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December 20, 2014

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Lofty libations

Melody Sheppard rises to challenge at Mandarin Bar

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Leila Navidi

Mandarin Bar bar manager Melody Sheppard

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With views as majestic as the ones at Mandarin Bar, you'd expect the cocktail program to match its grandeur. It does. Crafted by renowned mixologist Charlotte Voisey, the menu runs the gamut from martinis to champagne cocktails. The Golden Leaf contains real gold dust, Aperol, mandarin oranges, pineapple, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and (because Voisey's an ambassador, and also because it's delicious) Hendrick's gin.

Sophisticated is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days, especially when it comes to bars and nightclubs.

But the difference between a tuxedo T-shirt and clip-on bow tie and the real deal always makes itself apparent sooner or later. In the case of Mandarin Bar, it's tailor-made, designer-brand sophistication all the way.

"The little fine details are where we stand out," says bar manager Melody Sheppard. "The service, how we personalize it, the cocktails themselves."

Sheppard has been that something mellifluous in the air that has helped catapult Mandarin Oriental's new 23rd-floor perch to the vanguard of the industry. With near panoramic views, handcrafted cocktails and an intimate, exclusive atmosphere, it's a far cry from that faux sophistication you'll find elsewhere.

"Generally people come out to Vegas to go to clubs and to really party," she says. "Here, you can get a little bit of a different vibe. It's more of that New York bar feeling."

With that city feel at her fingertips every day, Sheppard admits she likes to get outdoors whenever possible. When she has time off, she'll typically head to Red Rock Canyon for a hike and soak in the comparative serenity. Ironically, many people may visit Mandarin Bar for that very same reason.

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