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Best Bars in Downtown Las Vegas

Expedia and The Mob Museum list the best bars to quench your thirst in celebration of Repeal Day.

By Expedia Staff Writer

Home to lavish resorts and grandiose casinos, Las Vegas has earned quite the reputation for its extravagant lodging and gambling scene over the years. We’re talking accommodations with aquariums, designer boutiques, and even amusement parks. While the Las Vegas hotels are certainly glamorous and the game floors tempting, the city truly outdoes itself when it comes to its watering holes. Each bar wows in its own right, whether it has a VIP-worthy ambience or an artisan cocktail menu.

It’s hard to imagine a time when liquor didn’t flow like water in this town, and perhaps that’s why The Mob Museum is hosting its 4th annual Repeal Day celebration on December 5 in honor of the 21st Amendment. Inspired by this event, Expedia.com teamed up with them to uncover some of the best bars and hotels that exude the charisma of vintage Vegas in the historical Downtown area. You can sample Prohibition-Era cocktails from these bars as part of The Mob Museum’s Repeal Day party as each bar will be competing in the party’s Boss of the Bars competition on December 5. So this December, kick back at a Vegas hotel, clink glasses at The Mob Museum, and swing by these modern-day speakeasies in reverence of the 1933 ruling.

Experience Historic Charm at The Golden Nugget Las Vegas
The Golden Nugget has ties to early Las Vegas, as the hotel’s casino is one of the oldest in the city, dating back to 1946. Though the establishment has since gone through renovations, relish in the allure of the past at one of its many gold-themed cocktail bars. Rush Lounge, decked out in rich red and gold décor, invites you to hoof and hooch with live music and signature drinks, while Gold Diggers serves up epic libations and legendary views of Fremont Street. When you’ve had your fill at the gin mill, stay in one of the newly modernized rooms. Once your head hits the pillow, drift off into dreams of a bygone era.

Sip on Mayor-approved Cocktails at the Plaza Las Vegas
Mosey over to Oscar’s in the Plaza for a taste of former Mayor Oscar B. Goodman’s signature gin martini. Goodman lent his name to this joint, which is a speakeasy infused with an old-timey Vegas vibe. Prior to taking office, Goodman was a Mob lawyer, so his retro lounge and steakhouse are adorned in old Vegas photographs and memorabilia. Salute Repeal Day’s anniversary with some of the finest beef and booze in town. In the city of reinvention, this hotel has gone through several looks throughout the decades, and staying in this historical icon is sure to stir up some nostalgia.

Visit the Rat Pack’s Old Stomping Grounds at Atomic Liquors

Photo 2_Courtesy of Atomic Liquors
Photo Courtesy of Atomic Liquors

Back in 1945, thirsty locals, who could still remember when a good drink was hard to come by, gathered at Virginia’s Café to knock back some cocktails as they sat on the roof watching nuclear blasts from the nearby atomic test site. The beverages were such at a hit, that in 1952, the café became Atomic Liquors and attracted the likes of the Rat Pack, Smothers Brothers, and even Barbra Streisand. Today, it’s the city’s oldest freestanding bar, where you can tap into the extensive draft list, sample a local Nevada brew, or quaff something crafty from the East Coast.

Relish the Meaning of Mixology at Oak & Ivy
The handcrafted cocktails at the Oak & Ivy whiskey bar are nothing short of an art form. Meticulously created with seasonal ingredients, these mixed drink masterpieces allude to the early beginnings of mixology itself. Tip your hat to prohibition’s ratification and savor a boulevardier. This trendy spot also pours American whiskeys and barrel-aged craft cocktails, from Sazerac to Redemption Rye.

Search for Downtown Cocktail Room’s Secret Entrance
Photo 3

How do ya like your absinthe: traditional, panache, or scorched? Try all three styles of the green fairy at the Downtown Cocktail Room. This swanky speakeasy doesn’t require a password, but its secret entrance may take some time to find. The search is well worth it though, as you’ll be presented with classic and creative cocktails. Get into the gangster frame of mind with the B-Movie Detective, a self-proclaimed Italian twisted Bloody Mary, or take the Vow of Silence, a sinful mix of gin and lavender.

It doesn’t have to be Repeal Day to channel some old Las Vegas charm, but it sure is a good excuse. During your next Sin City adventure, get “togged to the bricks” in your finest attire, and party like it’s 1933 at these Vegas joints. As you sip and swirl, thank your lucky stars for the legal status of alcohol.