Lounging around Vegas


Experience a departure from the norm at Artisan Lounge.

By Caroline Fontein

During the ’50s and ’60s casino lounges provided the majority of entertainment at hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. While there were some recurring production shows in operation including “The Lido” at the Stardust and “Minsky’s Follies,” which opened as the first topless show on the Strip at the Dunes in 1957,  lounges were where hotel guests could find free continuous entertainment from dusk to down. Well, free apart from maybe the cost of a drink. Lounge acts like Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett, Shecky Green, Louis Prima, Keely Smith and many others became major entertainment attractions and helped establish the city as the Entertainment Capital of the World. 

Today lounges aren’t the spot to see headline entertainment. They’ve taken on a new role. They’re a meeting place to gather with friends for a drink, and unlike the behemoth nightclubs on the Strip, lounges offer a more intimate setting. Instead of a massive dance floor,  like what you’ll find at nightclubs, lounges offer more seating options for guests without having to purchase bottle service.  Lounges are also a place to see and be seen. With custom fittings, themed décor and plush seating, lounges transport people to a punctuated level of cool. In some cases hotel lounges do still offer live entertainment. The performers may not be big name headliners, but they shouldn’t be discounted.

Here’s my list of notable hotel lounges to check out the next time you’re in Vegas and want a slightly more subdued evening venue than what the nightclubs have to offer.  

The Lounge at the Palms
Where: Palms
               4321 W. Flamingo Rd.
             Las Vegas, NV 89103
When the Palms hosted the 12th season of MTV’s “The Real World” in 2002, the hotel solidified its reputation as one of the hottest party destinations in Vegas. Today the hotel continues to attract revelers looking for a wild night out in one of their clubs or a place to chill with their friends at The Lounge. Along with being a spot to get a drink, The Lounge at the Palms hosts both free and ticketed shows. The line-up changes every month so you never know who you’re going to see, but since it’s at the Palms you know the live entertainment is going to be something hip and fun.

Fontana Bar
Where: Bellagio
               3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
            Las Vegas, NV 89109
Sure watching the Bellagio fountains from the street is cool, but let’s face it, everything is better with a drink in your hand. That’s where the Fontana Bar at Bellagio comes into play. If you’re looking for a lounge with a great view and live entertainment, this is the spot. The bar offers a view of the spectacular Bellagio fountains from their outside patio. As the water comes to life on the eight-acre lake in front of the hotel, guests at the Fontana Bar can enjoy an unparalleled view while relaxing in a chair and sipping on their favorite cocktail. Inside, the bar features a dance floor and a stage where a rotating line-up of entertainers performs throughout the week. Along with a fully-stocked bar, including fine cognacs and wines, Fontana Bar also offers guests an appetizer menu created by Circo Executive Cher Massimiliano Campanari.

Mix Lounge
Where: Mandalay Bay
            3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
            Las Vegas, NV 89119
The Bellagio fountains are one thing, but if you have your sights set a little higher head over to Mix Lounge located on the 64th floor of Mandalay Bay. With floor-to-ceiling windows Mix Lounge offers guests stunning 360-degree views of the Strip and the Vegas valley. The lounge’s modern décor includes wall-to-wall black leather décor and red lighting accents that create a sexy vibe. For the ultimate view guests can take a seat at the low lounges located on the outside patio. Here guests can enjoy their drink and take in one of the best views of the city. After 10:30 p.m. the patio is reserved for bottle service patrons, meaning you have to pay for a seat. Mix Lounge is open daily at 5 p.m. and there is a cover charge after 10 p.m. My recommendation is to get there early.

Mizuya Lounge
Where: Mandalay Bay
              3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
            Las Vegas, NV 89119
Part casual sushi bar and part hang-out spot, Mizuya Lounge at Mandalay Bay always a attracts a crowd come nightfall. Located on the casino floor, the lounge features live entertainment and a dance floor where guests can get their groove on. Passers-by can check out the action too as there are no defining walls dividing the lounge from the casino. Shows are nightly. Guests looking for a casual spot to grab a bite will enjoy Mizuya’s menu featuring sushi, sashimi, hand rolls, specialty rolls and their various sake options. They also have a fully-stocked bar. The dining portion of Mizuya is open daily from 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Indigo Lounge
Where: Bally’s
               3645 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
            Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Indigo Lounge at Bally’s won’t blow anyone away with posh décor, but it’s a spot where you can escape the casino, get a drink and see live entertainment. The interior has blue accents including comfy blue chairs grouped into pairs or groups of four and situated around small cocktail tables. Basically, it has the typical seating set up that you’d expect in any lounge. The lounge has been around for a while and continues to attract guests with its welcoming atmosphere and live music. Indigo Lounge has a rotating line-up of live entertainment that always features something people can sing along or dance to.

Book & Stage
Where: Cosmopolitan
            3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South
            Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Book & Stage at Cosmopolitan is a sports viewing lounge by day and a spot to meet up with friends and see live entertainment from popular acts by night. Their ever-changing entertainment line-up includes up-and-coming and popular local acts.  Some of the past performers at Book & Stage include Mayer Hawthorne and Aloe Blacc. The venue has multiple seating options, but try to get there at least an hour before the entertainment starts to ensure you get one of them. The best part about Book & Stage is that despite hosting some well-known performers, most of the shows are free.

Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge
Where: On the Strip
            2985 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
            Las Vegas, NV  
If you’re looking for old-school Vegas well here it is. Though it’s been remodeled several times since the 1970s, Peppermill ‘s Fireside Lounge still delivers a blast from the past once you step inside. The decor is dark with primarily pink and blue neon lighting accents. The booths are intimate and encourage conversation. They’re also a good make-out spot judging by the couples in a nearby booth. The Fireside Lounge also has a 24-hour restaurant known for serving quality food and generous portions. A Strip staple for more than 30 years, Fireside Lounge continues to make history in Vegas.

Artisan Lounge
Where: Artisan Boutique Hotel
              1501 W. Sahara Ave.
           Las Vegas, NV 89102
 Located off of the Strip, the Artisan Boutique Hotel is one of the few hotels in Vegas that doesn’t have a casino. But that’s not even the most notable thing about the Artisan. Step inside and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The Artisan looks more like the interior of someone’s lavish mansion in 18th century Paris than a hotel. Numerous framed paintings hang on the walls and ceiling while other interesting touches like indoor fountains, book cases and ornate statues transport visitors to another era. The Artisan Cafe and Lounge is no exception. An old-school, club-room style bar, the lounge is a hip spot to mingle with friends or enjoy a warm summer night on the outside patio. The lounge also features a humidor stocked with fine cigars. The lounge has a happy hour with food and drink specials and in the evenings it turns into Artisan Afterhours with DJs spinning Fri. and Sat. from 10 p.m. to dawn.

Parasol Up, Parasol Down
Where: Wynn
            3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
            Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Parasol Up, Parasol Down lounge at Wynn has two locations, one on the main casino floor and the other located down a spiral escalator on the hotel’s Lake of Dreams. A colorful collection of upside down parasols make up the defining focal point at both locations. The Parasol Down location is especially noteworthy for its location facing a glass wall with a view of the hotel’s water feature, the Lake of Dreams. Guests have the option of sitting inside near the bar or on the outside patio. Both seating options offer good views of the water feature and the light show that occurs throughout the evening. It’s also important to note that this lounge is open during the day and offers a place for guests to relax with their drink outside. Parasol Down is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The Griffin
Where: Downtown
               511 Fremont St.
            Las Vegas, NV 89101
The Griffin  is located downtown less than a five-minute walk from the Fremont Street Experience. The bar features plenty of places to sit and chat with friends and live entertainment in the form of bands or DJs that perform in the back room. Outside, the Griffin doesn’t stand out much, but once inside you feel like you’ve just entered a Medieval castle or a secret room in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft (Harry Potter fans know what I’m talking about). The bar has a two fireplaces and long red leather bench-style seats that line the walls of the bar. Like many of the other downtown bars the Griffin is a popular hipster hang out, but even if you aren’t sporting ironic bangs, you can still have a fun time here. If you feel like taking a break from the conversation and dancing, the back room hosts live DJs and bands that perform on certain nights of the week.


There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Jensen Lee at 2:59 pm

    Louis Prima was a Vegas fixture who would bring the stars in to see him. We recently passed what would have been the 100th anniversary of Louis Prima’s birthday.

    I recently posted on my Rockaeology blog at http://tinyurl.com/4mwrskr the story of how Louis and arranger Sam Butera created the “Just a Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody” medley. When rocker David Lee Roth scored a hit with a note-for-note copy in 1985, Butera never got a dime. I tell what happened when a clueless Roth approached Butera in Vegas.