Desert Companion

Happier by the hour: Vegas' best drink deals

Wet your whistle, no matter your taste. Vegas has a happy hour for every kind of drinker. Here are our faves

Lady Silvia

Best outdoors

Relaxed boutique hotel Rumor features a lively happy hour via its Addiction restaurant. You can sit at the central bar, in the chic dining room or wander further to the chilled-out courtyard. There’s a patio with comfortable chairs, purple tufted chaise lounges to recline upon, hammocks to swing in, a pool to dip your toes ?— and, of course, drinks and appetizers for half-price. The menu offers twists on classic comfort food: short ribs with sweet potato purée, caramel-bacon popcorn and several varieties of slider, including chili cheese dog.

Rumor draws a young, sociable crowd that puts on their sunglasses and lingers a while. The third Thursday of each month is Yappy Hour, when patrons are invited to bring along their dogs — sort of like a puppy play date with martinis and DJs. Rumor has also been known to host the floating One Crazy Happy Hour event, which features live art, fashion and entertainment.

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455 E. Harmon Ave., 369-5400.

Happy hour Sun.-Thu. 4-8 p.m.

Best for out-of-town guests

How best to introduce someone to all of Las Vegas at once? From the top. The Stratosphere’s Level 107 Lounge looks down on the city from almost a quarter-mile up, ideal for getting your bearings, learning the landmarks or just admiring the glitter below. The lounge itself is a narrow, burgundy-upholstered circle where virtually every seat has a view — although there are some bar seats away from the window for the acrophobic.

Selected specialty cocktails are two-for-one and a number of appetizers and small plates are half-price — the banh mi duck sliders and flash-fried calamari are particularly tasty. The crowd is mostly out-of-towners, but varies greatly in age and origin, along with a sprinkling of celebrating locals. Happy hour runs rather neatly up to dusk — and right at the time the sun begins to dip behind Mount Charleston, a jazz combo kicks in. Lean back, take another sip of your cocktail and admire the lights that look like a giant’s jewelry box dumped out all over the valley.

2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 380-7777.

Happy hour daily 4-7 p.m.

Best for happy hour-hopping

Bellini at Trevi

The abundance of happy hours encourages one to do a little bar-hopping — but how to hit several places within such a narrow time frame and without getting stuck in traffic? At The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, you can find several spots within easy (and air-conditioned) walking distance. Italian bistro Trevi kicks off early at 2 p.m. with $5 small plates and extravagant specialty drinks like the tiramisu martini and Lemon Sorbetini. At 3 p.m., P.J. Clarke’s begins serving discounted drafts and cocktails of the day and shucking $1 fresh oysters in an antique barroom setting.

Ninety minutes later, the local outpost of steakhouse franchise The Palm begins their happy hour. Snack on $5.50 crab cakes and charcuterie under caricatures of famous Las Vegans. Finally, head up to Sushi Roku where you can feast on sushi, sashimi and other apps for $6 and under. Sip Sapporo, sake or champagne while gazing at the massive LED screens that make the Strip seem a little like a slice of Tokyo’s Ginza district.

Caesars Palace, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Trevi, 735-4663, happy hour Sun.-Fri. 2-6 p.m.; P.J. Clarke’s, 434-7900, happy hour daily 2:45-6 p.m.; The Palm, 732-7256,

happy hour Mon.-Fri., 4:30-6:30 p.m.

and 9:30 p.m.-close; Sushi Roku, 733-7373,

happy hour Sun.-Thu. 4-7 p.m.,
Fri-Sat., 4-6 p.m.

Best after-work unwind

Feeling overworked, under-appreciated, Dilberted to death? Slip into the secret entrance of The Lady Silvia and leave it all behind. The bar is designed to resemble a blend of Algonquin-era speakeasy and Eastern European library — with modern graffiti-style art on the ceiling. Step up to the marble-topped bar and order one of their half-off house libations, or perhaps a glass of wine. As you’d expect from a bar next to a hair salon, everyone is well-coiffed and there are a fair amount of cashmere sweaters and designer purses. Not feeling the mingle? Retire to one of the luxuriously/eccentrically upholstered couches and enjoy the black-and-white movies on the flat screen TV wedged between piles of books. Friday evenings are especially soothing, as a live jazz combo swings through Sinatra standards and Count Basie classics.

900 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Happy hour daily 5-8 p.m.,
Tue-Thu. 11 p.m.-1 a.m.

Best choices

Both New Orleans and Las Vegas have a Decatur Street, and Rhythm Kitchen makes an effort to connect the two. Located in a large building adorned with abundant wrought iron, it serves Cajun and Creole dishes with down-home hospitality and a jazz soundtrack. The happy hour invites one to spend a languid late afternoon picking through their vast menu.

For starters, there are more than a dozen beer/wine/cocktail options between $2 and $6. Hungry? You’ve got more than 20 choices, from $3 for guacamole to $9 for a dozen oysters on the half shell. Want something hearty? A glass of Cabernet and the Kobe sliders, perhaps. Feeling casual? Maybe a margarita and barbecue 


chicken pizza. Desire to dine more authentically Big Easy? How about fried pickle chips, alligator tail and an Abita draft? As folks drift in for post-work meet-ups and pre-dinner drinks while day turns into night, you might have time for more than one option.

6435 S. Decatur Blvd., 767-8438.

Happy hour daily 4-6:30 p.m.

Best buzz

Sometimes, it’s all about the finest bang for the least buck. That’s the reasoning behind the Double Down’s $2 happy hour — and that’s $2 for every drink in the house, no limits, no exceptions. During the earlier hours, the punk-rock standby is quieter, less packed, more of a chill hangout for regulars to swap stories and make plans. Of course, if the setting doesn’t quite feel swank (lurid murals, Ramones on the speakers, ’60s Euro-horror movies on the TVs), focus on the taste of that low-price, top-shelf booze. Grey Goose martini? Two dollars. Courvoisier straight up? Two dollars. Pint of Boddingtons with a double shot of Johnnie Walker? 2 + (2 + 2) = six bucks. So, enjoy a dimly lit afternoon drinking the good stuff, where no one will ever find you. Appreciate the depth of the jukebox’s selection and the bartender’s skill as a raconteur. And, once it begins getting crowded, make your escape.

4640 Paradise Rd., 791-5775.

Happy hour Mon.-Fri. 12-5 p.m.

Most artsy

Start out at the Vanguard Lounge or the Downtown Cocktail Room, both of which offer deals on their adroitly mixologized cocktails. But once 7 p.m. hits, it’s time to drift a little further east on Fremont Street to The Beat, where the tourists may not fear to tread, but neither do they linger in Vegas’ own version of a “Portlandia” coffee bar. After 7 p.m., the ubiquitous PBR is only a dollar, and you also get a buck off their trademark peanut butter-and-jelly-and-bacon-and-jalapeño Slap & Tickle sandwich.

Flip though the vinyl, poke around the vintage posters, perhaps check out the Burlesque Hall of Fame or one of the art galleries. The second Thursday of each month features the “Little Tell,” (an offshoot of Dayvid Figler’s semi-monthly storytelling event) where some of our more interesting Las Vegans share tales of backyard boxing matches or managing a Spice Girls tribute act. There’s also trivia on alternate Thursdays. And, well, once things shut down, you can head to the Vanguard Lounge for reverse happy hour. We may be playing it cool, but we’re still playing in Sin City!

520 Fremont St., 409-5563.

Happy hour daily 7-9 p.m.

AureoleBest wine

Summerlin’s Tivoli Gardens is a complex of bars and restaurants styled in an overblown Belle Époque-Renaissance/nouveau riche/Mafioso style. An exception to the extravagance is Bottles & Burgers, where the décor leans more toward industrial minimalism and the menu offers multiple variations on burgers and fries. During happy hour, selected wines are $6, with $2 drafts and specialty cocktails at a discount. Bottles & Burgers also offers options that straddle the wine-cocktail line, including a refreshing frozen take on the Bellini.

If you prefer something more elegant, gourmand/oenophile mecca Aureole also has happy hours in its two wine lounges. Two-for-one pricing on wines by the glass makes a flute of Roederer Champagne less reckless, but still completely indulgent. Cabernets, Merlots, Chardonnays and Rieslings from around the world are also there for the sipping. The restaurant features the eWinebook, those little iPad-like devices that store vast wine lists: Virtually flip through hundreds of bottles as the fabled wine angels whiz by in the dining room, and feel very high-tech and high-living indeed.

Bottles & Burgers, 450 S. Rampart Blvd.,

431-5453. Happy hour daily 4-7 p.m. and

Sun.-Thu. 9 p.m.-closing

Aureole, inside Mandalay Bay, 632-7401.

Happy hour daily 5:30-7 p.m.

Best for sports viewing

Sure, for the finals you might want to be in a roomful of screaming fans, but usually it’s better to watch the game in a slightly more serene atmosphere. Such a place is Henderson’s Urban Grill, a spot with an extensive menu, comfy seating and multiple television screens. However, it’s not your typical over-themed sports pub: While the bar area is set up stadium-style with three levels of seating, there are shining woods and cool tones, with minimal use of autographs and jerseys.

The staff is pleasant and quick to change the channel or pour a refill. Drink specials range from $3 beer (if Bud and Sam Adams cost the same, why would you?) to $5 well drinks. The food starts with the usual bar fare, but mixes in Southwestern and Asian influences and adds polish — mini beef tacos with pico de gallo and avocado cream and pork lettuce wraps with creamy yuzu sauce. Sometimes a birthday party might come in or a band might start up, but hey, who can’t use a little diversion at the bottom of the fourth?

9510 S. Eastern Ave., 432-3200.

Happy hour daily 4-7 p.m.

Foodie favorite

At AMERICAN FISH, happy hour is rather like “build you own tasting menu” time. Michael Mina’s ARIA outpost is a low-key celebration of American classics. The space is curiously bucolic, with wood-grained walls as well as fake trees and mirrors creating an infinite forest over the bar. If you find that unsettling, you can watch the bustle and flow in the white-tile-and-stainless kitchen, where the swift-moving staff assembles exquisite food.

All of the dozen-plus dishes on the lounge menu are $5 and every one of them is a winner. The Shrimp & Grits are spicy and creamily cheesy. Truffled Mac & Cheese is dotted with chunks of mushroom and green peas and the scrumptious Maine Lobster Roll is a fresh, creamy concoction on just-baked brioche. Unlike many happy hour menus, there are even dessert options. The drinking is worthy of the dining, with cocktails lovingly crafted from fresh, house-made ingredients: Old-school standouts include a well-balanced sidecar and a Moscow Mule served in the classic metal mug.

3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 590-8610.

Happy hour Sun.-Fri. 5-7 p.m.

Best entertainment

At its essence, happy hour is supposed to be happy; to raise one’s spirits from being ground down by toil and stress all week. Sunday happy hour at Drink & Drag is the spot most likely to turn a bad mood into a good (or at least meh) one. The room is spacious and stylish and the “girls” are impeccably turned out, flawlessly made-up and as charming as debutantes. Not enough? Bottle beers, wines and well drinks are all $2, with drafts a mere $1. Feeling peckish? Hot dogs and nachos are two bucks, or flag down one of the transvestites with the cigarette-girl tray of Moon Pies and snack cakes.

Still not enough? Pool is free, as are board games (Operation!) and bowling is only a dollar a game. If you’re lucky, they might be showing a double bill of “Serial Mom” and “Mommie Dearest.” Haven’t turned that frown upside down, yet? Just wait until a half-dozen drag queens in Reagan-era MTV realness launch into a vivacious lip-synch of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

450 Fremont St., 489-3724.

Happy hour Sun. 4 p.m.-4 a.m.

Best getaway

Simon draws a mix of visitors and locals, with a fair number of regulars. Poshly mid-century, with glittery chandeliers, low banquettes and sleek retro furniture, it looks out through glass doors onto a blue-toned area with pools, lounges, cabanas and shimmering mosaic tile. You could be in Miami, you could be in Los Angeles, you could even be in certain parts of South America, but at Simon it doesn’t feel like Vegas — and that’s an important part of happy hour in and of itself.

The bartenders are quick with a joke and adroit with a cocktail shaker. With most options for $6, the varied happy hour provides selections from far and wide — from wok-seared edamame to pizza to sushi to pigs-in-a-blanket. Have a fruit-laden sangria or one of their wickedly delicious mojitos and sense yourself drifting even further away.

4381 W. Flamingo Road, 944-3292.

Happy hour Mon.–Fri. 4-7 p.m.

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