Sometimes the thought of hitting an ultra lounge or a mega club while in Las Vegas is just a little too much. Instead, many people would rather check out some live music while sipping a beer or imbibing a cocktail. Fortunately, the Las Vegas resorts on the Strip have plenty of hot spots right off the casino floors that fit the bill. They’re the perfect places to take a break from the action.
The MGM Grand's Rouge has a stylish look created by designer Adam Tihany
Located at the MGM Grand, Rouge is about as fashionable as these casino bars get. Since opening nearly two years ago, this bar has been wowing patrons with its stylish look created by Adam Tihany, a design world superstar. Here he’s created an exciting space featuring such elements as sleek chrome accents and Ferrari-red furnishings in which to sip cocktails. The servers are models clad in couture creations by designer Tadashi Shoji.
There is also a backlit projection wall of glass bottles that glow and flicker with sensuous images. Cigar lovers will be into the extensive sticks menu, featuring Cohiba Churchills, Montecristo Robustos and more. Patrons can catch sports on plasma-screen TVs, play video poker and enjoy the aptly named signature cocktail, the Rouge Cocktail. It’s made with vodka and pomegranate liqueur and served over pomegranate-flavored ice cubes.
This pair of casino bars at Wynn Las Vegas offers two separate experiences. Parasol Up is just off the casino floor and features traditional drinks under an amusing canopy made from upside-down parasols. There is live music here nightly, with an array of styles, depending on the band du jour.
But the real fun is an escalator ride away to Parasol Down. This secluded spot has two areas, one indoors and the other outdoors. It’s one of the best places in Las Vegas to have a drink away from it all. That’s because the bar sits on the mesmerizing Lake of Dreams tucked behind a 105-foot-high, man-made mountain covered with 40-foot-tall live trees. According to the folks at Wynn, “The Lake of Dreams is an environmental theater that transforms light, water, horticulture, architecture, music and imagery to create a multimedia sensory experience unlike anything ever staged on the Strip.” And they’re right. This is a unique place that few people seem to know about. Shows run from approximately 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Located just off the casino floor at The Palazzo adjacent to the Jersey Boys Theater and Grand Lux Café, Salute Lounge has great live music starting at 3 p.m. daily. Here you’ll find the lights turned down low to create an intimate atmosphere under crystal chandeliers and dark red-and-black plush seating. The staff at The Palazzo calls this bar a “haven” and they’re right—especially for music lovers. We’ve been there four times since it opened in January, and we have been wowed by the quality of the bands playing every time. It opens daily at noon and smooth jazz is played from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Then it’s classic rock until the bar closes at 2 a.m. Nationally recognized bands, such as The Side Guys, play on a regular basis.
Fontana Bar at the Bellagio features live bands cranking out the hits people love to dance to. It makes for a loose atmosphere, where inhibitions melt away and the fun kicks in. The night we were there, an eight-piece band—including a horn section—were belting out disco hits of the 1970s.
The best part: When you need a break, step outside onto the patio to get a close-up view of the famed Bellagio dancing water fountains. Drink highlights here include fine cognacs and imported beers.
Depending on the day, the live music starts at 6 or 6:30 p.m. and doesn’t stop until 1:30 a.m. (2 a.m. on weekends).
Luxor's Flight offers specialty themed cocktails
Best of the Rest
Technology seems to be all the rage these days at many casino bars. For example, the eyecandy sound lounge & bar at Mandalay Bay combines interactive tables, sound stations and a touch-activated dance floor where guests create the entertainment. Tables create visuals and messages that can be projected onto screens above the dance floor. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. VIP tables are available for purchase by the hour. Centrifuge at MGM Grand features so-called “bever-tainers,” who perform nightly dance numbers, as well as an extensive cocktail list. It’s open daily from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Octane at Excalibur features classic rock music and a backdrop of custom-designed motorcycles. It also features such specialty drinks as the Sweat and Gears Cosmo. The bar is open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.
At Luxor, Flight—which never closes—offers guests signature “flights” of cocktails—that is, three specialty cocktails with a shared geographical theme served together. For example, the Chicago flight features a trio of Bloody Marys while the Paris flight features three champagne-based cocktails like Mimosas and Bellinis.
And, of course, there is the Center Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Aptly named, this is the bar right in the middle of it all. It has great views of all the table games, so you never know what celebrity you might spot testing Lady Luck.