by Bridget Gleeson, The Telegraph, November 12, 2018
Drinking is hardly a novelty in Vegas: you can drink pretty much anywhere, anytime. Choose between lavish lounges at casino-resorts on the Strip, hipster-friendly dive bars, Prohibition-style speakeasies, and vintage Tiki bars. In comparison to the city's world-famous nightclub circuit, Vegas' bar scene is relatively low-key, especially if you're bar-hopping downtown. But bear in mind that you'll still need a reservation (and you should dress the part) at the hottest spots on the Strip.
Arriving at this sophisticated cocktail bar is like stepping into a larger-than-life chandelier. Draped with crystals and rising three levels through the centre of The Cosmopolitan hotel, the Chandelier is the perfect place for a cocktail before a show or a sophisticated nightcap later in the evening. Each of the three levels has its own theme: the first level offers live music, the middle level is reserved for private parties, and the uppermost level is a straightforward cocktail lounge. Visiting the Chandelier is like stepping through the looking glass, so it’s fitting that one of the house specials was inspired by Alice in Wonderland: “We’re All Mad Here” is a gin-based cocktail that looks blue at first but changes colours once fully blended.
Contact: 00 1 702 698 7575; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/lounges-bars/chandelier
Opening times: Daily, 11am-4am; first level open 24hrs
Peppermill Restaurant & Fireside Lounge
Two for the price of one: this retro cocktail bar and diner is a Vegas classic. It’s not located on the Strip, nor in downtown Vegas, but in the area in between. In true Vegas fashion, it’s open 24 hours. The retro decor is deliciously kitschy, and there’s a cocktail list to match: their Blue Hawaiian, featuring Curaçao and pineapple, is a longtime staple, as is the notorious rum-based Scorpion Bowl. Cosy up with a drink inside one of the neon-coloured crescent-shaped booths and bask in the glow of fireplaces in the wee hours of the morning. The people-watching can’t be beat, either.
Contact: 00 1 702 735 7635; peppermilllasvegas.com
Opening times: Daily, 24hr
It’s hard to know what time it is inside many bars on the Strip: dark and windowless, they’re located deep inside is casino resorts. Rhumbar is a notable exception. Though it’s at The Mirage, this bar and cigar lounge is located right on the resort’s edge, with a large open-air patio and a long list of Caribbean-inspired rum cocktails. Fresh air, live music or DJ-spun beats, views of the Strip and The Mirage’s faux volcano, a cold Mojito in your hand — it's a quintessential Vegas experience. And it’s an outdoor party that goes on year-round: in winter, the staff turns on heat lamps. For a twist on a classic Sin City cocktail, try Rhumbar’s Latin Manhattan.
Contact:00 1 702 791 7111; rhumbarlv.com
Opening times: Sun-Wed 12pm-12am; Thu-Sat 12pm-2am
This sky-high cocktail bar earns a spot on the list not for its actual cocktails, but for it’s one-of-a-kind location. As the name suggests, it’s positioned 107 storeys above the northern end of the Strip at the Stratosphere Hotel . Guests at the bar and restaurant have incredible panoramic views over the Strip and the valley beyond, especially magical at sunset, when all the city lights start turning on. All of that for the price of a vodka soda — count us in. Happy hour happens daily between 4pm and 7pm, and again at midnight, when cocktails are two for the price of one. On weekends, late-night DJs start spinning at 11pm.
Contact: 00 1 702 380 7777; stratospherehotel.com
Opening times: Daily, 4pm-3am
Parasol Up and Parasol Down
Twirling parasols overhead, waterfall views, over-the-top floral arrangements: it’s hard to imagine another bar in the world that has such a glamorous and fanciful atmosphere as Parasol Up/Parasol Down at the Wynn . Spread out over two levels of the resort, with a privileged view of the ethereal Lake of Dreams outside, both venues are great for an elegant pre-dinner drink. On the upper level, Parasol Up has rich red carpets and whimsical chandeliers. One level beneath it, accessible via a spiraling escalator, Parasol Down faces a 40-foot waterfall. Both bars offer custom-made cocktails and refined service.
Contact: 00 1 702 770 3392; wynnlasvegas.com
Opening times: Parasol Up: Sun-Thu, 11am-3am; Fri-Sat, 11am-4am. Parasol Down: daily, 11am-2am
The fantastic vintage neon signs outside are your first clue: Atomic Liquors is the oldest freestanding bar in Vegas. The name was inspired by the nearby Nevada Test Site for nuclear devices that was in full swing around the time the bar opened in 1952. Since then, the downtown bar has attracted a local crowd — and the occasional celebrity looking to escape the Strip for a quiet drink without being asked for an autograph. Barbara Streisand was reportedly a regular in her Vegas heyday, and the Rat Pack drank here, too. Atomic Liquors was restored after the original owners passed away, but the place retains its mid-century charm, offering a great craft beer list and the classic secret-ingredient ‘Atomic Cocktail.’
Contact: 00 1 702 982 3000; atomic.vegas
Opening times: Mon-Wed, 4pm-2am; Thu-Fri, 2pm-3am; Sat 12pm-4am; Sun 12pm-2am
Downtown Cocktail Room
This chic and low-lit cocktail bar in downtown Vegas is a throwback to Sin City’s Prohibition era. The entrance is difficult to find — an intentional detail — and the crowd is into serious cocktails. Of course, you can order a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned, but DCR’s custom cocktails, from the tequila-based Witchy Woman to the nutty New York Breakfast, are fun to try. Between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays, everything is half price. A happy hour (or three), indeed. On most nights of the week, DJ-spun tunes lend a clubby vibe to the late-night scene.
Contact: 00 1 702 880 3696; downtowncocktailroom.com
Opening times: Mon-Fri 4pm-2am; Sat 7pm-2am
Frankie’s Tiki Room
It doesn’t get much more authentic than this. Frankie’s Tiki Room, a longtime Sin City drinking institution, is a retro Polynesian-themed dive bar specialising in over-the-top tiki cocktails and vintage Vegas charm. The hand-carved tables and bamboo accents evoke the Pacific Islands, but the low lighting and bar stools are straight out of 1950s-era Vegas. Try a rum-based tiki drink like the Zombie, a classic hangover cure invented in the 1930s, or the Nakalele Knockout, a mix of two kinds of rum with hibiscus and lime. And you can stop by anytime: Frankie’s is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Contact: 00 1 702 385 3110; frankiestikiroom.com
Opening times: Daily, 24hrs
Commonwealth, located on a cool corner in downtown Vegas, is a modern bar with a Prohibition slant: there are cocktails inspired by the 1930s, and a speakeasy section, the Laundry Room, that’s only accessible via text message reservation (see the website for more details.) But you can also just kick back with a craft beer at the bar or have a margarita on the rooftop terrace. Mules, from the Moscow Mule to the Mexican Standoff, made with ginger beer, tequila, and lime, are a house specialty. There’s a lively trivia night every Tuesday, and a rotating schedule of after-dark entertainment.
Contact:00 1 702 445 6400; commonwealthlv.com
Opening times: Tue-Sat, 7pm-late