Food Network TV star, cookbook author and celebrity chef Robert Irvine, drew attention to the upcoming opening of his first Las Vegas restaurant in July, 2016, more than a year before its July, 2017 opening, when he rappelled 22 stories down the side of the Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel to announce his restaurant plans. Now, more than two years after the restaurant’s debut, his Public House is still going strong.
Situated on the northern side of the Tropicana casino floor, the spacious interior spanning nearly 9,000 square feet with 275 seats, wraparound bar and open kitchen provides an opportunity for people watching, with large windows looking out into the casino and the Strip. White brick throughout is joined with a multi-grain hardwood floor and tables and hues of orange. New since my last visit is a lounge area near the entrance complete with couches and Golden Tee, shuffleboard and table hockey games.
Robert Irvine has a long connection to the military. The English native, who became a US citizen in 2015, served in the UK’s Royal Navy for a 10-year tour of duty and later worked in the US Navy Mess facility in the West Wing of the White House. Over the years he has offered voluminous amounts of his time and charitable work to support those who serve in our armed forces, first responders and other heroes, and established the nonprofit organization, The Robert Irvine Foundation, which offers support to military personnel and their families. His Public House restaurant is also often the site of charitable functions, such as the TAPS Las Vegas Survivors Experience, for families and loved ones of servicemen and women who died while serving, held in July, 2019; and he participates in the annual Summer Cookout, the kickoff event for Las Vegas Restaurant Week benefiting Three Square Food Bank.
Nearly 100 Great Beer Choices
Of course beer was the main purpose of our visit, and we were not to be disappointed, with nearly 100 choices, including several local brews: 7FIVE Training Day, Bad Beat Bluffing Isn’t Weisse, CraftHaus Silver State Blonde, Joseph James Citra Rye Pale Ale and Hop Raider IPA, Lovelady 9th Island Pineapple Sour and Tenaya Creek 702 Pale Ale and Bonanza Brown. Other worthy contenders are Delirium Tremens, Founders Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, Goose Island Sophie, Prairie Phantasmagoria Double IPA, Unibroue La Fin du Monde and Wasatch Blueberry Hefe.
The food menu is described as comfort food, and appears to be designed to complement the aforementioned brews, at least I found it to be. I enjoyed the very fresh Ahi Tuna Sashimi with kimchi aioli, sweet soy, shaved cabbage, cucumber and tomato; the very decadent Poutine—tots topped with pulled pork, Guinness shiitake gravy and goat cheese; White Pizza with garlic butter, chicken breast, broccolini and mozzarella; and English Banoffee Pie, so named for its combination of banana and toffee, accompanied with espresso ice cream. Other menu items I was tempted to try include the Shepherd’s Pie with ground lamb, beer-battered Fish & Chips, F&K Burger (named because it’s so large you will need a knife and fork) and the Build Your Own Burger option, which allows you to choose your meat, type of bun, cheese, sauce and extras (such as radish sprouts, fried egg and grilled Serrano peppers).
If you’re lucky, you’ll get to be served by Wendy, who has worked at the Tropicana for 10 years and at Public House since the day it opened. Her very welcoming personality makes her well suited for her position. Hats off also to Nick, a bartender who is knowledgeable of and well versed in the beer his restaurant serves.
Although the location is located on prime real estate at Las Vegas Blvd. and Tropicana, one of the busiest quadrants of the Blvd., the prices are not quite Strip prices, with appetizers in the $6-$18 range and entrees mostly $16-$22. I’m told coming soon is a new menu and an expanded beer list, so I have more reasons to come back.
The following quote from Robert Irvine, which is prominently painted on the top of the wall at the restaurant’s entrance, sums up a visit to Robert Irvine’s Public House:
“There is no greater happiness than a full pint and a full plate.”
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Robert Irvine’s Public House
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-11p.m.; Sat. 9:30 a.m.-11p.m.; Sun. 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
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photos by Bob Barnes