Bartender relishes his part in Hard Rock Hotel’s history
That one time KISS jammed on top of the bar. That New Year’s Eve that Jamie Foxx lorded over the festivities. That other time Bill Murray took a seat at the bar. Michael Jordan, Tony Curtis, Drew Carey, Axl Rose, Bob Dylan, Neil Young—they’ve all hung out at the Center Bar at Hard Rock Hotel. “I could go around the bar, and inch by inch tell you something that happened with someone famous,” said bartender Andy Soulia. “I’ve met and served so many people, I could fill pages and pages with stories.”
Soulia has collected a lifetime of memories working at the Hard Rock Hotel; he is a day-one employee, working at multiple bars around the property, but his home base has always been Center Bar. One of those memories includes the first time Soulia met his wife (she was a day-one employee, too) working on the casino floor. They’re still together, and she still works at Hard Rock Hotel.
Recently the famous Center Bar went through its first complete overhaul since it was erected in 1995; the space has been expanded and upgraded, now with an ultra-lounge factor. “It’s so much more of a complete experience than it ever was before,” Soulia said.
And Soulia and a handful of other longtime Hard Rock bartenders add to the Center Bar experience. “I work with an amazing team and they all have their own stories, too. There’s just tons of history here,” Soulia said. “And we lived every minute of it.”
On the Center Bar’s new cocktail menu, you’ll find six specialty drinks created by each one of the day-one bartenders. Soulia’s takeoff on the 44th President of the United States’ name is quite clever, and the cocktail is quite tasty. Served martini-style, the Cîroc Obama mixes Cîroc vodka, Godiva white chocolate and chocolate liqueurs, Chambord and cream. Patrons can partake in half-price specials ($5 martinis and cocktails!) during Center Bar’s happy hour, 4-7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.