The Best Bars in Las Vegas Right Now

Masks down. Bottoms up.

The Laundry Room/Commonwealth
Photo courtesy of The Laundry Room/Commonwealth

Things have changed. Mask mandates are back and Nevada is redoubling its efforts on social distancing. One thing that isn't new: Las Vegas loves to drink. Bars remain open, but without the capacity restrictions we saw last year. At least for now. So do your best. Support our local businesses, but please be responsible. That begins with getting vaccinated, washing hands, and keeping a mask on until it's time to sip down your favorite drink. Between cocktail lounges, dive bars, and brewpubs, there are a lot of options out there. So consider this list a starting point for the best bars in Las Vegas you need to know about, including some intriguing newcomers that recently opened their doors.

The Tangier
Photo courtesy of The Tangier

The Tangier

The Sahara

The Tangier sets itself apart by focusing on brown spirits. Not just whiskey, but anything aged—including rum or tequila. Even Tito's Vodka is aged on site for at least 30 days in charred barrels, producing an amber color well suited for an Old Fashioned. Overall, the cocktail menu is split between inventive specialty drinks and classic recipes, with three different variations on a Boulevardier. If you just want to sip on the good stuff, there are about 160 varieties of bourbon, scotch, or cognac available with a few rare bottles hidden out of view. No list. The idea is for things to be conversational between the guest and bartender. Grab a seat. You'll find something you like.
How to book: The bar is geared toward walk-ins 3 pm–2 am daily.

French Cellar is a wine shop and tasting room by the team behind Partage (a French fine dining restaurant in Chinatown). It's a charming space with the glow of Edison light bulbs, bottles displayed in wood crates, and tables sitting atop oak barrels. The place is all about French varietals, with special attention paid to Burgundy and Champagne. However, you'll find a wide variety of flavor profiles represented and a well-trained team offering guidance. More than a dozen wines are available by the glass, with flights designed to pair with cheese, charcuterie, and other dishes, including creamy foie gras or locally smoked salmon. Return visitors can take advantage of the French Cellar Wine Club ($99 a month or $999 a year), which includes two
bottles a month, in-store tastings every two weeks, and discounts on all other purchases.
How to order: Book a reservation online or email to inquire about the Wine Club.

Starlight on 66
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Starlight on 66

Resorts World

Almost anything is better with a view in Las Vegas. That's why the new Resorts World made a point to have a cocktail lounge on the 66th floor of its Conrad hotel tower. Whether facing north (the Strip) or south (the Strat and Downtown), the scenery is ridiculous—especially at night through floor-to-ceiling windows. Walks-ins may get lucky with bar seats, but reservations are highly recommended. The whole room has the feel of a private study or library with comfortable furniture, refined decor, and a menu presented as a thick novel. A vintage telescope is pointed at the Strip. Five different takes on an Old Fashioned are prepared on a tableside cart. Some drinks are pricier than others, but a few minutes on the outdoor balcony (open when the weather permits) is worth the check.
How to book: Make a reservation online.

Silver Stamp
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Silver Stamp

Gateway District

If you're looking for a place to drink beer without one of our great local breweries attached to it, the Silver Stamp might be your joint. Located in the Gateway District (which is increasingly blurring together with the Arts District), the bar is a total throwback with wood paneling, mounted taxidermy, and quirky, vintage decor. Is it a den from the '70s? A basement from the '80s? Hard to say, but the beer selection is exceptional, including occasional one-and-done-kegs that are hard to find elsewhere. At least half the tap list is European. There's always a rauchbier (German smoked beer) and Kolsch served in wheels (pay for 10, get 11) for large groups, an idea inspired by the owners' visit to a Cologne festival. There’re hot dogs and pickled eggs if you get hungry.
How to book: Walk on in.

Garagiste Wine Room | Merchant
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Garagiste Wine Room | Merchant

Downtown Arts District

Great wine shouldn't have to be expensive. That's the idea behind Garagiste, a neighborhood wine bar in the Arts District by a pair of sommeliers with a long history on the Strip. The already extensive list is growing by the day, featuring a variety of styles, countries, regions, and prices. Garagiste makes a point to champion the natural or "low intervention" wine movement and small producers that aren't easy to track down. It's an industrial, modern space of brick and glass without a single television in sight—although the record player near the bar is a nice touch. (Ask to pick out an album.) There isn't a kitchen, but charcuterie plates are available, and you can always bring in outside food, especially from Esther's Kitchen across the street. Bottles are available to go (with a 50% off retail discount) but if you plan to hang out for a while, there are more than 20 wines by the glass to keep things interesting. 
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

The Laundry Room
Photo courtesy of The Laundry Room

The Laundry Room

Fremont East

The Laundry Room, a hidden speakeasy inside Commonwealth, is one of the most rewarding bar experiences in Las Vegas. The drink list is an impressive mix of sophisticated classics and inventive creations, but things work out even better when you let the bartender come up with a custom cocktail based on moods and words—like "smoky," "aggressive," or "Brad Pitt in Fight Club." Keep the ground rules in mind: no PDA and no cellphones (although texting is okay) and due to limited space, this is really one of those joints that requires a reservation. How do you score one? Or find the hidden door to the Laundry Room? Just hang out for a while and ask a few questions in the main Commonwealth space, which experimented with different formats during the pandemic and now has a piano lounge vibe and a greater focus on cocktails as well, including shareable punch bowls. Don't worry. The rooftop patio is still there.
How to book: via their website.

 

Lucky Day
Photo by Anthony Mair, courtesy of Lucky Day

Lucky Day

Fremont East

Lucky Day is all about tequila and mezcal with a rotating collection of agave spirits that can total more than a hundred at any given time. Enjoy them as flights or in one of ten house cocktails. However, the bar itself is almost like something you'd see in New York or Boston—a long hallway with a small patio spilling out into the lights and energy of the Fremont East district. The ceiling is covered with an elaborate light installation. You can sit there for days and not see the same sequence twice. Munch on chips, guac, and house-made salsa in between sips. Lucky Day has been experimenting with modified menus for special events like game-day viewing and Latin nights.
How to book: via their website.

Atomic Liquors
Photo courtesy of Atomic Liquors

The oldest free-standing bar in Las Vegas used to be a place where people would grab drinks, sit on the roof, and watch nuclear test explosions go off in the desert (since Nevada was into that kind of stuff in the '50s). Atomic Liquors eventually closed down but returned as a craft cocktail destination in 2012. It's been a huge hit ever since, and much of Nevada's radioactive history is documented with artifacts on the walls. In the wake of at-home bartending during the pandemic, Atomic Liquors noticed a renewed interest in well-crafted libations and responded with limited-edition specials that rotate throughout the season. Signature cocktails are updated twice a year, but don't worry—the bourbon-fueled Hunter S. Mash isn't going anywhere. There are two sister concepts: The Kitchen at Atomic restaurant next door and the new Atomic Tavern, a menu-free dive bar in the Gateway District.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse celebrated its 20th anniversary (a lifetime for a Vegas Strip restaurant) with a full renovation last year that added renewed sparkle and energy to the dining room. The Creole-seasoned steaks are as good as ever. But what about the drinks? The restaurant has one of the best whiskey and spirits lists in not only Las Vegas, but the entire country—with more than 700 options from nine countries and an impressive focus on verticals. This is the stuff that's hard to find anywhere else. If dinner's not required, grab a seat in the lounge and pick the brain of your bartender. Not into brown spirits? Delmonico has 2,400 choices of wine as well.   
How to book: via Opentable.

Downtown Cocktail Room
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Back when Las Vegas was all about sugary libations and bottle service, the Downtown Cocktail Room came along with something different—inventive, complicated cocktails inspired by other cities ahead of the curve. The team works in a mixology "lab" to create clever drinks that rotate on and off the menu four or five times a year. Nothing is off limits, from absinthe and mezcals to anything and everything as garnish (including on at least one occasion, house-made chips and salsa). Drinks are half-off Tuesday-Saturday from 5 to 7 pm. Mike Morey's Sip'n'Tip is a hidden bar-within-a-bar with a looser vibe, its own menu, and a side alley entrance. 
How to book: Walk-ins welcome or RSVP online.

Golden Tiki
Photo courtesy of Golden Tiki

Golden Tiki

Chinatown

The music heard at the front door suggests you're either about to take a ride on the Pirates of the Caribbean or enter the most indulgent tiki bar in Las Vegas. Golden Tiki counts a dancing skeleton, conch shell chair, and overstuffed treasure chest among its kitschy decorations. It's also hard to overlook the shrunken head collection and a pair of animatronic birds who exchange dirty jokes. The cocktails go well beyond the expected rum-and-fruit-juice staples with complex, well-balanced creations heavy on carefully chosen spirits. Some come topped with Dole Whip—a frozen pineapple treat dispensed from a machine that first became popular at Disneyland. Like all good tiki bars, the drinks are rated on the menu by strength-level. 
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be booked via Resy.

Herbs & Rye
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Herbs & Rye

Off-Strip

We once asked top bartenders in Vegas where they got drinks on their downtime. All of them said Herbs & Rye. The cocktail bar by which all others are judged is frequently singled out as not only one of the best bars in Vegas, but the entire country. That's because every bartender here appreciates and understands both the art and history of classic cocktails. The menu itself is divided into different American eras, from 1776 through today (touching on prohibition, tiki, and Rat Pack periods for example). The back bar alone is worth your attention—with liqueurs, spirits, and mixers you won't easily find elsewhere. Feel free to challenge the staff, who are always eager to make something new and different with the resources at their disposal. The food includes pasta and steaks (with the latter half-off during the recently extended happy hour—one of the best in Las Vegas). Sister steakhouse Cleaver has a similar but smaller cocktail menu and is easier for scoring a last-minute reservation.
How to book: via their website.

Oak & Ivy: An American Whiskey Den
Photo courtesy of Oak & Ivy

Located inside the Downtown Container Park, Oak & Ivy makes the most of a small bar with just a handful of seats, although hanging out on the rooftop at sunset isn't bad either. The whiskey selection is strong and put to good use in plenty of great cocktails, including a Whiskey Smash made with fruit-infused water that changes with the season. The Moscow Mule is made with house-brewed ginger beer. New recipes come and go throughout the year, but the Apple Harvest is here to stay—an apple whiskey sour with a torched apple pie garnish that tastes better than dessert.
How to book: via Opentable.

The Sand Dollar Lounge
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

A legit piece of Vegas history, the Sand Dollar Lounge has a legacy of live music that dates back to 1976, but the drink menu is the best reason to visit. The best-seller right now is the Lupita, featuring flash-infused basil tequila and house-made orgeat, but the coolest one is the Thai Tea Trippin'—a combination of rum, spiced tea, milk, and sugar with the dairy component filtered out, leaving behind a creamy taste, but no cloudiness. The beer list is strong too. Not picky? Try your luck with the "Beer Roulette" machine, which dispenses random cans for $5. The pizzas (with a custom dough by Chris Decker of Metro Pizza) compete with the best in town, with creative recipes and crisp, fresh ingredients on top. A second version of the Sand Dollar is scheduled to open in late 2021 at the Plaza hotel near Fremont Street.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Velveteen Rabbit
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Velveteen Rabbit

Downtown Arts District

Opened by two sisters who just wanted a good place to hang out, Velveteen Rabbit is a social drinking spot that understands the art of the craft cocktail and the value of an expansive beer list. The collection of antique furniture doesn't quite match, but seems to fit the quirky spirit of the place just fine. With local artwork hanging on the walls and a history of hosting up-and-coming musicians, it's hard to find a bar that is so supportive of the Arts District community while making some of the most unique and creative drinks anywhere in Las Vegas. The daily 5–7 pm happy hour has discounted house cocktails for $12 and Montucky lager with a shot of rye for $8. 
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Rosina
Photo courtesy of Rosina

Rosina

Venetian

Rosina is one of three sister bars in the Venetian Cocktail Collective. Each is great, but while The Dorsey and Electra have a high-energy atmosphere to match the inventive nature of their cocktails. Rosina is an intimate, stylish art-deco spot that focuses on classics—with ice and glassware to match. If you want a Dark 'n Stormy or an Airmail done right, this is where you want to be. A traditional Mai Tai served in a skull is especially fun. Ask about the latest secret menu, serving modified takes on old favorites like a Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Champagne cocktails. Another menu on the sly—titled "Shh"—is offered to night owls 11 pm–2 am.
How to book: via Opentable.

Legacy Club
Photo courtesy of Legacy Club

A great drink is even better with a great view. And that's especially true at the Legacy Club on the 60th floor of the new Circa resort on Fremont Street. With a strong whiskey selection, artwork honoring Vegas casino magnates, and an exhibit of gold bars, this penthouse venue goes heavy on macho swagger. Yet in reality, the Legacy Club is one of the best places to bring a date in Vegas. The servers are knowledgeable about the menu (a nice change of pace from other cocktail bars on the Strip), so don't take suggestions lightly. The Nevadan lives up its name, using Frey Ranch rye distilled on an upstate farm. Drink prices are on the high side, but those sweeping Vegas views are included. Enjoy 'em from the indoor lounge or the outdoor patio. 
How to book: via their website.

Berlin Bar
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Berlin Bar

Downtown Arts District

Berlin Bar has style, but isn't too fancy. A beer-and-a-shot is the drink of choice here—a dive bar with a loose German theme. Lots of kitschy mismatched decor, chalkboard art, stickers, and artwork from local artists (that's also for sale). So where does the name come from? The owners actually planned to open the bar in Berlin, but COVID hit and they stayed put in Vegas instead. If beer's not your thing, try the Sandia (a Casamigos margarita with fresh watermelon juice). Food includes a soft pretzel charcuterie board and the same gourmet franks served by the Dude, Where's My Hotdog food truck. The infamous Ass Cobra is topped with ramen and asparagus. The patio gets busy on weekends with a long fire pit and a great view of the Stratosphere tower. The soundtrack of dirty, fuzzy rock fits the vibe just fine. 
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Ada’s
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Ada’s

Tivoli Village

James Trees' pizzeria (which closed during the pandemic) is now back open as a wine bar with an all-new look. The wines are fantastic, affordable, and chosen with the input of the entire service team, who are all trained sommeliers. There's a heavy emphasis on natural wines and with nearly 100 bottles and more than 20 options by the glass, there's something for everyone. Even beer, if that's your preference. Best of all—Ada's is free from pretentiousness. It's just a fun, loose place to hang out. The tapas menu by Chef de Cuisine Jackson Stamper includes imported cheese and charcuterie, a variety of Spanish-inspired bites, and an Argentinian-inspired skirt steak (which is the most expensive item on the menu at $22). If you still want that pizza, Trees recently opened Al Solito Posto, a more formal restaurant in the same shopping plaza. 
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

The Shag Room
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

The Shag Room

Virgin Hotels

The Shag Room is an intimate, secluded cocktail (hidden behind neighboring Bar at Common Club) on the Virgin Hotels casino floor. It's geared toward reservations, although it's relatively easy to grab a seat early in the evening. The lounge feels like an old-school private club with thick carpeting and VIP tables inside Moroccan-style tents. Large parties may prefer bottle service, but The Chai is a nice smooth cocktail, mixing tequila with cardamom and masala tea. To keep things fun and playful, the Shag Room recently launched an Upside Down Tea Party 12–3 pm on Sundays. Guests can enjoy a teapot of a specialty cocktail (served cold, don't be surprised) and a tiered tray of sweet and savory bites—all for $40 per person.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome or call 800-693-7625 to make reservations.

Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He's a shot of sweet vermouth balanced by a few dashes of bitters. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.