Maybe you’re a seasoned Vegas traveler or maybe you’ve been hoping to find your Vegas in the lesser-known, either way, this guide will take you past the selfie-stick crowds and postcard backdrops and show you how locals live.
Downtown Las Vegas
You won’t find these gems in your travel book.
Writer’s Block- The only independent bookstore in Las Vegas and definitely the only book store to offer a “Bourbon Book Club” (think literary discussions paired with whiskey). There is free events offered throughout the month in the back of the shop open to all. Buyer from Writer’s Block, Drew Cohen, shares, “One of the regular—and Vegas-specific—things that we do is EXPO. EXPO is a monthly reading series featuring five Vegas-based writers, each reading for five minutes each: either fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. It gives people a bite-sized opportunity to sample literary work from the community.”
1020 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Atomic Liquors and Atomic Kitchen- Las Vegas’s oldest free-standing bar and one of its newest spots to eat is definitely a treasure in our city. The Kitchen was formerly Doc’s Automotive in the 1950’s and the original windows are still intact. A dish you can’t go wrong ordering is the classic hamburger with beer cheese on top. Hostess, Hannah, says it’s “easily the best thing we make” and the brioche bun comes branded with the Atomic logo.
917 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV, 89101
The Laundry Room at Commonwealth- Haven’t heard of it? Most haven’t. Hidden in a backroom at Commonwealth, The Laundry Room is an intimate, 28-seat-room that only opens based on reservation. A secret number is texted (702-701-1466) and someone texts back instructions on when to be there, where to meet, dress code, and any other details you may need. Tip: go in with some of your favorite flavors and tastes and the mixologist will craft you a personalized cocktail. Anthony Partridge, lead mixologist at the Laundry Room, shares, “Perhaps the most unique drinking experiences have come from when our guests break the norm and start asking for a drink in the style of Patrick Swayze movies or ask to taste the Milky Way galaxy. In case you're wondering the Milky Way galaxy is reported to smell like rum and taste like raspberry.”
525 E Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
7th and Carson- Walking down Carson Street, you’ll notice street art, trendy places to document your vacation, and unique places to eat, among those is 7th and Carson. An American bistro-style restaurant with unique tapas and drinks, it’s the perfect stop.
616 E Carson Ave, Ste 110, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Vesta Coffee Roasters- This local coffee shop is on an unassuming street in the Arts District and is totally worth the trip. You’ll find a beautiful mural outside that takes up the right side of the building. You’ll find fresh, sustainably farmed and roasted coffee inside and baristas that have Latte-Art Throwdown nights- it’s a sport. For hot days exploring head barista Michelle suggests: “...the Matcha-Rita. It has a good balance of sweet and tart, making it really refreshing. The addition of basil to the simple-syrup lends a cleansing, herbal quality to it. Perfect for this crazy heat!”
1114 S Casino Center Blvd #1, Las Vegas, NV 89104
Velveteen Rabbit- It was your favorite book as a kid, it’ll be your favorite bar as an adult. After a late afternoon coffee, you can head on over to this bar that doubles as a venue for live music, tarot card reading, live art murals, and more. The cocktails change seasonally and are crafted from fresh produce and house-made ingredients.
1218 S Main Street, Las Vegas, NV 89104
Strip and Surroundings
A new side to the Strip you may not know yet but are sure to love.
Beauty and Essex at the Cosmopolitan- From the front, it looks like just an eclectic pawn shop. Walk your way past the vintage guitars and you’ll be lead to a cool, lush restaurant with shareable plate options and drinks. Chris Santos, Executive Chef, says one of the most popular dishes “is the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Dumplings. The grilled cheese dumplings are sprinkled with bacon and placed in a spoonful of tomato soup, perfect for sharing with the entire table.” The restaurant is right by the Chelsea, making it a perfect before-concert dinner stop.
3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Beerhaus at the Park- Perfect for laid-back visitors that want to experience the Strip. Bar games, cold brews, and a huge outdoor patio make it an ideal place to hang out. There is also a trivia night on Wednesday and live music Thursday-Sunday.
3784 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Frankie’s Tiki Room- Just when you thought those tiki bars made popular in the 50’s were going extinct, Frankie’s brings it back in your life. It’s off-the-strip so you’ll feel more local and with stiff drinks and jukebox tunes, you’ll feel happy just to be in Las Vegas. Described by Nate the bartender, Frankie’s Tiki Room is the “best time you won’t remember.” He also suggests ordering the upgraded pina colada, Kahiki Kai, “It’s what I imagine Mary Ann was making for Gilligan.”
1712 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89102
Peppermill- Opened in the 70’s, the Peppermill is an iconic stop in Vegas and the backdrop of classic movies like “Casino” and “Showgirls.” Head past the dinner to the fireside lounge and enjoy the cozy, Old Vegas feel.
2985 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Cromwell- It may seem too new to be considered a unique part of Vegas, but the Cromwell has undergone four or five makeovers and now hold Drai’s, a beach club and nightclub venue. It’s the Strip’s only rooftop pool deck making it worth the visit (and yes, palm trees are on the roof too, it’s Vegas after all).
3595 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Cosmopolitan- Chandelier Lounge- Three floors of bars encased in crystals and sophisticated décor is what you can expect when visiting the Chandelier Lounge. Each level has a distinct menu but if you are looking for something totally different, order (in secret), the Verbena. Master mixologist, Mariena Mercer, created the lemon verbena and ginger-infused drink with a Sichuan flower- which you eat first to speed up all your salivary glands. Worth the slobber.