Situated amidst the busy slots and tables MGM National Harbor, Felt offers visitors an impossibly sophisticated and chic atmosphere and a stylish bar.
Overall Rating: 3.75
It had been a long while since I last visited National Harbor. And boy, things have changed – driving in on a snowy weekend to visit the hot, new MGM casino, I was taken aback by the…scale of it all. The ziggurat reveals itself slowly as you approach, communicating modern capitalist grandeur and intrigue. I’m not a gambler (I’m just too lucky, wouldn’t be fair to others) but a night at MGM is a night well spent. Fun, lively, gorgeous, and over-the-top, MGM is just a fun and electrifying scene. And it’s still got that hot-new-thing sheen: during my recent visit, I saw Congressman John Lewis and Redskins coach, fresh off an ignominious defeat at the hands of my New York Football Giants.
My game is cocktails, so I strolled past the humming Blackjack tables and made a b-line to the Felt cocktail bar. Like yours truly, Felt is easy on the eyes, offering a gold-lit bar with lots of seats and an expansive, relaxed lounge where you can kick back in your formal wear and watch ports or gaze out at the riotous floor. Service was good, although I felt for the bartenders and waitresses when the thirsty gamblers started to file in. Service folks juggling dozens of free-drinking, free-spending customers is something to watch.
But is the glitz a cover for subpar cocktails? No, not so much – we tried four of Felt’s signature cocktails (two were unavailable) and I thought they were fairly solid entries including one standout and one really unique, adventurous drink.
I started light with the “Colonel Rickey” with Navy Strength Plymouth Gin, Thai Basil, Lime, Seltzer, and Cardomom honey. Sweet and light with a stoic, gin twist and a kiss of grassy basil, this one will help you limber up before or after some hard-fought wins at the table. Next up was my favorite, “Blackbeard’s Delight” with Bulleit bourbon whiskey, blackberry, lemon, mint, and ginger beer. This was very good, it starts off as a simple refresher but gives rise to some fine, distinctive flourishes between the resonant bourbon and the lighter, herbal lemon/mint/ginger blush. A nice slow sipper.
Then I moved to the “One Night Stand” with Casamigos Blanco tequila, Aperol, lemon, grapefruit, rosemary, and grapefruit soda. This was…memorable, with an interesting mix of bitter and smoke. Doesn’t quite come together well, though, with a bit of an uneven and off taste not helped by grapefruit. I dug the lemon in it though, giving the mix a little dry citrus backbone. Last was a very resonant, powerful cocktail, the “Chester Copper Pot” with Rhum Barbancourt, Campari, tea-infused Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and orange oil. The waitress gave me a heads-up that this one was “spirit-forward” and boy, was it; the bitterness and resonance of the Torino smashes you in the face and doesn’t stop. This is for bitterheads and bitterheads only – a note, I did love the orange oil on the backend of this one, this deep and strong citrus on the crest of bitterness is a tasting note to remember for future drinks. So there you have it, a fun evening at Felt, make sure to stop by when you’re not putting your financial future up for grabs :).