From Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere, the bright lights lining Sin City’s strip of entertainment signify the never ending celebrations. While you can spend your nights parked in front of a slot machine, you could probably find more enjoyment out of an atmosphere of upbeat music, flashy lighting, and gorgeous people. When it comes to Las Vegas nightlife, finding a nightclub to spend your evening may leave your head spinning.
When trying to decide on a local to spend the evening at, you’re going to find that your options seem limitless. Seeing as how every hotel / casino has at least one nightclub on location, you’ll be facing a list of forty-plus clubs. The first thing you’ll want to do is break down your list and narrow your choices down, and the easiest way to accomplish this is to narrow down what you desire in a club. If you’re looking for something with a good location or a view of the Strip, than places like Moon and Ghostbar at the Palms or Rio’s Voodoo lounge will be more your style.
Some people are indecisive as to what they like and may just be uncaring and will party anywhere that’s hot. Those individuals will probably gather to better known locations and some of Las Vegas’ top nightclubs. The Foundation Room at Mandalay bay offers an elegance not typically found in a nightclub. Lounge-style décor lines the main room but does little to sway the party atmosphere created by the booming music and busy bar. The Foundation Room differs from most clubs in that it welcomes both conversation and partying.
While conversation is always nice, that may not be what you’re looking for in your nightlife routine. For a night filled with not much more than dancing and drinking with a younger crowd, your nightlife tour should stop at the Marquee Nightclub in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. With three rooms offering differing tastes in music, Marquee welcomes all with its warm lighting and energetic crowds.
In the chance that the crowd at Marquee is your scene but the club’s musical tastes don’t match yours, the New York-New York’s ROK Vegas should be on your list. While ROK holds true to a typical nightclub affair, ROK Vegas breaks up the monotony of house music and Top 40 with mash-ups of rock music. ROK’s appeal doesn’t stop at the musical differences either, as it is also known for having one of the cheapest bottle services in the city.
When somebody mentions Las Vegas nightclubs, one of the first names to pop in a familiar individuals mind will be Tao at the Venetian. Since Tao is one of Vegas’ most popular nightclubs, the lack of the line outside the door has been added to the list of apocalyptic signs. On top of being a typical hotspot for celebrity sightings, Tao offers differing rooms that range from all out dance-floor mobs to more subdued crowds with room to move.
Though it’s no secret that Vegas is a party city, deciding where to take your party will give you a headache. With more clubs than one could imagine in a one mile stretch, your options seem near limitless.
Being in the Hospitality Industry, “Where do the locals go to hang out at night?” may very well be the number one asked question. And though there are many of us locals who love to party side by side with tourists such as yourselves at one of the famous “strip nightclubs”, being at the scene to be seen isn’t always game for everyone else. Since 90% of us Las Vegans work on the strip five days a week, we choose to spend our time to play away from the crowded strip. So where do we go? We like to toast and get toasted at one of the plethora of infamous local pubs and dive bars that inhabit our Vegas Valley. There’s no need to get all pimped out in your clubbin’ gear in order to impress someone who won’t remember you tomorrow anyway, there’s no long line at the door or overpriced entrance fees, there is no scrambling for the bartenders attention to order your extremely overpriced round of drinks… the list goes on and on. There is no need for me to sell you on the idea of hitting some of our local bars. After all, the less tourist that come the better, it keeps it local. But for those of you who’d like a night off the strip scene, I (with the help of the lovely penny lopes) have compiled a nice little list of the top ten local dive bars along with some tasty tid bits of info on them. Enjoy at your own risk!
1. The Double Saloon Swenson, between Harmon and Tropicana
Punk Rock and Rockabilly bar in the “Fruit Loop”. Live bands, never a cover. Pool tables and pinball machine. Great Bartenders. Interesting graffiti, especially in the bathrooms. Most of the clientele is surprisingly friendly, despite their tattooed, pierced, and antisocial appearance. It really is the happiest place on earth. Make sure you order a shot of “ass juice” but stay away from the “bacon martini.” No food, but they’ll order you pizza from next door and have it delivered. www.doubledownsaloon.com
2. Champagne’s Cafe Maryland Parkway, across from Boulevard Mall
Old Vegas… Very dark lighting and Marilyn Monroe Posters adorn the red-velvet embossed walls. Clientele is a mix of young hipsters and veteran barflies. Interesting (in an almost laughable way) and usually very friendly bartenders. Typical bar food, but not bad.
3. The Crown & Anchor Tropicana, between Maryland Pkwy and Spencer
Best British pub I’ve ever been to, outside of England, with genuinely English decor and wait staff. Amazing food. Monday nights is all you can eat fish and chips (I recommend a side of curry) and if you like cheese, they make a terrific Stilton and Cabbage soup. Their selection of beers is great, but for hard liquor you must order food (license issue). Pool and darts, tables with bottle service, live music on weekends with $3 cover (typical).
4. The Sand Dollar Spring Mountain and Polaris
Diverse clientele (frequently chock full of bikers) and the best live blues (and sometimes jazz) in town, for a small cover. Very smoky, so don’t take an asthmatic or a Californian (hah hah).
5. Money Plays Flamingo, between Decatur and Arville
Beer and wine only. Varied crowd, but typically full of 20-somethings on the weekends. Pool, darts, and shuffle board. Great little Mexican joint conjoined (El Taco Fresco – where everything is cooked in vegetable oil, no lard! And their chicken tacos are all white meat!). Not as much atmosphere as the previous ones, but still worth a visit.
6. The Freakin’ Frog Maryland Pkwy, across from UNLV
Owned and operated by the Wine & Spirits Professor at UNLV. HUGE selection of beers and wines. Similar to Money Plays in that the weekend crowds are fairly young but the atmosphere and quality/variety of drinks make it worth the trip, at least once.
7. The Office Bar Paradise (across from The Double Down) in the “Fruit Loop”
Very interesting clientele, especially on the weekends. Because of its location, you will meet people from all walks of life and see some crazy goings-on. I have never had a boring night there, but have also never been afraid for my welfare, either… and as you know, that is a rare blend here in Las Vegas.
8. The Durango Lodge 3399 Durango and Desert Inn
Good food. Interiors are sort of swanky in a woodsy way. Varied clientele but not dodgy like most of the above. Weekend nights are busiest, but good for a mellow weekday jaunt too.
9. Cheers Maryland Parkway and Harmon, behind the 7/11
The epitome of a dirty little neighborhood/college bar. Clientele is very similar to Champagne’s (barflies and college kids) but here, almost everyone looks “rode hard and put away wet.” Great bartenders, day or night. Lots of pool tables. Next door is Roberto’s Mexican eatery… it’s awesome Mexican for the exact opposite reasons I used for Taco Fresco; it is as unhealthy and as greasy as you can get, and it is always delicious.
10. Moose’s Beach House Maryland, next to the Freaking Frog
College and after work office crowd… not as big a meat market as Z-Tejas or Gordon Biersch. Good bar food, but the management keeps changing the menu, so don’t bother picking a favorite item. Really good happy hour specials. Pool tables and video games. Some nights they have live music (from reggae to Irish-themed punk rock) with a cover. Don’t epect any bottle service here, Tuesdays are trivia night followed by a free pool tournament. Click here for up to date club information.