BrewDog Opens on The Strip With Requisite Drama

A massive new bar, BrewDog, has opened on the Las Vegas Strip. We’d have been crushed if there hadn’t been drama. Let’s just say we weren’t crushed.

We’ve got all the inside scoop about the venue opening and a million-dollar bar tab giveaway that didn’t exactly go as planned.

Seriously, if there were no WTF, it wouldn’t be Vegas.

The BrewDog name was inspired by a chocolate Lab named Bracken.

First, just to build some suspense, housekeeping.

The much-anticipated BrewDog opened on Dec. 2, 2022.

The bar sits atop Showcase Mall, across Las Vegas Blvd. from Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo).

There’s a sweet walk-through (more like a drone-through) on the official Web site.

BrewDog boasts 96 beers on tap and “360 degree views of Las Vegas.” Let’s not get bogged down with what “360 degrees” actually means right now, we’re barreling headlong into a full-fledged kerfuffle and have no time to waste.

BrewDog has several food menus, including a Main Menu, Rooftop Menu, Oakfired Menu and, despite our best efforts, a Kids Menu. You can find all the menus on the official site.

They had us at Deep Fried Mars Bar.

We tried to get the entire menu in one image, so it might be hard to read the small print.

It’s really important that you read the small print on the BrewDog menu, however, as it relates to the aforementioned drama of the venue’s grand opening.

Here you go.

In Las Vegas, this is usually where the hidden fees are, so props on not having those, BrewDog.

We trust that language is on the BrewDog menu because the company has grappled with some negative P.R. around its CEO and co-founder, James Watts, related to inappropriate behavior, which he’s denied.

BrewDog’s “zero tolerance policy” came into play during the venue’s grand opening in Las Vegas. Yes, we’re finally getting to the good part, thanks for your patience.

As mentioned, BrewDog’s opening featured giving away a million-dollar bar tab.

As we were the first to share, though, it seems the giveaway went sideways when the winner got wasted (sorry, “over-indulged” makes it sound less sloppy) and was kicked out of the event.

Following the event, we received lots of rumors about how the incident unfolded, including word the winner used part of his winning tab to buy everyone at the party a round of beer, impressive given the number of people in attendance.

BrewDog Las Vegas covers 30,000-square-feet and cost $17 million. They should’ve said 260 million bobs (BrewDog is a Scottish company), it’s more impressive.

We reached out to BrewDog to see which of the rumors they’d cop to, including the rumor the winner had been “banned” from the venue, and that it took half a dozen security guards to remove him from the premises.

A BrewDog Las Vegas spokesperson said, “We were delighted with our Grand Opening party with over 1,000 guests enjoying the evening. Our Million Dollar Bar Tab winner delighted the crowd by buying the bar a few rounds of beer, and after this, he was encouraged to have an early night. He left with his two friends and was accompanied leaving by two senior managers. We look forward to seeing him back in one of our bars in the near future to use the remainder of his prize. Our terms and conditions allow for this prize to be claimed against hotel room nights, food as well as beer. Furthermore the prize is valid over a 20 year period, therefore encouraging sensible consumption.”

We have a deep and abiding love for spokespersons, but some translation is required.

1. BrewDog’s grand opening met expectations in terms of attendance.

2. The million dollar bar tab winner bought guests beer.

3. The winner and his friends were shown the door by at least two BrewDog managers.

4. He wasn’t permanently banned.

5. The prize is valid over a 20-year period, so BrewDog definitely didn’t over-serve the guy. Definitely. (One source said the winner may have been sauced before he even arrived.)

The “buying everyone a round” part has been questioned by at least one of our sources, as it appears BrewDog was bringing out lots of free beer in wheelbarrows for guests prior to the winner winning.

Anyway, no sense quibbling over details.

It’s a crazy story, and par for the course with BrewDog. While the brand doesn’t seem all that well known in the U.S., lots of our European fans and followers have chimed in with thoughts on the company and its various controversies.

Fun fact: BrewDog got into a legal scrap with the Elvis Presley estate because it wanted to name one of its beers “Elvis Juice.” BrewDog won.

Another awkward turn of events happened just a day prior to BrewDog opening on The Strip. Apparently, BrewDog has lost its ethical B Corp certification. The certification signifies “a company’s ethical commitment to the environment, community and staff.” Read more. BrewDog issued a statement saying the company has decided to “step aside from our B Corp certification for the time being.”

We love statements nearly as much as spokespersons. They are often hysterical.

While having a Certified B Corp was a cool marketing tool, lots of companies aren’t certified, so it shouldn’t affect BrewDog’s business in Las Vegas or beyond.

It’s just another layer of awkward, and we are a huge fan of awkward.

While we weren’t able to attend the grand opening of BrewDog, we plan to visit soon. We drove by last night, tried to park in the Showcase Mall parking lot, saw that it cost $12 for the first two hours and bailed. That’s nearly as much as a BrewDog pretzel, damn it.

Paid parking is one of the benefits of a million-dollar bar tab, numbing the painwise.

We’ll find a workaround. We may have to park at Park MGM (locals park free for three hours) and walk across the pedestrian bridge to BrewDog. Or maybe take our chances with the free parking at Target, located in the same building as BrewDog and Olive Garden.

We mainly want to try the food (we’ve never had a beer) and check out the view.

Welcome to Las Vegas, BrewDog, you did not disappoint.

Update (12/5/22): BrewDog distributed a news release providing fresh details about the grand opening festivities. The million dollar bar tab winner was Jeffrey Appleby of Las Vegas. BrewDog says Appleby spent more than $27,000 of his million dollar prize to buy everyone at the event a round. The release made no mention of the circumstances surrounding Appleby’s removal from the party.

Million dollar bar tab winner Jeff Appleby and BrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt.