Make your Vegas trip a bit more hip

There’s plenty of obvious suggestions for things to do in Las Vegas, but some folks prefer to go off the beaten path. Some folks like things before they’re cool. You know the type.

These are some interesting, hidden, underappreciated or otherwise low-key locations that could add an extra dash of cool to your evening while still fitting within the Vegas mindset:

Eat:

The Artisan is bringing back... well, a lot.

The Artisan is bringing back... well, a lot.

Mood, the restaurant at The Artisan, has a basic menu of American favorites with an elegant atmosphere ripped from the pages of “The Great Gatsby.” You might spend as much time looking at the paintings and décor throughout as you do munching on your meal – not that that’s a bad thing.

The resort also opens up into a cool club on the weekends. We’re not sure how that fits in to the 1920s aesthetic, but that’s not the kind of question you’ll be asking when you’re partying your butt off after dinner at Mood.

Near The Strip and Las Vegas Convention Center, The Barrymore at Royal Resort is too good to have an obvious entrance – you have to push against what looks like a wall to get in. These guys take the hidden gem description seriously.

The “Golden Age of Hollywood” feel of the joint is matched by the upscale twists added to each of their menu items, but don’t think they’re too pricey. You can get a good meal for around $15 to $20, without going too far from the main stretch of the Strip.

The Peppermill's lounge is the very definition of Vegas cool.

The Peppermill's lounge may be more old-school Vegas than you can handle.

If you dig irony and kitsch factor, the Peppermill is a Vegas institution that has to be seen to be believed. They’ve got restaurant and lounge areas that seem to perpetually channel the Vegas of decades past, making for the perfect place to go after a night out for an affordable late-night breakfast or burger.

Drink:

If the Peppermill’s lounge wasn’t obvious enough with its retro kitsch factor, Frankie’s Tiki Room is definitely in your face about it. Grab a surf-themed cocktail and marvel in the South-Pacific-inspired beauty of all the tiki decorations and background surf rock you can handle.

Frankie's Tiki Room

Frankie's Tiki Room is all about surf and nostalgia.

Downtown’s Griffin has a warm, welcoming feel to it, but that could just be because of the fire pits. This place has one of the best jukeboxes in town — but don’t let that stop you from venturing to the back room and seeing what the DJ has to spin that night.

And don’t you dare visit downtown without a stop at the Downtown Cocktail Room. DCR has a dark, sexy, low-key lounge setting with a speakeasy atmosphere, bartenders that look like they work at a speakeasy and a chill, heavily electronic playlist that doesn’t feel out of place – it’s quite perfect, because this is a place for you to chill.

Listen:

When it comes to live music, Vegas has plenty of big concerts, as well as smaller acts.

The exterior of the Cosmopolitan as you approach from Harmon Avenue. Photo by Leila Navidi / Las Vegas Sun.

It's hard to call a huge casino like The Cosmopolitan a "hidden" gem, but what lies within is certainly golden. Photo: Leila Navidi / Las Vegas Sun.

For the former, you’ll want to check out one of Vegas’ newer additions, The Cosmopolitan. They’ve hosted and will host some epic concerts in 2011: Adele, Smashing Pumpkins, The Black Keys, Bright Eyes, Foster the People, and Morrissey have or will make appearances at one or another of The Cosmopolitan’s music venues.

If you want to catch what could be the next big band before they get famous, there are a couple of great spots in Downtown Las Vegas to grab a beer and watch a band: Beauty Bar regularly books a variety of acts throughout the week, Bunkhouse is the place to be for punk, rockabilly, or your preferred something-core genre.

If that’s not good enough for you… that is, if you prefer to make your own music, Beauty Bar’s Monday Night Karaoke or Fremont East’s favorite piano bar, Don’t Tell Mama, are the places to be. Just don’t get caught in the “Who sings that song? Then, let’s keep it that way” trap, like so many of us before you…

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