You can pay $87 for a vodka cranberry at one of the big nightclubs in Vegas, or you can make the most of your dollar and visit one of the best cocktail bars in Sin City. All of them prove that there's a true art to making a stiff drink in Las Vegas -- and every drop is a reason to visit.
Opened by a pair of sisters who were inspired by the arts scene in places like Portland, San Diego, and Tokyo, Velveteen Rabbit offers a constantly rotating menu of cocktails based on seasonal ingredients. The bar takes its spot in the arts district seriously: it's decorated with stylish, Victorian-inspired furniture, guest musicians play frequently on the back patio, and local artists are featured on the small booklets that replaced the old wood board menus. Cordials, liqueurs, and bitters are made in-house.
This bar and lounge is known for its spectacular view of Las Vegas from the 64th floor of the Delano resort, but the bartenders here are also recognized for their rare attention to detail and craft cocktail program. The menu is divided into sections that match moods, the mixers are house-made, and there's a classic Old Fashioned setup for any bottle of aged liquor. If you want to share the love, Skyfall recently added drinks that are designed to be shared by up to eight people. Grab your friends and try the Pink Flamingo Punch, a combo of Absolut Elyx, Champagne, dry vermouth, Aperol, strawberry syrup, and lemon juice in a flamingo-shaped decanter. It's the perfect way to enjoy a post-dinner drink, especially after a meal next door at Rivea.
Located inside a renovated shipping container, Oak & Ivy is just large enough for the bar itself and a few stools, but there are plenty of seats out on the patio. This place also has a boss whiskey selection that's perfect for drinks like the Apple Harvest (which tastes like dessert) or the Whiskey Smash, made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon and fruit-infused water that changes with the season. Oak & Ivy also offers a choice of nine different mules on the menu, all made with house-made ginger beer.
The big draw at VISTA is the high-tech atmosphere: the bar is surrounded by LED screens that show panoramic cityscapes of global destinations like New York, Dubai, and Shanghai, along with animated effects like fireworks and rain storms. The drinks are pretty great, too: favorites include an infused pineapple mule, shareable punch bowls, and five martinis named after each of the five boroughs of New York. (Check 'em out on Martini Mondays.) If you need a jolt back to the reality of Las Vegas, the Caesars Palace sports book is only a few steps away.
Off the Strip
Extremely popular with the service industry crowd, Herbs & Rye truly stands out from the pack with a team that's mastered the art of handcrafting a drink. There are 45 cocktails on the menu, representing different eras through history, but the bartenders welcome challenging requests and have 500 spirits on hand to play with -- including some that are extremely hard to find. There's a personal touch here, too: the bartenders here believe that mixology isn't only about the drink, but also how a bartender mixes with his customer. Two more things: the happy hour is the best in Vegas (with half-off steaks to go with deals on drinks), and it's closed Sundays... so plan accordingly.
Named after a drink ordered by James Bond in the Ian Fleming novel Casino Royale, Vesper is a lounge that's elegant and stylish in a way that would make 007 proud. The menu is divided into cocktails developed from original recipes, and traditional drinks made with a contemporary twist. If you're seeking a mystery suitable for any spy, order the $16 Dealer's Choice, in which the bartender creates a custom cocktail based on your choice of three descriptors.
Surrounded by wood carvings, video poker, and endless kitsch, this classic old-school Tiki bar is a big locals' favorite and one of those dive bars in Vegas you have to try at least once. The lighting is turned down extra-low, so squint your eyes carefully and look closely at the tropical drinks on the menu: the number of skulls next to each one corresponds to their level of alcohol. The Fink Bomb is a popular choice among the regulars; it's made with 160 proof rum, coconut rum, melon liqueur, and pineapple juice. Oh.... and it has five skulls.
Red Rock Resort
One of the best places to grab a drink west of the Strip, Onyx Bar recently revamped its look and menu, with an emphasis on whiskey, bourbon, and Scotch. That includes a special barrel-aged Tennessee whiskey blend only available at Red Rock. The Blood & Sand cocktail mixes Johnnie Walker Black with fresh orange juice, Cinzano sweet vermouth, Luxardo "Sangue Morlacco" cherry liqueur, and an optional float of mezcal. If cocktails aren't your thing, order an experimental whiskey flight and puff away on a high-quality cigar.
If you're looking for a fun drink, go for the Don Sandia, a tequila, watermelon, and lime creation served inside a hollowed-out cucumber. It's typical of the ambitious cocktails served at Clique, a stylish, modern bar that recently opened at The Cosmo. Some drinks feature fresh-pressed juice, while others are prepared tableside for large groups. The food is nearly as fun, with snacks like mini lobster tacos, honey Sriracha popcorn, and deep-fried Oreos.
The Mandarin Bar could easily get by on atmosphere alone. Located on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental, this spot features a spectacular view of the Strip, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around the side of the building. However, the team here has given careful attention to the mixology program, offering up classic cocktails often served with a modern Asian twist. Among them, you'll find the signature Golden Leaf martini, made with Hendrick's gin, muddled mandarin oranges, Aperol, lime, pineapple juice, and edible gold garnish. Don't forget to ask about the Zodiac Cocktails, designed to match each astrological sign. You get one free on your birthday.
Part of the Fremont Street bar scene long before the area's recent resurgence, the Downtown Cocktail Room often enjoys "best-kept secret" status, thanks in part to a trick door that's hard to open on the first try. The team of mixologists here are more like mad scientists, coming up with a rotating list of 10 drinks that change with each season. The latest clever cocktails include the Sweet Georgia Brown, a bourbon drink made with barbecue sauce (trust us), and the rum-drenched Mango No. 5, with a small dish of chips and mango salsa served as the official garnish. A few classic drinks stay on the menu year-round, and the deep selection of absinthe is served in 2oz pours.
This lobby bar fits in perfectly with the modern elegance of the Bellagio, with long Spanish stone tabletops and comfortable couches that are well-suited for large parties. The signature drink, called The Lily (of course), is a purple, prickly pear-flavored concoction with Stoli Vanil, blood orange, and fresh lime juice, topped with a flower. There is also a spin on a Manhattan, with chocolate bitters and brandy-infused cherry juice added to the Jack Daniels and sweet vermouth. If you get hungry, your bartender can order snacks like yellowtail sashimi and kale Caesar salads from the nearby FIX restaurant.
Located near the front door of The Cromwell boutique hotel, Bound features a cocktail menu crafted by famed European mixologist and martini master Salvatore Calabrese. Choose your drink from a hefty book that serves as the menu. If you can't decide, consider the Breakfast Martini, which uses the same kind of orange marmalade that you might find on your morning toast, or a choice of espresso-infused cocktails, served in traditional Italian moka pots.
A recent addition to the casino floor of the Mirage, this comfortable, elegant lounge often features live piano music, which is a nice change of pace from all the EDM at other bars on the Strip. The cocktails are creative and colorful, like The Green Muse, where Rutte gin is offset by matcha tea and seasonal herbs. There's also a nice selection of flights for fans of bourbon, whiskey, and Scotch. If you have an extra $175 to spend, you may want to sip on six servings from the esteemed Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery.
It's hard to miss this bar: it passes through three floors of The Cosmopolitan, surrounded by lights and decorations to make you feel, yes, like you're inside an actual chandelier. The bottom floor is a busy social spot, while the third floor feels like a slightly more secluded lounge. The middle floor is geared towards those who prefer a stylish, handcrafted cocktail, and it's where you'll find The Verbena, an off-menu creation of ginger, lemon, and tequila. It's recommended you take a bite of the edible flower used as garnish before you sip the drink.
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1. Velveteen Rabbit1218 S Main St, Las Vegas
2. Skyfall Lounge3940 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
3. Oak & Ivy707 Fremont St #1120, Las Vegas
4. Vista Cocktail Lounge3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
5. Herbs & Rye3713 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas
6. Vesper3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
7. Frankie's Tiki Room1712 W. Charleston, Las Vegas
8. Onyx Bar11011 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas
9. Clique Bar & Lounge3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
10. Mandarin Bar3752 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
11. Downtown Cocktail Room111 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
12. Lily Bar & Lounge3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
13. Bound by Salvatore3595 Las Vegas Blvd South 15, Las Vegas
14. Parlor Lounge3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
15. The Chandelier3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
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.
Skyfall is located within the 43-story Delano Las Vegas, an upscale hotel with chic, modern suites, floor-to-ceiling windows and luxe bathrooms (can you say jacuzzis). Take in panoramic views of the Strip at this breathtaking cocktail lounge and roof bar. It doesn't even matter that the drinks are good when you have a view like this (but rest assured, with Death & Co bartenders at the helm, the drinks are damn good). Skyfall Lounge is socated adajacent to Rivea, French master chef Alain Ducasse's elegant ode to French/Med fusion fare.
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.
Located in Caesars Palace, Vista takes all of Vegas' most exaggerated qualities and manifests them in a shiny, showy lounge. The interior is covered in LED-lit panoramic projections of cities around the world, while matte chrome surfaces line the entire room. DJs elevate the scene to club-like levels while bartenders mix up cocktails like the tequila, amaretto, and orange-based El Laberinto, and Pina Colada Mojito punch bowls.
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.
If Las Vegas had a princess, she would live here. Carpeted in royal purple and appliqued in silver wherever possible, this regal bar emanates equal parts swank and sophistication. Cocktails are divided into classic and "Vesper" renditions, all crafted by expert mixologists. If you're feeling indecisive, opt for the signature cocktail -- the namesake Vesper -- a drink popular by James Bond that consists of vodka and gin.
Open 24-7, this off-the-Strip lounge is brimming with the possibly Polynesian, from blowfish lighting to idols, decor, and seating hand-carved by a cadre of seventeen artists, including Crazy Al Evans, Tiki Bosko, Tiki Ray, Billy the Crud, Tom "Big Toe" Laura, and the real Sgt. Hulka of the group, Bamboo Ben.
This whiskey and cigar lounge does for evenings what daytime pool parties do for afternoons when you want to be social, but aren't ready for flashing lights. For your evening relaxing needs, the space is furnished with reclined cream-colored chairs, and designed with a soothing custard and blue color palette. To launch your lounging experience, you need just order something from the 70+ menu of barrel-aged whiskeys, bourbon, rye and single-malt scotch, and maybe pair it with a handcrafted cigar.
Eschewing the sheen of many overdone bars along the strip, CLIQUE offers a classic, intimate lounging experience where you can hold a conversation without yelling into your friends' ears. While a DJ might be on location to spin lounge sounds, you're not there to dance -- you're there to sip on a cocktail prepared tableside, and indulge in finger foods like street tacos, sliders and salads.
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.
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.
Serving up seasonal cocktails like a vanilla & green chili syrup-ed Apple Margarita that comes in a snifter with dry ice, the Bellagio's lavish new lounge provides you with 4000sqft in which to enjoy them, outfitted with Spanish stone tables, one-of-a-kind brass high-tops, and "community-style" ottomans, which should really focus on Chang more.
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.
Low key elegance is the name of the game at the Parlor Lounge located within the Mirage Hotel and Casino. Cozy up to the bar and sip Sazeracs while local and nationally renowned jazz artists play smooth grooves on the house classic Steinway grand piano.
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.