TAP Sports Bar & Grill
At a Glance
What is it?
A large high-end sports bar.
Where is it?
At MGM Grand on the South Strip.
What kind of food is served?
A little bit of everything – burgers, sandwiches, steaks, and more.
What is the atmosphere like?
It’s a sports bar so there are lots of TVs and lots of people cheering for whatever is playing on them.
How is the service?
Once you get a table it’s great – until then…
What are the prices like?
Higher than they probably should be.
What else do I need to know?
Don’t go when there is a big game happening – the place is packed.
What’s the bottom line?
Good food but probably not good enough to justify the prices or the hassle.
I wanted to give TAP Sports Bar and Grill the benefit of the doubt. It was hard – I mean, after all, this is the joint that took the place of the beloved MGM Grand lion habitat – so it immediately came with a demerit or two, even if it was unfair (the restaurant didn’t decide to kick out the lions; guys in suits did that). So I went in with an open mind but they made it hard for me to keep it that way.
There was a line to get in. Not a long one – maybe 15 people deep. That’s not terrible, especially considering it was a busy holiday weekend in Vegas. The thing that bothered me, though, is that there are big windows into the place right next to the place where that line queues up and so it was very easy to see the half-empty restaurant with lots of open tables.
I thought at first maybe there was a human resources issue – not enough wait-staff to cover filling all the tables – but when I finally got seated, after a nearly half-hour wait, I was able to easily see that wasn’t the case. The waitress working my table had only two others she was dealing with and another five empty tables in her section.
Maybe they had a good reason but I’ve seen a similar complaint from others on social media so just be warned that if you see a line when you get there, you may want to consider going somewhere else.
The restaurant is big, with high ceilings; lots of wood on the floors, walls, and tables; and about nine bazillion TVs, all playing different things. There was some sort of football game going when I was there and lots of fans so the pitch was practically deafening.
The food made me happier. It’s primarily American pub grub classics but there are enough interesting twists, mostly of the completely unhealthy variety, that it set itself apart.
Appetizers include your usual wings, nachos, chicken strips, fried shrimp, and onion rings but then they also have fried, beer-battered Wisconsin cheese curds, fried beer-batter mac-n-cheese bites, and battered and fried spicy green beans. Yeah, they like things battered and fried here.
I tried the mac-n-cheese bites and felt my cholesterol rising but my mouth and my stomach didn’t care. Yummy.
Sliders, burgers, and a few salads take up a big chunk of the menu. Worth noting is the make-your-own burger section offering about two dozen different options from simple beef and American cheese to roasted portobello, pretzel rolls, fried curds, fried egg (again with the fried?), and guacamole as options.
Sandwich options include an open-faced steak with beer-braised mushrooms, pork belly with Georgia BBQ sauce, a couple of hot dogs, and a “Sloppy Joe” with hops smoked brisket on a grilled onion roll.
If you’re in the mood for something more substantial they have several main courses including BBQ half chicken, a 16-ounce rib eye, short ribs, pork chops, salmon, halibut, baby back ribs, and more.
After sampling the delicious onion soup, done with beer-braised caramelized onions and Havarti cheese, I went with one of their signature burgers – the Captain’s Burger. If features pepper-crusted bacon, cheddar, and Captain Morgan spiced rum sauce on an onion roll. That’s what I’m talking about. It was fantastic although by then I had already eaten enough mac-n-cheese bites and onion soup that I really couldn’t eat very much of it. Portions are huge so be prepared for leftovers – hopefully you have a fridge in your room.
Desserts including apple cobbler, a warm skillet brownie, a root beer float, and s’mores that are, wait for it, fried.
It was all really good but the problem is that it was all really expensive. Appetizers start at $10 and go up from there, burgers are all over $20 and most sandwiches are close to that, and the big dishes start in the mid-twenties and get even more expensive really fast. My check, with a drink, an appetizer, a bowl of soup, and a burger was $80 before tip. Yowza.
I really liked the food here but that’s just way too much money to pay for it. There are better restaurants that do similar things for less money.