Whether you’re a recent transplant to Sin City or a longtime resident there are few better ways to get the “lay of the land” than to find bars where the locals hang. Finding these gems in the rough can be difficult, a hit and miss prospect that often as not leads to wasted nights and what were we thinking mornings.
Here’s a guide to some of the best, and oddest, Las Vegas Bars.
1. Frankie’s Tiki Room
A short jaunt west on Charleston from the strip brings you to a Las Vegas original that just may be the result of a mad genius with a super powered blender. Sip on a rum slogged Thurston Howl or an energy charged Bombora Blast in the tiki bar awash with South Pacific charm and a dash of old school Vegas.
Dominated by dozens of authentic tikis from some of the art forms most renowned artists, Frankie’s strives to be an oasis of South Sea’s calm in a city where calm is often a dirty word.
Open 24 hours a day and featuring a great Friday happy hour, Frankie’s is great place to become a local, whether in the main tiki bar or the gaming bar where a hand or two of video poker will hopefully lead you to the joy of your first royal.
If there ever was a dive bar that was a must see it is the Double Down . Located within earshot of McCarran and a minor pain to get to the Double Down is a haven of hipsters, bikers and locals in the know.
But be warned fellow thrill seekers, the Double Down has an edge that may ruffle some and titillate others. Local and national punk and metal bands play the stage several times a week and the jukebox is renowned as a Vegas best.
Dubbed the anti-Vegas, The Double Down Saloon was the original home of the bacon martini and has some of the sweetest swag available in a town full of sweet swag.
3. The Champagne Café
Housed in a building that dredges up memories of chilling with Grandpa at the Elk’s club, The Champagne Café has long been a favorite of the Strip after work crowd.
Sin City’s home of the Pittsburg Steelers, The Champagne Café features local karaoke legend Bobby Shaw every Friday and Saturday. And it’s on weekends when the UNLV crowd transforms it into a haven of youth, inebriation and buffoonery making a visit a must for any people watching auteur.
Featuring an extensive champagne menu and a distinctive 50’s vibe, The Champagne Café remains a must see stop on the local bar crawl. Just don’t be surprised when you wander out to find the sun has risen and work is only a few short hours away.
4. The Griffin
Despite its recent surge in out of towner popularity downtown Vegas remains far more popular with locals than the glitz, glamour and slack jawed stares found on the Strip.
And the haven of locals on Fremont St. is The Griffin, a bar that is part saloon, part medieval roadhouse and a purveyor of a wide selection of tasty beverages.
Plop your self down on any number of leather clad couches, enjoy the roar of one of two fireplaces and chat up the nearest local. Recommendations abound at the Griffin.
5. Big Dog’s Draft House
Hankerin’ for a tasty and fresh brew made right in the valley? Head over to Big Dog’s Draft House on Rancho where a rotating stable of 25 + beers are tapped and ready to please.
Housed next to Big Dog’s award winning micro-brewery, The Draft House has long been the favorite of locals looking for something new to bash their palate with.
Sip an Extra Hopped Pale Ale, a Leglifter Light or the extra flavorful Dirty Dog IPA and take in a NFL game. Beware though, this is Cheese Head country so tread lightly Bears and Vikes fans.