If there’s one city in the world that’s practically synonymous with alcohol, it’s Las Vegas. In a town that encourages imbibing and offers booze at every hour of the day, there’s no shortage of watering holes. And while electrifying nightclubs and bottle service are a big part of the drinking culture, over the past few years the scene has shifted dramatically and there are plenty of bars that offer quality cocktails both on and off the Strip. Ranging from sultry speakeasies to spirit-specific lounges, Las Vegas has it all, and here are 15 of the finest Sin City has to offer.
Swathed in burgundy velvet and decked out with crystal chandeliers, Rosina is an elegant lounge unlike any other in Las Vegas. Songs by timeless musicians complement its Art Deco flair and the sultry space is made even more intimate at one of the U-shaped banquettes that can be closed off with a thick curtain. Classics are the focus here and fans of the Manhattan, Julep, or Old Fashioned can certainly enjoy it in its traditional form, but ask for the respective cocktail’s secret menu and you’ll find modern interpretations of these favored concoctions. And for those who lean more toward bubbly, an amusing “Champagne Call Button” adorns the wall and French 75s can be requested to include fresh seasonal fruit.
While the Damien Hirst-designed Unknown bar is certainly a showstopper when you step into the reimagined Palms Casino Resort, Mr. Coco is the hotel’s hidden jewel box that’s a cocktail lover’s dream. Before you head up to the luxurious piano lounge you’re immediately welcomed with an amuse-bouche tipple to kick off the experience. Once inside, you’re greeted with tunes from a Steinway baby grand and a live performer. Named after mixologist Francesco Lafranconi’s dog, you’ll find nods to his beloved pooch throughout the room and even on the menu, where a namesake beverage is topped off with a white chocolate disk featuring an animated sketch of the pup.
Shortly after the ingenious Block 16 Urban Food Hall opened at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Ghost Donkey completed its incredible roster of venues with a cozy bar tucked away within the dining destination. A transplant from New York City, the mezcal and tequila bar has an extensive selection of both spirits and shakes up the best margaritas in town. But what really sets Ghost Donkey apart from other bars in the city is its creative use of Mexican ingredients — think mole spices, roasted poblano, and huitlacoche — providing you with a sense of place via your cocktail of choice. While you’re here don’t forget to order a plate of nachos, which come topped with gourmet ingredients like chorizo, wild mushrooms, or decadent black truffles.
With just one look at the apothecary of bitters set on top of the bar, you know that this spot takes their craft cocktails seriously. With a focus on seasonal ingredients, the menu changes throughout the year and they also make all of their liqueurs, syrups, and infusions in-house. But Velveteen Rabbit is more than just exceptional drinks. Owners and sisters Pamela and Christina Dylag are also keen on creating a strong sense of community here, which is why you’ll find works by local creatives adorning the walls — even more apropos given its Arts District location — and events like monthly queer dance parties.
The Laundry Room at Commonwealth
Across the road from El Cortez on Fremont Street, the building Commonwealth occupies was once an off-site laundry facility for the historic Downtown Las Vegas hotel. Tucked away in this 6,000-square-foot bar is a Prohibition-style speakeasy that gets its name from its storied past. Only accessible by text message, this cozy 20-seater promises unique cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else in town. While an extensive menu broken down by complexity and dominating notes offers plenty of incredible options, asking the barkeep to mix up a special concoction is highly recommended. Just avoid specifying a spirit; instead, focus on the flavors you want and be prepared for a delightful surprise.
Done in partnership with hospitality veteran David Rabin and bartender Sam Ross of acclaimed New York City hotspots Café Clover and Attaboy, respectively, the Dorsey combines a warm, comfortable space with expertly crafted cocktails. Grab a seat in the library, complete with a virtual fireplace, and order the Penicillin, Ross’s original creation comprised of scotch, fresh lemon, ginger, honey, and an Islay float. For something light and refreshing, Easy Street with vodka, cucumber, elderflower, and lemon should do just the trick. And with the bar’s proximity to the Venetian’s bevvy of restaurants, this is the perfect spot for pre- or post-dinner drinks.
The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails
Hidden behind the janitor’s door of a working barbershop is this debonair speakeasy outfitted with leather furniture, dazzling chandeliers, and beautiful mahogany bar from Kentucky that dates back to the 1800s. The name of the game here is whiskey, bourbon, and scotch, with an extensive rotating list of options that are of American, Japanese, Irish, and Canadian origin. You’ll even find prized bottles like Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year-Old on the menu. Cocktails, beer, and other spirits are also available and pickleback fans will appreciate the dill pickle used as a shot glass for its juice. While you cradle your drink, enjoy music from a live band on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, or stop by on Tuesday nights for a round of karaoke.
Oak & Ivy
With over 100 rotating whiskies on the menu, fans of this grain liquor will find themselves at home at Oak & Ivy. The casual spot located in Downtown Container Park offers plenty of outdoor seating, but you’ll want to grab a stool at the bar for a front-row seat to the show. The most popular drink on the menu is the Apple Pie Harvest, where a slice of apple topped with brown sugar and butter is torched over a concoction of Clyde May’s, apple bitters, and allspice dram. Served with a dropper filled with Becherovka, an herbal bitters from the Czech Republic, it tastes shockingly similar to the pastry dessert and will likely become your favorite form of it. You’ll also find a variety of barrel-aged cocktails, mules using a house-made ginger beer, and other creations on the list.
If you’re looking for a spot to see and be seen, the Chandelier at the Cosmopolitan is the spot. Spread across three levels and draped in illuminated beads, it’s the swankiest lounge in Las Vegas. It’s also home to the famed Verbena cocktail, a signature of the hotel’s chief mixologist, Mariena Mercer. Garnished with a Szechuan button, the drink has a bit of zing thanks to this edible flower that creates a numbing sensation. But there’s really no shortage of creative drinks here, including a floral and fruity take on the Moscow mule dubbed Finishing School and a color-changing concoction called We’re All Made Here.
The NoMad Bar
When the NoMad opened its doors within Park MGM in October 2018, it introduced the Las Vegas Strip to its urban rendition of savoir-vivre. With it came an elegant bar by masterminds Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, the duo behind the NoMad’s hospitality offerings in New York City and Los Angeles as well as the acclaimed Eleven Madison Park restaurant. While the cocktail list is broken down by classics, signatures, and large-format beverages, it’s deceivingly brief compared to the tricks that the bartenders have up their sleeves; just inquire about off-menu options and you’ll be shocked by the knowledgeable staff. And while the establishment is labeled as a bar, it also doubles as an all-day restaurant, serving delectable bites like an indulgent black truffle tart with crème fraiche and a bacon-wrapped hot dog on griddled brioche.
Juniper Cocktail Lounge
With the largest gin collection in Las Vegas, this dimly lit lounge located right off the casino floor at Park MGM is fit for lovers of the spirit that derives most of its flavor from juniper berries. You’ll find more than 60 labels from all around the world being paired up with house-made juices and syrups. The specialty cocktails are particularly amusing, served in a whimsical manner that ranges from bird-shaped glassware to setting ablaze a handful of mint tableside. But if you’re looking for a classic G&T, they’ve got you covered, with a fun experience using a paper fortune teller to pick the gin, tonic, and garnish.
Mordeo Boutique Wine Bar
If you’re looking for a break from the seemingly never-ending deluge of hard liquor (we don’t blame you if are), Mordeo’s list of over 100 bottles of wine, around three dozen of which are served by the glass, will serve as the perfect respite. And while the exhaustive selection of vino is worth going here alone, the Japanese-influenced Spanish bites are some of the most well-executed dishes in Las Vegas. Scallops bathed in a yuzu kosho beurre blanc topped with thin slices of jamón ibérico are transcendent and social hour calls for buy one, get one half-off drinks as well as a smattering of pintxos and canned seafood from Spain.
Herbs and Rye
While this off-Strip steakhouse may not look like much from the outside, the exemplary classic cocktails that are shaken up inside is the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. With a menu that is broken down by era, the list also provides a brief description of each drink’s origin or significance. You’ll find everything from the Original Collins, which dates back to the 19th century, to Painkillers from the tiki boom that started in the late ’60s. There’s absolutely no fuss here, which makes it all the more better.
Vanderpump Cocktail Garden
Fans of "Vanderpump Rules" and "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" now have their very own Lisa Vanderpump bar they can head to in Las Vegas. Decked out with greenery, over-the-top floral arrangements, elaborate chandeliers, and a touch of Gothic romance, the intimate space at Caesars Palace lives up to its name and feels like a garden oasis. The cocktails — boasting cheeky names like Checkmate Bitch and Please Her, Caesar! — don’t disappoint and are beautiful in both aesthetics and execution. There’s also a solid wine list, which of course features Vanderpump rosé.
It probably comes as no surprise that the Mob Museum has a speakeasy. Accessed through a side door, ring the doorbell, reveal the password, and enter into a saloon that doubles as a mini exhibition space for Prohibition and jazz. The moonshine made from corn is brewed at their own in-house distillery and all of their infusions are done on-site. You’ll find that the menu boasts Prohibition-era classics — accompanied with a bit of history on each one — but with a modern twist, like Bee’s Knees made with jalapeño honey. If you’re looking for a VIP experience, there’s also a hidden room behind a framed photo of actress Mary “Texas” Guinan for private events.