Las Vegas legendary bartender and restaurateur Nectaly Mendoza and his Cleaver team rose like phoenixes above the challenges of Covid, and a dramatic fire that nearly ended their new restaurant venture before it even began.

With smoke and water damage from the fire that raged in the building upstairs from the venue, Cleaver was meant to shut down for repairs for nine months. The resilient team however turned things around in three weeks. Owner Nectaly shared, ‘We have a lot of people on our team with children and even children’s children who depend on us. To keep that many people out of work was just not an option. We just had to get everybody back.’

Cleaver, which opened in early September, boasts an impressive 8,000-square-foot corner space with several dining rooms and an idyllic horseshoe bar. Its to die for wine list and tantalizing cocktail creations, along with high-grade comfort food menu stunners like bone marrow with blueberry demi-glace, cherry lamb chops, a raw bar and surf and turf with a vast range of sauces and rubs for every palate, is already an L.V. off the Strip favorite.

Nectaly offered, ‘Due to our reputation and success with our first venue Herb&Rye, we were able to do everything we wanted to do with Cleaver without financial limitations.
We wanted to have a high-end steakhouse without the
high-end stuffiness. Cleaver is more than a restaurant,
it’s a meeting ground. We get everyone from Marshawn Lynch, to school teachers, to priests, to nightclub organizers. We get all walks of life and they all want to be seen and not be seen in the same place at the same time. We joke around and say ‘Cleaver is a place where you can go to celebrate a wedding or a divorce. There’s nothing you can’t do at Cleaver!’

Beyond his wildly successful venues and unique mixologist/bar program talent, Nectaly Mendoza, (like so many of the food industry greats CW Magazine highlights,) inspires us past the procuring and splendor of indulgence to something even more compelling.
– Zen and the Art of Bartending with Nectaly Mendoza, Owner/Bartender Cleaver Las Vegas

Bartending is one of the purest forms of how to reflect your artistry. The world looks at bartending as a stepping stone job. In reality, this is a beautiful career path. Bartenders are everything; every walk of life, every race, color, creed. They reflect who and what they are, from behind the bar. Bartenders are artists in their own right and the crowd is their instrument. The music they play is how they make everybody feel. The open-mindedness and compassion of a bartender and their willingness to not be one-sided, is really a craft in itself. Anybody can be a bartender, but to master your craft, it takes a lot of practice, it takes a lot of knowledge, and it’s one of those few crafts that never ends. It’s impossible to learn it all. You have to stay humble and just do your best every day.

The Beautiful Sober Truth

Building up yourself mentally is the best gift you can give yourself.

I’m a recovering drug addict as well as an alcoholic. I still go to bars and hang out with my friends. I have zero issues. I’m not
triggered like that because I built myself to have the mental strength to say I can handle any situation. When I started my path to sobriety, I thought the industry was going to cast me out for it. Actually, it was the complete opposite. The human race as a whole is amazing. You’d be amazed at what people can accomplish through empathy, forgiveness, and understanding. I think that when it comes to sobriety, and having the clarity of what you do in life, it really boils down to how much positivity you give yourself. I simply cut all
negativity out of my life, and it’s worked wonders for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always good to have ‘good times.’ But I think we’re kind of confused about what pleasure is in life sometimes. You know, pleasure is longevity, it’s family, the people around us.

We live in a very unstable world and we all want stability. I don’t know what other people are going through. It’s easy for us on the outside looking into to say ‘don’t do this or don’t do that. But we don’t know everybody’s individual situation.  Regarding getting sober, I’m willing to help anybody who’s willing to help themselves. But I don’t feel like anybody’s ever missing out on their life if they enjoy a drink. However, my heart does go out to people who I see that don’t achieve the success they should because they don’t know how great they are. But the individual has to make their own choices.  It’s our job as people to pick people up and help them move forward. But it’s not our job to drag them.