing sleeves really needs, and enough electrical outlets and USB ports to charge all the devices in the room.
If the subtly integrated modern conveniences don’t impress, perhaps what goes on behind the bar will make a regular out of you. Offering a counterpoint to DCR’s intensely reverential cocktail culture, the Sip ’n’ Tip is decidedly more beer-and-a-shot. Choose from a growing list of 30 beers in a bottle, can or draft (all $10 or less, most around $5) and add a shot of Powers Irish Whiskey ($5) or Tullamore D.E.W. 12-Year-Old Special Reserve ($8) to make any of them a boilermaker. Or skip the beer altogether and order your spirits by the shelf: well ($5), countertop ($7), middle ($9) and top ($12). And perhaps the best detail: Sales tax is included in all prices, so you can have the joy of slapping down actual cash without having to futz around with change. That alone might be worth a toast!
You’ll find the staff, which is shared between both bars, to be very comfortable with the Sip ’n’ Tip’s back-to-basics ethos. A small corner of the menu touts four drinks “stolen” from DCR, as well as five solid suggestions including an Old Fashioned, Negroni, Dark & Stormy, Mai Tai and signature The Morey (Old Tom Gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters). But with bartenders of this pedigree—among them bar manager Kevin Gorham—you might just want to let them run free and make something for you. Recent off-the-cuffers have gotten a taste of Gorham’s unique style of rendering beertails: You call the beer and he doctors it up with complementary spirits, liqueurs and other modifiers right inside the bottle or can. If hunger at last grips you, burgers from Flippin’ Good are quickly shuttled over via the shared back hallway, and bar nibbles come from DCR.
If the high, starched collar of mixology is pinching a tad tight of late, rip that sucker off and let your hair down in a room that doesn’t try to micromanage the experience with overwrought curation, a literal rulebook or exhaustive theming, and instead welcomes whatever and whomever the night may bring.
NAME: Mike Morey’s Sip ‘n’ Tip
SERVING: Beer, spirits and cocktails in a casual, intimate environment.
OPENED: January 27, 2017
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Michael and Jennifer Cornthwaite of Future Restaurant Group (Downtown Cocktail Room, Emergency Arts and Oscar’s Steakhouse).
DID YOU KNOW: Not listed on the menu, giant pickles in pouches—regular and spicy—are available for purchase at both bars.
LOCATION: Inside/behind Downtown Cocktail Room 111 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
HOURS OF OPERATION: 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Wed-Sat