What is your Las Vegas vacation going to look like? Will you spend your days and nights following the rest of the tourists or will you discover your new favorite spot on and off the Las Vegas strip? Seek out your classic Sin City experience at dive bars, moody lounges, and off-strip gems. From pizza to decadent dessert, these are a few of the lesser talked about but very compelling places to visit in Las Vegas.
Don’t you need a selfie in a bar that serves as a tribute to Evel Knievel while cranking out some of the best pizza in town?
Your Las Vegas hideaway comes with cocktails! Hidden off to the right of the entrance to the restaurant and just off the bar at Beauty and Essex is a quaint lounge. It’s sexy and moody and has the flair of an old steakhouse or a library where the lamps never intended anyone to read. This lounge seems to be forgotten in the excitement of the main room at the restaurant but it is ideal for a stiff drink. It is perfect for a date night and it works if you just need a little quiet time when you are in Las Vegas. This is a spirit-forward cocktail bar with talent at the wheel. Prepare for a long night of sampling.
- Location: 3708 S Las Vegas Boulevard
- Phone: (702) 737-0707
- Hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Sunday)
5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Thursday)
5 p.m. to midnight (Friday and Saturday)
Forget the shiny glass that surrounds you and look beyond all the pretty people at Cosmopolitan Resort. The Chandelier Bar is an attraction that gets plenty of fanfare because it dominates the ground floor at the chic property. Go upstairs and you can see the large booths filled with party people from your spot at one of the many restaurants. What you might not notice is the experience between here and there at level 1.5. You have to look for the small staircase that wraps around to a halfway point between floors and that's when you realize that this hidden treasure is a special find. This is the home of the Verbena. The flower drink that is not on any menu originated at this bar as do a number of cocktails that are rooted in the world of experiences. Ingredients that alter your taste buds and a setting the dazzles your senses makes this the type of place you want to have all to yourself. Try the Schnozberries Taste Like Schnozberries and desensitize your sweet and sour senses or have the Classy Lassi and introduce a little culture into your cocktails by way of an Indian classic.
- Location: 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
- Phone: (702) 698-7979
- Hours: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
They craft cocktails with passion at this watering hole at Trump International. The bar area is prime real estate if you love to watch a drink come together, but the lounge is comfortable enough for a long evening spent mingling in Las Vegas with a twist. Forget your politics, because the guy behind the bar at DJT Lounge at Trump Las Vegas is nonpartisan. Once you meet him you’ll realize you would scale a wall for his drinks. Andrew Almanza describes the Luna Sangrieta as an homage to his father and his favorite tequila. His passion for the craft of a great cocktail is present in everything that comes out from behind the bar at the DJT Lounge. His Clover Club is classic, just the way Salinger describes a beach scene, and his Spiced Apple Manhattan is alluring in the way sweet tempts you toward sour and pleases you with savory.
- Location: 2000 Fashion Show Drive
- Phone: (702) 989-0000
- Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
It may appear to be nothing but a downtown dive bar pizza joint, but what you are seeing is really your own inability to recognize what comfort looks like. At Evel Pie in DTLV, grab a slice of pizza, snag a pint of beer, and find a pinball machine to spend a few minutes looking back at long lost love. Simplicity. The walls are adorned with memorabilia and the ambient music comes from actual musicians who play instruments. The bar leads to conversations and booths lead to successive beers. You shouldn’t overlook the pizza just because it is affordable. Happy hour will get you a slice and a beer for next to nothing and the selections remind you that this is not a greasy spoon pizza joint. This is a bonafide pizza place that is far more than a spot to have a beer and check out Evel Knievel pictures. Take a look at what they are doing and you’ll notice that the attention to detail is why you’ll order more than a couple of slices. You'll stick around even longer because sometimes the no-frills approach is exactly what you need.
- Location: 508 Fremont Street
- Phone: (702) 840-6460
- Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Sunday to Wednesday)
11 a.m. to 4:20 a.m. (Thursday to Saturday)
Find your favorite mixologist at Bound. If you walk to the back of the Cromwell Hotel you’ll see the shiny bar and the deep leather couches calling for you to have a drink. The bartenders at Bound at the Cromwell are all part of Salvatore Calabrese's team who preach the gospel of carefully crafted cocktails. The menu is respectful of the classics while embracing the new and adventurous. The allure here is an array of helpful, knowledgeable artists of the spirit world who help you find your flavors. Plan on a couple of hours here as you’ll soon find out that spending time with a good drink is as relaxing as a spa day.
- Location: 3595 Las Vegas Blvd South
- Phone: (702) 777-3777
- Hours: Noon to 2 a.m. (Friday to Sunday)
4 p.m. to midnight (Monday to Thursday)
Step away from the chaos and step into Franklin Lounge. The lobby at Delano Las Vegas feels more like a high-end gallery than a hotel, and Franklin's feels much more like a comfortable living room than a hotel bar. It definitely is not a casino bar, and when you look at the wine list you’ll think you are in a wine country inn. The options are impressive and plenty are exclusive to this property. The cocktails are assembled for a discerning palate and the beers are a journey through a craft lovers dream. You won't bring a date here unless you are really serious about where the relationship is going.
- Location: 3940 S Las Vegas Boulevard
- Phone: (702) 632-7888
- Hours: Noon to midnight
Perhaps not underrated, Metro Pizza is just not always on every visitor's radar. It should be! Order a pizza here and you’ll realize that someone in the joint really loves a good pie. If owner John Arena is around, ask him about the process, then sit back, and let him school you in the art of pizza making. He knows his stuff and is willing to share some of his passion with other pizza lovers. One of several in a local franchise, the location just a touch away from the strip is frequented by locals who love the place and very well-informed visitors who know their pizza. The Sicilian pizza known as the 86th Street Square Pie is a fluffy optical illusion. It appears to be a brick of bread but instead is a light, airy masterpiece of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and Brooklyn nostalgia. The “718” Calzone is not from these parts as this east coast transplant is filled with ricotta, diced ham and mozzarella and then given a quick deep fry treatment. What evolves is a crispy yet creamy and light treat that will have you saying “Fuhgeddaboudit.”
- Location: 1395 E Tropicana Ave
- Phone: (702) 736-1955
- Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday)
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday and Saturday)
It’s not the drink specials that bring you to O'Sheas even though they are great. Not the low limit blackjack tables right beside the bar. Yes, the crowd is fun and pretty and quite adventurous, but all the crowds in Las Vegas are. It’s the ability to play beer pong like you were in college that will get you to this bar that is tucked away on the edge of the LINQ entertainment district. Before you smirk at the idea, consider the fun that can be had while just doing one of those things that you just don’t do at home. When was the last time you drank a beer way too fast? When was the last time you screamed in delight at landing a ping pong ball in a cup of beer? Exactly, that is why you need a small crowded bar to help you regain a little of that irresponsibility that you lost when you grew up. You don't have to grow up in Las Vegas.
- Location: 3535 Las Vegas Blvd South
- Phone: (800) 634-6441
- Hours: Always open
You have to love country music to understand the appeal of going country. You don't have to love bologna to appreciate the splendor of a fried bologna sandwich on Texas toast. Hidden away upstairs at Harrah's Las Vegas is Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, where you’ll find Las Vegas at its most simple. Beer in mason jars, fried food, and plenty of televisions to watch sports. A stage anchors the restaurant and live music and line dancing are regularly on display. The atmosphere is lively and unpretentious. This is what comfortable feels like.
- Location: 3475 Las Vegas Boulevard South
- Phone: (702) 369-500
- Hours: 9:30 a.m. to midnight (Sundays)
5 p.m. to midnight (Monday to Thursday)
5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Fridays)
11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. (Saturdays)