Throughout the entire city, bars that were once watering holes of the wild west frontier or groovy 70s lounges still open their doors to customers every day. Downtown Las Vegas, where it all began, is home to many historic bars that have been operating since before prohibition days.
Las Vegas has no shortage of iconic bars – sports bars, luxury lounges, rooftop terraces and everything in between. But a few bars in Las Vegas share something particularly special: a unique history. The history of bars is rich in this city, and here are some of the original establishments that you should make sure to visit.
Atomic Liquors is the oldest free standing bar in Las Vegas. With a long history and a strong focus on their beers, Atomic Liquors is sure to give you an authentic taste of Las Vegas. Throughout the bar’s history, they have served over 500 beers on tap with their rotating selection of beers.
Over time, the bar has also dedicated time to fostering the craft beer scene in Las Vegas. In 2016, they used their rich history and experience with beer to open Atomic City Brews, a new festival to both expose residents of Vegas to new beers and to show brewers around the country what is brewing right in Las Vegas.
In 1949, Maria and Al, who was known as “the bootlegger,” opened The Bootlegger Italian Bistro in Las Vegas. The bar and restaurant was frequented by Las Vegas icons, which only adds to the rich history of the establishment. The restaurant serves the same original menu today with the original recipes from Maria and Al, two iconic restaurant legends of Las Vegas. And the bar is still pouring the same classic and beloved drinks. For over 70 years, the bar and restaurant has been a favorite spot for residents and visitors alike.
Located in the heart of the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino is Bar Prohibition! As one of the oldest bars in Las Vegas, Bar Prohibition! has seen it all. From operating as a watering hole in the Wild West, to a place for women of the 20s to go wild, and a spot frequented by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin during the Rat Pack era, the bar has lasted through it all. In 2013, the bar was renamed Bar Prohibition! to celebrate the bar’s longevity and the living legacy of Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, operating since 1906. Today, the bar pays homage to its rich history with their unique cocktail menu. The menu features drinks like the 1906 Spritz, the Rat Pack Manhattan, and the Bootlegger.
Open since 1966, Champagne’s Cafe is another historic bar in Las Vegas. Visit the bar to travel back in time to the 60s. The jukebox is a fan favorite with songs from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and other music legends. The classic joint has an old Vegas charm that hasn’t been changed much since its opening in the 60s, which makes it all the more special to the city.
With a century of Las Vegas’ scandal and secrets, The Laundry Room was once a secret underground lounge where the Rat Pack, Howard Hughes, Liberace and many Las Vegas legends once went to indulge and let loose. Today, The Laundry Room is hidden behind an entrance in Commonwealth. They are a strict reservation-only establishment and the walls ooze Vegas history. In keeping with tradition, the secrecy and magic of the bar has been preserved, helped by their maestro who might be there playing away on the piano.
Credit: Peppermill Las Vegas
The iconic bar of the 70s still lives on in all its authenticity and originality. Peppermill serves as a reminder of the 70s on the Vegas Strip and walking through their doors is like traveling back in time. The famous bar still serves the same menu as it did when it opened in 1972 and their interior certainly pays homage to the design and style of the 70s. Their specialty: the Scorpion, which is sure to be a cocktail like no other. So have a seat at their fireside lounges and remember the bar’s mantra that some things are better left unchanged!
While it’s a bit of a trek out of the city, Pioneer Saloon is one of the oldest bars in the area. During your visit, take an afternoon to visit the Pioneer Saloon for a look into the past. The saloon has a rich history and has been operating since the establishment of the old mining towns, the wild west, and the years of old Hollywood. The Pioneer Saloon was built in 1913 by George Fayle and is truly a historic landmark. Walking through the doors of the saloon takes you back in time. The bar has been a set for many movies over the years, and upon visiting, you’ll understand why. This is one of the last bars of its kind in the US, so it’s most definitely worth a visit.
Las Vegas is a city with hundreds of bars, but only a select few have a rich history that captures the original Vegas. From watering holes in the wild west, to mining town saloons, chic cafes from the 60s, or secret underground lounges, there are different parts of Las Vegas’ history preserved in each of these establishments. So on your next visit, travel to the past as you walk through the doors of these unique, historic bars.