If you plan to drink in a bar for 24 hours, I recommend having a game plan. The noblest of goals can be wrecked by poor pacing. I kept it to a one drink max per hour and always had a glass of water on hand. Feel free to replicate the experience. Your results, however, may vary.
My results were 24 drinks in a sitting (yeah, I changed seats and stretched my legs a few times), a deep sense of what and who it takes to run a place as busy yet inviting as The Lobby Bar, and stories about Vegas that, sorry tourism board, aren’t going to stay there.
Here are my takeaways.
Experience is what matters
MGM Grand opened its doors in '93. It's a bit of a gut check to let it soak in just how many years ago that was, but suffice it to say that babies born that year are veteran imbibers by now. What’s really amazing? Many of the faces behind the bar and serving the tables remain from that first day over 20 years ago.
Eva is a cocktail server who was one of the 8,000 hired out of 100,000 thousand applicants for that class of '93. She moved to Vegas from Florida for the opportunity, a choice she's glad to this day that she made. And she's just one of a team of twenty-plus-year vets.
There are bartenders Keith and Glen, also from that original class. The former was a professional bull rider in another life. There's the hardest working barback in America, Dave, going on his 20th year after 20 years in auto body work. His youngest son is working on a PhD in Berlin.
"It's a town for second acts," says Lobby Bar GM Sky Jack Morgan (I've got a business card proving that's his name). Second act or first, no matter what brought these staffers to MGM, they stay because there's something special here.
If you run a 24-hour bar, you live a 24-hour bar life
Sky doesn’t just manage this place. He lives it. His apartment is two blocks away. He says he doesn’t own a TV or a bed. He regrets nothing.