You may be in Las Vegas, but you'll feel like you're in the tropics at The Golden Tiki. The drink menu features a hearty array of strong and affordable drinks. This is the place to find drinks like the Mai Tai and Singapore Sling, along with generously sized bowls of Scorpions or Zombies that are meant to be shared. There's a backstory here, a fun tall tale about a pirate named William Tobias Faulkner and his search for gold. The themed interior includes thatched "roofs," an abundance of paintings featuring scantily clad ladies, and, of course, tiki gods. The Golden Tiki is located in Chinatown, just a short drive west of the Strip.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: An evening at the Golden Tiki will transport you to a land full of strong tropical drinks, music, wild decor and lots of fun kitsch.
Terrisa's expert tip: Happy Hour at the Golden Tiki is daily from 4 to 7 p.m. Look for deals like $3 draft beer and half off drinks and appetizers.
Once you successfully navigate the front door at the Downtown Cocktail Room - or DCR - you'll find a warm and inviting space, a good, old-fashioned bar. More importantly, you'll get to sample some of the drinks. The music doesn't drown out conversation here, and the custom-made cocktails are worth talking about. Fresh ingredients, including homemade bitters, are a specialty here. The menu ranks the complexity of each original cocktail and includes wine, beer, punch and absinthe. A "hidden" bar can is also located within DCR - Mike Morey's Sip 'N'Tip. Look for the entrance to this secretive place in alley by the bar. And while DCR itself doesn't serve food, the Fremont East area is full of restaurants.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The hip and friendly atmosphere along with the expertly crafted drinks at the Downtown Cocktail Room make it one of Las Vegas' best bars.
Terrisa's expert tip: Although you won't find anything other than some light snacks on the menu at DCR, you're not far from several great restaurants in Downtown Las Vegas. For instance, Carson Kitchen is right around the corner and within walking distance.
This popular downtown Las Vegas dive bar features local music as well as national independent acts, showcasing genres ranging from indie and rock to blues and rockabilly. The friendly crowd is of all ages, and the party often spills over into the outdoor areas around the building. Bunkhouse's unpretentious atmosphere, intimate size and reasonable food and drink prices make it a favorite of locals and in-the-know visitors alike. The sound is fantastic for such a small venue, and the diverse range of bands gives music lovers a wide selection of groups to hear. Prices all around are very affordable, another reason the venue is so popular.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Bunkhouse is a great place to go for live music, inexpensive drinks and a casual, dive bar vibe.
Terrisa's expert tip: You'll find plenty of parking close to the Bunkhouse, either on the street or across the street from the bar in a easily accessible parking lot.
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 gives guests a view of all that's going on below.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: No other bar on the Strip offers the chance to enjoy drinks inside a chandelier.
Terrisa's expert tip: One of the Chandelier's most well-known drinks is We're All Mad Here, served on the middle level. This dangerously tasty gin drink changes colors when it's blended and comes with an edible tag that makes your tongue tingle.
Located on the 23rd floor of the exclusive Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, SkyBar is a sleek and sophisticated nightlife venue with an unequaled view. Guests can savor 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. Try one of the many specialty drinks on the menu, all created with fresh and innovative ingredients with top shelf spirits.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The cozy, stylish SkyBar serves craft cocktails and small plates to go along with an incredible view of the Las Vegas Strip.
Terrisa's expert tip: SkyBar offers a menu of small plates called Eclectic Bites Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Look for plates like sliders, edamame and grilled shishito peppers, shrimp tacos and chicken satay skewers.
Skyfall was created when the space it is in was renovated, but the spectacular 180-degree views of Las Vegas remain the same. A warm, inviting dÃ©cor offers plentiful seating, and the expertly crafted drinks are sure to please (they'll understand if you like your martini shaken, not stirredâ"yes, there's a slight Bond theme). The lounge evolves throughout the night, beginning the evening as a more relaxed space and getting its nightclub on later in the evening when the DJ starts the music. Inside and outdoor areas are available, and the upscale restaurant, Rivea, is just next door. But while the drinks and music are certainly worth coming to Skyfall for, it may be the terrific view that keeps you around.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Skyfall offers guests a sophisticated setting, top-shelf cocktails and incredible view of Las Vegas.
Terrisa's expert tip: DJ's are on hand to entertain the crowd at Skyfall on Thursdays from 8:30 p.m. to midnight and on Friday and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Mystére by Cirque du Soleil doesn't have any kind of plot - none of the Cirque shows have much in that regard - but it does have amazing performances of acrobatics, agility and strength. The show opens with a large, comedically inclined baby who starts the audience off on a goofy, funny note. Soon, the overhead trapeze and on-stage performers take over and lead the crowd through a journey of gasp-inducing feats as performers swing through the air, balance impossibly and navigate a fantastical world. The moving stage adds another element to keep the audience's attention, although it's truly difficult to look away from the astonishing performers who seem to do the impossible. Suitable for the whole family but not childish, Mystere is one of Cirque's most popular Las Vegas shows.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Cirque du Soleil's talented performers bring the music of the Beatles to life with stunning feats of skill and grace.
Terrisa's expert tip: Cirque du Soleil offers seven shows in Las Vegas, so if you've seen Mystére before or just want to consider other options, check out the group's other shows.
Absinthe is full of raunchy jokes and incredible displays of physical skill, all in a atmosphere that lives up to the show's name. The show takes place in the fanciful Spiegelworld tent, and the small space makes it easy to draw the audience into this bawdy and amazing show. The main characters, Penny and the Gazillionaire, drive the show forward and keep everyone laughing (or gasping), but you get much more than comedy at Absinthe. This adults-only version of the circus is filled with extremes of both comedy and athletic bravery. Daring feats of balance and strength are performed up close and personal in this intimate space. If you're sitting close, not only will you feel the tension of the more daring acts, it's likely you'll also be drawn into some interesting exchanges.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Absinthe will temporarily transport you to the world of vaudeville and burlesque with its daring, bawdy, funny, adults-only entertainment.
Terrisa's expert tip: If you're driving, the show recommends you park in the front valet, which is the closest location to the large red and white tent where Absinthe is held.
XS provides an elegant club environment around Encore's sparkling pool. Decorated in rich gold, black, bronze and browns, and filled with thousands of individual light sources, XS takes its design inspiration from the human form. XS's large size gives you plenty of places to dance and drink, including outdoor VIP cabanas and a large circular dance floor inside that's surrounded by VIP tables. The best DJs and performers stop here, like Chainsmokers, DJ Diesel, Diplo, Alesso and Kygo. An events calendar is available online so guests can check ahead to see who's performing. In summer, guests can also enjoy XS Sunday Night Swim, when the club gets in the pool to party for the night.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: XS remains Las Vegas' largest club and offers a spacious, beautifully designed space to dance the night away.
Terrisa's expert tip: If you're staying at the Encore, be sure to check with the concierge for tickets. Resort guests receive preferred entry by purchasing tickets through the concierge.
The entrance to TAO gives guests an interesting introduction to the club: it's lined with bathtubs filled with rose petals, and sometimes the tubs have models clad only in rose petals. For several years it's been one of the Strip's most desirable nightlife destinations and a haunt of A-listers in the sports and entertainment worlds with its Asian-inspired ambiance. The atmospheric club is adorned with Asian artifacts, decor and statuary, and soft lighting sets the scene admirably, along with alluring performance artists. Over the main dance floor sits the DJ booth, raining down house, hip-hop and R&B over stylish patrons. An outdoor terrace and multiple bars ensure that there are plenty of places to hang out.
Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The distinctive Asian-inspired design at TAO sets the stage for a night full of dancing and partying.
Terrisa's expert tip: TAO offers more than a nightclub - their Asian Bistro serves noted dishes and the popular dayclub, TAO Beachclub, is open when the weather is warm enough, roughly March through September.