Written by: Jason Harris
A fine cocktail is one thing. But getting a quality craft cocktail in a singular environment elevates the entire drinking game. It’s not just about what you are sipping, but where you are sipping it. Whether that be in a lounge designed specifically for the drinking experience or in a restaurant with a specialty cocktail program that harmonizes food and beverage, craft cocktail culture is on the rise. Here are some fantastic craft cocktails in Las Vegas and the excellent settings where to enjoy them:
There are so many different vibes one can experience at this open space eatery in Mandalay Bay. The playful nature of chef Shawn McClain and mixology king Tony Abou-Ganim is on display with the neon décor, Bruce Springsteen The River-era font showcasing the name and 1960s surf-style memorabilia. Diners can sit in comfy lounge area, a formal dining room, a main bar or at the chef’s table by the grill. Then there’s Arcade Bar, a more private area for those looking to take their party away from the hubbub. There, guests can experience cocktails such as the Milano, Abou-Ganim’s current riff on a drink he created for Bar Milano in New York City. It’s a fizz filled with freshness courtesy of Effen Blood Orange Vodka, Aperol, lemon and prosecco.
The Black Sheep
This suburban hideaway isn’t that hidden when you consider how many awards it has won. Chef Jamie Tran is making a name for herself with her modern Vietnamese comfort food in this small, inviting, neighborhood restaurant in the southwest part of the Las Vegas Valley. The quality of the food here is matched by that of the cocktails. Check out La Flama Blanca for a drink where the heat equals the flavor.
This Arts District lounge is a favorite for hipsters and business people alike. It’s the perfect spot for an after work beverage or a nightcap to punctuate an evening of partying. The dark wooden bar is offset by plush, retro couches and wallpaper that may never have been in style, but works for the room. Drinks are just as unique, like the Soylena, a combination of Borscht-infused vodka, Aquavit and tomato red wine shrub.
Juniper Cocktail Lounge
Whether you smoke or not, this Park MGM lounge will make you want to throw on a smoking jacket and get lost in a world unlike the rest of the casino. Deep blue couches, golden-accented ceilings and one of the longest bars in Las Vegas are a few of the reasons to stop by this gin joint where certain libations with names such as A Little Birdie are served in vessels shaped like our feathered friends.
Chef James Trees is tearing up the culinary scene with his freshly made pasta, but serious foodies know the cocktail program at this Downtown hot spot is just as legit as the noodles. Sit at the bar for pasta happy hour and let the brightly colored walls and oceanic murals transport you to Southern California while you sip on a chill cocktail named The Age of Sage.