Las Vegas is, and always has been, a drinking town, fed by a flowing river of booze that keeps its 40-plus million annual visitors lubricated for the big conference, bachelorette party or blackjack binge. But until fairly recently, the odds of finding an honest craft cocktail bar in the neon capital were slim. Now, a new generation of bar-world bigwigs—people like Sam Ross from Attaboy in New York and the crew from Proprietors LLC (the group behind famed bar Death & Co)—are throwing down stakes in Sin City, making it a destination for discerning drinkers everywhere. These are the eight cocktail bars that matter most.
The Dorsey at the Venetian Las Vegas
Even at 4,500 square feet, The Venetian’s newest cocktail lounge, The Dorsey, feels intimate. Chances are you won’t bump into former Milk & Honey bartender Sam Ross behind the stick, but his influence is reflected in the skills of the trained staff, as well as in every drink on the cocktail menu. With a wide range of delicious offerings, from Ross’ modern classic, the refreshing Penicillin, to a boozy Salted Kingston Negroni, The Dorsey is quickly becoming the Strip’s best bar to start and end the night.
Frankie’s Tiki Room
The tacky decor, the high-octane hooch, the nod to a bygone era—it’s as if Tiki was made for Las Vegas. No self-respecting rum lover would leave the city without a stop at this 24-hour, off-Strip bar. Order the Scorpion cocktail for one, and go home with your own souvenir Tiki mug. Beware drinks marked with five skulls (like the Fink Bomb, made with 160-proof rum): They’re as stiff and unforgiving as the worst blackjack dealer.
The Golden Tiki
Where else but in Las Vegas can you find a top-notch Tiki bar that’s open 24/7? In the heart of Sin City’s Chinatown, The Golden Tiki rolls out all the stops, from the thatched roof over the bar to the pirate-inspired velvet paintings to the mystery dagger on the wall once owned by Hunter S. Thompson. The menu includes a mix of original drinks and Tiki standbys, plus the usual Vegas flourishes like tableside service and VIP up-sells. And if you’re looking to boost your cocktail, for just 50 cents, the bartender will add a shot of Bacardi 151 and set it on fire.
Herbs & Rye
Herbs & Rye owner Nectaly Mendoza was Nightclub & Bar’s bartender of the year in 2016, and in 2019, his bar was recognized with Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards for Best American Bar Team and Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar. Acclaim aside, it’s the drinks that keep the place packed all week long. His cocktail menu at this pre-Prohibition darling spans several eras, from the Gothic Age’s Jack Rose to the Tiki Boom’s Zombie. But perhaps its biggest draw? It’s one of the few bars in town with two happy hours: 5 to 8 p.m. and midnight to 3 a.m.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay Hotel
Tony Abou-Ganim is a Las Vegas bar-world legend. The master bartender at Libertine Social helped conceive and open 22 bars in Steve Wynn’s Bellagio back in 1998. Now at Libertine Social, he oversees a full lineup of crowd pleasers, from Swizzles and draft cocktails to barrel-aged drinks and his modern rum classic, the Cable Car.
Skyfall Lounge at Delano Las Vegas
Proprietors LLC brings its craft game to the Vegas Strip. And that’s good news for Martini purists. The Martini Education at Skyfall Lounge offers four pitch-perfect variations—the Classic, Dirty, Gibson and Vesper—all impeccably made with either vodka or gin. Enjoy one in style as you absorb the 180-degree neon views of the city.
Back in the 1970s, the Tack was a popular after-hours bar off the Strip—the kind of place where you might bump into Tom Jones or Ol’ Blue Eyes. Over the years, it fell out of favor and then off the radar. In 2017, it was resurrected as a Caribbean restaurant and rum bar featuring more than 200 bottles, including the rare and pricy Black Tot, and a tight list of cocktails like the Cherry Blossom, made with hibiscus rum, lime, fassionola and maraschino liqueur.
This sisters-owned bar in Vegas’ emerging Arts District is dark and moody with a cocktail list that will leave you scratching your head. If you’re intimidated by ingredients like cantaloupe-infused bourbon and salted gose reduction, don’t be. Everything on the revolving menu is balanced and fun to drink, especially on the outdoor patio that hosts up-and-coming musicians.