Drink Up at One of Downtown Las Vegas' 10 Best Bars

Photo courtesy of Golden Gate Hotel & Casino
Photo courtesy of El Cortez Hotel & Casino
Photo courtesy of Stardust Fallout Media
Photo courtesy of Anthony Mair
By Terrisa Meeks, Las Vegas Local Expert

Downtown Las Vegas’ growing bar scene offers plenty of good options, many of which are within walking distance of each other. Cocktail enthusiasts can try several creative concoctions in one night. The Downtown Cocktail Room is known for its amazing hand-crafted cocktails, while The Parlour serves up vintage cocktails in a classic setting, and they’re a short walk from each other--along with several other bars in the Fremont East district.

The entire downtown area is turning into a more pedestrian-friendly place, but it’s also home to classic bars as well. The hotel casinos in downtown Las Vegas haven’t been imploded, so visitors feel a little more of the Old Vegas vibe here in the smaller casinos. Cheap, strong drinks are easy to find, which can make a trip downtown a budget-friendly move.

If you like to have a bit of history with your drinks, downtown Vegas is definitely the place to go. Home to the first hotel in town (The Golden Gate, still open today) as well as the oldest freestanding bar, downtown Las Vegas gives you the chance to hang out in some of the same places the Rat Pack frequented.

Check out our list of the 10 best bars in downtown Las Vegas to decide where you’d like to enjoy a libation.

Photo courtesy of the D Las Vegas

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 D casino, 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. You'll have no problem bringing the whole gang along for a few drinks at LONGBAR!

9. One Bar
Photo courtesy of Golden Gate Hotel & Casino

The perfect place to grab a drink as you check out all Fremont Street Experience has to offer, Golden Gate's One Bar features beautiful bikini-clad bartenders dancing and serving a refreshing array of frozen drinks and ice cold beer amidst the pulsing lights and rocking rhythms of Fremont Street. Guests are encouraged to mix and match frozen flavors for a one-of-a-kind, custom drink, which can be served in a signature cup molded in the shape of the classic hotel's neon signage. The drinks are chilled by the only geothermal system in a Las Vegas casino, which doubles to keep the bar's barely covered bartenders warm in the winter!

8. Atomic Liquors
Photo courtesy of Atomic Liquors

At one time, people could sit on the roof of Atomic Liquors and watch the mushroom clouds from the atomic blasts at the Nevada Test Site. Those days are long gone, but the bar remains and it still offers patrons the chance to watch something interesting from the patio: the crowd passing by on Fremont Street. Inexpensive and no-frills, this is the place for a large selection of craft beers along with a well-stocked bar helmed by knowledgeable bartenders. Atomic Liquors is the oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas and got its name because of those famous viewing parties on the roof. The bar was renovated not long ago, but only to give things a face-lift, not a complete re-do. The "dive" vibe is very much alive here, and that's on purpose.

7. The Parlour
Photo courtesy of El Cortez Hotel & Casino

The El Cortez Hotel & Casino has undergone several changes in recent years, including the debut of this vintage cocktail bar. The Parlour features a classic lounge setting with warm rich tones, a baby grand piano and leather club chairs. The highlight of the bar and lounge, though, is its vintage cocktail menu, offering an array of classic cocktails like the Mint Julep and Old Fashion. Twelve specialty Martinis are offered. Look for drinks specials, like the $5 Champagne on Thursdays, or the drink of the month. In football season, drop in for Monday night's game and enjoy buckets of Bud or Bud Light and $5 appetizers.

6. ReBar
Photo courtesy of ReBar

ReBar brings two seemingly unrelated ideas together: vintage items and antiques for sale, along with a bar. Draft beers start at $3, draft wine at $4 and well drinks and cocktails from $4. The concept makes sense in this downtown bar, which is located right along the Main Street corridor that features antique and vintage shops of all kinds. Everything's for sale at ReBar, so you can browse while you drink. If you get tired of checking out the merchandise, you can play a board game. Customers can also choose to drink for a good cause: a portion of each drink ordered from the Charitable Cocktails menu goes to a Las Vegas charity.

5. Oak & Ivy
Photo courtesy of Oak & Ivy

Oak & Ivy is all about the whiskey and hand-crafted cocktails. High quality ingredients keep the tastes strong and flavorful. Fresh, seasonal ingredients combine with homemade garnishes and mixers to deliver a refreshingly great drink every time. Barrel-aged cocktails, rare beers and spirits are featured, guaranteeing that you'll savor every last sip of your drink. The Blood and Clover, for instance, features Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey, Cherry Heering and Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth. There's also plenty of classics, like the Mint Julep, made with fresh mint and a generously oaked Woodford Reserve Bourbon. An extensive selection of American Whiskeys will keep connoisseurs one more reason to keep coming back for something new.

4. The Griffin
Photo courtesy of www.fremontstreetbars.com

This Bohemian bar's location in downtown Las Vegas makes it a beloved anti-Strip hangout for hipsters and locals seeking a low-key evening. The relaxed setting offers guests the perfect place to simply hang out and enjoy a cool cocktail or reasonably priced beer without having to worry about a dress code. Rich, charismatic decor, including barrel-vaulted brick ceilings, cozy banquet seating, dim lighting and inviting fire pits, creates a warm, mellow environment perfect for a night of drinking and socializing. The jukebox and DJs offer a unique mix of old-school classics, while the well-stocked bar and generous pourings promise to please.

3. Beauty Bar
Photo courtesy of Stardust Fallout Media

Not your typical bar, and certainly not your average nightlife spot in Las Vegas, Beauty Bar is a unique place like no other. It's been retrofitted with items from the Capri Salon of Beauty in Trenton, New Jersey. From retro deluxe hair dryer chairs to elaborate mirrored vanities, the furnishings inside Beauty Bar reproduce the vibe of a 1950s-era salon. Two stages offer live music every evening. The Indoor Stage is used for intimate settings while the Outdoor Stage hosts large events of up to 300 people. The outdoor area is one of the only outdoor concert venues in Downtown Las Vegas. Check out its website for a complete schedule of events, and don't forget to stop by on Tuesdays for Nickel Beer Night. Karaoke is also held on Mondays.

2. Commonwealth
Photo courtesy of Anthony Mair

One of downtown Las Vegas' newest bars is also arguably its best. The 6,000-square-foot Commonwealth cocktail bar is inspired by pre-Prohibition era design and drinks and comes complete with its very own speakeasy, plus a 2,000-square-foot rooftop patio with spectacular views of downtown. The drink menu features a collection of the finest spirits and libations, each expertly crafted by one of the top mixologists in the city and executed by Commonwealth's experienced bartenders. Warm, incandescent light sets an intimate tone, washing over the dark, grainy wood and exposed brick on the walls and floor. Booths are tucked away in alcoves for private conversations, while a communal 20-foot-long bar encourages getting to know your neighbor.

1. Downtown Cocktail Room
Photo courtesy of Downtown Cocktail Room

This hip, intimate Las Vegas lounge is one of the city's best-kept secrets. Dim lighting, cozy leather seating, minimalist art and eclectic music create a seductively mysterious ambiance, and the diverse clientele are mostly locals seeking a laid-back evening away from the Vegas "scene." The seasonal menu features delectable punch bowls and creative cocktails with distinctive flavor profiles that have customers raving. Be sure to try something new and special from the drink menu, which changes seasonally. A live DJ plays nightly, Tuesday through Saturday, so you can enjoy music with your delicious cocktail. One of the bar's most-mentioned features is the front door, which some people have a hard time finding. It's a large bronze door, but there are no handles--just push to get in.