The Only Whiskey Bars in Las Vegas You Need to Know About
Sometimes a beer just isn’t enough. Or maybe you need a change of pace after spending thousands at the club on bottle service just to have one vodka cranberry. That’s when you hit one of these spots: from an elusive taste of Pappy to an impeccable bourbon cocktail, these bars have the best whiskey (or whisky) and bourbon in Las Vegas.
In addition to being one of the best places to grab a hunk of meat in Vegas, Delmonico Steakhouse is also known for its extensive bar and whiskey program, featuring more than 700 varieties from at least eight different countries. You can settle for some reasonably priced 20-year selections or dig deeper into a 50-year-old Glen Grant, 30- to 40-year-old Scotches, and a compelling Duncan Taylor Bunnahabhain 34-year super dark. You can also find an interesting alternative in the dark sipping rums that taste and smell like whiskey.
The bar (and the hotel in which you can find it) may be named after our nation’s favorite Depression-era president, but Franklin offers a modern take on the lobby bar with a Miami-style lounge where the couches are comfortable, the lights are low, and the music is always loud, even when it’s heavy on mellow ambient beats. Rare and premium liquors can be found scattered throughout the cocktail menu, including a custom Glen Moray Scotch and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked bourbon. But like FDR himself, you’re better off focusing on foreign policy and scanning the menu for whisky from India, Australia, and Japan.
Originally founded as an upstairs private lounge at the Freakin’ Frog, the Whisky Attic can now be found at a new location west of the Strip. Operated by a UNLV professor, tastings are by appointment only and offer a true education in the craft, with not only one of the most thorough whiskey selections in the country, but in the world. It’s a must-stop for any serious connoisseur passing through Vegas but also for novices seeking to figure this stuff out within a two-hour session. It’s an educational experience that goes far beyond learning the difference between “whiskey” and “whisky.”
It’s hard to find a better menu of modern American cuisine, but the drink options are almost just as compelling. In addition to the tableside absinthe cart, there is also a nice array of classic cocktails and spirits, but the true highlight could be the elusive Pappy Van Winkle whiskey collection, which can be ordered as a flight of six half-ounce tastings.
As the only watering hole actually inside the tourist trap known as the Downtown Container Park, Oak & Ivy could easily get away with being just another routine bar, but it actually puts a lot of effort into its whiskey selection. Not only that, but the cocktails are truly handcrafted with the ginger beer, Bloody Mary mix, and garnishes made in-house, and while the bar itself is stuffed inside a shipping container, there are plenty of seats on the patio and the roof, making it the best place in town to enjoy whiskey, rye, or bourbon outdoors.
You can stick around in the dining room and nosh on escargot and pan-seared foie gras, but when it’s time to spend some quality time with quality drinks, head upstairs to the much more quiet and cozy cigar lounge. In between puffs, you’ll be sipping on rare Cognac and Armagnac, as well as an impressive selection of whiskey and Scotch. It’s the ideal spot when you want to add some actual conversation to your date or guys' night out on The Strip.
You can visit the Stratosphere for the crazy view from (and thrill rides on) the 108th floor or you can hang out and keep things a little more low-key at the whiskey bar inside McCall’s. The staff is eager to discuss the impressive selection of Kentucky bourbon, or you can keep things simple by ordering the signature drink, the Midnight McCall: a blend of Knob Creek, Cointreau, pomegranate liqueur, fresh mint, and muddled blackberries. Pro tip: stop by on Thursdays for a $5 discount on whiskey flights.
It’s hard to decide if Whiskey Down is an old-school speakeasy or a modern Wild West saloon, but it’s worth checking out for a few reasons besides simply escaping the madness of the casino floor just a few steps aways. Dark spirits are the speciality, with more than 50 different types of rare and fine American, Canadian, Irish, and Scotch whiskies along with handcrafted cocktails served 24 hours a day. There’s also blackjack and video poker to keep you busy, and TV screens to keep track of that bet you made around the corner at the sports book.
This Irish pub offers an extensive collection of whiskey, including nearly 50 unique selections from a variety of distilleries in Ireland such as Bushmills, Jameson, Midleton, Cooley, Tullamore, Knappogue, Walsh, and Teelings. There are also a few choices of rare distinction, such as a Knappogue Vintage 1951 that is sold at $350 a serving.
As the only licensed Casa Fuente store in the world, this spot could do just fine selling cigars, but it also has a nice bar that serves up both coffee and cocktails. While the popularity of the mojitos is no surprise, ask the bartender if you can look over the so-called “black list” of ultra-premium spirits. If you need something even more unusual and rare, Casa Fuente recently announced it would be the only bar in Vegas to own a private barrel of Asian whisky.
Tom Colicchio’s steakhouse puts nearly as much thought into its exhaustive drink menu as it does putting together top cuts of A5 Wagyu from Japan. The deep collection of single-malt Scotch will keep aficionados occupied and eager to sip on the “historic flight” of 50-year pours from MacPhail, Mortlach, and Glenlivet.
The menu may include more than 100 whiskey labels, but Double Helix offers a lively atmosphere where both experts and beginners are welcome. There’s a Sunday night special with $4 whiskey cocktails for ladies that’s all about encouraging a new audience to try what’s often considered a dudes-only drink. And there’s also a nice selection of cigars to go with whatever you choose to sip on.
This lobby bar in the middle of the casino floor is not only the best meeting spot at the Palms but it also has a soft spot for whiskey, with more than 50 unique labels, single malts, and limited-edition bourbons. However, cocktails are the speciality and the most indulgent one could be the Bitter Bourbonite: it comes with Bulleit bourbon, Campari, passion fruit puree, orgeat syrup, Old Fashion aromatic bitters, and passion fruit cider in a bowl large enough to serve six to eight people.
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Rob Kachelriess is Sin City-based writer who doesn’t always drink whiskey, but when he does he prefers downing one of Social's bowl-sized cocktails all by himself. Follow him on Twitter at @rkachelriess.