Desert Companion

We propose a toast

… to a perfectly mixed cocktail enjoyed with friends you had long before your Facebook account. To a glass of wine after a day of conquering the world from your office. To a cold beer on one of those late-fall Vegas scorchers that sneaks up like a sucker-punch. To the conversation and conviviality that flow when good libations meet great company. Here are 40 more reasons to toast: Our favorite recent drinks and the places where we love to have them.

1| Delmonico Steakhouse

Ah, the buzz of a secret cocktail

At first glance, Delmonico Steakhouse — Emeril’s longstanding beef emporium at the Venetian — may not strike you as a whisky wonderland. Well, look again. Beverage Manager Max Solano has assembled an impressive cache of about 550 variants from across the globe at this unassuming restaurant bar. And while the Venetian may not seem to be a likely candidate for a speakeasy-esque experience, you’re in for one if you’re — psst! — in the know. Ask for the secret cocktail list when you see Solano; mind you, it’s only available when he’s around, as he is the literal keeper of the list — it goes home with him every night. But when he’s there, take advantage and order yourself one of its 17 custom libations. JB (Venetian Las Vegas, 414-3737,

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2| Vanguard

This chic vampire cave blooms with fine cocktails

Vanguard is perhaps the most underrated bar on Fremont East, though it serves seriously good cocktails in a chill atmosphere that’s been likened more than once to a chic vampire cave. Live music from DJs often fills the slender, concrete space, where patrons can find inventive cocktails or even bottle service. If you’re a fan of the intensely floral elderflower, try Elderfashioned, a sweet yet strong cocktail made with Bullen Bourbon, St-Germain and Angostura bitters. St-Germain is an artisanal French liqueur, made elderflower petals that are handpicked and transported downhill by bicycle. It doesn’t get quainter than that. KT (516 Fremont St.,

3| Vesper Bar

A drink for every season

I may not have been to every hotel lobby bar in the world, but I suspect there are few better than Cosmopolitan’s Vesper Bar — this mixology mecca just also happens to be at ground zero of Vegas’ hottest Strip property. With an ever-changing drink menu based upon seasonal ingredients and bartender preferences, my latest go-to is the Gentleman’s Companion. A smoky amalgamation of Fernet Branca and Yamazaki 12 with a Lagavulin rinse, it’s perfectly suited for saddling up in a large, leather-clad chair surrounded by mahogany while adorned in a smoking jacket. Vesper has none of that, so instead, you’ll have to settle on the sight of endless droves of pretty people heading to dine and dance. JB (Cosmopolitan, 698-7000,

4| PUB 1842

A barrel of flavor in every sip

While barrel-aged cocktails are becoming more popular throughout the valley, recently opened PUB 1842 immediately positioned itself at the forefront of the movement with a selection of six different offerings. Barrel-aging works best with drinks containing harsher alcohols, tending to mellow them out over time. This is evidenced with Spanish Harlem, a combination of Patron reposado, sweet vermouth, crème de cacao and Angostura bitters — the result is an easy drinking cocktail which you’d swear has nary a drop of alcohol. If barrel-aged cocktails aren’t the drams you’re looking for, you can choose from their creative cocktails, house-made infusions and house-carbonated drinks. 1842 certainly has all their bases covered. JB (MGM Grand, 891-3922,

Bar + Bistro

5| Bar + Bistro

The destination spot for happy accidents

There are bars that are destinations, and there are those that sit at the crossroads of so many things, you might find yourself there accidentally. Bar + Bistro is that rare combination of both, a dimly lit lounge you plan to hit after work — and also where you just end up after an art show. Comfy sofas provide the perfect backdrop for the huddled close-and-engrossed. But the real reason to hit up Bar is their off-menu Dark & Stormy. Any bar that stocks ginger beer is a good bar. Add a strong pour, and it’s great. And during happy hour, you can get great at good prices. This leaves some change for their savory tostones, sunbeams to quell the sweet and drinkable tempest. MO (107 E. Charleston Blvd. #155, 202-6060,

6| Scarlet Bar

Keep your eyes open for this mixology microbar

Ever wanted your own mixology bar? Well, scoring one of the only half-dozen seats at the Palms’ Scarlet Bar might be the closest you get to it. Seriously — blink and you just might miss the inconspicuously located 200 square-foot alcove positioned just off the casino floor near the entrance to N9NE Steakhouse. While most likely the valley’s smallest drinking establishment, it offers one of Vegas’ most diverse infusion menus. Flavors vary with availability and the season so hope — no, pray — for the most addictive of the bunch: banana nut-infused tequila. This tropical mixture is best served on the rocks and is so smooth, you have no reason to fear flashbacks to those Cuervo-induced nightmares of yours from Spring Break. JB (Palms, 933-9900,

7| Boiler Room

Steampunk cocktails? It’s all about chemistry

Las Vegas is known for turnover: One week it’s a lodge-motif sports bar, next week it’s someone else’s hookah lounge/Thai restaurant. But celebrity chef Rick Moonen did his own sudden, drastic remake when he turned the sleek, minimalist upstairs dining room of his RM Seafood into the over-the-top décor and eccentric cocktails of the RX Boiler Room. The steampunk theme extends to bartenders in bustiers and butchers’ aprons mixing up cocktails with alchemical flair — glass beakers, plastic tubing, long-handled silver spoons. The Smoked Whiskey and Coke is literally that: George Dickel Whiskey and cherry smoke cogitating in a skull-shaped bottle before it hits your glass for a smoothly smoky feel to the whiskey in each sip. The Some Like it Hot shakes gin and blood orange liqueur with honey, lemon and habañero bitters for a spicy/sweet kick. All the cocktails reflect the sophisticated taste of award-winning head bartender Nathan Greene. Lean back in your upholstered chair, ponder the octopus on the ceiling and let the liquor float you away to the realm of Jules Verne. LTR (3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 632-7200,


8| Atomic Liquors 

A place where the “nuclear option” is a good thing

The oldest bar in Clark County was reborn this summer. The sepia-tone may have been scrubbed off and the bathrooms gotten a shiny-tiled update, but Atomic Liquors still honors its past. The vintage signs on the west wall used to be on the side facing the parking lot; original owner Joe Sobchik’s ID card, keys and half-pint of Smirnoff are displayed in an old floor safe, along with a jar of cocktail onions believed to date back to the Kennedy administration. The Atomic draws a mixed, sociable crowd — longtime locals, retro-Vegas tourists, Downtown Project types, assorted techies. The bar serves up a solid selection of beers, many on tap, along with an assortment of cocktails: the Vegas Vodka Martinez is a sweet-vermouth twist on a martini that’s a bit less astringent that the usual. Rather flashier is the F-bomb, a shot of Fernet and Fireball served upside down in a glass of energy drink — lift the shot glass and watch the mushroom cloud explode. LTR (917 Fremont St., 349-2283,

9| Park on Fremont

An imbiber’s whimsical playground

The interior is a kaleidoscope of textures — repurposed wood, crystal chandeliers, painted brick, glossy wallpaper — while the patio overflows with art, flowers and gnomes. If the pink-and-blue all-45s jukebox doesn’t summon up nostalgia, the teeter-totter in the smoking lounge will. The crowd tends toward groups in a festive mood, both local and out-of-town.

Park has a number of delicious cocktails on their menu, as well as a mix ’n’ match shot ’n’ beer option that can go as simple as Guinness and Jameson or as unique as Steigl Grapefruit beer with Hangar One blueberry vodka. They also have a selection of unique Bloody Marys, such as the Texas Tuxedo, which is vodka with cucumber, tomato and basil or the Derby Devil, which is bacon-infused rye whiskey in your mix, garnished with bacon and a pickled egg. One of those with Park’s fried-chicken-on-waffle sandwich in the morning should cure whatever you did the night before. LTR (506 E. Fremont St., 834-3160)

10| Comme Ça

Where Prohibition goes to freshen up

Can a French bistro be all things to all people? David Myers’ Comme Ça seems to try, and from the hippest spot on the Strip, no less. In this place’s bag of diverse tricks, the “18A” cocktail program is the most unexpected: unbelievably fresh twists on Prohibition-era drinks that keep getting better with each new update. The scotch-ginger-lemon-honey masterpiece known as Penicillin has been a top pick from opening day, as has the Comme Ci, a black peppered version of a classic daiquiri. But then they had to unleash Thyme for Bourbon, 12-year-old Elijah Craig blended with Créme de Cassis, simple syrup, lemon juice and thyme sprigs, one of the smoothest concoctions you’ll ever try. BR (Cosmopolitan, 698-7910,


11| Artifice

An arty crowd comes for artistic drinks

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than two years since Artifice first graced us with its big, slick presence. Despite the fact that it’s not the new kid on the block, the bar’s ample black booths and huge wrap-around give its warehouse aesthetic an all-grown-up appeal accentuated by flattering rose lighting. Artifice is as likely to be packed with club kids there to hear a hip DJ as it is to be mostly empty. On those quiet occasions, the Warhol beckons. A lemony vodka concoction served in a chilled martini glass, this cable car look-alike suits the surroundings and tastes as good as it looks. Even though a recent menu revealed the Warhol conspicuously absent, the mixologists are still happy to accommodate requests. MO (1025 S. First St. #100, 489-6339,

12| Herbs & Rye

Hint: It’s where bartenders drink

When Herbs & Rye opened in early 2010 in the storied West Sahara space once home to the venerable Venetian restaurant, the goal was to create the best off-Strip beverage program in Vegas. Mission accomplished, and thoroughly maintained. Maybe more impressive than all the hand-pressed juices, house-made mixers and fresh-in-season ingredients that go into your favorite classic cocktail is the way that H&R is simultaneously the bartenders’ bar and a comfortable locals’ spot. Balancing the demands of our massive and talented industry crowd and the average joe who just wants to chill after work is no small feat, yet it happens every night here. Maybe it’s the red wallpaper? BR (3713 W. Sahara Ave., 982-8036,

13| American Fish

An ocean of classic cocktails

This stylish, all-American seafood spot by chef Michael Mina is as overlooked as a Las Vegas Strip restaurant can possibly be. The food is totally approachable and rustic and we love to sit at the super-cool bar framed by a birch tree-inspired art installation and snack on lobster rolls, French fries and seared scallops ($5 each at happy hour). And then, discovery: American Fish might have the best classic cocktails in Las Vegas, pure, pristine and balanced, each telling its own story (like how a martini with an olive instead of a twist is really a St. Francis). The emphasis is on small-batch spirits, like the Plymouth gin in your Tom Collins. Keep it real with a gimlet, kissed with house-made lime cordial, or get happy with the Waldorf Gloom-lifter, which actually exists, and has Irish whiskey and cognac. BR (Aria, 877-230-2742,

14| The Parlour Bar

Shhh! The hipsters haven’t found it yet

Maybe this is Fremont East’s best-kept secret, so keep it kept. While the hipster children are bouncing all goofy between Commonwealth, Beauty Bar, Park and Insert Coin(s), you’re making fun of your friends singing karaoke and sipping a killer Blood & Sand in an old-school corner of an old-school casino. The El Cortez has made a lot of good moves to stay relevant in the new downtown, and creating the Parlour Bar was one of the coziest and most tasty. Leather club chairs, strong drinks, a lively crowd ... who says the Vegas lounge is dead? This place has atmosphere to spare. Maybe it’ll rub off on those hipsters. BR (El Cortez, 385-5200,

15| Parasol Down

The circus is in town — and they want to party

Now remember, you can go to Parasol Up, at the tip of the Wynn casino overlooking the Lake of Dreams through those massive windows, or Parasol Down, cozied up with the SW and Lakeside restaurants away from the casino madness. I like to go down, where the whimsical, overly-ornate decor feels like a bright, boozy circus after a couple Sinatra Smashes. There’s a different drink that’s supposed to be the signature Wynn cocktail, but nothing tops the Smash, muddled blackberries with sweet and sour, vanilla simple syrup and Gentleman Jack whiskey. That’s a splurge of a drink, and that’s what you’re supposed to do when at Wynn, because that’s what Wynn is there for. BR (Wynn, 770-7000,

16|  The Wine Cellar at Rio

The only thing missing is a drunk Bruce Wayne

The fact that you can choose from more than 100 different wines by the glass in a casino cellar with 10,000 bottles worth around $10 million is somewhat unexpected. But everything about the Rio’s tasting room, hidden beneath the Masquerade Village portion of the casino, is surprising. It’s Las Vegas’ secret wine batcave, a quiet, regal place where you can sip the hours away with just about anything your mind and palate can conjure, in between viewings of insane prizes like the Chateau d’Yquem vertical collection of Bordeaux. It’s worth about $2 million, with one bottle for each year from 1855 to 1990. BR (Rio, 777-7962,

17| Marché Bacchus

Oh, what our little French wine shop has become

The serene lakeside setting. The exquisite brasserie cuisine. The smooth satisfaction that comes with knowing you’re at one of the best “locals” restaurants in the city. It’s amazing to consider all that our little French wine shop has become, but don’t let Marché Bacchus’ evolution overshadow that it’s still one of the best places to drink wine in all of Vegas. There are almost 1,000 labels to browse, free tastings on Saturdays starting at 11:30 a.m., and gift baskets with champagne, chocolates and cheeses that’ll make you everyone’s bestie. And the corkage fee is still a ridiculous $10. Oh, Marché, how you spoil us. BR (2620 Regatta Drive #106, 804-8008,

18| Chada Thai & Wine

Spice is nicer when the wine flows

Bank Atcharawan, who helped build the wine program at the acclaimed Lotus of Siam before breaking off to open his own restaurant, just can’t stay out of the headlines. His Chada Thai & Wine has been open for a little over a year, it’s been proclaimed one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit, and Atcharawan got a nod from Food & Wine as one of the sommeliers of the year. Share a meal and a few bottles at the dark, sexy Chada, and you’ll pile on the accolades. Don’t just rely on the spicy-food-meets-sweet-Riesling combo. Experiment with a blazing herb spring roll with ground pork or steamed sea bass with plum sauce alongside a New Zealand Quartz Reef Pinot Noir. With most bottles in the $30-$60 range, you can afford to experiment. BR (3400 S. Jones Blvd. #11A, 641-1345,

19| Ferraro’s

Where Italian wines can finally shine

Dropping affectionate Italian hospitality and stupendous osso buco on you since ’85, Ferraro’s is an institution — one where the food has always somehow overshadowed the wine. Gino Ferraro’s extensive collection of international and specifically Italian wines has earned accolades from Wine Spectator and others, but only when the restaurant moved to its larger location across from the Hard Rock Hotel has it been allowed to properly flourish as a shrine of oenophilia. Here’s a hint: Hit that nice, expanded bar or patio for happy hour (4-7 p.m.) or late night happier hour (11 p.m.-2 a.m.) and take a quarter off wine by the glass. BR (4480 Paradise Road, 364-5300,

Grape Street20| Grape Street Café

An Old Summerlin mainstay still impresses

Sixteen years. It’s rather impressive, isn’t it? Grape Street has been around as long as the Bellagio. Unless you’re one of the regulars in the neighborhood — old Summerlin — you probably haven’t stopped in for a while, grabbed a stool and swished through a few balloons of something round and red, with a little baked brie in phyllo on the side, of course. Everything is available by the glass or bottle, and glasses are still two for one during happy hour. This ’hood has changed a lot over the years, but this is basically the wine-friendly version of “Cheers.” Those who lament the proliferation of video poker sports bars and the lack of cool, easy places to drink wine must not spend much time in this part of town. BR (7501 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 228-9463,

21| Tacos & Tequila

Worth the trek to the menacing black pyramid

While Luxor may not be the easiest of Strip properties for locals to access, you hardly need a reason to wander into the almost 90 different tequilas and mezcals offered at Tacos & Tequila. Ranging from unaged, clean blancos to super-aged extra añejos and smoky mescals, you’re bound to find something to your liking. Perched on the Atrium Level in the middle of the Luxor pyramid, T&T may not be the most authentic of Mexican drinking environments; however, it makes for an entertaining escape and outstanding people watching — particularly if you jockey for position at the bar around the space’s perimeter and settle in with some shaved (al pastor) tacos. Trust me — it’s completely worth the trek. JB (Luxor Las Vegas, 262-5225,


Soyo22| Soyo Korean Barstaurant

Daring casual Asian fare with drinks to match

Soyo serves top-notch Korean fare beyond just barbecue, but this stylish Southwest hangout favored by young, accessorized Asian hipsters is as much watering hole as it is trough. Beers include predictable domestics, as well as fruity bottles such as Apricot Ale and Purple Haze, as well as Asian staples Sapporo and Hite. If wine is your style, try Korean plum wine, rice-corn wine with ginseng or black raspberry wine. For two, split a carafe of soju cocktail, a mild, fruity drink that comes in flavors such as yogurt, peace, lychee, pineapple and calpico, a tart digestif. Get cozy in the unique concrete booths and check the chalkboard wall for daily specials. KT (7775 S. Rainbow Blvd. #105, 897-7696)

23| Zizzy Karaoke

Yogurt soju? Ye, jebal!

Soju is a traditional Korean distilled beverage and similar to vodka, it’s typically served in a variety of manners. At Zizzy, you don’t have to participate in raucous karaoke to enjoy yourself. Instead, just sidle up to a table and order soju with your choice of mixer. While a lot of the flavors, such as strawberry, peach and watermelon, tend to skew towards cloying, the yogurt is just right. While that may seem weird, it’s not. And during Happy Hour from 6-9 p.m. everything on the menu is half-off. It’s the perfect start to your evening, even if it doesn’t involve you belting out a heartwarming rendition of “Blurred Lines.” JB (4355 W. Spring Mountain Road #105, 257-9499,

24| Craftsteak

The perfect ending to a guy’s night out

Nothing caps off a guy’s night out better than a little Scotch — and there’s no better place to share a few than Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak. At last count, they offered 246 single-malt varieties from every region of Scotland. They range in price from $10 to $1,800 per pour, and are available neat or on “the rock” — a 2-inch cube of ice specifically designed to open up their flavors. If you’re craving variety, ask about the numerous flights available, or be bold and design your own. And if any of your friends can’t handle his Scotch straight, ask bartender Alexis Ryan to whip you up a Highland Sling, a light cocktail made with 12-year-old AnCnoc. AM (MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 891-7318)


Ichiza25| Ichiza

Communal eating and do-it-yourself drinks

Stepping into Ichiza is like stepping out of Las Vegas and into Japan — all the loud, lively parts. Specials, handwritten in Japanese and English, cover the walls and give the restaurant the feel of a bustling marketplace where dishes constantly rotate (even if they really don’t). A community table in the center brings together a mix of tourists and locals who clink beer glasses and cross-reference each other’s orders. Be prepared to order based on what you spy servers whisking around the floor, including popular do-it-yourself shochu cocktails — a fun way to kill time as you wait for food. The setup includes your choice of citrus (lemon, lime or grapefruit), a glass juicer, alcohol with ice and simple syrup on the side. The restaurant doesn’t accept reservations and there’s usually a wait, but, once you have a drink in hand, it’s worth it. KT (4355 Spring Mountain Road #205,   

26| Whisky Attic at Freakin’ Frog

A whiskey aficionado’s best friend

If you’re going to have a best friend in Las Vegas, it should be Adam Carmer. Most people know his bar near UNLV has one of the best and biggest beer selections in the country; fewer know the same can be said of the upstairs Whisky Attic. It is the holiest of holies, deserving of the most bombastic booze hyperbole. The best way to experience it is to attend one of the frequent tastings at the Frog, when different brands visit to show off their best stuff, and then just allow yourself to gravitate up to the attic, where the fun really begins. Even a hardcore booze geek will find something he’s never heard of or tasted before. Lives change at the Whisky Attic. BR (4700 Maryland Parkway #8, 217-6794,

27| Andre’s and Alize

Two fine brandy spots with a French connection

A glass of cognac or Armagnac is the perfectly classy after-dinner drink. Fortunately for us, Chef Andre Rochat is an aficionado of the French brandies, and shares his amazing collection at his two Las Vegas restaurants. In all, he offers about 100 cognacs and more than 50 Armagnacs. The rarest is a 1777 bottle from the private collection of Jacques Hardy, only four of which are known to exist. (While many of the prestigious vintages are available by the glass, if you want to sample that one, you’ll have to buy the whole bottle. The price: a cool $35,000.) You’ll find that particular bottle at Andre’s, where we recommend sipping it in the upstairs cigar lounge. AM (Monte Carlo, 3770 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 798-7151,; Palms, 4321 W. Flamingo Road, 951-7000,

Lindo Michoacan

28| Lindo Michoacan

Tequilas to the ceiling

Lindo Michoacán is a Las Vegas institution, with many years of serving up plates of queso fundido, mole poblano and carnitas a la Coca-Cola in a setting of colorful pottery, papel picado banners and mariachi bands. They also take great pride in their tequilas — after all, their slogan is “Save water, drink margaritas!” The bar is lined to the copper-tinted ceiling with tequila bottles. Sure, the ones 10 feet up behind your head are mostly for display, but there are more than 100 varieties behind the bar — familiar blancos, reposados and anëjos, as well as exotic especiales like that $75 Patrón Gran Burdeos Añejo. Sit back, sip a coconut margarita and behold the cycle of life — the family dinner, the graduation celebration, the third date, the bachelorette party, the anniversary, the family dinner… LTR
(2655 E. Desert Inn Road, 735-6828,

29| La Comida

Margaritas in Mason jars? Que bueno

Confession: We’ve never had margaritas in Mason jars before. Now it seems like the only suitable container, thanks to La Comida. The new downtown hot spot offers a full rainbow of flavors from its ever-packed tequila bar, everything from guava to prickly pear. The one that really gets ’em screaming is Siempre Caliente, a healthy couple shots of Chamucos with passion fruit purée, fresh sour, a basil leaf and a liberal splashing of hot sauce. It’s sweet, it’s savory, and it’s got a kick, so it’s pretty much a microcosm of what La Comida is all about. The key ingredient in this margarita and this place is fun, so relax and order another. BR (100 Sixth St., 463-9900)

30| Crown & Anchor

Where ale and ambiance meet

A valley staple of chip butties and short kilts, the Crown & Anchor is the home of all things Anglo, from soccer matches on every screen to pub quizzes. Their food is a high-caloric mix of treats from across the pond, but the real reason to head to the Crown (other than the nautical décor) is the beer. One tell is Smith’s Nut Brown Ale. You may not have tried it, but you’d recognize the label: the fully-bloomed, white rose of the House of York. Based on the amount of ale paraphernalia at area pubs, everyone likes the look of the label, but you just can’t drink a sign. The Crown carries the deliciously mild ale. No pub posing there. MO (1350 E. Tropicana Ave., 739-8676,

31| The Pub at Monte Carlo

They have your new favorite beer

Have you been to the Pub at Monte Carlo lately? Probably not, but you should. With a selection of more than 300 beers, about 100 of which are on tap, you’re bound to come across your soon-to-be new favorite. Some rarities include the full line of Hitachino Nest beers from Japan, Ireland’s Porterhouse Oyster Stout (made with real oysters!) and a full rotation of Trappist ales. As if you need more reason, here’s a little secret. Every Sunday, every single beer is 50 percent off for locals — including their cellared rarities. I can’t think of a better way to waste away a Sunday afternoon. JB (Monte Carlo, 730-7010,

32| The Freakin’ Frog

Literal barrels of (rare) fun

The catchphrase “The rich get richer” applies to gregarious Freakin’ Frog owner Adam Carmer. This is because the Frog has become the sole Vegas possessor of a series of rare kegs from the Zymatore Project, a product of B. United International, an East Coast distributor that ages rare beers in a variety of equally rare barrels. Most recently, an iQhilika Chili Msobomvu mead was matured in Thelema Mountain Vineyards Merlot barrels — both products of South Africa — for a sublime combination of sweet and spice. Carmer promises more in the near future and supplies are limited, so it might be best to just grab a seat now. JB (4700 S. Maryland Parkway, #8, 217-6794,

33| Mob Bar

Mixing beer and lemonade is no crime

If beer and lemonade doesn’t sound enticing, you need to reconsider. Stiegl Radler is low-alcohol-content beer and fruit soda malt beverage that’s perfect for warm nights when you want to socialize but don’t want to drink too much. It’s crisp, tart and so smooth it’s hard to believe there’s any alcohol in it at all. When power-lunch spot Mob Bar transforms to a low-lit bar in the evening, grab a bottle or two and head outside to the patio, where you might find live music or a biker party next door at Hogs & Heifers. At $5 for a tall bottle, there’s no reason not to. KT (201 N. Third St. #102,

34| Money Plays

Looks like a dive bar, tastes like dreams made of beer

Money Plays is as unassuming a bar as you’ll find; in fact, it’s your stereotypical dive bar. What’s not stereotypical is the eclectic beer list as random as any you’ll find in the Valley. Recent offerings have included The Bruery’s bourbon-barrel aged anniversary beer Bois, and Maui’s Aloha B’ak’tun, a stout brewed with Mayan chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Do yourself a favor and try not to miss open mic night, a night when talents are as varied as the beers themselves. Recently, a professional opera singer belted out a Coldplay cover, only to be followed by a “comic” touting a 5-minute set of only Monsanto jokes. Guess which was better? JB (4775 W. Flamingo Road #G, 368-1828,

35| Aces & Ales

Now with two locations for twice the suds

The beer drinkers of Las Vegas had just caught on to Aces & Ales’ dynamic, always-rotating selection at the original location on Nellis Boulevard when it expanded to the westside. That means a whole lot more people are having a really good time. The new Tenaya spot has 50 taps and more than 100 bottles of craft beer amazingness, and new arrivals roll in far faster than anyone can handle. In just a few visits, I’ve already improved my sudsy intelligence and found some new favorite brews, from Sam Adams’ slightly banana-ish Grumpy Monk to Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Black Ale. This is the place that has more than everything, and awesome onion rings to boot. BR (3740 S. Nellis Blvd., 436-7600; 2801 N. Tenaya Way, 638-2337,

36| Five50 Pizza Bar

Whatever the season, they’ve got a beer for it

The problem with Five50 Pizza Bar is there’s too much great stuff to fill you up before you even get near a pizza. Even more malicious: all these wonderful snacks such as perfect pork rinds, spicy giardiniara and house-made garlic sausage go perfectly with beer, which Five50 happens to also specialize in. Not fair. The dozen taps are focused on the season, so you might find the local Tenaya Creek Calico Brown Ale, Oregon’s Rogue Dead Guy Ale, or Chicago’s Goose Island goodies like the 312 Urban Wheat. The bottles are just as brilliant, and everything goes down smooth in this bustling, semi-industrial space. So what kind of pizza should we get? BR (Aria, 590-7550,

37| Big Dog’s

This local beer purveyor is still the leader of the pack

At any given time, Big Dog’s carries seven signature brews and two to three seasonal ones. They’re all hefty and flavorful and so good they bring together all kinds; it’s not unusual to see school teachers imbibing next to bikers at the bar. Year-round, the Vegas-based brewery carries Legtlifter Light, Tailwagger Wheat, Holy Cow Original Pale Ale, Red Hydrant Brown Ale, Black Lab Stout, Dirty Dog IPA and 38 Special, an award-winning blend of Holy Cow and Red Hydrant. The pubs have a Midwestern theme with guilt-inducing food menus to match. Pair any beer with the Bavarian soft pretzel or Wisconsin cheese curds, and you have yourself a meal. KT (Draft House, 4543 N. Rancho Drive; 6390 W. Sahara Ave.,

38| Ogden’s Hops & Harvest

The beer bar that saved a mall!

Beer can save a mall. What the fledgling Tivoli Village needed most was a destination venue, a place to relax and meet friends that was worth the trip and the parking. That place is Ogden’s, or more specifically, one of the two comfortable bars at Ogden’s, the ideal place to grab a snack (the spicy barbecue pork belly is incredible) or more (that famously great burger is back) with a beer, a cocktail or a beer cocktail. There’s a seat for everyone here, from Summerlin shoppers to neighborhood explorers. Hops & Harvest has something for all comers, and probably a favorite brew for anyone’s tastes. It’s easy, and it’s here to save us. BR (Tivoli Village, 476-3964,

Velveteen Rabbit

39| Velveteen Rabbit

Don’t overlook this cocktail destination’s fine beer selection

Velveteen Rabbit, the Arts District’s newest bar, has made a splash for its affordable, hand-crafted cocktails, but don’t discount its impressive beer menu. On it you’ll find a rotating selection of serious local and national brews, including sours, which are naturally fermented and can be hard to find in town. Though the menu changes often, the bar typically carries Birthday Suit, a sour brown anniversary ale from Utah (hence the name), and Stillwater Cellar Door Saison, a smooth Maryland recipe with an herbal, citrus base. Though not sour, also try locally brewed Joseph James German Chocolate Cake Milk Stout or cheap but accessible Schlitz or Genessee for $3. It’s as easy to get lost in the Rabbit’s beer selection as it is to get wrapped up in its dreamy atmosphere. KT (1218 S. Main St., 685-9645)

40| Ricardo’s

Finally, an excuse to drink with mittens

If it’s confusing that you’re receiving a beer recommendation for an average, ordinary, family-friendly Mexican restaurant, there are only two things you need to know: 1. Ricardo’s bar, and in fact all of Ricardo’s, is open 24 hours a day. Doesn’t matter if the lunch buffet is busy, if it’s happy hour, or if it’s 4 a.m., your Corona awaits. And, if you want, some taquitos. 2. This bar has the coldest beer I’ve found in Las Vegas. I dream about it. It goes like this: I sit down, I start munching chips and salsa, and then this nice lady brings a skyscraper of a mug filled with ultra-icy Modelo, so cold you should wear mittens to grip it. Chips. Salsa. Cold beer. Done.
BR (4930 W. Flamingo Road, 227-9100,

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