Take the escalators up to the second level, right off the casino floor, and you’ll find Michelle’s Bar. OK, maybe it’s actually called Biscayne Steak Sea Wine, but the lounge and bar within the steakhouse belong to bartender Michelle Taylor. She joined the Tropicana six years ago, starting out as a bartender for various outlets throughout the resort and when the position opened at Biscayne, Taylor jumped at the chance.

Taylor began bartending about 14 years ago in Sacramento, Calif. While she was working in hospital administration, she was looking for a part-time job and her friend suggested being a cocktail server at a local club; she got hired right away. “But I really wanted to be behind the bar, so they gave me a shot at it one night and said, ‘If you can keep up, you can have the job,’” Taylor explains. “There were all female bartenders. It was really fun. You had to make drinks really fast. But I kept up, and I was a natural at it.”

About seven years ago she made her first visit to Las Vegas. “And, I was like, ‘OK, I want to be a bartender on the Strip.’ I was like, ‘I gotta live here.’” So she picked up and moved with her daughter and son. “It kind of surprised me that all the food and beverage jobs, the industry, you can make it your career,” says Taylor, who is also a certified mixologist, the only one on-property at Tropicana.

“I will say being a bartender is a lot of hard work, period, but it’s fun for me,” says Taylor. “I see myself bartending till I retire. Once I came up here, I’ve found the perfect job ... and really, I haven’t looked back. I like to say this is my bar, Michelle’s Bar.”

Bomberry Martini

With a nice selection of specialty cocktails—that you can enjoy up at the bar or in the newly remodeled, spacious and chic lounge area—Taylor has added a few of her own creations, like the Bom-berry Martini. “Perfect for spring and summer,” she says. “It’s really refreshing, light and not too sweet.” The martini is mixed with muddled blueberries and raspberries, fresh-squeezed lime juice, agave nectar and Bombay Sapphire gin.