Vegas loves whiskey

Whether you’re visiting us from a little town in the still-wild West, or from a metropolis in the not-so-far-anymore East, you probably love a good whiskey (or whisky depending on your particular regional tastes). We understand that you can’t spend every waking moment in Vegas drinking whiskey. You probably want to go to some shows, and we learned the hard way that they don’t let you carry a nice glass of the Glenlivet on the Zoom Line at Fremont Street. So to help you schedule your trip so you get the most whiskey out of your week, weekend or three-month excursion, here are the best places to sip whiskey in Las Vegas.

This is what we dream about after a long night in Vegas. Photo courtesy of Andre's Cigar Lounge.

This is what we dream about after a long night in Vegas. Photo courtesy of Andre’s Cigar Lounge.

Andre’s Cigar Lounge
The restaurant at Andre’s offers a great menu with a fine selection of drinks. But we’re here to talk about the lounge. Andre’s Cigar Lounge is a suave space for the most discerning drinkers. You don’t chug anything here, you sip soundly and probably discuss something like economics or which existentialist author would make the best roommate (hint: it’s not Jean-Paul Sartre). You can also enjoy a nice cigar while you sip your whiskey. We don’t know much about cigars, but the people at Andre’s do. So after you make your well-informed whiskey selection, enjoy whatever they suggest. Just remember that hell may be other people, but heaven is other people and a ton of whiskey. (That was a Jean-Paul Sartre reference, if you didn’t get it.) They also have tastings on Whiskey Wednesdays.

You could be one of those people enjoying some whiskey and a cigar, but instead you're sitting there reading about it. Photo courtesy of Casa Fuente.

You could be one of those people enjoying some whiskey and a cigar, but instead you’re sitting there reading about it. Photo courtesy of Casa Fuente.

Casa Fuente Cigar Lounge
It’s pretty clear already that cigars and whiskey go pretty well together. It’s something about the smokiness or the flavor, or maybe it’s just the fact that casual vices are more appealing in pairs—like fatty foods and reality TV. But you won’t find much trash TV at Casa Fuente. This is a classy spot where the whiskey—and all other drinks—flow freely and the cigars do whatever it is cigars do. Did we mention we care way more about the whiskey than the cigars? More than anything this place is about the feel of the whiskey mindset. It’s where you relax in style and forget about all those silly people screaming over each other in clubs and sports bars. Just have a drink while you’re passing through the Forum Shops on your way to buy even more stuff you don’t be able to fit in your suitcase for the flight home.

It probably won't be empty when you order your whiskey. So be prepared to say something dumb to strangers if you have too many. Photo courtesy of MGM Grand.

It probably won’t be empty when you order your whiskey. So be prepared to say something dumb to strangers if you have too many. Photo courtesy of MGM Grand.

Craftsteak
Now we’ve moved on to the steakhouse section, which actually worked out really well since we’re just going alphabetically. Clearly even fate has a thing for whiskey. It’s probably the same mentality as the cigars. There’s just something about enjoying a visceral, primal experience while tossing back whiskey that makes us howl. If you’re not one for the smoking, try tossing in a delicious meal. Craftsteak has a fantastic selection of whiskey that pairs perfectly with their traditional steakhouse menu. While they might put a little more effort into their beef than their whiskey, you can focus on whatever you choose. Just don’t order your whiskey well-done. That’s a dead giveaway that you don’t know anything about whiskey—or really about liquids in general.

A whiskey dinner at Delmonico's. All dinners should be whiskey dinners. Photo courtesy of Delmonico's Steakhouse.

A whiskey dinner at Delmonico’s. All dinners should be whiskey dinners. Photo courtesy of Delmonico’s Steakhouse.

Delmonico Steakhouse
The second steakhouse on our list is every bit as delectable as the first. But we’re going to skip over the food and get right to the whiskey with this one because it’s going to take a minute. Delmonico Steakhouse cares so much about its whiskey that the staff created a Book of Whisky to highlight its incredibly long list of options. Trying to list them all for you here would be like trying to summarize Moby Dick in the sentence, “Grumpy sailor hunts for whale that hurt him.” Ok, maybe that’s a bad example because that summed up Moby Dick pretty well. But Delmonico still has a truly exceptional selection of whiskey, and their staff is extremely knowledgable about them all. If you know exactly what you want, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here. And if you don’t know much about whiskey but want to learn, the staff at Delmonico will help you out.

Isn't this where you want to spend your semi-sober Saturday? Photo courtesy of Double Helix.

Isn’t this where you want to spend your semi-sober Saturday? Photo courtesy of Double Helix.

Double Helix Wine & Whiskey
So far in this post we’ve referenced Sartre and Melville. If we can figure out how to work in some Nietzsche we’ll hit the pretentious trifecta. Until then, let’s talk about Double Helix Wine and Whiskey. There are actually two spots: the Bar in Palazzo and the Lounge at Town Square. Either one you hit up will have a great whiskey collection, but we really want to focus on the Town Square locale. It’s a lot more laid back than the spots we’ve seen so far. It feels a lot like the environment of town square—calm, peaceful and pretty wholesome as far as Vegas goes. It’s the perfect place to get a whiskey when you’re enjoying your afternoon at Town Square, and it’s a wonderful spot to meet up with someone before or after a fun day on the tone.

Itsy bitsy does not describe our love of this place. That love is quite huge. Photo courtesy of Itsy Bitsy Ramen & Whisky.

Itsy bitsy does not describe our love of this place. That love is quite huge. Photo courtesy of Itsy Bitsy Ramen & Whisky.

Itsy Bitsy Ramen and Whisky
For people who think whiskey is all about the British Isles or the Southern United States, well, you’re wrong. Shame on you. In fact, lots of places around the world make amazing whiskey. It’s actually a part of the difference between “whiskey” and “whisky.” As a general rule, if the country of origin has an “E” in the name, so will the whiskey: United States, England, Ireland. If it doesn’t then it won’t: Canada, Scotland, Japan. We’re going to talk about that last one right now. Itsy Bitsy Ramen and Whisky is a downtown ramen joint that has some awesome food and a great selection of Japanese whiskys. If you know about whisky, you’ll notice a bit less of the mossy flavor of the British styles, especially something like an islay. But you might find them a bit more diverse than US styles. Whisky is still relatively new in Japan but the industry is growing fast. If you want something special, try Itsy Bitsy Ramen and Whisky for a Japanese treat.

We see you there, whiskies. You shall be ours. Photo courtesy of Oak & Ivy.

We see you there, whiskies. You shall be ours. Photo courtesy of Oak & Ivy.

Oak & Ivy
Now we’re hitting the modern, cool, hipster whiskey section of our piece. And believe us when we say there is nothing bad about that at all. One of the newer and most original spots on the list is Oak & Ivy at Downtown Container Park. Like everything else in the park, the bar is made from upcycled shipping containers, and that’s one of the least interesting things about it. The bar is really into whiskey, but takes it to other places than most. The selection of barrel-aged cocktails, for example, are delicious examples of what clever people can do with a drink. And the list of whiskies is long enough that we’re surprised it all fits into a shipping container. One cocktail, called the Billionaire for some reason, mixes bourbon and absinthe—because why not make that a thing?

Dibs on one of the purple chairs. Photo courtesy of Velveteen Rabbit.

Dibs on one of the purple chairs. Photo courtesy of Velveteen Rabbit.

Velveteen Rabbit
This place is just plain cool. It’s almost a speakeasy but everyone knows about it. But it always has just the right vibe. We’re not throwing the Velveteen Rabbit on this list because it has some special whiskey you’ve never imagined or stirs up a cocktail unheard of before—though the Improved Whiskey Sour is beautiful—we’re putting it here because this is the kind of place you should be drinking whiskey. This is the place for modern whiskey drinkers to socialize and talk about their love of the drink. The bartenders completely know their stuff. And the selection is strong enough that you’re sure to find what you want. This is the place where you can leave the pretension behind and just relax with your friends while sipping Glenmorangie and being thankful that no one has brought up 19th century philosophy in like 15 minutes.

And it's so well lit too. Photo courtesy of the Whisky Attic.

And it’s so well lit too. Photo courtesy of the Whisky Attic.

Whisky Attic
It’s an attic filled with whisky. Just close your eyes and think about that for a second. Now think about all the incredible things you could do if your attic were full of whisky. Just please do not tell us what you were thinking. We don’t need your creepy in our heads. But what we do need is to get down to Freakin’ Frog, a major sport on any whiskey tour of the world. The bar itself is a cool spot to hang out and have a pint. But if you make reservations with the Whisky Attic, you get to see a whole new side of the Frog. The space holds more than 1,800 different whiskies from all across the world. And you can sample a few of them for a price. The Whisky Attic is only open upon reservation, and a five-tasting experience starts at $75. But between the taste of the whiskey and the expert information you get about each style, it’s completely worth it.

What a wonderful whiskey world we wander. Photo courtesy of MGM Grand.

What a wonderful whiskey world we wander at Whiskey Down. Photo courtesy of MGM Grand.

Whiskey Down
Now this is a whiskey bar. It’s a bar that loves whiskey and serves whiskey and loves serving whiskey to people who love whiskey. Whiskey Down at MGM Grand is a class casino lounge that’s just all-around great. It’s accessible and easy-going. It’s open 24 hours. And it has a fantastic selection and knowledgable staff. They even offer a few varieties that are unique to MGM Grand including a special Jack Daniel’s that you can’t get anywhere else. Whiskey Down is a sure thing. We don’t get to say that very often in Vegas. And when we do it’s usually not flattering. But in this case it’s a total compliment. Whiskey Down is the place to go if you want a great whiskey experience every time.

Talon Room
We’re throwing this one in for free. And believe us, it’s the only thing free about it. Talon Room at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a high-limit gambling room that you probably only know about if you can afford to know about such places. In fact, if you have enough money to gamble there then you’re probably paying someone to read this out loud to your right now. (If you’re the one reading this out loud to your boss then you’re awesome and you should demand a raise. But don’t read that part out loud.) Talon Room also has high-end whiskeys that probably cost more than your car payment. But if you’re looking to splurge, you can find some whiskey here that will make you feel like a freaking übermensch (nailed it!).

Comments

I came from a little town in the Midwest. And believe me, I’m never going back. It’s probably nice if you love grass and snow; but I love the lights, the glamour, and the flocks of tourists seeking fun and fortune. Once the sun goes down, I’ll be the first one out hitting the clubs or just wandering the Strip for a little nighttime adventure. Passing through Bond on my way to Lily Bar, or taking a shortcut through Double Helix before landing at Parasol Up/Down, I’m the one you’ll randomly bump into – only sometimes literally – strolling through Sin City’s liquored veins – and loving every minute of it.