Cocktail culture in Las Vegas has grown exponentially in recent years, enhanced by creative mixology accompanied by stunning theatrics and signature ingredients. Standard Manhattans, old-fashioned ones and gimlets abound, but city bar menus are more likely to feature quirky recipes and revisited classics.
Las Vegas being Las Vegas, where ostentation and indulgence reign, adds another element to the bustling bar experience: incredible views. The most talked about cocktail lounges may be perched atop a glass-encased skyscraper or surrounded by lush gardens or nestled somewhere in between, but all promise a sublime ambience as you unwind with a fine drink.
After touring (get it?) on a recent media tour hosted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, I raise my glass to the following amazing cocktail bars and lounges.
1. Legacy Club at Circa Resort And Casino
On the 60th floor of the Circa Resort and Casino is the ultra-luxurious Legacy Club, a rooftop lounge with indoor and outdoor seating in conversation groups. The hotel is located downtown on the Fremont Street Experience, approximately 4 miles northeast of the hotel and Bellagio Casino. You will therefore have a breathtaking view of the famous Las Vegas Boulevard (also known as the Strip), the Las Vegas Valley, and the mountains beyond.
One of the main attractions at Legacy Club is a glass kiosk containing 500 shiny 2-ounce gold bars imprinted with the Circa logo. A ticker at the top displays real-time prices, based on market values, so you can see how much the treasure is worth. The night I was there it was $1,812,170.
What to order at Legacy Club
A sophisticated menu features premium spirits and bubbles, as well as new twists on beloved classics. Green Felt Jungle is an exotic blend of coconut-washed Japanese whiskey, dry curacao, herbal liqueur, lemon, cucumber and orgeat.
Pro tip: Book the sunset package and you can watch the whole city gradually light up until it’s dazzling.
2. Boulevard North Bar at Cosmopolitan Of Las Vegas
Get a head start on the weekend with Sunset Cocktail Hour on Thursday nights at The Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard North Bar. The 4th-level patio adjacent to the pool is usually an after-hours event space (the pool closes at 6 p.m.), but once a week it transforms into a lively outdoor lounge bar with live entertainment, music, and entertainment. exclusive cocktails and light snacks. Make your own tequila margarita at the Summer Spritz cart.
What I enjoyed most about this lounge located directly on the Strip was the view of Las Vegas Boulevard below. The venue is next to the Bellagio hotel and casino and across from Paris Las Vegas and its replica of the Eiffel Tower. You are above it all, but close enough to people watch. The party runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. sunset viewing hours.
What to order at Boulevard North Bar
Ichigo-For-It is a fruity herbal refreshment made with Japanese whiskey, blackberry lemongrass vodka, strawberries, yuzu syrup and a splash of sparkling wine.
Pro tip: The star artist is the famous DJ and saxophonist Natty Rico. Don’t be surprised if he jumps onto your table while he’s strutting around.
3. The lost cactus at FlyOver Las Vegas
I felt like a drone hovering over mountains, rivers and plains during the immersive movie, The real Wild West at FlyOver Las Vegas.
I was strapped into a row of seats that rose into the air, feet dangling, in front of a huge wraparound screen. The seats dipped, dipped and turned as the film passed through mesmerizing landscapes and cityscapes, accompanied by real life mists, breezes and scents. Just when it looked like we were about to crash into a mountain, the scene changed to a stampede of bison or still waters. (Also showing was Legendary Icelandwhich explores the Land of Fire and Ice.)
Guests who use wheelchairs and cannot move to the mobilized seats are invited to enjoy the film and its sensory effects from the fixed platform.
Elevate your dizzying adventure with a stop at The Lost Cactus Bar & Lounge, where the walls are enveloped in large murals of nature’s majesty and ‘stars’ twinkle above your head. The menu features signature cocktails and mocktails inspired by movies and the Las Vegas location.
What to order at The Lost Cactus
Order the prickly pear margarita because you’ll be “flying” over the Mojave Desert during the movie. The cocktail is made with tequila, triple sec, lime juice, prickly pear syrup, a sweet and sour mix and topped with chili salt.
Pro tip: You can visit The Lost Cactus without seeing the movies, but why would you?
4. BRERA Osteria at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
Sipping a cocktail or a glass of wine at osteria BRERA is like being in a beer garden in Venice. The North Italian restaurant and lounge is located on the hotel’s reproduction of the famous St. Mark’s Square. The Las Vegas version is a bulky indoor shopping and dining plaza with cobblestone walkways, ornate lampposts, and a “sky” that changes by the hour.
The BRERA osteria menu offers homemade pasta, ice cream and sorbets; wood-fired pizzas, seafood and dry-aged steaks; and risotto. As you drink and dine, you’ll be entertained by costumed classical opera singers, jugglers, a stilt walker, and other performers in the square.
What to order at BRERA Osteria
Brera Osteria has an extensive wine list, especially reds, and a pleasant assortment of authentic Italian cocktails, including various spritzes. The house sangria, my choice, was concocted with Italian barbera wine and apple cider, and seasoned with fruity morsels.
Pro tip: See you between 3 and 5 p.m. for the Aperitivo Hour with free bites and special prices on pizza, cocktails, wine and beer. Ask for a seat near the railing so you can see the show stage.
5. Vanderpump In Paris At Paris Las Vegas
Reminiscent of a Parisian court, Vanderpump in Paris is a vision of outsized grandeur. British restaurateur and reality TV royalty Lisa Vanderpump lavishes the Art Nouveau-inspired scene with velvet and brocade, crystal chandeliers and brass candelabra, and huge flower arrangements.
The cocktails are as exuberant as the goddess of excess herself. The French poodle, which incorporates gin, ginger liqueur, blackberry, rhubarb and lime, is topped with a generous pouf of pink cotton candy and dusted with gold flakes. Order a dozen “Les Shots,” and they arrive staged around a three-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. The wine list is divided into New World and Old World labels.
What to order at Vanderpump in Paris
Louvre at First Sight is a decadent hickory-smoked mezcal and prickly pear cocktail served under a glass pyramid, a reference to one designed by Chinese-American architect IM Pei that stands in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Pro tip: The menu is a delightful literary read, designed like a broadsheet adorned with fancy fonts and photos of Lisa. The menus are on sale as souvenirs.
6. Take-off lounge at AREA15
AREA15 is a playground of artistic expression and alternate realities featuring a sculpture garden, immersive multimedia, unique retail and dining, and a plethora of wacky fun.
One of them is Liftoff, a slow vertical ride that rises 130 feet high while gently spinning 360 degrees over the desert landscape. Your ride is as smooth as a hot air balloon ride in that you don’t realize you’re in the air until you look down. You are seated and tied up around a 12-seat circular table with cup holders. Grab a drink at the Liftoff Lounge at the bottom of the ride.
What to order at the Liftoff show
Liftoff Lounge is an outdoor space with a cozy industrial vibe and a full-service bar. For my 10 hour commute, I drank a diet soda. You can choose from a quartet of specialty cocktails. I hear the Sky High Margarita comes with a spicy kick.
Pro tip: Take-off operates day and night, so choose your view – city lights or desert landscape. Nights can be chilly, so bring a jacket.
7. Allē Lounge On 66 at Resorts World Las Vegas
One of the highest perches in town, Allē Lounge at 66 is also one of the classiest. Head to the lobby of the Conrad Hotel, one of three Resorts World Las Vegas hotels, and take an elevator to the 66th floor.
The living room is lavish with wood paneled walls, parquet floors, marble table tops and gold accents. Leather and velor seats are made up of intimate conversation groups. Floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides ensure unobstructed views of the ubiquitous neon lights of the Strip, while a suite of telescopes invites you to get closer.
The multi-page cocktail menu, designed like hardcover books, lists an exceptional collection of fine and rare spirits and wines, signature cocktails and variations on the old-fashioned classic. In case you were wondering, a half ounce of Louis XIII costs $175.
What to order at Allē sur 66
The signature Twilight cocktail is a sweet herbal blend of dry gin, creme de violette, black raspberry liqueur, lemon, egg whites and simple syrup. Periwinkle in color and topped with a flower, Twilight is highly Instagrammable.
Pro tip: Plan to arrive one hour before sunset, before all window seats are taken.
Interested in visiting Las Vegas? Or simply have an incredible view? Consider: