Live Your Best Life With This Buzzin' Bee's Knees Cocktail
Where stiff drinks and nuclear history come together
The oldest freestanding 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. (Nevada was into that kind of stuff in the '50s.) Atomic Liquors eventually closed down but later 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. A restaurant -- The Kitchen at Atomic -- recently opened next door.
On the Strip
A favorite hangout for a beer in the heart of the Strip
One of those places you definitely have to visit during a beer crawl of Las Vegas, Beerhaus is a fun and festive social spot in the shadow of the T-Mobile Arena on the Strip. The food is kept to a tight menu -- featuring bar grub like brats, pretzels, and fried pickles -- served from a pick-up counter. However, the beer list is vast and varied, including bottles, cans, and draft selections -- among them, local breweries like Joseph James and Crafthaus.
Stylish hotel lobby bar with inventive cocktails
Few bars carry more sophistication and elegance than this one. With a menu designed by famed European mixologist Salvatore Calabrese, Bound has more than a couple drinks that -- while not cheap -- are worthy of your time and attention. Among the favorites are a pair of espresso cocktails served in an Italian moka pot and the Maestro which blends a number of citrus elements with vodka, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar.
Two-level bar with rustic charm -- complete with a secret bar
Immersed in style and character with wood furnishings and crystal chandeliers, Commonwealth sets itself apart from the crowded Downtown bar scene with a deep beer selection, expertly made cocktails, and the Laundry Room -- a secretive bar-within-a-bar that requires a hookup to get in. An upstairs patio has its own bar and 360-degree views perfect for people watching and soaking in the surrounding neon lights.
Three full stories flowing with cocktails
The most impressive lobby bar on the Strip passes through three floors of the Cosmopolitan with a spectacle of dangling beads hanging around it. The lounge could get by on looks alone, but has an impressive array of cocktails, including an Old Fashioned made with 12-year rum aged in bourbon barrels and the infamous verbena -- similar to a ginger-infused margarita but with an edible flower that alters the taste. The bottom level is a social meeting spot while the third floor is a little quieter and better for a date. The middle level was recently renovated into a whimsical common area inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
The best whiskey list in Las Vegas -- period
There's no bar in Las Vegas that's done a better job of building its whiskey and spirits collection over the years -- 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 whiskey's not your thing, there are 2,400 choices of wine and Emeril Lagasse's lineup of prime cajun-seasoned steaks.
So much chic style in one place, plus killer cocktails
This upscale lounge is perfect for those who love the glamour of Vegas and a touch of elegance to go along with the late night DJ’s beats. Crafted in oak, brass, leather, and marble, the Dorsey has long comfortable couches for socializing and a "library" room decked out with a fireplace. The cocktails, designed by famed New York mixologist Sam Ross, are pricey but worth every penny. Try the drink that put him on the map: the Penicillin, a smoky libation with Scotch and a bite of ginger. Use this link to make your reservation.
Absinthe, punch bowls, and an evolving menu
Back when Las Vegas was all about sugary cocktails and bottle service (not all that long ago), the Downtown Cocktail Room came along with something different -- inventive cocktails inspired by metropolitan areas around the country. The team works in a "lab" of mixology to create a menu of clever drinks that rotate in-and-out about 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). Everything is half-off Monday-Friday from 4 to 7pm.
All things sparkling, from the Champagne menu to the decor
This upscale lounge keeps things sparkling with Champagne and Champagne-based cocktails in a quiet spot tucked out of the way off the casino floor at Caesars Palace. Lavish light fixtures, art-covered walls, circular booth seating, and a second level that overlooks the main floor encourages lots of social interaction within a relatively intimate space.
The place to hit for kitschy decor and fruity drinks
The music playing as you walk through the front door suggests you're 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 a dancing skeleton, conch shell chair, and overstuffed treasure chest among its kitschy decorations. The drinks are mostly rum-based and heavy on tropical fruit juices. Some even come topped with Dole Whip -- a vintage frozen pineapple treat found in a machine behind the counter.
Industry clubhouse offers cocktails from every era
Thrillist once asked the 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 the 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; they could make you something new and totally different with the tools at their disposal. But don't overlook the food, especially the pasta -- or the steaks which are half off during happy hour. (Half off!)
Dive bar with charm and mega-cheap cans of beer
No elaborate foofoo drinks here: The Huntridge Tavern (found next door to the Huntridge Pharmacy) is the perfect place for a shot and a beer -- especially if it's a can of Hamm's, always on sale for $1.50. Located in that special part of Downtown that's nowhere near touristy Fremont Street, this local legend among dive bars is a piece of Las Vegas history -- open almost continuously for more than five decades.
Lively spot with caviar fried eggs and experimental drinks
Libertine Social has a healthy buzz thanks to food by Shawn McClain and a thorough bar program by Tony Abou-Ganim -- a longtime master mixologist who helped open the Bellagio back in the day. At Libertine Social, he's free to experiment and bring craft cocktails to the forefront -- especially with two different bars and a comfortable lounge area to work with. There is a collection of vintage cocktails, including some on draft, as well as "swizzels" and "fizzes" made with seltzer water. You can even try Abou-Ganim's famous Cable Car -- a rum based drink with ground cinnamon born in San Francisco that can now be found on the retro menu.
No gambling, but you can get floor-to-ceiling views here
The Mandarin Oriental is a little more low key than your typical resort on the Strip. It doesn't have any gambling (or its own parking garage for that matter, so be ready to valet) and its lobby is actually on the 23rd floor. That's also where you'll find the Mandarin Bar -- which comes with a cool and stylish view of the Strip through floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around the east side of the building. The atmosphere is complimented by a killer lineup of in-house cocktail creations, and a nice cognac list for those looking for an understated experience.
Whiskey and nine types of mule inside a shipping container
Located inside the Downtown Container Park, Oak & Ivy makes the most of a small bar with just a handful of seats. The whiskey selection is strong and makes for some great cocktails, including the Whiskey Smash -- made with water infused with fruit that changes with the season. And while a lot (and we mean a lot) of places have Moscow Mules on the menu, few come close to the ones served up here. Oak & Ivy offers nine variations, and each one is made with ginger beer that's brewed in house.
Modern American cuisine plus a crazy absinthe lineup
The bar at Sage is modern and stylish, matching the cuisine from Chef Shawn McClain. It gets plenty of attention for its absinthe collection and table-side service -- which offers the spirit dripped over a sugar cube, on the rocks with water, or lit with fire and poured over ice. The cocktail program is designed to reflect a sensory-driven experience, with the menu mapped out by sweet, refreshing, bold, and dry categories. Definitely try the Old Fashioned with Eagle Rare 10-Year bourbon and barrel-smoked maple syrup.
Historic bar on the edge of Chinatown, now serving craft drinks
The Sand Dollar is known for live music with blues greats like B.B King and Muddy Waters making appearances over the years. It also has pool, video poker, and a reputation for friendly staffers. The Sand Dollar originally closed a few years ago, but has since been revitalized with a fresh focus on craft cocktails and some much-needed renovations that bring a modern touch to this longtime local hangout.
Seasonally changing cocktails served amid artwork and live music
Opened by two sisters who just wanted a good place to hang out, this social drinking spot has mastered the art of the craft cocktail and developed a killer beer list, with a collection of antique furniture that doesn't quite match, but seems to fit the quirky spirit of the place just fine. With up-and-coming musicians on the back patio and local artwork hanging from the walls, it's hard to find a bar that is so supportive of the local community -- while making some of the most unique and creative drinks anywhere in Las Vegas.
Craft beer in a casual clubhouse environment
After leaving its original location (which is now PT's Brewing Company) Tenaya Creek moved Downtown to a spot just off the beaten path that doesn't quite feel like Las Vegas. There's no gaming and no chaos. Just plenty of beer -- by bottle, draft, or cans -- and an atmosphere that matches the spirit of a midwest college town pub more than a Sin City party spot. A prime example of the local craft beer explosion, Tenaya Creek has carved out its own identity and loyal fans with beer that's generally well-balanced and not overly hoppy.
Vista Cocktail Lounge
Ultra-modern lounge with moving cityscapes surrounding you
The most eye-catching bar in Caesars Palace is surrounded by LED video screens that recreate metropolitan skylines from major cities throughout the world -- as well as cocktails with fine ingredients and a sophisticated edge. The $95 punch bowls are good for sharing, especially the piña colada mojito.
1. Atomic Liquors917 Fremont St, Las Vegas
2. Beerhaus3782 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
3. Bound by Salvatore3595 Las Vegas Blvd South 15, Las Vegas
4. The Chandelier3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
5. Delmonico Steakhouse3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
6. Downtown Cocktail Room111 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
7. The Golden Tiki3939 Spring Mountain, Las Vegas
8. Herbs & Rye3713 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas
9. Huntridge Tavern1122 E Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas
10. Libertine Social, Las Vegas
11. Mandarin Bar3752 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
12. Oak & Ivy707 Fremont St #1120, Las Vegas
13. Sage3730 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
14. Tenaya Creek Brewery831 W Bonanza Rd, Las Vegas
15. Velveteen Rabbit1218 S Main St, Las Vegas
16. The Dorsey3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
17. Sand Dollar Lounge3355 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas
If you're looking to escape Vegas' glitzy, dramatic theatrics, Atomic Liquors is just what you need. Opened in 1945 as a Rat Pack hangout, this restored Downtown dive is the oldest freestanding bar in the city. Let its massive (and original) neon signage guide you indoors to its unpretentiously vintage interior with brown leather seating and antique decorations adorning the bare brick walls. The fast and friendly staff can concoct any cocktail you can dream up, or pull a draft beer from their handful of local crafts.
Should you find yourself parched from the Las Vegas heat and within walking distance of The Park, consider heading to Beerhaus. The beer garden boasts an extensive list of craft beers (many of which are from local and West Coast breweries), sausages and slow-roasted meat sandwiches, and a sprawling industrial-chic interior. Come for the killer happy hour deals, stay for the jumbo-sized Jenga and Connect Four sets.
Small but mighty, Bound is a swanky lobby bar that serves uber Salvatore Calabrese’s signature cocktails at a decently high price. Have no fear, the attire is still casual and they serve food from celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis’ hotel Italian kitchen. You’ll find drinks like the Cromwell Fizz made with Macallan 10 Year, fresh lemon, orange bitters, egg white, honey syrup, and Moët, and the even more astonishing Never Say Goodnight, which is an espresso martini brewed with Red Bull instead of water (it’ll definitely give you wings). Soak up the creative booze with Giada’s bacon-wrapped dates or Chicken Milanese Fingers in red sauce.
Actually designed to look like a giant, inhabitable chandelier, Chandelier Bar has three tiers of elegant night life activities and high-class beverages. The top two levels feature lounge seating, stunningly opulent full bars, and great cocktails surrounded by the gigantic strings of crystals dropped from the structure where as the ground level feels more apart of The Cosmopolitan Casino where it resides. Sip on the secret menu Verbena cocktail that comes with specific instructions or order something a little less clandestine like the fruity Snozzberries drink served with a sour ice ball (hint: it tastes like Snozzberries!) or the Forbidden Fruit that reminds us of a highbrow appletini.
Emeril Lagasse’s 150-seater steakhouse remains a Vegas crowdpleaser since its opening in the late 90s' . The menu is a mixture of French, Italian, and Creole influences and also boasts an exquisite wine menu comprised of more than 2,300 labels, mostly from smaller, biodynamic wineries. If vino's not your thing, good thing Delmonico's also houses nearly 600 whiskey selections.
The entrance to this cozy, bohemian speakeasy isn’t as obvious as it may seem: enter Downtown Cocktail Room through a steel door that isn’t the one under the sign … mysterious we know. The drink menu is diverse and inventive with options ranging from pints of beer to custom cocktails like Sir, Mezzy Have Another (made with mezcal, banana, beer, and a cinnamon twist) and Mr. Bull’s Morning Joe (made with tequila, sherry, coffee liquor, and topped with whipped cream. You can even build your own Buck (just choose the spirit, the ginger beer, and the garnish). Just to give you an idea, they've offered over 300 different cocktails since opening. There is no kitchen here, but they let you order in from Flippin’ Good until 9pm, a burger and shake joint down the road that serves up typical greasy American finger foods.
This slightly kitschy, rum-obsessed tiki bar located in the heart of Vegas's Chinatown has a modern take on the tiki tradition with new twists on old cocktails. The ridiculously strong drinks come in a variety of colors and novelty cups, but the bar is most known for it's table-side Martinique Ti service, which brings the mixology to you for an individualized rum cocktail. They also offer VIP drinks in treasure chests, barrel-aged cocktails, and freshly-infused liquors made right at the bar. Stuffed with a huge array of stuff, everything from old Vegas memorabilia to dancing skeletons and black velvet paintings, this place is as fun to explore as it is to drink at, making it a favorite of happy hour-seeking locals.
This steak-and-cocktails focused restaurant is a sophisticated and romantic spot that attracts both liquor nerds and happy hour hounds. Cocktail lovers gravitate towards the lengthy drinks menu, which reads like a timeline of mixology's greatest hits, from the "Original Collins" of the Gothic Age (1776-1865) through the "Harvey Wallbanger" of the Rat Pack Era (1950-1968) and the bartender's choice of the modern revival (1995-present). Others love this place for their half-off steaks promotion during happy hour, which runs both in the afternoon and late night. The dark, leather-covered furniture and vintage wooden furnishings make this place an inviting throwback to the alluring atmosphere of old Vegas, so it's popularity is unsurprising—make reservations.
Situated in that special part of downtown that's nowhere near the touristy Fremont Street Experience, this iconic dive bar has been open 24/7 since the early 1960s, offerings its loyal fans Hamm beer for $1.50, specialty shots, and decent bar food. Fans flock to this longtime favorite for the prices that verge on free, the friendly staff who ensure your glass is never empty, and the unpretentious crowd -- from young professionals getting off work to old timers having a drink while waiting for their prescriptions at the pharmacy next door.
Libertine Social at the Strip’s Mandalay Bay serves up New American bar food by James Beard Award-winning Chef Shawn McClain, including unpredictable small and large plates like ahi tuna cones with whipped pink peppercorn and crème fraiche and Wagyu skirt steak. Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim’s beverage program rallies around the concept of social cocktails, offering up fruity “fizzes” and rum “swizzles,” meant to serve four. The décor is best described as irreverent; eclectic artwork, like pint-sized guitars and abstract portraits, line the walls, while the words “Stay Wild” are plastered behind the bar in neon, silently condoning your Vegas behavior.
Sitting on the 23rd floor of the brand new Mandarin Oriental, Mandarin Bar gets swanky with floor-to-ceiling windows, discreet seating separated by fabric panels, and a towering wall of booze backlit by the Strip. They're serving small plates and gourmet craft cocktails like the Mandarin's signature drink, The Golden Leaf: it's a delicious concoction made with Hendrick’s, Aperol, muddled mandarin orange (they had to), pineapple, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Enjoy it while you take in the awesome views of the Strip.
Located inside the Downtown Container Park, stylish cocktail bar Oak & Ivy may be small, but its whiskey selection is extensive and makes for some exceptional drinks, including the unique New York Sour (Four Roses Bourbon sour featuring a Merlot float), and a cousin to the Negroni, the Boulevardier (Bulleit Rye, campari, and sweet vermouth). Oak & Ivy also offers nine (yes, nine) variations on a Moscow Mule, and each one is made with ginger beer that's brewed in-house.
Sage offers one of the most memorable fine dining experiences on the Strip thanks to its sexy lounge decor and a fresh, ever-changing menu from James Beard Award-winning Chef Shawn McClain. Purple and yellow tones fill the space -- from the ribbon-patterned carpet to the warm mood lighting cast by tasteful chandeliers -- and match the equally vibrant menu, which has featured items including grilled Spanish octopus, black bass, and Wagyu filet. Sage is a favorite in the area for its inventive cocktails, too, including one mixed with cotton candy.
After outgrowng their original location, Tenaya Creek took things up a notch at this 13,000-square-foot Downtown location, all chrome, varnished steel and rustic woods, where 17 beers on tap are sipped (including two guest pours from neighboring breweries). While the brews are distributed in Nevada, Southern California, Arizona, Utah and Canada, when you come to the source the brewing facilities can be observed through floor-to-ceiling windows. Star seasonal variations include the Old Jackalope, a heavy-hitting (at 10.4 %), ruby-hued barleywine-style ale.
Opened by two sisters who wanted a fun place to kick back, this buzzy cocktail hangout is pouring boutique spirits in a space decked out with local artwork and vintage furniture, and adjoined by an outdoor patio with a stage for up-and-coming musicians. Velveteen Rabbit has mastered the art of the craft cocktail, slinging creative drinks that change with the seasons, like autumn's Something Wicked (bourbon, apple butter, meringue, bitters, angostura), and has developed a killer craft beer list, too.
Since 1976, the Sand Dollar has been a Vegas home away from home for rock 'n roll legends-- Mick Jagger, B.B. King, and Prince have all stopped by for craft cocktails on the house. In fact, nearly all of the Sand Dollar's drinks are named for these stars' greatest hits: try a Rolling Stone with rye and bitters, the Born on the Bayou benedictine and bsinthe combo, or a Purple Rain with luxardo cherries.