Setting the bar high: Vegas bars with a view

Posted by on Jul 19th, 2011 and filed under Featured, Nightlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

When your city has one of the most recognizable skylines in the world, it’s easy to be the go-to backdrop for movies, television shows, advertisements and calendars.

The bright lights and diverse structures make Las Vegas’ landscape undeniable. The picturesque views are part of the reason why Vegas is able to demand up to $40,000 a night for some of its most exclusive suites. But you won’t have to fork over a year’s salary to take in the best scenes the city has to offer.

From the south end of the Strip to downtown, there are a number of places to enjoy memorable views of Las Vegas. And since this is an adult playground, you can expect to find a bar anchoring the prime viewing spots. We have compiled a list of some of the most scenic bars Sin City has to offer.

Chateau Nightclub & Gardens
Hours: Gardens open at 10 a.m. daily, nightclub is open Tue., Fri.-Sat. 10 p.m.-close.

Chateau Nightclub & Gardens provides one of the best views of the fountains at Bellagio available on the Las Vegas Strip. Photo by Justin Lawson.

Chateau Nightclub & Gardens provides one of the best views of the fountains at Bellagio available on the Las Vegas Strip. Photo by Justin Lawson.

Before construction started on Chateau Nightclub & Gardens just over a year ago, Paris Las Vegas was another photo opportunity as tourists walked up the Strip. The outdoor terrace, though, has added a new vantage point for those looking to watch the Bellagio Fountains or grab a drink.

“First, it’s the 50-yard line [of the Strip]; it also faces the Bellagio Fountains. And we actually have a better look at Bellagio than Bellagio does,” said Steve Davidovici, managing partner at Chateau. “It’s a low vantage point so you get the street scene, the Bellagio…you’re getting a full 360 (degree) view of the Las Vegas Strip from anywhere on the terrace.”

During the day Chateau keeps guests cool in the Las Vegas heat with misters and plenty of libations. Patrons can grab a seat at the expansive bar where TVs adorn the wall. Booths line the edge of the terrace and give unobstructed views of the fountains and stunning panoramas to the north and south.

When the club opens, booths are available for bottle service and nighttime views of the Strip.

Mandarin Bar
Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Sun.-Thu.

Mandarin Bar sits 23 floors above the Las Vegas Strip in the Mandarin Oriental. Photo courtesy Mandarin Oriental.

Mandarin Bar sits 23 floors above the Las Vegas Strip in the Mandarin Oriental. Photo courtesy Mandarin Oriental.

You won’t hear this bar mentioned often on the Strip. Actually, you may have never even heard of the Mandarin Oriental, at least the Las Vegas location where the bar sits on the 23rd floor, but you’ve certainly walked past it.

The hotel is located on the southeast corner of CityCenter, steps from the Strip, but you’ll have to get in the elevator to find any mention of the bar.

“It’s kind of a hidden gem,” said Grace Bascos, a spokesperson for Mandarin Bar.

Mandarin Bar stretches from one side of the hotel to the other with floor-to-ceiling windows and Strip views that extend beyond 180 degrees.

Sticking to its Asian roots, Mandarin Bar is filled with red tones, typically associated with success and fortune in Chinese culture. A bar sits in the middle of the room with high-end spirits stacked almost to the ceiling.

Booths and tables fill out the rest of the room and all offer unique views.

The venue has a very non-Vegas feel. You won’t hear the rings of slot machines or see the wild gyrations of go-go dancers, just live jazz music on select nights and servers in classic black dresses serving up cocktails and small bites.

Mix Lounge
Hours: Opens at 5 p.m. daily.

Spectacular views are meant to be enjoyed and that’s why Mix Lounge didn’t stop at floor-to-ceiling windows in the bar and restaurant but decked out the restrooms with a few too.

Perched on the 64th floor at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, Mix is the only place on the south end of the Strip to offer such a scenic view without a cover charge (before 10 p.m.). Guests can sip on tasty libations at window-side tables with unobstructed scenes of the Strip.

While the lounge isn’t exactly a secret it isn’t widely known. To find it you have to actually enter THEhotel to see any signage. From there, it’s a ride up the glass-enclosed elevator to Mix where the intimacy of the lounge gives it an exclusive feeling.

Every seat comes with a great view, but you’ll want to get bottle service and a seat outside on the balcony.

Ghostbar
Hours: Opens at 8 p.m. daily.

The word bar in the title is a bit of a misnomer, but with an off-Strip location and a bird’s-eye view 55 stories up it ranks among the best locations in town.

Ghostbar can be bar-like earlier in the night where revelers warm up before heading to other nightclubs inside the Palms, but it can also be your party headquarters. The venue opens at 8 p.m. daily, but as the night progresses DJs take over the turntables and the spaces between VIP booths and the bar fill up with dancing partygoers. The bar was known for its sci-fi décor, but was recently revamped with updated furniture. Two rows of plush VIP booths fill the wall to the left and are adjacent to the DJ booth. The bar runs along the right with a wide aisle separating it from the booths.

No visit to Ghostbar is complete without a trip outside to the balcony. Aside from the alluring views of the Strip to the east and the Las Vegas valley to the west and north, there is also a view of the ground below. Guests drum up the courage to step onto a glass viewing platform that tests their affinity for heights.

Rhumbar
Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Sun.-Wed., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thu.-Sun.

Rhumbar is like a tropical oasis in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip with views of volcano at Mirage in the background. Photo courtesy Rhumbar.

Rhumbar is like a tropical oasis in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip with views of volcano at Mirage in the background. Photo courtesy Rhumbar.

Not all of the best views are found in the clouds. Rhumbar sits Strip-level in front of the Mirage, just steps from the famed volcano.

The tropical theme of the volcano is the ideal backdrop for this Latin-themed patio bar. You’ll feel like you walked into Havana with a selection of premium hand-rolled cigars and rum-infused drinks reminiscent of pre-embargo days.

“You do feel like, even though you can see the Strip, you feel like you’re in a tropical paradise, especially if you have your back to the Strip…,” said Rhumbar owner Michael Frey. “Even though it’s on the hustle and bustle on the Strip, you feel a calmness.

“I was there with friends from the Dominican Republic and they said, ‘God, it’s like being back home on the beach – except for the giant Palazzo and Venetian across the street.’”

Rum and Coke is certainly on the menu, but you’ll want to opt for one of the classic specialty drinks like the 1944 Mai Tai, the original recipe, or the Hemingway daiquiri.

Drinks can be paired with a fine cigar with the help of one of the knowledgeable servers. A cigar aficionado is usually on hand as well in case you have a more complex cigar query.

Live music plays nightly with different themes each night. Younger patrons tend to use Rhumbar as a pre-party destination, said Frey, while the lounge-like atmosphere appeals to the non-clubber crowd.

VooDoo Lounge
Hours: Lounge opens at 5 p.m. daily, nightclub hours are 9 p.m.-close Fri.-Wed. and 10 p.m.-close Thursday.

The 40,000-pound stairway at VooDoo Lounge is one of the unique places to take in the scenery in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy VooDoo Lounge.

The 40,000-pound stairway at VooDoo Lounge is one of the unique places to take in the scenery in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy VooDoo Lounge.

The first thing anyone should know about VooDoo Lounge is the dramatic 40,000-pound steel stairway that connects the 50th and 51st floors had to be lifted by helicopter. “Gone with the Wind,” may have had one of the most memorable staircases in film history but VooDoo’s stairs blow it away.

The main bar sits inside and provides the requisite booth seating and views of the Las Vegas Valley. During nightclub hours the space opens up to the outside and the unique staircase. One DJ spins inside while another works the turntables outside, often playing a different musical genre.

Lavo Beer Gardens
Hours: Open daily 5 p.m.-4 a.m.

The terrace at Lavo was already a popular hangout thanks in part to its views of the Sirens at Treasure Island and proximity to the sea of pedestrian traffic on the Strip. Now, with the beer garden title added, Lavo is a one-stop shop for an entire day and night of pleasure. Aside from the attached Italian restaurant, lounge and nightclub, the beer gardens add a classy outdoor location to sip on drafts.

Stratosphere
Hours: Level 107: Sun.-Thu. 4 p.m.-1 a.m., Fri.-Sat. 4 p.m-2 a.m.; Air Bar: Sun.-Thu. 11-2 a.m., 11-4 a.m. Fri.-Sat.

Level 107 Lounge and Air Bar atop the Stratosphere lend themselves to unparraleled panoramas of the Las Vegas Valley. Photo by Las Vegas Sun.

Level 107 Lounge and Air Bar atop the Stratosphere lend themselves to unparalleled panoramas of the Las Vegas Valley. Photo by Las Vegas Sun.

The Stratosphere was built with one purpose in mind: To give people unparalleled views of the Strip. That mission was fairly easy considering it is the tallest building in Las Vegas and boasts a 360-degree viewing area.

But without the addition of a couple of bars the tower would be nothing but a 1,149-foot tall viewing platform. Air Bar and Level 107 provide two different drinking experiences with just a staircase separating the two.

The admission fee to traverse up to the bars takes both off most people’s must-see list, which for Air Bar might be perfectly acceptable. Air Bar is more of a perk for people who are already at the Stratosphere. It has all the bar necessities, flat-screen TVs, draft beer, signature drinks and also features a live DJ Thursday-Sunday.

Level 107, on the other hand, is a lover’s destination. It provides a breathtaking backdrop at night with the lights of the Strip and provides ambiance with dim lighting, live music and delectable bites and deserts.

Cabo Wabo Cantina, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, PBR Rock Bar
Hours: Cabo Wabo: Open daily, 11 a.m.-midnight; Margaritaville: 11-2 a.m. Sun.-Thu., 11-2:30 a.m. Fri.-Sat.; PBR 8-4 a.m.

Bar districts are the typical beer-drinking hubs in many cities with rows of taverns separated by a few shops and a single street. The Strip is essentially the same thing, except you’ll have to venture through massive casinos to find most bars.

Cabo Wabo Cantina, Margaritavillie and PBR Rock Bar are the exception to the rule. The three, along with Chateau, make for an unofficial bar row at the busiest point on the Strip with a similar fun-loving feel and outdoor patios.

Cabo Wabo and Margaritaville are more similar than they are different. Both, of course, have a tequila-loving rocker attached to their concepts. Cabo Wabo, the brainchild of former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar, sits across the street from the Bellagio and features a nearly endless supply of Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Tequila. An outdoor patio offers stunning views of the fountains at Bellagio and inside you’ll find a stage with live bands and the occasional performance by the Red Rocker, Hagar, himself.

Margaritaville is based off the Jimmy Buffett song of the same name with a plethora of the icy concoction and enough shakers of salt to not worry about losing one.

Patrons can choose between a Strip-side outdoor patio or come inside where a three-story volcano erupts every three hours, spilling margarita mix into two 300-gallon blenders.

PBR pairs Southern favorites like whiskey and BBQ with mechanical bull riding and scantily-clad women on tire swings. Gorgeous servers blow whistles to attract patrons into the patio that nearly extends to the sidewalk on the Strip and offer 128-ounce guitar-shaped souvenir cups filled either draft beer or frozen drinks.

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