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Friends toasting with cocktails at the bar.

8 of the Most Iconic Vegas Bars

Looking for Vegas bars with unique flair? While there’s certainly no shortage of fun bars in Las Vegas, there are plenty with especially distinctive atmospheres and unique concepts. Some Vegas bars flaunt their quirky and silly sides and others capture historical elements of Las Vegas culture.

Transport yourself to a different country. Drink your way through opposing climates. Whatever you do, be sure not to miss these eight iconic Vegas bars!

1. Commonwealth

525 E. Fremont St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Inside Commonwealth, a Pre-Prohibition era cocktail bar.Attribute: The Travel Joint

This swanky 6,000-square-foot cocktail bar features decor and libations inspired by the pre-Prohibition era. The dark wood interior walls are covered with exposed brick and the space is incandescently light with pendant lights and elegant chandeliers hanging from exposed rafters. A white peacock greets visitors at the bar of this bi-level Downtown hangout. The movie-inspired cocktail list and carefully curated selection of microbrews can be enjoyed while socializing at the 20-foot-long communal bar or with a little privacy in the alcove hidden booths.

Take a walk upstairs to experience a different cocktail menu and live music on the rooftop terrace overlooking Fremont Street. But what pre-Prohibition themed bar would be complete without a speakeasy and a secret entrance? The Laundry Room, the bar’s semi-secret back room, is accessible via a hidden door, but only by those with a reservation. Plus, Commonwealth is less than a 10-minute walk from Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, making it the perfect stop on your Las Vegas bar hop.

2. Atomic Liquors

917 Fremont St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Liquor and cocktails sign outside historic Atomic Liquors.Attribute: Atomic.Vegas

Built in 1945 and originally called Virginia’s Cafe, Atomic Liquors is Vegas’ oldest freestanding bar. The name of this Fremont Street bar was inspired by customers watching atomic bombs at a nearby test site from the roof. It was the go-to watering hole for The Rat Pack, the Smothers Brothers, and many more. Barbra Streisand and Clint Eastwood were also known to frequent this historical hotspot. The walls are adorned with newspaper clippings, signs, and artwork from the era of the mushroom cloud. There are 20 microbrews on tap, ranging from $3 to $7, and an assortment of bottled beers and house wines. Don’t leave without trying one of Atomic Liquors’ unique, signature concoctions!

3. Frankie’s Tiki Room

1712 W Charleston Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89102

Kitschy tiki bar with tropical island decor in Las Vegas.Attribute: Eater Las Vegas

Frankie’s Tiki Room is one of the most iconic Downtown Las Vegas bars and is known for their cheap drinks, tropical island décor, tiki statues, wood carvings, and kitschy artwork. Bamboo Ben, the well known tiki bar designer and grandson of Eli Hedley, designed the interior.  Fun Fact: Eli is remembered as the original beachcomber and created Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. Deeply rooted in tiki tradition, guests can escape to their wildest tropical fantasies at Frankie’s any hour of the day or night.  Choose from the menu of tropical rum drinks in the tiki lounge or enjoy traditional cocktails while gambling at the bar.

4. Hofbräuhaus

4510 Paradise Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89169

Women dressed up in authentic Oktoberfest costumes in the bier hall at Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas.Attribute: Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas

It’s Oktoberfest all year long at Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas. The building itself is a replica of Munich’s original Hofbräuhaus, which may be an everyday sight in Germany, but is quite the sight in the middle of the desert. With traditional German music and a lively atmosphere, Hofbräuhaus is a great place to feast on Bavarian sausages and pretzels and wash it all down with a giant stein of beer! The bar features long, communal tables for you to seat your whole party or meet a new drinking bud. If you want to combine fitness and beer, try out Hofbräuhaus’ monthly beer yoga class to get your zen on.

5. Minus 5 Ice Bar

The Shoppes at Mandalay Place
3950 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Interior of Minus 5 Ice Bar in Mandalay Bay made entirely of ice. Attribute: Mandalay Bay

Minus 5 Ice Bar is quite literally the coolest Vegas bar. If you need a drastic change from the triple-digit heat of Las Vegas, stop by Minus 5, where the whole bar is made entirely of ice. This includes the walls, chandeliers, seats and glassware! Once you decide on your package, you’ll be outfitted with gloves and a parka before you’re transported into a winter wonderland of interactive and ever-changing ice architecture. Enjoy the LED light show and fun tunes as you chill out (literally) in this unique bar.

6. Millennium Fandom

900 S Las Vegas Blvd, Ste 140
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Large R2-D2 figure in Las Vegas cosplay bar, Millennium Fandom.Attribute: Las Vegas Weekly

Millennium Fandom is a clever Downtown Las Vegas bar where your fandom fantasies come to life! Created specially for cosplay fanatics to grab a cocktail and discuss all things Star Wars and comic books, Millennium Fandom is a hub for all kinds of nerds (and we mean that in the best way possible). Have you been looking for a place to dress up as your favorite sci-fi and fantasy characters? Head to Millennium Fandom to indulge in all of your sci-fi guilty pleasures. The most popular nights feature trivia competitions and Game of Thrones viewing parties.

7. Pioneer Saloon Goodsprings

310 NV-161
Goodsprings, NV 89019

Historic saloon turned Hollywood set offering brews, cocktails & American bites with a Texas twist.Attribute: Daytrippen

This iconic Las Vegas bar is the oldest bar in Southern Nevada and has been open for 100 years. Pioneer Saloon was actually purchased through a Sears catalog and is where Clark Gable received word of the death of his wife, Carole Lombard, whose plane crashed into a nearby mountain in 1942. The Pioneer Saloon features decor and memorabilia dedicated to this tragedy. The cozy atmosphere at this Las Vegas landmark contains a rich history of the old mining towns, old world Hollywood, and the Wild West! Be sure to search the walls for bullet holes before you leave.

8. Mandarin Bar

3752 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89158

Sleek lounge offering creative cocktails, light bites & floor-to-ceiling windows with Strip views.Attribute: Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Bar is where beauty meets sophistication. This iconic lounge keeps things classy with an impressive space and expansive views of the Las Vegas Strip. The bar’s floor-to-ceiling windows, live jazz music, and delectable cocktails transport you to Vegas heaven. Property mixologist William Perbellini has even created unique cocktails to fit the personality of each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Guests can enjoy a complimentary cocktail on their birthday, or at any time during the dates of their Zodiac sign.

Las Vegas knows bars and these iconic favorites can’t be missed. During your next trip to Vegas, visit both Downtown and the Strip to experience some of the country’s most unique bars and lounges!

Couple Driving from San Diego to Vegas

Road Trip to Vegas: San Diego to Las Vegas

Road Trip Series

Driving from San Diego to Vegas doesn’t have to be a long stretch of continuous desert. The San Diego to Las Vegas drive is one filled with beautiful landscapes, historic landmarks, and fun adventures. While some attractions will require you to take more time than your average pit stop, they’re worth the visit. There’s nothing wrong with an extended road trip to Sin City!

Pack your bags, gather the group, and fill the tank, because we have all the recommendations to have the best San Diego to Las Vegas drive.

The Logistics: Route, Drive Time & Traffic

Depending on the route you take on your San Diego to Las Vegas drive, expect to spend at least five hours on the road. Without traffic delays, driving on the I-15 N is the quickest and most direct route, clocking in at about 4 hours and 50 minutes over the course of 330 miles. After driving north a bit, you’ll hit Los Angeles and get to experience LA to Vegas road trip stops like the Calico Ghost Town and Zzyzx Road.

Alternatively, if you want to take a longer road trip to see more of Southern California, take the I-10 E to the CA-62 E. This route is approximately 360 miles from San Diego, and takes around five and a half hours. This route takes you past Joshua Tree National Park and through the Mojave Desert.

An average of 35,650 people drive through the California/Nevada state line at the I-15 Primm exit daily, causing some traffic patches. Friday is the most popular day to start a road trip to Vegas, and running into the road tripper traffic can add an extra hour (or more) to your drive time. Leaving on a weekday or driving in the less-popular hours of the day (hello, 4am drives and coffee!) can help you avoid traffic jams. More cars will be on the road during holidays, school breaks, or during Las Vegas events as well, so take those into account when planning your scenic drive.

San Diego to Las Vegas stops in a gif.

San Diego to Las Vegas Road Trip Stops

Potato Chip Rock | 323 Miles to Vegas

Stretch your legs before sitting in a car for hours, and take a hike on the Mt. Woodson Trail. While this isn’t so much a pit stop as it is a pit adventure, being a 6.6-mile round trip trek, Potato Chip Rock is an iconic San Diego landmark.

Pechanga Resort & Casino | 277 Miles to Vegas

Before you get too far away from home, test your luck at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula. This casino floor is the largest on the West Coast with 200,000 square feet of gaming space. This is also a great way to prepare yourself for Vegas casinos!

Temecula Wineries | 274 Miles to Vegas

Soon after the casino is Temecula’s wine country. Grab a bite to eat and a glass of wine at one of the many award-winning wineries in the area. Just remember: drink responsibly if you are driving.

World’s Biggest Dinosaurs | 237 Miles to Vegas

Also known as the Cabazon Dinosaurs, these massive roadside dinosaurs greet drivers on their way to Palm Springs. Take a pit stop and snap some pictures with Dinny, the Brontosaurus and Mr. Rex, the Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway | 235 Miles to Vegas

Take a break from the confines of your car to experience nature… from above. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tramcar. It’s only a 20-minute round trip, making it the perfect pit stop length.

Cabot’s Pueblo Museum | 227 Miles to Vegas

Take a step back in time in Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs. This museum was hand-built by Cabot Abram Yerxa in the 1940s, and now houses artwork and artifacts from American Indian, Alaska Native, and homestead cultures.

Joshua Tree National Park | 187 Miles to Vegas

One of the most unique desert landscapes is Joshua Tree National Park. This stretch of land is known for its grand rock formations and unique Joshua trees. If you’re driving through at night, the dark sky is perfect for stargazing.

Mojave Memorial Cross | 79 Miles to Vegas

Officially known as the White Cross World War I Memorial, this stop on your San Diego to Las Vegas drive is a unique memorial to honor fallen soldiers. Since being erected in 1934, the cross has been a great place to pay respects.

Primm, Nevada | 44 Miles to Vegas

Before hitting the casinos and hotels of Las Vegas, Primm welcomes drivers at the California/Nevada state line. Primm is home to three casinos, an outlet mall, and even a roller coaster. Stop to get gas and visit for a while!

Lion Habitat Ranch | 18 Miles to Vegas

Lions and a giraffe that paints… no, this isn’t some bizarre Vegas show. This Las Vegas lion sanctuary has been home to lions since 1989 and has since been educating visitors on the care and conservation of big cats.

Part of the Vegas experience is the adventure of getting there. If you’re planning your next trip to Las Vegas, consider hitting the road and making an adventure out of it.

Collection of Summer clothes and bathing suits laid out by a suitcase

Las Vegas Trip Planner: Crafting the Best Summer Vacation in Vegas

Sunshine, one-of-a-kind attractions, poolside fun, world-class dining – these are the things a Summer in Vegas is made of. The end of Spring brings a level of excitement that can be felt throughout the city. The pools come to life, the shorts and sandals come out, and the sun shines on the city a little longer each day. If you’re spending some Summer days in the city, read on for a Las Vegas trip planner that will help you masterfully craft your vacation.

What to Pack:

Packing for a Las Vegas Summer trip may be easier than you think. The trick is to balance out the air conditioned interiors with the outside heat by bringing light layers. Sundresses, shorts, tanks, and skirts will keep you cool outside while light cardigans and sweaters will keep you from getting an AC-induced chill inside.

Of course, no Las Vegas trip planner would be complete without a pool attire guide. Since poolside fun is a Las Vegas Summer essential, remember to pack your favorite bathing suits and a couple sarongs and cover ups. Don’t forget the sunglasses, sunscreen, and beach totes! Comfortable shoes, flip flops, and sandals for the pool will help keep you cool and comfy as you walk around town.

Two sushi chefs at Kabuto-Edomae cutting sashimiattribute: http://www.kabutolv.com/about.php

What to Eat:

When it comes to eating in Vegas, there’s a lot to be discovered. Making reservations ahead of time will help ease your mind so you don’t have to worry about long waits. This city is a foodie’s paradise with renowned restaurants in all genres and categories. Popular Summer dishes have a refreshing quality and include sushi, seafood, salads, and other delicate plates.

For sushi and fresh seafood, a favorite among both locals and visitors is Kabuto-Edomae. A menu full of delectable, refreshing dishes makes this place a Las Vegas Summer must-visit. Another heavily patronized spot in the Summertime is Therapy on Fremont Street. With specialty dishes like Filet Tartare and Scottish Salmon, it’s no wonder why people flock here when the heat turns up.

A shot of the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, including the Viva Vision screen light show.attribute: https://www.flickr.com/photos/volvob12b/38002048802

Where to Stay:

There are plenty of great options when it comes to staying in Vegas. But nothing comes close to the rich history and warm character of Fremont Street. Staying in the downtown Las Vegas area comes with many perks including immersion in the city’s history and unmatched walkability. There’s never a dull moment on Fremont Street – especially in the Summer months.

Test your luck at the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, which offers the latest in slots and video poker as well as traditional craps, blackjack, and other table games. With a legacy spanning the birth of Las Vegas, Golden Gate offers the best on Fremont Street and blends historic charm with modern fun.

A view of the Las Vegas Strip including the New York New York roller coaster and the Statue of Liberty replica.attribute: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Las_Vegas_(4194464675).jpg

Where to Play:

Vegas is a Summer-lover’s paradise. From pool parties to shows to al fresco bars, this is the place to be during the warmer months. The Strip is home to a world of offerings when it comes to unique, over-the-top bars and clubs. Visit famous Vegas attractions like the New York New York roller coaster or simply walk along the Strip taking in the sights.

Locals and visitors flock to downtown Vegas for the Viva Vision Light Show, a captivating display of thousands of LED lights and a 550,000-watt speaker system. Downtown is a great place to take advantage of the quirky nature and glamourous history of Vegas. Take a walk through time on Fremont East by walking from medallion  to medallion picking up tidbits of information as you go. Or, enjoy a newer installment by taking a ride on the thrilling Slotzilla Zipline. Whatever you’re in the mood for, a Summer trip to Las Vegas is sure to deliver.

Summer in Vegas brings has a palpable sense of celebration and you can join the party by planning your trip early and securing your spot in the fun.

Crowd of People Dancing to Music at Nightclub in Las Vegas

The Best Las Vegas Activities for Each Personality Type

Las Vegas is a melting pot with a rich past and a colorful culture. Such a diverse city caters to every personality type – from pampered divas to health enthusiasts to sports fanatics. An array of Las Vegas activities and attractions means that every member of your group can find something they enjoy while visiting Sin City. From peaceful gardens to thrilling rides, Vegas is home to the best of every world.

Whether you’re visiting to relax or go wild, see what the best things to do in Las Vegas are based on your personality type!

What’s Your Las Vegas Personality?

The Social Partier

Vegas is one of the best places to be if you love nothing more than to go out with your friends and have a good time. Home to an impressive collection of world-famous clubs, bars, and lounges, this city has something for every party style. Party it up poolside at one of Vegas’ famous pool parties or dance the night away under glittering lights at some of the top-rated clubs in the country. There are Las Vegas activities for you no matter what kind of party scene you seek.

Entrance to Springs Preserve Botanical Gardens in Las Vegasattribute: https://www.springspreserve.org/explore/botanical-garden.html

The Introvert

If you’re the kind of person who prioritizes “me” time over social hour, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Vegas. From tranquil private suites to intimate lounges, your Vegas experience can be made as private as you’d like. Favorite Las Vegas activities among introverts include the Mob Museum, the Springs Preserve Botanical Garden, and the Neon Museum. Whether you enjoy exploring quiet natural landscapes or meandering through history-rich Vegas relics, this city has plenty for you to enjoy as a party of one.

The Sports Fanatic

Vegas is a sports fan’s paradise – especially if you’re a fan of both sports and gaming. The new ESports Arena at the Luxor takes sports entertainment to the next level with video game competitions and interactive experiences. Even if you don’t get to pay a visit to the ESports Arena, most casinos have state-of-the-art sports books where you can bet on your favorites while enjoying a beverage and meal. The city takes team spirit to the next level. Cheer on the Vegas Golden Knights as they skate their way to victory or make some noise for the Raiders as they charge the field.

Guests Riding Slotzilla Zipline on Fremont Street in Las Vegasattribute: https://vegasexperience.com/slotzilla-zip-line/

The Adrenaline Junkie

The Entertainment Capital of the World is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. Some of the best things to do in Vegas involve taking risks and living life a bit on the edge. The Slotzilla Zipline on Fremont Street stands 12 stories tall and sends you flying over the crowds. For even more thrills, head to the High Roller at Linq Promenade, which is the tallest observation wheel in the world. Or, venture to the top of the Stratosphere to experience some of the most heart-racing rides in the world.

The Health Enthusiast

Health enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the number of health food stores and restaurants in the city is growing exponentially. Spend your day meandering through the diverse Vegas farmers markets or treating yourself to a few hours at one of the many wellness spas. When mealtime rolls around, health enthusiasts will find plenty of options when it comes to farm-fresh dishes and vegan and vegetarian options. A favorite among locals and visitors alike is Veganation, a vegetarian eatery with a global, plant-based menu. If you’re looking to get your workout on while visiting Vegas, the city is home to a plethora of fitness clubs and scenic trails so you can sweat to your heart’s content.

Woman Getting Massage Treatment at Las Vegas Spa

The Pampered Diva

If your motto is “treat yourself”, you’ll be delighted to know that mindset is built into the Vegas lifestyle. Some of the world’s most luxurious spas are peppered along the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown, including some treatments exclusive to the desert. Nourish your skin and relax your muscles with facials and massages or rejuvenate your mind at the many diva-approved Vegas spa facilities.

The beauty of Vegas lies in its variance. The city has something for everyone, making it a destination for the diverse. No matter what your perfect trip looks like, Vegas has offerings that will not only meet, but exceed your expectations.

Golden Gate Casino grand opening on the first floor of the then Hotel Sal Sagev in 1955

Las Vegas Firsts at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino

attribute: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/golden-gate-hotel–casino_n_1954754.html

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino’s legacy began when it first opened its doors back in 1906 at One Fremont Street. Golden Gate Hotel Las Vegas’ history spans the birth of Las Vegas, the Roaring 20s, Prohibition, the iconic Rat Pack era and has been reborn for the 21st century. Its prime location under the bright lights of the Fremont Street Experience provides an unparalleled Las Vegas experience, where present day extravagance merges with a fascinating past. This historic property keeps the old Vegas spirit alive with its distinctive charm and energetic atmosphere.

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino: A Brief History

The birth of Las Vegas came when the land for Golden Gate (previously Hotel Nevada) was purchased at an auction at the corner of Fremont and Main Street on May 15, 1905. The price for the prime Vegas real estate? A mere $1,750. In 1906, the first casino in Las Vegas opened its doors to the public. The local newspaper, the Las Vegas Age, published the guest register on its front page and described it as a “first-class” hotel, “as comfortable as any other hostelry found anywhere,” with “large” rooms (10’ x 10’), electric lighting, ventilation and steam-heat radiators. The railroad boom brought about gambling, alcohol and wild women. While room and board was only $1 when the hotel first opened, alcohol and gambling were extra.

Golden Gate Hotel in the former Hotel Nevada in 1906.attribute: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/golden-gate-hotel–casino_n_1954754.html?slideshow=true#gallery/255772/0

In 1910, gambling was outlawed in the state of Nevada and the casino’s roulette and poker tables were forced into retirement. Fremont Street was paved in 1925, as Ford Model As and Franklin Sedans slowly began to edge horse drawn buggies out. In 1931, gambling was legalized in Nevada again, and its gaming tables sprung back into action. The hotel changed its name to “Sal Sagev”, Las Vegas spelled backwards, and began its first expansion. While the rest of the United States suffered during the Great Depression, the old Vegas economy was booming due to an influx of workers in town to build the Hoover Dam. After a long absence, gambling and alcohol came back to Las Vegas with a vengeance. But Prohibition never stopped Vegas, anyway! Many years later, after Prohibition had ended, construction workers found hidden whiskey bottles in the walls of Golden Gate, which are now on display in the hotel’s lobby.

 In 1931, the Hotel Nevada was renamed the Sal Sagev.attribute: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/golden-gate-hotel–casino_n_1954754.html?slideshow=true#gallery/255772/2

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino’s official history began in 1955 when a group of Italian-Americans visited Las Vegas from San Francisco. The original partners include Italo Ghelfi, Robert Picardo, Al Durante, Leo Massaro, Dan Fiorito and restaurateur Tiny Naylor. Italo, the team’s gaming pioneer, established a lively reputation while managing the casino for the next 40 years. In 1964, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino underwent another expansion to conceal the historical exterior and achieve a more modernized look.

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino: Firsts

As the city’s original casino, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino brought about many Las Vegas “firsts”, including:

-1905: Land for Golden Gate (previously Hotel Nevada) is purchased, making it the first casino in Las Vegas.

-1907: Las Vegas’ first telephone is installed at Golden Gate.

-1927: The hotel installs a large outdoor electric sign – a precursor of the neon lights to come to Fremont Street and later, the entire city of Las Vegas.

-1950s: Golden Gate’s partners employed a creative surveillance system using two-way mirrors above the gaming pit to detect cheating. This surveillance system is no longer used but can still be seen today.

-1959: Starting a true Las Vegas tradition, Golden Gate brings the shrimp cocktail to the city at a bargain price of just 50 cents. Locals continue to vote it “Best of Las Vegas” year after year.

-1960s: Golden Gate Hotel & Casino was the original hangout for Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin.

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino: A Modern History

Golden Gate Hotel Las Vegas restored its building back to its historical appearance when Italo’s sons, Craig and Mark, bought out the former partners in 1990. In 1995, The Fremont Street Experience shut down vehicle traffic on the street and transformed the world’s most distinguished neon street into a pedestrian mall with the biggest video screen on the globe (it’s 10 stories tall and spans 4 blocks!). The Fremont Street Experience offers a multi-sensory light show choreographed to booming, state-of-the-art sound.

Golden Gate Casino being stripped of its mid-60s paneling in 1990.attribute: http://vintagelasvegas.com/page/156

In 2012, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino underwent its first major expansion in 50 years, merging modern design with its illustrious history. It now features a 35,000-square-foot luxury tower with 16 suites, an extended gaming floor with a high-limit pit highlighting its signature dancing dealers, and a new lobby displaying its historical artifacts. In 2017, Golden Gate continued its expansion, nearly doubling the size of the casino. They added a dramatic entry way on Fremont Street Experience and extended OneBar at One Fremont Street.

 Lively atmosphere at the Fremont Street Experienceattribute: http://www.jerde.com/places/detail/fremont-street-experience

This landmark property in downtown Las Vegas has remained true to its vintage Vegas character. Experience this historical hotel for yourself and see all that the Fremont Street Experience has to offer.