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Feb 18, 2009 07:19 AM

Las Vegas recs for classic cocktail fanatics, on or off strip?

My boyfriend and I are heading to Las Vegas for the first time in March. We live in Boston, are into the cocktail scene growing here, and would love to find some interesting bars and cocktail lounges in Vegas - ideally places you'd be as likely to find an Old Fashioned as a Mojito, and maybe even with a "classic" Vegas atmosphere. (That said we've never been known to shy away from a happy hour.)

Any tips would be much appreciated. We'll be staying at the Paris and won't have a car, but we're happy to walk or jump on public transport. Thanks!

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  1. I have two suggestions: the bar at Nob Hill (MGM Grand) has top notch bartenders who take making drinks seriously. They are very good with the classics. Another suggestion fairly close to Nob Hill is Red Square at Mandalay Bay. Many unusual cocktails featuring, as you might guess, vodka. If you get there before the crowds (its open at 4) you can sit at the bar which has a strip of ice running down the center to keep your drink cool. They generally have special deals between 4 and 6 PM.

    I have not tried it yet, but there is also an "ice bar" at Mandalay Bay. They give you a loaner coat to keep warm, and you are limited to 15 minutes at a time because of the temperature. If you try that one be sure and post a report.

    2 Replies
    1. re: John Lowrey

      Many thanks for the tips! Will be sure to report back on the Mandalay ice bar if we end up there.

      1. re: John Lowrey

        We visited the Minus 5 bar at the Mandalay Bay in November. It was a lot of fun because we had a great group. It was a really fun time - even the glasses are made of ice. There was an eight foot ice sculpture of Elvis and a wedding altar inside. That said, it was a bit of a gimmick - not romantic in the least - and FREEZING. Having been to the bar (and the Vodka Locker) at Red Square would recommend that instead of Minus 5. We also enjoy the cocktails at Olives (I know you get those in Boston) and watching the fountains just outside at the Bellagio (not available in Boston). I would particularly recommend the fruit-infused vodka martinis and the beef carpaccio. We never miss it when we visit Vegas. Have fun!

      2. The bar at Restaurant Charlie in the Palazzo specializes in classic cocktails. They might still have their menu on the website.

        1. If you want classic Vegas, you've got to check out the Fireside Lounge in the Peppermill, it's up past the Wynn on the strip. Caramel Bar in the Bellagio is across the street from your hotel. Pink Taco Happy Hour (it's in the Hard Rock) is worth a stop.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jillso

            Absolutely check out the Peppermill! The atmosphere is fantastic (think lounging round pyres of flame and cocktail waitresses in real old fashoined floor length cocktail dresses) and the cocktails are almost as good. If you only drink at one lounge in Vegas, this is the one!