Las Vegas can get expensive quickly if you’re not paying attention. When you’re in a tourist area, no matter what city, prices tend to drift a little higher than you may normally pay at home. That $4 domestic beer at home may be $7 on the Vegas Strip. When you add a $1 tip you’ve now paid $8. When you’re looking in your pocket it’s easy to think you just spent $10 on what’s normally a $4 beer because of the missing big bills. As the night progresses the extra money spent on drinks can add up.
You can get “complimentary” drinks while you’re gambling but these aren’t necessarily free. If you lose your buy-in at the table or machine that you’re playing you have in essence paid that much for however many drinks you’ve had. I’ve probably had as many video poker sessions at the casino bar where I’ve had enough drinks for a weekend that only cost my $20 buy-in as I’ve had $200 blackjack sessions where I lost so quickly that I only had one drink. That’s a $200 beer. Not cool.
“Free” isn’t always free in Las Vegas. However, there are some great options to get your drink on for a lower price. Many of the casual bar/restaurant’s in Vegas casinos has a Happy Hour. Many of these happy hour specials change so check out the restaurants in the hotel where you’re staying and see what kind of drink discounts they offer. You may be happily surprised with what you find.
One little known way to get free or cheap drinks is to head to the casino gift shop. Some casinos offer discounts when you show a players club card. This may make the beers less expensive than you’ll pay at the casino bars.
The Suncoast gift shop has a good beer selection and you’ll only pay a few dollars per beer. On my last visit to the casino I was able to pay for a couple of beers using comp points that I earned from gambling. The beers weren’t exactly free since I had to spend money in the casino to earn those points but it was nice not to dig into my pocket for the extra cash.
Downtown Vegas has undergone a major transformation in the past few years and many of the casinos have built cool bars. Unfortunately many of these bars come with higher price tags on drinks. The casinos have to pay for construction so they just pass the cost on to the customer. There’s nothing shady here. Many businesses operate this way.
Head to the Fremont Casino for 99 Cent margaritas if you’re looking for a cheap drink. You’re not going to get the same hand crafted margarita you would when you pay $10-$15 at other bars but these drinks to the trick for many boozehounds.
If you’re a beer drinker downtown you might want to head to Main Street Station. You can get any of their microbrews for $3.50. If you visit the 777 Bar and Grill during happy hour you’ll pay even less. This is some of the freshest beer you’ll have anywhere in Las Vegas.
As you’d imagine there are even more drink specials when you hit the Vegas Strip since there are more hotels, bars and restaurants. Here are some of the best deals on drinks you’ll find on the Vegas Strip.
Riviera: $3 call drinks, $2 well drinks & domestic beer and $1 rotating specials their casino bar.
Casino Royale – $1 Michelob Bottles & Michelob Light at their casino bar.
Circus Circus – 2 bottles of beer for $5 at the Slots A Fun bar.
Stratosphere – Bottomless Happy Hour from 6pm – 10pm daily has an all-you-can-drink special for $19.99.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.