Las Vegas Bars You Have to Visit At Least Once in Your Lifetime
What to do when the slots are through with you.
The traditional experiences in Vegas—dining, clubbing, gambling and partying by the pool—can all be enjoyed with a drink in hand. Alcohol fuels this town and while great new bars are opening every day, the most enduring drink destinations have a reputation for not just booze, but atmosphere, wow-factor and even historical significance. A few even score points with all of the above. So download a rideshare app and get ready to drink your way through Sin City. The following 15 bars offer more than beer, wine or cocktails: they offer an experience that's bound to shape the way you view and appreciate Las Vegas.
The Laundry Room
The Laundry Room, a hidden speakeasy inside the Commonwealth cocktail bar, 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 impromptu offering 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 has a rooftop patio, extensive beer list and some amazing aperitifs of its own.
How to book: The secret's out of the bag. Book a reservation online.
Rosina is one of three sister bars in the Venetian Cocktail Collective. Each one is great, but while The Dorsey and Electra thrive on social energy and inventive 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 interpretations on old favorites like a Mint Julep, Old Fashioned or Manhattan. Keep your eyes peeled for an "emergency" button by your table—ready to supply a quick fix of Champagne.
The oldest free-standing bar in Las Vegas used to be a place where people would grab drinks, sit on the roof and watch test nuclear detonations in the desert. Seriously. 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. Order food from the neighboring Kitchen at Atomic. Another sister concept, Atomic Tavern, is a menu-free dive bar in the Gateway District.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.
Herbs & Rye
We once asked top bartenders in Vegas where they went to drink in their downtime…and 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 that 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 (the latter is half-price during the extended happy hour—one of the best in 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.
Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse has been serving Creole-seasoned steaks in a minimalist atmosphere for more than 20 years, but it’s the drinks that lock in the restaurant's true legacy. Delmonico Steakhouse 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, or whiskeys of different ages or editions from the same distillery. 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. You don't have to stick with the hard stuff. Delmonico has 2,400 choices of wine as well.
The Golden Tiki
The music heard at the front door suggests you're either about to beat to quarters, hoist the anchor and raise the mainsail…or enter the most indulgent tiki bar in Las Vegas. Golden Tiki offers 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.
Able Baker Brewing
The Vegas beer scene is exploding, especially in the up-and-coming Downtown Arts District, which at last count, had five breweries and at least four taprooms. Able Baker brewing, for example, gets everything right; mixing an appreciation of Las Vegas history with a killer brew lineup. The brewery is named after the first two atomic bombs detonated at the Nevada Test Site and celebrates the city's nuclear legacy on the on-site taproom, which opens wide to Main Street with a roll-up garage-style door and outdoor patio. The venue has a casual vibe, with rows of picnic tables, but the beer is a serious business, with more than 30 brews on tap, including the Atomic Duck (a bright, citrus-forward IPA that's well on its way to becoming Sin City's unofficial house beer) and Impale'd Ale, a bourbon-inspired Imperial Brown Rye ale produced in collaboration with Chris Kael from the band Five Finger Death Punch.
Oak & Ivy
Most tourists end up at the Downtown Container Park sooner or later. The outdoor shopping plaza, made of old shipping containers, has its charm, but Oak & Ivy is the best reason to visit. The small bar has just a handful of seats, but hanging out on the rooftop at sunset is even worth standing if necessary. 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 and 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.
Sand Dollar Lounge
While tourists spend thousands on Adele tickets on the Strip, the Sand Dollar Lounge has been championing local live music for decades, dating back to 1976 when it was a favorite for blues aficionados. The bar has seen a few changes over the years, including names, owners and even a dubious attempt at a televised renovation on Bar Rescue. The Sand Dollar Lounge eventually reclaimed its name and authenticity, thankfully, mixing modern features (like an illuminated back bar) with dive-level charm. The cocktail menu changes with the season, heavy on inventive modifications that taste great with pizzas made in-house with a custom dough by Chris Decker of Metro Pizza. A new version of the concept, Sand Dollar Downtown, is now open at the Plaza near Fremont Street with a larger music stage, an illuminated side entrance, even more cocktails and bites from Pop-Up Pizza.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.
Garagiste Wine Room
If you're sick of seeing the same old wine at restaurants and grocery stores, head to Garagiste, a bar and retail shop that specializes in small-batch producers from around the world. The place has only been around for a few years, but it’s locking down a pivotal role as a social hub in the heart of the Arts District. Enjoy a glass before dinner at a nearby restaurant, hang out for a while with a bottle, or go deep with the bartenders, who are eager to discuss the benefits of low-intervention wines, unique blends and the latest orders, showcased on an ever-changing list that’s made accessible to read. Ultimately, Garagiste makes unusual wines approachable in a comfortable, contemporary dining room. No matter what, take a bottle to go.
How to book: Just walk in or place a pickup order in advance via an online store.
Any good road trip to California deserves a detour to the Pioneer Saloon. The oldest bar in Southern Nevada is about a half-hour drive outside Vegas and just a few miles off Interstate 15 in Goodsprings. Originally constructed from tin walls purchased through a Sears and Roebuck catalog, the bar has grown in size and stature over the years, adding a steakhouse, courtyard, and private whiskey barrel program. Yet the tavern has never lost its Old West spirit and attitude. It's also an homage of sorts to actress Carol Lombard, who died when her plane crashed into a nearby mountain in 1942. As the story goes, husband Clark Gable left cigarette burns in the bartop while awaiting news on her fate.
How to book: Just show up. The place is in the middle of nowhere. You'll be fine.
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 varied collection of antique furniture doesn't really match, but it fits the random, 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 simultaneously making some of the most unique and creative drinks anywhere in Las Vegas. The daily 5–7pm happy hour has discounted house cocktails for $12 and Montucky lager with a shot of rye for $8.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.
Ghostbar has seen its share of changes over the years—owners, menus, remodels and more. It was even known as Apex Social Club at one point, but has returned back to its original name while remaining a uniquely endearing and resilient fixture in the Vegas nightlife scene. The views from the 55th floor of the Palms hotel are Ghostbar's signature attraction, providing unobstructed, panoramic views of the Strip in all its neon glory. Step out onto the open-air terrace with a drink and soak it all in. The latest version of the ultralounge—first unveiled more than 20 years ago during the golden age of cranberry vodkas—leans heavier into craft cocktails, although you can't shake the club-life feel with plastic "glassware." Otherwise, have fun with a shareable Witches Brew or a Ghost Flight of spirits.
How to book: Reservations for tables have spending minimums and can be made online.
Downtown Cocktail Room
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-price Tuesday-Saturday from 5 to 7pm. 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.
The sophistication of Las Vegas is often hidden in unexpected corners. SkyBar is a stylish cocktail lounge, tucked away from the chaos of the Strip on the 23rd floor of the Waldorf Astoria. No casino noise or aimless crowds to spoil the mood. The lounge wraps around the east side of the hotel, showing off colorful, up-close views of the Strip through floor-to-ceiling windows. The cocktail menu is divided into different eras that represent the city, putting inventive touches on classic recipes. There's also plenty of Champagne to celebrate any occasion and high-dollar spirits tastings of Whistle Pig, Clase Azul and Louis XIII.
How to book: Book a table online.