10 Best Nightlife: Drink Up At These Las Vegas Bars
By Heather Turk
Las Vegas Local Expert
Over the years, Las Vegas has become increasingly known for its nightlife scene thanks to its extravagant nightclubs. However, its bar scene is equally as noteworthy, even if it’s typically overshadowed by celebrity appearances and acclaimed DJ residencies. While everyone may not know your name, Sin City’s lavish bar scene is sure to have something on tap for everyone, from breathtaking Strip views at venues like ghostbar, Level 107 Lounge and Mandarin Bar to an array of classic video games and consoles at Insert Coin(s). From the eye-catching Chandelier to the cool Minus5 Ice Bar, Las Vegas’ many watering holes are just as diverse as its many visitors. And don’t think for a second that they’re all flash and no substance; there are plenty of bars in town sure to specialize in your libation of choice, like Frankie’s Tiki Room, which boasts more than 150 premium rums in its intoxicating collection. Arguably, there’s no better place to go bar hopping than Las Vegas, and our roundup of the city’s Top 10 bars makes it easy to see why. So grab a friend (no one wants to drink alone!) and check out these local venues--no matter how much you drink, you're guaranteed to remember them in the morning!
A recent addition to the Vegas bar scene, LONGBAR opened inside the D Las Vegas in 2012 and holds the unique distinction of being the longest bar in Nevada. Stretching the entire length of the recently rebranded downtown casino (1,300 square feet), it's the perfect place to grab a drink, watch the game, place a bet or simply hang out with some friends. Offering nine beers on tap, 15 60-inch TVs and more than 30 seats with personal multi-game playing machines, it's a good thing the bar is as long as it is, as people never seem to want to leave! (702-388-2400)
The Bourbon Room
One of Las Vegas' newest bars, The Bourbon Room inside The Venetian truly offers guests a blast from the past. Inspired by the legendary Sunset Strip club in the hit Broadway musical "Rock of Ages," The Bourbon Room lets guests enjoy the finest collection of bourbon and spirits in Las Vegas--including three single-barrel signature bourbons made exclusively for the bar--as they're entertained by music video flashbacks of nostalgic rock music from the '80s. VJs get the party started nightly at 8 p.m., spinning classic rock hits and music videos, while leather and lace-clad cocktail servers perform high-energy dance routines to such iconic songs as "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" and "Nothin' But a Good Time." During the day, guests can sip on classic bourbon cocktails or even a Bartles & Jaymes flavored wine cooler while watching sports or playing slots at the bar. ((702) 414-1000)
Get your game on--literally--at this unique downtown venue, which combines an arcade with a bar/nightclub. Guests have the option of playing in custom VIP gaming booths complete with cocktail/bottle service and the game and console of their choice; sitting at an LED-illuminated Beta Bar and playing the latest Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games on one of 14 large-screen HDTVs; or taking a trip down memory lane and playing one of 60 restored cabinets from the past, like Ms. Pac-Man or The House of the Dead. When you've had enough of the theme from Super Mario Bros., you can enjoy a variety of different tunes courtesy of Insert Coin(s)' resident and guest DJs, who perform on select nights. (702-477-2525)
Gilley's Saloon, Dance Hall & BBQ
Bringing some honky-tonk to the Vegas Strip, Gilley's has been one of the city's most popular bars since it opened at the Frontier in April 1999. When the property closed in 2007, it seemed like another Vegas favorite had gone with it, but thankfully the spirited dance hall and saloon reopened at Treasure Island in 2010. Home to the famous Gilley Girls (sexy servers donning bikinis, chaps, cowgirl boots and cowboy hats), guests can grab a genuine leather saddle seat at the long polished bar and unwind with an ice-cold beer or the saloon's signature drink, the Rattlesnake--a mix of 90-proof Jim Beam Devil's Cut, fresh lemon sour, simple syrup and rhubarb bitters mixed in an anise-rinsed glass--as they enjoy some genuine southern hospitality. After you've had a few drinks to boost your courage, do-si-do on over to the dance floor or take a ride on the mechanical bull. (702-894-7111)
Frankie's Tiki Room
The world's only 24-hour tiki bar, Frankie's Tiki Room is a must for rum fanatics, as it houses more than 150 premium rums. A unique combination of South Seas exotica and modern primitivism with just a hint of Vegas kitsch, the bar's interior was built by Bamboo Ben, the world's foremost tiki bar designer and the grandson of Eli Hedley (who created the decor at Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room). While the atmosphere is fun (especially for the desert), Frankie's Original Tiki Drinks are what truly keep guests coming back for more. Each drink is clearly labeled so people know how strong they are. Be sure to pay attention to how many skulls a concoction has--some of these flavorful creations aren't intended for lightweights! (702-385-3110)
That rare bar that can be just as entertaining during the day as it is at night, ghostbar inside the Palms Casino Resort continues to be one of Las Vegas' chicest destinations thanks to its sky deck on the 55th floor. Boasting a 360-degree view of the city below, guests can hover above Las Vegas as they sip a selection from the bar's extensive champagne list or, if you're afraid of heights, take in the sights indoors courtesy of ghostbar's 14-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows. When it isn't pool season, ghostbar hosts ghostbar Dayclub (GBDC) every Saturday, a weekly dayclub that encourages guests to don playful costumes while indulging in adult-friendly pinatas, high-end beer bongs, music by world-renowned DJs, delicious eats and more. So day or night, ghostbar is the place to be! (702-942-6832, 866-942-7777)
Not surprisingly, one of the city's most striking bars is found in one of the city's most talked about resorts. Conceived by renowned design and architecture firm the Rockwell Group, The Chandelier is an architectural wonder that combines more than 2 million crystal beads (the largest quantity of beads used in one installation in North America), three luxurious bars and exclusive music all within one three-story space inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Each floor houses its own unique bar experience where guests can enjoy interactive light shows along with their signature cocktails. The bottom floor offers a high-energy atmosphere that merges seamlessly with the surrounding casino floor; the heart of The Chandelier offers a more swank and sophisticated experience; and the top of The Chandelier offers a lively environment complete with festive concoctions overlooking the casino below. (702-698-7979, 702-698-7989)
Level 107 Lounge
Offering an experience unlike any other bar or lounge in town, Level 107 Lounge is the perfect place to go when you want to impress someone special. Located on the 107th floor of the Stratosphere Tower, it boasts expansive city views that are complemented nicely by an extensive appetizer, dessert and cocktail menu. Feast on the surroundings as you dig in to such sumptuous fare as the heavenly Roasted Tomato Fondue or sip one of the lounge's signature cocktails. On a budget? Not to worry; Level 107 Lounge has a daily happy hour from 4-7 p.m. featuring half-price appetizers and 2-for-1 cocktails as well as a late-night happy hour with 2-for-1 cocktails from 10:30 p.m.-close. As if that wasn't enough, there's DJ entertainment nightly from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Why go anywhere else? (702-380-7764, 702-380-7777)
Minus5 Ice Bar
The perfect place to chill (especially during those scorching summer months), Minus5 Ice Bar is a unique ice-themed experience where guests can enjoy a variety of ice-cold vodka cocktails in a -5-degrees Celsius ice environment. For a nominal entry fee, guests are given use of Minus5 parkas, gloves and boots to help keep them warm, or they can upgrade to a faux fur coat package for a little added luxury. Once inside, they'll be greeted by an assortment of ice sculptures, as well as ice tables, ice seating (covered with faux fur pelts) and an ice bar. Even the glasses the drinks are served in are made of pure ice! A state-of-the-art sound and LED show rounds out the frigid but fun experience. (702-740-5800)
Located on the 23rd floor of the non-gaming Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, Mandarin Bar is one of the city's most sleek and sophisticated nightlife venues. Guests can drink up the stunning Strip views courtesy of the bar's floor-to-ceiling windows while imbibing one of its expertly crafted cocktails. In addition to a menu of creative alcoholic concoctions, the bar offers a variety of fine wines and delicious light bites, making it the perfect place to kick back and relax before or after dinner. Be sure to try the Tea-Tini, one of Mandarin Bar's specialty cocktails. A refreshing mix of Bulleit Bourbon, chilled Jasmine Pearl tea, apple juice, agave nectar and lemon juice, the tasty cocktail is truly one of the best in town! (888-881-9367)
About Heather Turk
A graduate of the University of Southern California, Heather's byline has appeared everywhere from The Los Angeles Times to Playboy.com--with her review of The Truman Show making the front page of The Detroit News' movie section when she was just 16 years old. When she's not at her computer writing a story for one of the many outlets she freelances for (including Allegiant Air's in-flight magazine Sunseeker, the Los Angeles Times Las Vegas Guide and CBS Las Vegas), she can often be found at the movies, on the Strip checking out the latest restaurant/show/spa/hotel opening or at Disneyland.
Read more about Heather Turk here.