The oldest freestanding bar in the city of Las Vegas has been open in one form or another since the ’40s, and was once a place where you could sit on the roof and watch atomic bombs go off in the desert. Now it’s enjoying some new (non-nuclear) energy courtesy of the downtown resurgence. Grab a microbrew on draft and soak in the history that can be found in the memorabilia on the walls, or the old safe that was discovered in the floor while the bar was remodeled a few years ago.
Off the Strip
Yeah, it’s “off the Strip,” but just barely. Stage Door has been around for years and doesn’t seem to change much over time… unlike the rest of Las Vegas Boulevard right around the corner. Stage Door is proof that you can still grab a cheap beer, keep to yourself, and play some video poker just a few steps away from the High Roller wheel, Drai’s nightclub, and other tourist attractions.
Slick yet comfortable, Commonwealth is the most modern of the new-era bars on Fremont Street. There’s plenty of light and space downstairs, and the meet-and-mingle rooftop patio wouldn’t feel out of place in your favorite college town. Bonus: The intimate bar-within-a-bar known as the Laundry Room requires a text to a secret number to gain entry. But you’ll have to figure that one out for yourself.
On the Strip
While casinos, hotels and restaurants come and go on the Strip, the Peppermill remains one of the most reliable places to grab a drink in the middle of the night. The restaurant specializes in greasy breakfast grub, but the lounge next door is an icon of old Vegas kitsch, complete with plush red chairs, purple neon lights, and the famous fire pit surrounded by water.
Off the Strip
Like soccer? Crown & Anchor has two locations for getting rowdy and enjoying the world’s most popular and fastest growing sport. Just make sure you cheer on the Brits… or something. Pro tip: save a few bucks with two-dollar 20oz PBRs on Sunday nights.
Hailed as one of the best new bars in the country when it was opened by two sisters back in 2013, Velveteen Rabbit has kept the momentum going as a neighborhood hangout in the relatively quiet Downtown Arts District. The mismatched furniture may seem quirky, but the cocktail program will rival anything on the Strip. Creative concoctions include the Santa Anaconda, made with tequila, mezcal, genepy, avocado wasabi cream, and lime.
The longest running continuously open bar in Las Vegas also has the most annoying karaoke singers… but that’s part of the charm, right? The bartenders have a wild side that makes the regulars feel welcome, especially when they’re given a free PBR for guessing the suit on an upside-down card.
The phrase “on the outskirts of town” applies perfectly to this bar which also bills itself as a history museum. It was built more than a hundred years ago during a short-lived mining boom, and along with a shop next door is all that’s now left of Goodsprings. The bartenders swear the place is haunted, but it’s the perfect drinking spot to escape from the madness of Sin City. It’s also the starting point for the Vegas Off Road dune buggy tours.