Looking for a bar with a good theme? It seems like the simple act of drinking is a theme all by itself here in Sin City, but some bars go the extra mile to present a distinctive image and atmosphere. While a few of these places are wacky and silly, others represent some of the most compelling elements of Las Vegas history and culture. All of them are worth a visit.
Tucked inside a Chinatown shopping center, you'll find a mysterious detour into "Skull Island" -- a tropical tiki paradise where the lights are low and the drinks are loaded with rum. Among the kitschy highlights are a waterfall, giant clamshell chair, and a skeleton who pilots his (her?) own pirate ship for 24 hours straight, including two happy hours (2-6pm and 4-8am). If you want an old-school tiki alternative, Frankie's Tiki Room pulled off the gimmick first near Downtown.
There's more than a few places to line dance in Vegas, but Gilley's is the only bar that goes chaps-and-all with the country theme on the Strip. Square off and do-si-do while the DJ cranks tunes from the likes of Tim McGraw and Shania Twain; if you crave more boot stomping, there's a mechanical bull, the barstools are built like saddles, the ladies are dressed in bikinis and chaps (could there possibly be a better uniform?), and the spot rounds out the Texas theme by serving some of our favorite BBQ in Vegas.
A bar and restaurant that could make Mother Russia proud, Red Square celebrates the communist glory of the Soviet Union, long before glasnost and perestroika came along. The bartenders can wield a corkscrew or shaker cup like a farm laborer wields a hammer and sickle. Of course, the vodka selection is among the best in Vegas, and it's hard to miss the place, thanks to the headless statue of Vladimir Lenin outside. (Revolution!) Curious where the head went? You can actually do shots off the top of it inside a small tasting room next to the bar, kept at Siberia-level temperatures to make sure the vodka stays ice cold.
Off the Strip
If you can't visit a global attraction in person, chances are pretty good there's a knockoff in Las Vegas. We've got our own versions of the Sphinx, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, and if you venture just east of the Strip, a full-scale reproduction of Germany's most famous beer hall. Hofbräuhaus features long tables where you can eat Bavarian sausage and pretzels, and giant steins for all of your German-inspired beer-swigging needs.
Arena rock and '80s hair metal live on at this lively and energetic casino bar, with classic videos playing on a wall of TV screens and bartenders dressed in concert T-shirts and wild teased-up hair that would make David Lee Roth jealous. The Bourbon Room opened a few years ago in conjunction with the Rock of Ages stage production (in which the story unfolds in a Sunset Strip bar of the same name). The show has since moved to the Rio, but The Bourbon Room remains at the Venetian (for now).
Back in the good ol' days, atomic bombs were tested just outside Las Vegas in the Nevada desert. People used to watch them (from a distance, of course) like they would a lounge act or sporting event. One of the best spots to catch a view was from the roof of Atomic Liquors. Yes, this classic bar has been around for a while. Today, it's still a popular place to grab a drink and learn about Vegas history. The walls feature newspaper clippings, signs, and artwork from the era of the mushroom cloud. So whatever happened to all that nuclear fallout? Wind patterns sent most of it to Utah. At least that's what they tell us.
Much more than a "theme"... because once you're a Marine, you're always a Marine. This bar is run by and dedicated to the "few and the proud" but is a popular hangout for all of our veterans, and anyone who just wants to have a good time with a burger or beer. The walls are covered with military memorabilia, artwork, and posters, with different sections dedicated to each American war. Don't forget to say hello to the bulldog mascot who's usually hanging out near the front door.
Mandalay Bay & Monte Carlo
The entire bar is kept at frigid temperatures, which can be a nice change of pace from the triple-digit heat that scorches Vegas during the summer months. Everything from the seats to the shot glasses are made from ice. You'll be kept warm (well, warm enough) with a choice of furry coats, parkas, gloves, and/or hats available at the front door.
A bar and lounge for Star Wars fans and comic book nerds, Millennium Fandom is the perfect place for cosplay fanatics to grab a cocktail and discuss the latest episode of The Walking Dead or the merits of the Ghostbusters reboot. The team behind the concept says it's basically a clubhouse with a bar to pay the bills. The busiest nights feature trivia competitions and Game of Thrones viewing parties. No smoking, no gambling, no sports. Just fandom.
Former baseball slugger and Las Vegas resident Pete Rose now has his own bar and restaurant, dedicated to the sport that still stubbornly refuses to let him in the Hall of Fame over a few lousy bets. There's plenty of memorabilia on the walls and a "throne" made from wooden baseball bats. The whole thing is underneath a ceiling that replicates the red stitching on a baseball. There are a few video games and a foosball table but no video poker and NO sports betting. The menu has a few creative options like baby back ribs topped with steak for dinner and Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch French toast for breakfast.
Two bars in one, with colorful umbrellas as the main decoration. Parasol Up is on the main floor of the casino and the perfect meeting spot with comfortable couches surrounded by drapes and the Wynn's elaborate floral displays. Take the escalator downstairs to Parasol Down, a more intimate spot suited for a quiet conversation, a glass of wine, and a view of the outdoor Lake of Dreams and 40ft waterfall.
The oldest bar in Southern Nevada has been around for more than 100 years and was actually purchased through a Sears catalog. It's also the place where Clark Gable was left waiting to learn about the death of his wife, Carole Lombard, whose plane crashed into a nearby mountain in 1942. The Pioneer Saloon features decorations and memorabilia dedicated to the tragedy. You can even poke your fingers into the holes where Gable put out his cigarettes on the bar itself. Take the sad story out of the equation, and the Pioneer Saloon still remains a landmark of the Old West and Las Vegas history. Check the walls for bullet holes before you leave.
New York-New York
The New York-New York resort decided to unwrap something special for dessert lovers a few years ago, by opening Hershey's Chocolate World, a tourist attraction dedicated to calories and cavities. Outside the door to the lobby is The Chocolate Bar, an adults-only drinking spot with cocktails prepared in honor of your favorite sweet treats. Try the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Martini, Hershey's Kisses Chocolate Martini, or Watermelon Jolly Rancher shot.
Modeled after a hair salon, Beauty Bar truly stands apart from the crowded field of watering holes in the Fremont East district. During the day, it actually offers nail and beauty services to go along with the cocktails, but at night the atmosphere shifts into high gear with two music stages and an outdoor courtyard. But you can still grab a drink and sit under the vintage hair dryer.
Sign up here for our daily Vegas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.
1. The Golden Tiki3939 Spring Mountain, Las Vegas
2. Gilley's3300 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
3. Red Square3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
4. Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas4510 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas
5. The Bourbon Room3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
6. Atomic Liquors917 Fremont St, Las Vegas
7. Leatherneck Club4360 W Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas
8. Minus5 Ice Bar3930 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
9. Millennium Fandom900 Las Vegas Blvd S, Ste 140, Las Vegas
10. Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill3743 Las Vegas Blvd S #100, Las Vegas
11. Parasol Up/Down3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
12. Pioneer Saloon310 W. Spring St., Goodsprings
13. The Chocolate Bar3790 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
14. Beauty Bar517 Fremont St, Las Vegas
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.
True to its original sign outside the Frontier Casino that reads "Cold Beer... Dirty Girls..." the Old West saloon and dance hall has been reincarnated in a whopping 14,000-square-foot space with a stage for live music, faux-tin roofing, and an outdoor patio overlooking the Strip. And because no incarnation of the West would be complete without it, Gilley's offers a full barbecue feast that's available until midnight, with rib meat that falls right off the bone, brisket and pulled pork slathered Texas-style sauce. Oh, and a mechanical bull.
This Mandalay Bay spot draws inspiration from Russia to bring an new culinary, cocktail and nightlife experience to the Strip. Dine on modern-American dishes with Russian twists like chicken kiev and vodka lobster spaghetti in the grand dining room with a red and gold Iron Curtain motif before you pop on a parka and make your way back into The Vault. There, you'll find one the largest vodka stashes in the city, and if you venture back even further you'll come across the Frozen Ice Bar where all your shots are served in massive chunks of ice (they really weren't joking around when they set out to recreate Russia).
A precise replica of Munich's own Hofbräuhaus brewery, Vegas's version features authentic German food like schnitzels and steaks from its own restaurant, which you can feast on among tasters in the beer hall or in the indoor beer garden (tip: the beer garden is better for eating, the beer hall is better for strictly drinking). On tap you'll find Hofbräuhaus' three year-round mainstays on tap plus dozens of other seasonal offerings all for the taking (er, drinking).
It's said that walking past The Bourbon Room in the Venetian sounds like walking past a showing of Rock of Ages, and that's because it practically is. Inspired by the play's Sunset Strip and all its 1980s hair-and-leather glory, this spot's got VJ'd music videos from Poison, AC/DC, Def Leppard and like on rotation all night long, neon lights abound, disco balls, and (you guessed it) enough bourbon to make you think you're literally reliving the "Glory Days."
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.
A bar built for Marines, by Marines, this no-frills bar nonetheless welcomes everyone with open arms and free tacos (on Tuesdays). Decked out from floor to ceiling with Marine memorabilia and military gear dating back to WWI, this is unmistakably a veteran's bar, and they honor their comrades with a dollar off every draft beer during happy hour. An attached function room hosts events for up to 115 people, and the kitchen is fully equipped for turning out bbq-style comfort foods like pulled pork, ribs, and cornbread. The bar also has an outdoor patio for even more space called "The Bunker," open whenever the weather is nice (which is 90% of the year in Vegas).
When someone says you're "Cold As Ice," in this Mandalay Bay bar, they literally mean it. M5's the original ice bar in the US, and they still go above and beyond the rest: The walls are ice. The shelves are ice. The tables are ice. The seats are ice. The glasses? You guessed it, ice. You can't just roll up to this bar and order as usual, you'll have to purchase a package, which determined how many drinks you'll have and how long you get to stay. When you arrive, you'll get a parka or a faux fur coat with mittens and slippers before you enter the "ice chapel," and enjoy your ice-cold specialty cocktails.
Finally, a place where everyone on the DC and Marvel comic-fan spectrum can gather in peace. This fandom (that is, intense pop culture and nerd culture) bar is the hideaway of every self-proclaimed geek's wildest fantasies, as its theme is anything comic book-, video game-, cult film- or television-related. The bar itself is an homage to Metropolis (home of Superman), and the rest of the space is decked from head-to-toe in references to Star Wars, Back to the Future, and the like. You'll have just as much fun basking in the nerdy glory as you will ordering the reference-packed cocktails like the creamy, horchata-based BB-8.
Created and owned by its namesake, National League baseball legend Pete Rose, this surprisingly decadent sports bar on the Strip serves upscale takes on American, Italian, and Greek dishes along with dozens of house cocktails and even more domestic beers on draft. Grab a turkey burger, pepperoni flatbread, or order of fish tacos and head out to the patio to watch passerby and enjoy the view of the Strip. Or, stay inside to watch the game on one of many flatscreens -- possibly with Pete Rose himself.
These two bars and lounges inside The Wynn hotel both offer intimate vibes and stunning surroundings. On the upper deck, Parasol Up, is where you'll overlooks the blossom-filled atrium, waterfall and twirling parasols that make up the gorgeous realm of The Wynn. At the bottom of its spiraling escalator is Parasol Down, where you'll sit under those twirling parasol in a private lounge as you partake in glass after glass of wine and watch as the waterfall washes over the nearby lake.
This spot is one of two buildings left in the small mining town of Goodsprings, Nevada, and it's as close to the Wild, Wild West as you'll ever get. The historic Pioneer Saloon was built in 1913 and was used as a film set for decades before it became what is now one of the best bars around Vegas. Its worn wood interior is crowded with historic mementos, and its food is just as much an homage to the West and Southwest with bbq burgers, steaks and Mexican fare.
Get all the joy of next door Hershey's Chocolate World without the barrage of families and obnoxious branding. Inside the New York, New York Hotel and Casino, The Chocolate Bar is the refined, adult version of HCW (which is right next door) where you'll have no trouble satisfying your sweet tooth. The selection of cocktails are, not surprisingly, decadent, chocolatey and downright devious creations like the Death By Chocolate, Reese's Cup and York Peppermint Patty martinis (name a Hershey staple and they've made a drink out of it).
With its old-school hair-drying chairs and an ultimate 'Beauty School Dropout' vibe, Beauty Bar looks and sounds like it might be an actual beauty parlor from the 1950s or '60s (you can actually get your nails done here in the daytime). However, a peek inside will reveal its true self — an alternative concert venue and bar with up-and-coming rock, indie and hip-hop acts who perform on the elevated stage in the backyard.