The majority of people who visit Las Vegas start their experience with the Vegas Strip. The huge casinos can take multiple vacations and many years to explore. Casinos on the Vegas Strip are massive. Many offer enough amenities that you’d need for an entire vacation under one roof. Most of these large casinos offer multiple bars and lounges to enjoy a drink.
Every casino in Las Vegas has at least one place to grab a drink. Most casinos on the Vegas Strip have many multiple bars because the resorts are so large. That’s not always the case in downtown Las Vegas where the casinos are older and smaller. Some casinos only have one or two bars.
If you’ve been to Las Vegas in the past year you may have noticed that your adult beverages have been lacking. Some casino operators mandate that bartenders use less alcohol for mixed drinks than your bar at home. There are also some casino bars that use drink monitoring systems to ensure customers “earn” complimentary drinks. Las Vegas today isn’t the free wheeling and drink slinging town it used to be.
Thankfully, for video poker players the complimentary drinks at casino bars aren’t too difficult to earn. You’ll have to keep up a decent pace of play but the green light stays on or the drink tickets flow as long as you keep playing. Personal experience has shown me that this is more annoying than a serious problem.
You’re never more than a few minutes from a drink when you’re in Las Vegas. The time to find a drink can be reduced in downtown Las Vegas where just about everything is closer than the Vegas Strip. There’s a drink for everyone whether you’re grabbing a yard of red slushy booze or sitting down for a craft cocktail that has so many ingredients that takes five minutes to create.
There was a day when drinking in Old Vegas was limited to well drinks and draft beer. That’s not the case any longer in downtown Las Vegas. Not only are there some great standalone bars but the casino bars have gotten better. Here’s a look at some of the best places to grab a drink in downtown Las Vegas.
You can find a mixed drink at any casino bar. However, not every bar can craft a delicious cocktail where every ingredient is carefully measured and poured. You’ll have to leave the casino in downtown Las Vegas to find some of the best cocktails in town.
- Commonwealth – Watch the bartender carefully make a cocktail, sneak away to the semi-private Laundry Room or just grab a beer and head outside to the second-floor deck,
- Downtown Cocktail Room – Dark and viby lounge with a unique cocktail menu. The drinks are delicious and different than you’ll find in the casinos. Good luck finding the door on your first visit.
You can find mass distributed beer everywhere in downtown Las Vegas. Heck, you can get a football filled with Coors Light. While a football of beer is fun, there’s something to be said for a delicious craft beer.
- Banger Brewing – Fremont Street’s first craft brewery makes their beer on site. Sit and relax with a flight of beer or grab a strong beer on to go. They offer free tours if you’re curious about beer making.
- Pizza Rock – Fantastic craft beer selection at great prices. Visit during Happy Hour for discounts on already low prices. The food is a great addition but you really can’t beat these prices in downtown Las Vegas for craft beer.
Just about everything in downtown Las Vegas is less expensive than the Vegas Strip. Drinks are no different. Here are a couple of options for extremely inexpensive drinks. You won’t find the fanciest drinks in town but you’ll find some good low priced options to get the day rolling.
- El Cortez – They have cheap beer and drinks every day with even more special Happy Hour deals. You’ll even find top shelf drinks $5 (as of this writing a Patron margarita is $5).
- Fremont – This casino is located right by the 3rd Street stage at the Fremont Street Experience. This is the stage where many of the free concerts are held. Run into the casino for $3 Corona, Bud Light or Heineken in between songs.
Casino bars in downtown Las Vegas are great because they’re still serving up complimentary cocktails while you gamble. I’m partial to one casino because they offer two very different great casino bar experiences.
- The D – Longbar – Energy, excitement, loud music, flair bartenders, new TV’s and a good beer selection highlight this bar on the main casino floor. This is a great bar to get the party started or to watch the games in downtown Las Vegas.
- The D – Vue Bar – Great video poker, mellow vibe, and heavy pours are the highlights of this bar on the second floor of the casino. The video poker pay tables are better at Vue Bar than most in downtown Las Vegas casino bars – including Longbar. This is one of the best places to play video poker while drinking.
Grab n Go
Casinos are great but there’s so much more to the Fremont Street Experience. Walking the mall of the casinos, watching bands and the Viva Vision light shows can be nicely complimented with a drink. Grab a beer, frozen drink, or mixed drink in a souvenir cup and enjoy VEGAS BABY!
- The D – D Bar takes the Longbar outside with a good selection of beer, frozen drinks, souvenir containers, and dancers across the bar. The location next to the Third Street stage is great for concerts but you may end up hanging closer to the bar to make sure the dancers are safe.
- Golden Gate – Very similar to D Bar but next to the First Street stage. This is a great place to start your trip down the mall of casinos.
Las Vegas was made for drinking outdoors. The weather is beautiful most of the year so why not enjoy it? Between bars, casinos, restaurants, and malls there are more places to drink outside in downtown Las Vegas than ever.
- 4 Queens – The patio bar is right on Fremont Street. Watch a show on the 3rd Street stage or enjoy some of the best people watching in Las Vegas. Drinks are cheap and there are tacos nearby.
- Gold Spike – The backyard at Gold Spike is chock full of games from giant cornhole to massive beer pong. If it gets chilly at night, but snuggle up near one of the fire pits. The outdoor part of this bar is one of the unique adult playgrounds in Las Vegas.
There are plenty of bars and lounges in Las Vegas that will make a delicious cocktail or pour a fantastic beer…if you pay for it. This is Las Vegas and you can get just about anything you want if you’re willing to pay. Big deal. Let’s get some free drinks!
You can still earn delicious cocktails, top shelf liquor and amazing beers complimentary at a few bars in Las Vegas. I’m not talking about a middle-shelf vodka and club soda or another complimentary domestic beer. You can still get an amazing cocktail or beer for no additional charge while you’re gambling at a few casinos bars.
There was a time where you could just sit at a video poker bar in a casino and drink all day and night on just a few dollars. That changed last year and some casinos have installed drink monitoring systems to make sure you’re spending money and earning a complimentary drink (you can see a comparison here).
Additionally, more bars are limiting the kind of drinks you can have complimentary. Many bars in Las Vegas will only offer a complimentary bottom or middle shelf liquor or domestic beer. Call me a snob, but I want the good stuff.
This isn’t about the best video poker paytables. This is about the best complimentary drinks. There are a handful of video poker bars in Las Vegas casinos where you can still get great complimentary drinks.
Chandelier Bar – Cosmopolitan
The complimentary cocktails when playing video poker is one reason that the Chandelier Bar is my favorite bar in Las Vegas. Sure, the Cosmopolitan has instituted a drink monitoring system at all of their video poker bars but you’ll still receive better drinks and service than most casino bars in Las Vegas. Unlike other video poker bars, you can receive fantastic signature cocktails ($16) and top shelf liquor (up to $15) complimentary while playing one of the machines. While other casino bars only offer a limited selection of spirits, almost everything at the bar is available here. You can receive similar treatment at the other bars at the Cosmopolitan, Bond and sports book, but neither match the atmosphere of this beautiful bar.
Tag – The Linq
Tag is one of the best beer bars on the Vegas Strip with about 150 different beers to choose from. Many (many, many) of the craft and imported beer can be earned complimentary when playing video poker or one of the other games on the bartop machines. Caesars Entertainment owns The Linq and has a drink monitoring system so you’ll have to keep up your pace of play. Don’t worry if you slack off, the beers are affordably priced if you just want to pay.
The Linq is also home to the 5150 bar. This bar has a few machines and doesn’t offer complimentary signature cocktails. However, they deeply discount their delicious signature cocktails to $2. You can order regular cocktails without paying the $2. However, the signature cocktails are so good that you almost forget that you’re paying for a drink while playing video poker.
Pub 365 – Tuscany
This bar and restaurant at the Tuscany, just off the Vegas Strip, opened last year and quickly became one of my favorite beer bars in Las Vegas. The food is good and they have an immense beer selection. In addition to the 365 beers in their name, they have a unicorn list of very limited beer that you can purchase. The bar has video poker machines and offers complimentary beer while playing. Tuscany hasn’t installed a drink monitoring system. If you’re not familiar with the Tuscany, this small casino is about a 2-minute taxi, Uber or Lyft east of Bally’s or a 10-minute walk.
In the best way, March in Las Vegas really brings the Madness. The long weekend of Thursday, March 16 through Sunday, March 19 is one of the most fun weekends of the year. Las Vegas is a national destination for a combustible combination of people visiting for Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day and the first weekend of March Madness. It’s also a time where many locals mingle with tourists.
While activities in Las Vegas typically draw people of all ages, this weekend generally attracts a younger crowd. You’ll find spring breakers partying like there’s no tomorrow. Sports fans and sports bettors will be awake from the first tip of the college basketball tournament at 9 am each day and partying until the sun rises again. Saint Patrick’s Day attracts crowds of all ages, some looking for debauchery and others looking for a more familial celebration of the day.
The first weekend of March Madness is always one of the busiest sports weekends of the year. Spring break usually falls during this time and brings more than just sports fans to Las Vegas. The years when St. Patrick’s Day falls during this weekend can be explosive in a great way. This weekend brings three different groups of people all looking for fun.
March Madness, Spring Break & St. Patrick’s Day Fun
The first weekend of March Madness is the busiest of the college basketball tournament because of a) there are a lot of games played and b) you can legally wager on all of those games. Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17 each has 16 games beginning at 9 am and ending around 9 pm. The pace slows down on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19 when each day only has 8 games.
Sports books will be overflowing all day and night. Many casinos, bars, and restaurants will have parties that offer food and drink to go along with seats for you to watch the games. Some of these parties will have mobile betting stations so you can skip the sports book. It’s a great time for all sports fans but the fun doesn’t end there.
Spring break brings out the hardcore partiers. Most dayclubs won’t be popping off like the summer, but the nightclubs bring in A-List talent for those looking for entertainment. You’ll find that many of the big name Las Vegas residencies will have shows that sell out shows for this weekend. This group of mostly college students don’t need all that much more than just being in Las Vegas and enjoying everything Sin City has to offer.
St. Patrick’s Day brings out a few different groups of people in addition to those already in Las Vegas. Many people from nearby states like California and Arizona will visit just to celebrate some away from home. There are whiskey and beer specials at bars all over town. Local residents will often make an appearance on the Vegas Strip to partake in the parties.
One of the larger celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day takes place at New York-New York. The Celtic Feis festival takes place on March 17 and 18. Festivities kick off on Friday, March 17 with live entertainment beginning at 11 a.m. on the Brooklyn Bridge. The Las Vegas Pipe Band will lead a parade at 10 a.m., starting on the Mezzanine and continuing through New York-New York. The parade is complimentary and open to guests of all ages. Starting at noon on March 17, guests must be at least 21 years of age and admission starts at $10.
Between the Brooklyn Bridge and Nine Fine Irishmen, my favorite Irish Bar in Las Vegas, you’ll find Irish food, booze, music and more. It’s a true celebration or the holiday that you might not expect to find on the Vegas Strip.
Beyond all of this, the weather is just heating up and it’s a great time to be outside in Las Vegas. This is probably my favorite weekend to be on the Vegas Strip. You might want to get busy, if you want to visit for this weekend and haven’t already made plans.
It’s safe to say that I’m addicted to social media. If it’s not on my main screen it’s on a 2nd, 3rd or 4th screen. Most of my obsession with social media is to be on top of everything in Las Vegas (my job) and to keep up with friends (my personal life). There’s a small sliver of my social media spent on hobbies and things unrelated to work.
The other day I was checking out the snapchat of a very funny comedian, Iliza Shlesinger. She’s active on snapchat and typically brings her small dog just about everywhere. She and Blanche amuse me. I happened to be checking the snaps while she was on vacation in Asia. After shuffling through touristy pics and video, I came across the most amazing touristy restaurant I’ve ever seen.
She visited Robot Restaurant in Japan. My first thought was OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
My second thought was that Robot Restaurant needs to be in Las Vegas! Before I try to describe what the experience at Robot Restaurant is like, you should watch this video.
I’m not sure I can describe this dinner experience accurately but here it goes. This is dinner theater with robots. The concept is loosely similar to what Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan tried to do. The idea is to create a unique dining experience before taking in a wild and over-the-top show that you won’t find anywhere else.
The drum solo, dancing, music, battles, animal mascots all make me want to have a few too many drinks and scream. That’s just the show. There’s a whole other dinner and drinks part of the evening. There’s nothing that I don’t like about this. It’s unique and it’s the kind of kitchy spectacle that made Las Vegas famous.
I’ve never seen anything like Robot Restaurant but I sure would like to. However, I don’t want to travel halfway around the world to see it. I want to this in a Las Vegas casino! I’m not sure that there’s an appropriate location for Robot Restaurant in Las Vegas…yet. So, let’s brainstorm a little.
Sake Rok is probably the only truly unique dining experience in Las Vegas. There is no other restaurant experience like it in Las Vegas. In between your sushi dinner there’s a DJ spinning, MC walking the floor, every table drinking sake bombs, there are dance routines and a stage for having random fun with guests. This is a loud restaurant and not a place for a mellow dinner.
Sake Rok is in The Park just outside of New York-New York. The concept doesn’t quite fit the theme of any casino and this is perfect. That’s a consideration for Robot Restaurant. Some larger casinos in Las Vegas like MGM Grand or Caesars Palace might be large enough where the robot theme doesn’t overtake the existing casino environment.
Now that I think about it, MGM Grand might actually be the perfect location for Robot Restaurant in Las Vegas. The casino doesn’t have a distinct theme and is large enough to house just about any concept without changing whatever its core identity might be.
MGM Grand is a casino that caters to a wide variety of customers. The history and brand attracts many people who aren’t familiar with Las Vegas. Hakkasan Nightclub attracts a younger crowd. Maybe Robot Restaurant could be their version of what Tournament of Kings is at Excalibur. While Level Up is geared towards younger millennials Robot Restaurant could attract older millennials and Generation Xers like myself.
I’m a dreamer and I can’t get this restaurant out of my head. The snaps were intriguing enough send me into the great depths google and youtube. If you’re teased a little and want more you can see 20 minutes of the show below.
New Year’s Eve is the busiest time of year in Las Vegas. There will be over 300,000 people visiting just for the events surrounding the day. Add these visitors to the 2 million plus people who live in Las Vegas and want to party and you have chaos. It’s the best kind of chaos but it’s still crazy. There’s no other time during the year that comes close to matching the energy of Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve.
There are concerts, big name DJ’s and parties everywhere you go. The Vegas Strip even closes to vehicular traffic so people can wander the streets freely. At midnight there will be a massive 8 minute long fireworks show above Aria, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, Stratosphere, Treasure Island, and The Venetian.
Here is a list of concerts, club appearances, and parties if you haven’t made your plans for New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. Las Vegas will be at capacity all weekend. Make as many arrangements in advance so you don’t miss out on shows, parties, dinner reservations, etc. that you want.
Fremont Street Experience on New Year’s Eve
The mall of casinos closes to the public on New Year’s Eve. They begin charging admission at 5:30 p.m. for the night of festivities. There will be tribute bands all night on all three stages under the massive canopy.
At midnight there will be a simulated fireworks show on the Viva Vision screens. New Year’s Eve guests will also be treated to the premiere of a new Viva Vision light show featuring Green Day, “Revolution Vegas.”
Tickets: $35 before 12/25 or $40 beginning 12/26
Concerts on New Year’s Eve
Bruno Mars – Park Theater (Monte Carlo)
Cheap Trick – The Foundry (SLS Las Vegas)
Dennis DeYoung – South Point Showroom
Elton John – Colosseum Theater (Caesars Palace)
George Clinton And Parliament Funkadelic – Brooklyn Bowl (The Linq)
Maroon 5 – (Mandalay Bay)
Sting – The Chelsea (Cosmopolitan)
Vince Neil – (Cannery Casino)
Wu-Tang Clan – Axis (Planet Hollywood)
Nightclubs on New Year’s Eve
Calvin Harris – Omnia
DJ Snake – Surrender
Drake – Hakkasan
French Montana & DJ Khaled – Tao
Kendrick Lamar – Drai’s
Lil Jon – 1 OAK
Ludacris – Light
Major Lazer – XS
Steve Aoki – Jewel
T-Pain – Lavo
Warren G, Ying Yang Twins – LAX
The Wkend – Marquee
New Year’s Eve Parties
Beer Park (Paris) – General admission and premium open bar from 9pm through 11:59pm with a champagne toast at midnight and a great view of the fireworks. Tickets: $125 per person
Chateau (Paris) – General admission, three hours of a premium open bar between 9pm & 11:59pm, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets: $140 per person
Carlos’n Charlie’s (Flamingo) – Hosted Open Bar 9:30pm – close. Tickets: (Well) Open Bar $30.00, (Call) Open Bar GA $50.00
Double Barrel Roadhouse (Monte Carlo)
General admission – Entertainment by DJ Montana and access to view the fireworks at midnight. Tickets: $32 per person
Hosted bar – Includes general admission for standing room only, 3 Hour Hosted Bar from 9pm to 11:59pm (well drinks and domestic drafts), entertainment by DJ Montana and access to view the fireworks at midnight. Tickets: $63 per person
Gilley’s (Treasure Island) – A country of a time includes: The Scotty Alexander Band, Gilley’s Girls, three hours of open bar, $5 Mechanical Bull Rides, and party favors. Food is available for purchase. Tickets: $119.95 per person
Hard Rock Cafe on Vegas Strip – Hosted bar and appetizers from 9 p.m. to midnight and a live band, and views of the fireworks show at midnight. Tickets: $175 per person
House Of Blues (Mandalay Bay) – All you can eat from 4pm-Midnight. Tickets: $50.00 per person
Masquerade Party – General admission and a champagne toast at midnight. $65 per person
Masquerade Party – Hosted bar option includes admission, deluxe hosted bar from 9pm to 11:30pm and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets: $95 per person
Koi Restaurant (Planet Hollywood) – General Admission tickets include an open bar and party favors. Tickets: Guys $50.00 / Ladies $30.00
Lavo (Palazzo) – Passed hors d’oeuvres from 9pm – midnight and premium open bar from 9pm – 11pm. Tickets: Guys $77.98 / Ladies $50.46
New York-New York
New Year’s Eve Bridge Bash Celebration 2017 – Open bar, DJ spinning all night with a view of the Fireworks. Tickets: Start at $135.00 per person
Tom’s Urban New Year’s Eve Celebration 2017 – Party favors, passed appetizers until midnight and open bar from 9:00pm – 1:00am; Tickets: Start at $150 per person
Center Bar – Bottomless sparkling wine package is $40 per person
Moon Nightclub – Fireworks Viewing & Dance Party with 4-hour premium open bar from 9pm-1am. Tickets: $137.50 per person
Rain Nightclub – Top Vegas DJs and premium open bar. Tickets $137.50 per person.
Tower VIP Party – Level 103, and Level 104, with access to the “Stargaze – Party in the Stars” on Level 108. Includes 4-hour premium brand open bar, Martini Bar, DJ’s, dancers, models, specialty drinks, food, live entertainment, a champagne toast at midnight, party favors and a spectacular view of the fireworks. Tickets: $350 per person
Party in the Sky – Party on the Observation Deck includes 3-hour premium brand open bar, Club DJ Kittie, Go-Go Dancers & Party Models,food and a great view of the fireworks plus admission to the Ultimate Patrón After Party Time: 9:30pm to 12:30am – Tickets: $250 per person and up
Level 107 Lounge – Skyline Celebration includes 2-hour open bar with premium brands (cash Bar – Midnight to 4am), party favors, great view of the fireworks with a champagne toast. Tickets: $199 per person
Vanity Nightclub (Hard Rock) – Hosted Bar from 9pm – 11pm 9pm to 2am Tickets: Guys $75.00 / Ladies $50.00
Entertainment in Las Vegas comes in all varieties. You can see a big production show on the Vegas Strip, catch a band perform for free at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas and even head out to one of the biggest and best nightclubs in the world. There’s something for every mood and taste.
Somewhere in between everything else, Piano Bars remain a popular form of entertainment in Las Vegas. Like the general entertainment, there’s a nice variety in piano bars. Dueling pianos bring the party while some piano bars are just simply relaxing. Here’s a look at some different piano bars in Las Vegas and what you’ll find at each.
Piano Bar at Harrah’s
This is one of the most popular piano bars in Las Vegas in part because of its location right on the Vegas Strip. Sure the Piano Bar offers a lively Dueling Pianos show with identical twins Kim and Tamara Pinegar, but that’s really just the beginning. In addition to other forms of entertainment at the Piano Bar, this is also one of the few bars on the Vegas Strip where you can sing karaoke. You can find more information here.
The Bar at New York-New York
This bar is billed as more than a piano bar, but that’s what it is. If you don’t mind standing to watch the show, entry is free. If you want to sit down, you’ll have a pay a small cover charge (usually somewhere between $5 and $20). There’s almost always a line to get in when the dueling piano shows are happening. Other entertainment here includes a saxophone player and solo piano players. Pro-Tip: There are a few seats on the casino side of the bar with video poker. Throw a few bucks in the machine for a little gambling with a side of entertainment.
Napoleon’s at Paris Las Vegas
Every piano bar has something to separate it from the other bars. Napoleon’s encourages you to sing along with the dueling piano show. This bar has more of an upscale lounge feel and there are cocktails, cognac, scotch, whiskey, French wine and bourbons to compliment that vibe. The entertainment at Napoleon’s starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m.
Petrossian at Bellagio and Eastside Lounge at Encore
Each of the previous piano bars listed above is for partying. The Eastside Lounge and Petrossian Bar are both lounges where you go to relax, enjoy a cocktail and take in some mellow music. You might be done with the party or it might just be too early to start the party. Both are great options if you just enjoy live music in the background while hanging out.
Don’t Tell Mama on Fremont Street
This is an open-mic piano bar. Take the stage or just let other people entertain you. The crowds in downtown Las Vegas can get a little rowdy so proceed with caution. Kidding. Kinda. PARTY!
Nightlife in Las Vegas is constantly evolving. The most recent era of nightlife in Las Vegas brought huge nightclubs like Marquee at the Cosmopolitan, Hakkasan at MGM Grand and Omnia at Caesars Palace. They really changed the face of what a nightclub could be. These “mega-clubs” are as much performance venues for DJ’s as they are places to party. These clubs remain incredibly popular but nightlife may be ready to take a step in a new direction.
Intrigue recently opened at Wynn (actually at Encore) in the space formerly occupied by Tryst nightclub. Wynn has two other successful nightclubs with XS and Surrender so they decided to try something new with Intrigue. The new nightclub promises to offer a different experience than you’ll find at the mega-clubs.
When discussing plans for Intrigue Sean Christie, VP of operations at Wynn Las Vegas said “The current market is dominated by the DJ phenomenon. While the current nightlife options at Wynn continue to enjoy the success of EDM (Electronic Dance Music), there is an audience who wants an alternative nightlife experience. Wynn was the first in Las Vegas to embrace the DJ phenomenon at Encore Beach Club, XS and Surrender and will again usher in a unique concept with Intrigue while providing the highest level of luxury and service that customers expect from the resort.”
Intrigue will not be a total shift away from the traditional nightclub but it will be an evolution. The club is much smaller than the large nightclubs that occupy almost 100,000 square feet and multiple levels. Intrigue is only 14,000 square feet and has an occupancy of only 1,200 people. Compare that to XS at Wynn, which can hold 10,000 people on a busy night. Intrigue actually feels more intimate than that as there’s a VIP club within the club that occupies 1,200 square feet.
Entertainment at Intrigue promises to be different as well. The focus on entertainment will be so that thousands of people won’t just be staring at a DJ on a stage. There will be DJ’s and other musical entertainment but that won’t be the only entertainment you’ll find at Intrigue. Mark Shunock, who previously narrated “Rock of Ages” is the creative director of Intrigue. He’s been tasked with creating a unique nightlife experience.
There will be aerialists, actors, singers and dancers throughout the night. The goal is to add a unique nightlife experience inside of a less than traditional nightclub. The “acts” will begin around 11:30 p.m. and end around 3 a.m.
Opening night at Intrigue drew popular stars like Kate Hudson, Charlotte McKinney, Vanessa Hudgens and more. Leonardo DiCaprio and Rihanna were also spotted at the club during opening weekend. If you’re looking for a change of pace with nightlife in Las Vegas this might be the place to visit.
If nightlife if your thing, keep your eyes peeled for details on Jewel at Aria. The nightclub replaces Haze and will be operated by Hakkasan Group (Hakkasan, Omnia, etc.). Expect a more traditional nightlife experience when Jewel opens May 19th.
One of the best annual rites of summer in Las Vegas is when the Fremont Street Experience announces its lineup of free summer concerts. The theme of the concerts this year is Rock of Vegas. Earlier this year the Fremont Street Experience announced that the 8th year of the annual concert series would kick-off the summer on Memorial Day weekend with a free concert featuring Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
Last week the Fremont Street Experience announced the rest of the free concert series’ lineup for the summer and which stage you’ll find the bands performing.
May 28 – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – 3rd Street Stage
June 11 – 3 Doors Down – 3rd Street Stage
July 2 – Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – 1st Street Stage
July 23 – Robby Krieger of The Doors – 1st Street Stage
August 6 – Vertical Horizon – 1st Street Stage
August 20 – Melissa Etheridge – 1st Street Stage
September 3 – Smash Mouth – 3rd Street Stage
Each of these concerts begins at (or shortly after) 9:00 p.m. Some of these artists should be familiar if you’ve followed or attended the Rock of Ages series at the Fremont Street Experience in the past. The standout concert this year might be Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Their concerts usually sell well in Las Vegas regardless of price. The price of $0 might have an extra large crowd at the Fremont Street Experience.
These concerts are free and admission to the stage area is first come first served. Plan to arrive early if you want to be close to the stage for a particular artist. Entry to the stage area is general admission and your place won’t be guaranteed unless you’re standing in it. If you leave to use the restroom or buy a drink you might lose your spot in front of the stage.
Every one of these free concerts will be packed. The Fremont Street Experience and all of its casinos will be full of revelers all night. Everyone loves free entertainment and these free concerts featuring national touring musicians bring people out of the woodwork. It’s one of the few occasions during the year where you’ll see a large mix of tourists and locals in the same location.
This is one of the most fun times to visit downtown Las Vegas. That said, consider the large crowds if you don’t enjoy cramped spaces. The stage areas can be especially tight during the concerts. Regardless of your taste in music, the large crowds of people can provide a different level of fun than you might normally find on Fremont Street.
Visit Vegas Experience for more information on the Rock of Ages concert series and all entertainment at the Fremont Street Experience.
Monte Carlo has been in the news a lot lately. Along with New York-New York, the casino-resort is a bookend to The Park entertainment area and T-Mobile Arena which both recently opened. The newness in doesn’t end there as The Park Theater is currently under construction in the area most recently helmed by the Blue Man Group Theater. The new theater will expand the original venue and seat 5,000 people.
Fear not, the refreshment of this aging property will continue later this year when the Monte Carlo name is replaced with something new and more fitting with the recent developments of the area. After all, the renovations and additions to Monte Carlo have essentially wiped away the original Monte Carlo theme of the property.
With all of that being said if you’re on the Vegas Strip and looking for a way to save some money on food and drink you might want to look towards Monte Carlo or whatever the new name may be. Even though Monte Carlo is in the middle of receiving numerous upgrades there are some of the best Happy Hour deals on the Vegas Strip found at various restaurants inside the casino-resort.
Andre’s – This restaurant and lounge is an AAA 4-Diamond contemporary French restaurant what has an excellent Happy Hour. The discounted Happy Hour menu at their bar or cigar lounge lasts two hours but can be extended to last all night if you have an M Life players club card (sign up here).
Brand Lounge – The Lounge area of Brand Steakhouse offers Happy Hour prices for both food and drink. Special prices include $3 Off beer, cocktails and wine while appetizers start at $8 each.
D.Vino – The Italian restaurant and wine bar offers discounted prices at the bar all day but even better prices during Happy Hour. Special prices include $3 draft beer, $5 well drinks and wine along with $6 appetizers.
The Pub – The best beer bar on the Vegas Strip has one of the best beer specials you’ll find in the area. Special prices include $3 off beer and $3 Off appetizers. I recommend you stick with cheap beer.
Diablo’s Cantina – Head to the cantina bar with a view of the Vegas Strip and discounted prices for Happy Hour. Special prices include $5 draft beer and $4 tacos.
Double Barrel Roadhouse – The all-American roadhouse has live entertainment at night and Southern-inspired food but the Happy Hour is focused on booze. Special prices include $5 Bud, Bud Light, Shocktop, Firestone DBA Draft Beer and $6 well vodka cocktails.
The name change is confirmed to happen later this year. Usually, when there’s a name change to the hotels the restaurants also change but that might not be the case with Monte Carlo. The refreshment of the casino-resort and adjacent entertainment district might be enough to keep these Happy Hour deals intact. We’ll keep our eyes open for any changes.
The idea of Beer Hopping on the Vegas Strip seems to have caught on. People from far and wide have taken to the list to find a solid craft or import beer or 10 while they travel along the Strip. It’s time to take the Beer Hop to downtown Las Vegas, and specifically the Fremont Street area.
We know that the number of bars and restaurants with excellent craft beer options has exploded on the Vegas Strip over the past few years. That similar trend towards craft beer is slowly catching on in downtown Las Vegas. The area once known for being a mall of casinos where you can buy a football of beer that looks like bubbly lemonade-looking beer is slowly becoming a destination for beer drinkers.
One of the best features of the Fremont Street casino district is the proximity of all of the properties. It can take almost the same amount of time to walk from one end of the Fremont Street Experience to the other as it does to walk from MGM Grand’s Signature tower to the Vegas Strip. Seriously. The other benefit of Beer Hopping in downtown Las Vegas is that prices are a fraction of the Vegas Strip. You can sometimes find an import beer like Delirium Tremens in a downtown Vegas bar for half the price than you’d find it on the Vegas Strip (I’m specifically referencing Pizza Rock).
The compact nature and low prices available in downtown Vegas can make Beer Hopping easy and possibly potent since you won’t have much time between drinks. When given the option of beer sizes, you’re probably best served by choosing the smallest size. In some cases, you might even want to share a flight of beer with friends. Then again, you might want to drink the flight so you can sample the different flavors and styles of beer at Banger Brewing on Fremont Street.
Much like the Vegas Strip Beer Hop, we’re not stopping at every location that serves beer. The downtown Vegas Beer Hop will be selective and will take you around to where you can find good local beer, microbrews and imported beer. We’ll break the downtown Vegas Beer Hop into 2-parts, the first will be a straight run from one end of Fremont Street to the end of the Fremont Street Experience and the other will add some options just off Fremont Street.
Start The Beer Hop At The Plaza And Head East
Plaza – Beer Garden
Binion’s – Benny’s BBQ & Brews (opens at 4pm)
Fremont Hotel – Filament
Four Queens – Chicago Brewing Company
The D – Long Bar
Extend Your Beer Hop Just Outside Of The Fremont Street Experience
Plaza – Beer Garden
*Main Street Station – 777 (aka Triple Seven) Brewery
Four Queens – Chicago Brewing Company
Fremont Hotel – Filament
The D – Long Bar
* notes added bar
Beer options on the Vegas Strip improve with just about every new restaurant and bar that opens. Not only are there more restaurants and bars opening with a beer menu but the options often include microbrews, craft beer and imported beer that you won’t find at every bar in Las Vegas. You can now find a place to grab a good beer in almost every casino and retail area on the Vegas Strip. This wasn’t always the case.
Beer has become such a big deal in Las Vegas today that a Beer Park just opened at Paris and a beer hall called Beerhaus will open at The Park in April. Drinking beer has come a long way in Las Vegas over the past few years and it’s beautiful.
If you’re a beer drinker looking for a way to explore Las Vegas as the weather warms up you take a Beer Hop up and down the Vegas Strip. Your journey drinking delicious beer can start at the Burger Bar inside Mandalay Bay walk and continue all the way north to a pitstop and beer-filled lunch at Umami Burger and Beer Garden at SLS Las Vegas. Once you’ve nourished yourself you can head back south to finish your Beer Hop at Tap just inside MGM Grand. We could send you to Pub 1842 at MGM Grand but Tap is closer and we’re kinda nice.
Start The Beer Hop Heading North
Mandalay Bay – Burger Bar
The Park – Beerhaus (opens in April)
Monte Carlo – The Pub
Aria – Bardot Brasserie
Mandarin Oriental – Mandarin Bar (this is just a great bar)
Crystals – Todd English Pub
Cosmopolitan – Holsteins
The Mirage – BLT Burger
Lunch or Dinner Break
Walk a little bit north and cross the street to SLS Las Vegas. Drink and dine at Umami Burger and Beer Garden. I recommend “The Manly Burger”, off-the-menu tater tots and a craft beer of your preference.
Resume The Beer Hop Heading South
The Venetian – Public House
The Linq Casino – TAG
The Linq Promenade – Yard House
The Cromwell – Interlude
Paris – Beer Park
MGM Grand – Tap
Consider this a guide for your Beer Hop. This actual tour of great beer drinking locations on the Vegas Strip might be a bit too much beer for anyone to handle in one day. This might make sense to break into days where you walk and drink on one side of the Vegas Strip each day, Feel free to amend the full tour and enjoy at your leisure. Be safe, have fun, enjoy all of the good beer that the Vegas Strip has to offer.
If you’ve been following this blog you know that I am an advocate for planning a trip to Las Vegas well in advance. Planning a trip to Las Vegas early allows you to save money on just about every facet of your trip. Prices on flights often increase closer to flight date. It’s easier to get a reservation at a restaurant or tickets to a show if you plan in advance. While hotel room rates may go down after you book early you have better selection booking in advance and you can always cancel a reservation and rebook at a less expensive rate.
Having said that, we’re heading into one of the busiest weeks of the year in Las Vegas. You’re going to want to make sure you have hotels, restaurant and show tickets reserved sooner than later. The in between Christmas to New Years Day is one of the busiest in Las Vegas. Rooms go from 20%-30% booked in early December to nearly capacity for this week, restaurants are booked and shows are sold out during this week. I’m talking about regular shows and dining experiences. Just wait until we get to the special events for New Years Eve.
There are a lot of things that are unique to Las Vegas. Piano bars are one of those things that may exist in other cities but they live in Las Vegas. Piano bars are a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment. Often times, that entertainment can be fun and other times it’s serious. Piano bars isn’t entirely accurate since there are usually two pianos with dueling or multiple vocalists. The performers will often interact with the audience giving you a really fun, jovial, experience.
Piano bars may have seen brighter days but there are still a few places where you can get in on the fun. Here are some of the best piano bars in Las Vegas.
Harrah’s – You may remember the Piano bar at Harrah’s when I was telling you about the best karaoke bars in Las Vegas. In the early part of the evening the Piano Bar at Harrah’s doubles as home to some of the best karaoke that you’ll find in Las Vegas. After the sun goes you’ll see the Piano Bar overflowing with packed crowds. The Piano Bar consistently gets great reviews from real people (Trip Advisor, for example). The identical twins, Kim and Tamara Pinegar, are one of the main attractions but they aren’t the only piano hounds playing music at the Piano Bar at Harrah’s so you can really enjoy it any day or night.
The Bar at Times Square at New York-New York has the other very popular piano bar in Las Vegas. Every night from 8pm-12pm you’ll be able to enjoy dueling pianos here. There is always a cover charge for dueling pianos at The Bar. In fact, dueling pianos at The Bar is so popular they recommend making reservations for large parties. Besides video poker at the bar there are a few differences between dueling pianos at New York-New York and Harrah’s. There is a daily happy hour from 3-7 to get you primed for the dueling pianos, there are multiple TV’s to keep an eye on the games and locals get free entry.
If you’re on the other side of the Vegas Strip you head to Napoleon’s Piano Bar at Paris Las Vegas. Napoleon’s Piano Bar offers both solo and dueling pianos. When dueling pianos are active you’ll have a blast as the two pianists battle for your tip money. To be frank, Napoleon’s Piano Bar isn’t as popular as Harrah’s or New York-New York but it’s fun and it’s strip location makes it convenient for most tourists.
All of the piano fun isn’t kept inside of casinos. Don’t Tell Mama is a piano bar located in Downtown Vegas’ Fremont East area. Don’t Tell Mama is located in between the Fremont Street Experience and El Cortez. Unlike the piano bars on the Vegas Strip, Don’t Tell Mama is mostly a locals bar featuring local talent and because of the attraction to locals you’ll end up with a packed house. Check out the Yelp reviews to see why Don’t Tell Mama is popular. Entertainment begins every night at 7pm and everyone will recommend that you arrive early to get a seat.
Piano bars are a nostalgic look back at entertainment that took place in the 20’s and 30’s. Besides the vintage feel piano bars can offer some of the most fun and inexpensive entertainment that you’ll find in Las Vegas. Not all piano bars are created the same but all of them will offer the same result – fun.
Dive bars are awesome because they are what they are and their customers are happy with that. Dive bars aren’t fancy, they’re just bars where people go to grab a cheap drink and hang out. Unlike every other city in the United States you may find video poker in your Las Vegas dive bar. Over time dive bars obtain a vibe and an aura about them that you can feel it when you walk in the door. Sometimes you can smell it and taste it. It’s okay, that’s part of the experience. These feeling are very noticeable in a city like Las Vegas where there’s so much mainstream culture. Dive bars don’t care about image and don’t try to be the same – or different – than everyone else. They just are.
Las Vegas is great because you can have any experience you want. On one of my most memorable trips to Vegas my friends and I spent a morning drinking (too much) vodka and playing blackjack at Bellagio then hopping into a limo to the El Cortez for some .25 cent roulette. It was an epic day for the ages but what stands out was the ability to go from being a high roller to a low low roller within a few hours.
Even though I live in Las Vegas now and have access to learning about places I never would have found as a tourist I still enjoy going out and enjoying the finer things in life like I did as a tourist. For me that includes a great steak, a cigar and a really good drink. I shared my favorite steakhouses earlier this year and now I want to share great places where you can enjoy a great cigar and drink.
There are two great cigar lounges on the Vegas strip that offer different experiences. Casa Fuente is located in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and has a large selection of cigars in a massive humidor. While they offer fantastic sangria and mojitos they also have very limited edition Glenfiddich and other single malt whiskies which compliment a cigar very nicely. Every now and again Casa Fuente will hold tastings of limited edition high end spirits (like Glenfiddich) that go nicely with a cigar. Casa Fuente is so devoted to high end booze that they have a special spirits society that’s open for anyone to join. Casa Fuente really is the best of both worlds. Unfortunately due to complaints from visitors at the Forum Shops the smoking space has been cut in half. You now have to smoke by the bar. This isn’t such a bad deal because the cigars and drinks are great but it was nice to have the extra space to spread out.
Nightclubs are a big deal in Las Vegas. In fact, 8 of the top 10 nightclubs in America are located in Las Vegas. There’s always been demand to get into the Vegas nightclubs but nothing like this. Now the demand is so insane that the lines are huge at clubs up and down the Vegas strip instead of just one or two hot spots. The clubs are so packed at night that almost every nightclub has a dayclub where you can soak in some rays while catching a world famous DJ drop some beats.
The increased demand to get into clubs allows the operators to charge more money and increase how strict they are with dress codes and guy codes. You now have to bring an equal amount of guys and girls with your party to enter the club. This isn’t anything new but it has never been strictly enforced at all times and at every club. The newest and most grand club on the strip, Hakkasan, isn’t hiding the fact that you can’t have a party of just guys. What’s a bro supposed to do with his bros?
Let’s set the scene. It’s 4am and you’re done with the club or gambling or whatever Vegas had in store for you the night. All you want is something to eat before you pass out. While there’s usually a sit down restaurant in every casino resort but most hotels don’t have quick and inexpensive late night dining options. I’m talking about the place where you can get a drink and bite around $10 in just a few minutes.
I always recommend having at least one glass or bottle of water before crashing for the night. Rehydrating in a dry city like Las Vegas is important for the sober or unsober. Here are some of my favorite places to grab a quick cheap bite to eat inside and outside of a casino.
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