Drinking in Vegas: A Complete Guide for 2024

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Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps, is a Mecca for travelers from around the globe looking to experience the thrill of its casinos, the allure of its high-profile events, and the vibrant life of its nightlife. Yet, there’s a common myth that enjoying Vegas requires a champagne budget. This couldn’t be further from the truth! For budget-conscious adventurers who love a good drink, drinking in Vegas can still be your playground. This guide is a toast to you, the savvy sojourner seeking a taste of the city’s tipple without breaking the bank.

Understanding Las Vegas’ Drinking Laws

Las Vegas’ drinking laws are considerably more relaxed than those of many other cities, but understanding the specifics can save you from any unexpected run-ins with the law. In essence, there are no stringent “open container” laws in the city. This means you can freely enjoy your drink while wandering down the famous Las Vegas Strip or exploring the hustle and bustle of downtown.

However, it’s essential to be aware of a few limitations. Drinking is prohibited in certain areas, such as near schools or storefronts of liquor stores. And while you might see some locals or tourists drinking from glass containers, it’s best to avoid them. Las Vegas law prohibits glass containers in certain tourist-heavy areas to prevent injury from broken glass. Stick with plastic containers, or better yet, one of the city’s signature plastic souvenir cups.

Mixing Your Own Drinks

If you’re looking to stretch your dollar further, consider the DIY approach to your Vegas drinking experience: mixing your own cocktails. With a little preparation, you can enjoy your favorite beverages without the hefty bar price tags.

First, you’ll need to get your supplies. Numerous liquor stores around Vegas offer a vast array of spirits, mixers, and cocktail essentials. Two standout options are Lee’s Discount Liquor and Total Wine, both known for their broad selections and competitive prices. If you don’t have a car, don’t worry. Many of these stores offer delivery services for a small fee. Alternatively, you can use a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft to do your shopping.

Once you’ve got your supplies, you’re free to mix your favorite cocktails right in your hotel room. Remember to bring along some reusable plastic containers or flasks (remember, no glass!) so you can bring your homemade concoctions with you as you enjoy the sights and sounds of Las Vegas. With your favorite drink in hand and the city’s lights sparkling around you, you’ll truly feel the Vegas vibe without spending a fortune.

Budget-Friendly Drinking Options

While the bright lights and glamorous ambiance of Las Vegas can lead many to envision pricey drinks at upscale venues, the city also boasts an array of wallet-friendly alternatives that ensure you won’t have to compromise on fun or taste.

Look for the hidden gems of Las Vegas’ bar scene: small, independently-owned bars that offer amazing deals on drinks. Stage Door (located behind the Linq & Flamingo) and Ellis Island (found behind Bally’s) are renowned for their bargain beer options and economical shots.

Not to be overlooked, Casino Royale is the equivalent of a dive bar on the Strip and another great place to find budget-friendly drink options. Some Strip properties, such as Margaritaville, host extraordinary happy hours during non-peak hours, allowing you to enjoy your favorite cocktails at a fraction of the usual cost.

Complimentary Alcohol for Gamblers

In Las Vegas, gamblers aren’t just playing for wins on the slots or tables; they’re also playing for drinks. In most casinos, as long as you’re wagering—whether at the slots, sportsbook, pit, or poker table—you’ll be served complimentary drinks by the ever-attentive cocktail servers. This applies to all players, not just the high rollers, so don’t be shy about settling into a seat at the slot machine or making yourself comfortable at the poker table.

Just remember, these drinks are complimentary as long as you’re actively playing, and tipping your server is expected and appreciated.

Maximizing the “Free Cocktail” Effectively

Getting the most out of your complimentary cocktail isn’t simply about gambling and waiting for a drink. With a few clever strategies, you can ensure your glass is always full and your server is always nearby.

Start your gaming session right by tipping your server generously ($5-$20) up front, and politely asking them to check on you often. This gesture will likely result in your server prioritizing your care and coming by every ten minutes or so with a new round.

You can typically order up to two drinks at a time, so take advantage of this to maximize your order. Pair a cocktail with a shot, or perhaps a beer with a bottled water to stay hydrated.

As a general rule, a $1 tip per drink is standard, but if you can tip more ($2-$5 per drink), you’re likely to receive even better service and higher-quality drinks. Additionally, don’t forget to specify your preferred brand of liquor. If you don’t, you’ll likely receive the well (house) brand. Ask for your favorite premium liquor, or find out what comparable brands they offer for free.

Don’t forget, your complimentary beverages aren’t limited to alcohol. Feel free to order hot teas, specialty coffees, fresh pressed juices, energy drinks, or even bottled water. Just remember to ask what options are available, as luxury casinos may offer more premium non-alcoholic choices.

Purchasing Cocktails

If you prefer buying your drinks outright, without the need for gambling or mixing your own cocktails, Las Vegas has you covered. The city is peppered with bars that cater to every taste and budget. Numerous daiquiri bars on the Strip offer discounted refills or even free refills throughout the night.

But bear in mind, while these drinks are tempting, they often contain a lot of filler and may not provide as much alcohol as you might expect. No matter the size of the container, the alcohol content is carefully measured to ensure safe consumption.

Craft Cocktail Experiences

For a more refined drink experience, seek out one of Las Vegas’ coveted speakeasies or specialty cocktail lounges. These establishments are known for their meticulously crafted cocktails, using premium ingredients and artistic presentation. The average cost of a craft cocktail in Las Vegas is between $18 and $25, a small price for the level of detail and quality you’re receiving.

Additionally, many renowned steakhouses host a happy hour where you can enjoy small plates and handcrafted drinks without the pressure of a full meal. These venues allow you to taste a slice of luxury and experience top-notch mixology at a reduced cost.

The Best Bars in Las Vegas:

Las Vegas, often referred to as the city that never sleeps, is home to an endless number of bars, each offering a unique ambiance and a wide variety of drink options. Here are some of the top bars you should consider visiting during your stay:

  1. Herbs & Rye: This award-winning bar, located off the Strip, is a must-visit for cocktail lovers. Herbs & Rye is known for its classic cocktails and an impressive selection of steaks. With its Prohibition-era décor and drinks from different eras, this bar gives you a taste of the past with a modern twist.
  2. The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan: This multi-story visual spectacle is one of the most iconic bars on the Strip. It offers three unique bar experiences depending on the level you choose. The middle level, Level 1.5, is known for its experimental mixology.
  3. Skyfall Lounge at Delano: If you’re after a bar with a view, the Skyfall Lounge at the Delano Las Vegas offers breathtaking panoramic views of Las Vegas. Aside from the vista, Skyfall Lounge boasts an extensive cocktail menu and a wide array of appetizers.
  4. Frankie’s Tiki Room: For a different vibe, Frankie’s Tiki Room offers a unique Polynesian twist in the middle of the desert. Enjoy a selection of rum-based cocktails served in custom-carved tiki mugs.
  5. Downtown Cocktail Room: This speakeasy-style bar, located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, is known for its innovative and seasonal cocktail menu. Its unmarked entrance gives it an exclusive feel, adding to the overall experience.
  6. Oak & Ivy: Nestled in the Downtown Container Park, Oak & Ivy is a craft whiskey cocktail bar known for its barrel-aged cocktails and homemade mixers. Its small, cozy setting provides a nice contrast to the vastness of Vegas.
  7. Minus5 Ice Bar at Mandalay Bay or The Venetian: For a unique and ‘chill’ experience, visit Minus5 Ice Bar where everything – from the bar to the glasses to the seats – is made of ice. Don’t worry about the cold; they provide you with insulated jackets, gloves, and boots for your comfort.

Each of these bars offers a unique experience that reflects the diverse nightlife of Las Vegas. Whether you’re a fan of classic cocktails, unique concepts, or simply want to enjoy a drink with a view, there’s a bar for you in Las Vegas. Remember, it’s not just about the drinks, but also the atmosphere, the service, and the memories you’ll create. Happy exploring!

After Drinking in Vegas Care

Drinking in Las Vegas can be an enjoyable experience, but it’s important to remember that the city’s dry climate can quickly lead to dehydration, especially when alcohol is involved. To help recover from a night of revelry, consider hydration therapy services like Vegas IV.

They offer mobile IV hydration therapy delivered straight to your hotel room, with services starting at $150. It’s a refreshing and revitalizing solution to mitigate the effects of dehydration, ensuring you’re ready to enjoy another day in this vibrant city.

Our Final Thoughts on Drinking in Vegas

From understanding the lenient open container laws to discovering the most budget-friendly watering holes, knowing where and how to drink in Las Vegas can significantly enhance your experience. Whether you’re a gambling enthusiast aiming to maximize the free cocktails on offer, a craft cocktail aficionado searching for a high-end lounge, or a budget-conscious traveler looking for the best deals, there’s something for everyone in Sin City.

Moreover, taking care of yourself after a night of indulgence is just as important as the fun you have during. By using services like Vegas IV, you can ensure you’re hydrated and ready to tackle another day. Remember, while Las Vegas is a city of excitement and entertainment, it’s always important to drink responsibly and ensure you’re well-equipped to enjoy everything this city has to offer. So, raise a glass to Las Vegas, a city that truly offers a unique drinking experience like no other!