Although it may seem as if Las Vegas is all about extravagance – you can pick up a cocktail here for $10,000 should you so wish – there are a vast array of drinking options on offer throughout the city, from dive bars to affordable cocktail establishments to glittering hotels. On or off the Strip, there’s a beverage with your name on it.
A 558 sq metre (6,000 sq ft) cocktail bar full of prohibition-era personality. It attracts a youngish crowd that come for the reasonably priced drinks (cocktails from $9) and regular dance parties. There’s a rooftop bar with a DJ and views of Fremont Street, and the basement houses a “secret” speakeasy, the Laundry Room, an intimate space that requires booking (by text message only).
525 E. Fremont St
The oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas – originally built in 1945 as a cafe. It’s said that a rooftop bar was added so that customers could watch the atomic bomb tests to the north of the city. It’s also the place where celebrities would come to unwind (think the Rat Pack, Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood), happily rubbing shoulders with construction workers. Atomic Liquors is swathed in history, but isn’t drowning in nostalgia – these days it’s known for its craft beer list and brew festivals, and cocktails. A recent kitchen expansion has added dining options.
917 Fremont St
Housed at the Cromwell, this is the epitome of a plush, sophisticated hotel bar. There’s no pretending that $17 for a cocktail is cheap, but they are designed by legendary mixologist Salvatore Calabrese, so the drinks are innovative as well as being top quality. Check out the breakfast martini, which substitutes vermouth for Cointreau, lemon juice and orange marmalade. Friday and Saturday evenings, 5pm to 6pm, is mixology hour, where hotel guests can try out cocktail samples at the bar.
The Cromwell, 3595 Las Vegas Blvd South
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ signature bar is also (apparently) the world’s largest chandelier – 2m beaded crystals drape down through three floors, housing multiple bars. The lower level is a lively casino bar, while the second has a cocktail list created by the Cosmopolitan’s chief mixologist Mariena Mercer (you could tackle a soylent green or fire-breathing dragon at $16 each). The upper-floor lounge has been renovated and shares the space with Eggslut, the gourmet egg restaurant.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd South
Located on the 23rd floor of the hotel, the Mandarin Bar has one of the best views of the Strip. The cocktails, from Italian-born mixologist William Perbellini, just about sneak in at under 20 bucks (they start at $18), but there are pretty special — try their signature golden leaf, a mandarin version of a martini, as you take in the city’s glittering lights through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Mandarin, 3752 Las Vegas Blvd South
Set off the Strip in the boutique Royal Resort hotel, the chic and elegant Barrymore is a classic Vegas dining destination. The award-winning wine selection includes 50 bottles priced at $50 or less, while the range of whiskies, ports and beers is similarly vast and enticing. Cocktails will set you back $15 a pop, though there’s more affordable fare on offer during happy hour(s) every day from 5 to 7pm. Signature mix The Barrymore captures the sharp opulence of the restaurant in a single glass: Solerno, whiskey, orange bitters, zest and marmalade, and vermouth.
99 Convention Center Dr
Unsurprisingly, rum is a big feature at this stylish bar (with around 40 to choose from), although its other charms include what has to be the best patio on the Strip and a top cigar service. There’s an old school Caribbean theme running through – including the cocktails, with the Rhumbar mojito and the mai tai both based on 1940s recipes. It’s the perfect place for people watching or kicking back and enjoying the live DJ.
The Mirage, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd South
Sophisticated vibes and first-rate cocktails are what the Dorsey excels at. Expect opulent surroundings and a drinks menu designed by Sam Ross of New York City’s Attaboy (look out for the famous penicillin cocktail – a scotch, lemon, ginger, honey and Islay float concoction). For an intimate moment, grab a cosy spot by the fireplace in the library.
The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd South
Parasol Up & Down
Two bars, one up and one down (a spiral escalator connects them), which revel in plush splendor and solid cocktails. Parasol Down is that rare thing in a Vegas bar world that thrives on energy – instead it’s secluded and relaxing. It boasts views of the Wynn’s 40-foot waterfall and Lake of Dreams, which features holographic shows and imagery. Meanwhile, Parasol Up, on the casino floor, is blessed with bright, natural light and a vantage point of the hotel. It has its own specially designed cocktail menu. Up or down, the choice is yours.
The Wynn, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd South