It might be hard to believe that some of the best places to spend an evening in Las Vegas are just steps away from your hotel’s front desk. Unlike other cities, the lobby bars here are not necessarily reserved for quiet conversation…nor are they always the precursors to other more hyped bars and nightclubs. Boasting stylish décor, Sin City’s lobby bars are hip spots in their own right. For cool cocktails and a good time, these are 10 of the best.
• Art Bar at Downtown Grand is appropriately named because its ceiling is filled with paintings done by local artists. Snag yourself a seat on one of the long couches or upholstered chairs and order a cocktail, which will be a masterpiece too. Among your choices are the Van Gogh Espresso Martini, the Guggenheim Manhattan and the Mona Lisa, which is made with Southern Comfort, Smirnoff vodka, crème de menthe and hot chocolate.
• With its classy gold and black color palette, Bound by Salvatore at The Cromwell is a dark, clubby bar with the chicest cocktails around. Salvatore Calabrese, one of the world’s leading mixologists, has created a menu of drinks using unusual ingredients in a way that both pays tribute to and defies tradition. For example, the gin-based Breakfast Martini contains orange marmalade. Other standouts include the espresso cocktails, like the Never Say Goodnight, and the well-crafted Cromwell Fizz, which is topped with Moët & Chandon Impérial Champagne.
• The elegant Petrossian Bar at Bellagio certainly lives up to the resort’s high standards with its refined seating, sophisticated cocktails and flawless service. In addition to a vodka sampler tray, you can enjoy afternoon English tea service – complete with freshly baked scones, Baxters jam and clotted cream. Plus, live musicians (including David Osborne, Norman Vito, Shelly Taylor, Whitney Phoenix, Joey Singer and others) perform on the bar’s one-of-a-kind Steinway grand piano in the mid morning, late afternoon and evening hours.
• When you enter Vesper Bar at The Cosmopolitan be sure to look up. The ceiling is covered with a metal mesh that’s meant to resemble a cloud. Your eyes will also be captivated by mirrors and shimmering silver accents, all of which create a décor that mixes swanky with glitzy glamour. The menu features many classic cocktails with modern interpretations – but by all means, you should try the James Bond-inspired Vesper.
• A great gathering spot, the Lobby Bar at Caesars Palace recently reopened after undergoing a major renovation. Blending gold accents with contemporary Roman art, you’ll feel like a god or goddess while you sit back and relax with one of the classic libations. Perhaps a Hemingway Daiquiri or The Chairman’s Manhattan? The signature Cleopatra’s Smile contains Ketel One Citroen vodka, Aperol Apertivo, Pavan liqueur, fresh-squeezed grapefruit and lemon juices, and clover honey syrup. Along with beers and wines, you’ll also discover plenty of fine spirits including gins, vodkas, American and Canadian whiskies, bourbons, ryes, tequilas, rums and brandies from around the world.
• With its light-enhancing sculptural screens and a curved reflecting pool, Bar Vdara at Vdara looks like a cross between a funky gallery and a charming patio. The bartenders have perfected the art of the cocktail here, skillfully crafting drinks with a “modern twist” – like the Maple Manhattan, which is made with Crown Royal Whiskey, dry vermouth, house maple syrup and a cherry garnish. Health-conscious patrons will appreciate the Green Dream and Watermelon Smash, two fresh juice cocktails.
• The Lobby Bar at Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa offers an exquisite setting for a drink. Hovering above is a splendid 32-foot-long chandelier formed from cascading pieces of crystal. Drop by the bar for the weekly Wined Up Thursdays event from 5 – 7 p.m. For only $25, you can indulge in bottomless wine and several savory appetizers.
• An intimate spot near the front desk, Rojo Lounge at Palms Place is sure to put you in the mood for liaisons (whether dangerous or not), thanks to the sexy red-lit bar and black vinyl sofas. Also contributing to the romance-filled atmosphere is a menu of outstanding cocktails like the Range Rover, Chasing the Dragon, Pushing Daisies and O Captain! My Captain!
• The Moroccan-themed Arabesque Lounge at The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa is exotic without being ostentatious. Boasting indoor and outdoor seating, it serves up tempting cocktails – such as the Ali Baba, Le Sahara, Agave Margarita and signature Casablanca – with an incomparable visual treat: the sparkling waters of Lake Las Vegas.
• Something of a neighborhood pub-style bar, you’ll feel right at home in Sully’s at Bally’s. Situated between the front desk and the casino floor, it offers thirsty visitors a convivial welcome to Las Vegas. Amid wood-paneled columns, you’ll spot TV screens playing all the day’s big games. And with an extensive draft beer selection, there’s no better place to while away a few hours before, after or instead of hitting the town.
In the near future, expect to see two new lobby bars debut on the Strip. On Aug. 23, 2013, you’ll be able to chill out with a drink in the living room-style Monkey Bar at SLS Las Vegas. And in early September, Delano Las Vegas will unveil Franklin, a lounge with a sleek atmosphere. Featuring a hanging art installation that resembles fireflies in the evening sky, Franklin will pour craft cocktails and dish out small plates. In the late-night hours, it will also have club-like elements such as DJ-spun music.