I did my share of partying this year. I did a few people’s shares of partying. I exercised my dancing legs. I damaged my liver. And I just flat out lost some underwear. No idea what happened there. But I had a lot of fun. And based on everyone’s contributions, I’m not the only one who will spend 2016 nursing a hangover.
To inspire you to get out of your hotel room and really enjoy the city, we’re pouring over what little we can remember of 2015 to dig up our best bar and nightclub moments. Enjoy!
Omnia at Caesars Palace
The newest nightclub in Las Vegas is also my new favorite place to stand above a dance floor and look out over the crowd like they’re my subjects and I am their benevolent monarch of grace. What? Am I the only one who does that? Whatevs. It’s fun. And Omnia is a fantastic place to do it, or, you know, to party like a non-megalomaniac.
The club has a fantastic setup, with a large dance floor, easy bar access and some beautiful private spaces on the upper level. That’s where I spent most of my night the first time I was there. The lights were bumping and the music was bright – you heard me – and everything was sexy as all hell. Honestly, the only bad thing about the night was my date, but we can hardly blame the club for that one. Omnia definitely made a ‘bigger’ impression than he did. IYKWIM.
This is one club I highly recommend going to when you’re in Vegas. And if you need more convincing, just go check out the queue in the casino at Caesars. It’s super fun watching the hardcore gamblers interact, however briefly, with the club kids.
Hot Nuts Brewing in the Arts District
It’s a bar and a brewery and a venue for live entertainment/expression and it’s my new favoritest place in town. *catches breath* I really like Hop Nuts. You’ll find me there on many a Monday night when they host an open mic for musicians, poets, rappers and spoken word performers. I do all of those except the rapping as I am whiter than a bleached marshmallow going through a goth phase. But it’s really the atmosphere of the bar that makes every experience there so fantastic.
It’s an otherwise simple neighborhood bar, set perfectly in the Las Vegas Arts District, where you can enjoy a delicious glass of their own brews, or some special taps from around the area. I’m a big fan of their Dunkelfeizen, but I like ’em dark, and you can never go wrong with their Golden Ale — No. 1 on their menu. They also make a great DIPA. I love this bar because it knows what it’s doing and it does it well. There’s no nonsense or pretense, just delicious beer in a cool venue. And there’s no smoking inside, which is a big plus for everyone who enjoys breathing.
Velveteen Rabbit in the Arts District
Just down the street from Hop Nuts is the best speakeasy that doesn’t really call itself a speakeasy but speaks easier than most places you’ll find. Drink until that makes sense. Velveteen Rabbit has always been one of those places I never feel I give enough attention to, but that I love dearly. It’s eccentric and clever and really just feels like the kind of bar I would make if (when) I make a bar. Just so it’s not completely a rip off I’ll call mine the Kraft Singles Bunny or something. Laughing Cow Hare?
Their winter menu came out recently and I got to head down there and try a cocktail called the Lovers and Liars. Anyone who knows me can tell you I’m not really a cocktail person. I prefer beer and liquor – neat not straight (I don’t do anything straight, heyoo!). But this is one drink for which I’ll make an exception. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be that big of a deal. I try cocktails for my job all the time. But this one really did surprise me in a wonderful way. It’s complex and enchanting, chocolaty with a hint of spice and, depending on whether you get it warm or chilled, it can range from a treat that livens your insides to a delight that tickles your tongue. It’s just a really great cocktail at a bar that’s known for really great cocktails. Velveteen Rabbit is an awesome place to just hang out with a beer or some gin, but if you’re a cocktail person it’s an absolute must.
XS Nightclub at Encore
This year I got the chance to see the remodeling at XS Nightclub first hand with a guided tour of the space before opening. If you’ve never seen a nightclub before it’s open, it’s quite an interesting sight. Coming from a family that owned a restaurant for several generations, I’m used to seeing people scrambling about to get ready for the first guests. But our little burger joint was nothing compared to this. They put so much work into making the club experience perfect, it’s no wonder they always succeed.
XS is one of those clubs that I can go to over and over because it never gets dull. It’s just so superbly designed. On my tour I learned that the architecture of the club is based on Tryst, the former club at Wynn. They stuck to the concept because it works so well. The space has a flow that’s unrivaled in this city. And when the doors are open to the outdoor space, it’s clear why XS consistently ranks among the best clubs in the world. I’ve been to XS many times this year, so I have many great experiences, but I won’t bother calling out any particular one because, well, it’s XS – every experience there is awesome.
— Miranda Boyd, Vegas Insider
Skyfall Lounge at Delano
My hubby and I were looking for a place to unwind after our anniversary dinner. I suggested giving this place a shot. Located on the hotel’s 64th floor, Skyfall Lounge’s stellar views had us in awe. We loved how admission was free and were allowed to sit wherever we wanted. And unlike the loud, busy nightclubs we used to frequent back in our 20s, the vibe here was relaxed but still upbeat. We sat on the patio for fresh air and ordered our first round. We wanted to get a feel for the lounge itself, so we moved the party indoors. Our cocktail server was so personable and sweet. She even gave us complimentary champagne for our special occasion. We loved the live DJ music and the fact we could still carry a convo without having to scream to hear each other. We’ll definitely come back if we’re looking for a chill kind of evening. The swanky Skyfall Lounge is also the ideal place to catch up with your crew over a couple of drinks.
Commonwealth on Fremont East
I can go on and on how much I love this bar. Not only did Commonwealth throw one of the greatest Halloween rooftop parties of all time, its overall vibe easily puts you in a better mood. When it first opened, we used to immediately go upstairs without giving the downstairs area a chance. The past few months, however, I started to favor the first floor’s atmosphere. When you’re not admiring the quirky artwork or unique chandeliers, you’ll probably be dancing in the small area right next to the main staircase. I also love the long center table, which makes it easy to meet and socialize with new friends. The first level also has plenty of open seating; there are tons of nooks and booths that give you great views for people-watching.
About a month ago, it must have been my lucky night: My cousin and I were hanging out here after midnight and the DJ played nothing but smooth ’90s R&B jams. I was in heaven. Even though we learned he was taking song requests from the staff, we didn’t care. We sang our hearts out to Jodeci, Maxwell and Mint Condition. You better believe I got up to dance too (with all but two other people)! I’d have to say this was by far, my best musical experience in any bar or club. I’m not sure if they’ll ever do this again, but it leads me to believe Commonwealth turns into a different kind of party in the wee hours. In any case, I’ll always come back. I never had trouble finding a seat and will always appreciate how easy it is to get cozy with the bar’s fun and eclectic surroundings.
— Jeannie Garcia, Vegas Insider
Skyfall Lounge at Delano (Yeah. It’s that good.)
The only thing that makes sipping a cocktail better is sipping it while enjoying an amazing view. That’s why my favorite bar experience this year was the new Skyfall Lounge at The Delano. It’s on the 64th floor and is lined with windows, which means you get a 180-degree view of the city and the Strip. It’s pretty awesome being able to look directly down on the Luxor. The restrooms are some of the coolest in the city too even if they are a little vertigo-inducing. I love any place with an outdoor space and Skyfall has a nice-sized outdoor patio. The cocktails are creative here too. In a nod to the James Bond-y sounding name, they have a menu of “Shaken” and “Stirred” cocktails. And there’s a nice variety of martinis, regional beers, vodkas and whiskeys.
— Kristine McKenzie, Vegas Insider
Surrender at Encore
The best club that I partied at this year was Surrender at Encore Las Vegas. I went over a holiday weekend so it was packed, but nonetheless, it was incredibly fun. Oh and to add to the excitement, Tiësto was performing so that made it all the more exciting. More and more, outdoor clubs are becoming popular and I especially enjoyed how half of the club was located outside by the pool. Of course, guests are not allowed in the water but it was refreshing to bring the dance party outside for some fresh air. I also loved how there was a section for gambling in the outside area.
Omnia at Caesars Palace (2: Electric Blogaloo)
Another club that I really enjoyed going to was Omnia at Caesars Palace. We went through a promoter to get our name on a list and next thing you know, we were in the VIP line with no cover and direct entrance into the city’s hottest new club. The massive chandelier in the main club was really awesome and the night I was there, apparently so was Leonardo DiCaprio… I almost convinced him to reenact some Titanic scenes with me (wink, wink).
— Haley Caldwell, Vegas Insider