Coming to Las Vegas means you’re already probably in a different atmosphere. Unless you grew up in a booze-filled fair that was 30 stories tall, you probably aren’t quite accustomed to the frivolity that is the Las Vegas Strip. That’s why we’re here to clue you into the atmospheres you might not have back home. When you want a breath of fresh air, or since it’s Vegas a breath of smoky air with unique scents pumped through the air system, these are some spots with amazing atmospheres.
Atmosphere: Where you’d need to go to calm your nerves after starring in a Harold Lloyd film
Ever wanted to stick it to the nose of those puritanical spoil-sports who outlawed alcohol 70 years before you were born? That’s what you get to do at 1923. Feeling like a combination throwback and flip-off, this bar has the attitude you’d love to take with on you a time-traveling trip to the Roarings. And no one involved, be they patron or provider, is a bit sorry.
You may not be able to jump in the car out front, but you can jitterbug your night away with loads of people who just used their iPhones to look up how to jitterbug. It’s the atmosphere we always want from the past: all the attitude with none of the polio. Drink lots, speak easy and carry a big stick. Wait, that was the wrong Roosevelt reference.
You should go here when: Modern life has you down and you yearn for a simpler time that’s still adjacent to fro-yo and vegan pizza (both available in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place)
Atmosphere: The tour bus of a Journey cover band that’s just bought out a liquor store
Keeping the bourbon but switching up decades, Bourbon Room is the land of big hair, tight pants and synth-backed guitar gods. No, not Portland. We’re talking about the ’80s. Yeeeaaaahhh! Now that we’ve got the rebel yell and the metal fingers out of the way, this is where we remind you to wear Spandex responsibly. Unlike the actual ’80s, Bourbon Room has Instagram.
This spot is right out of “Rock of Ages,” the show that proved hair metal works just as well as a musical. Maybe you’re just a gigolo and maybe you think that song destroyed DLR’s career, either way you’ve got a home at Bourbon Room. Sip a bourbon or a wine cooler, enjoy the live entertainment and enjoy all the comparisons to current pop stars as you giggle about how we’ll look back on them in 20 years.
You should go here when: You wanna know what love is, wanna rock or are wanted dead or alive
The Chandelier at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Atmosphere: Letting go of your worries and just rolling with the fact that you’re drinking inside a magnificent chandelier on the Las Vegas Strip and if you don’t take all the pictures ever your friends won’t believe you, and they still won’t understand until they come
If the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas were adrift in its own midnight amongst the stars, the Chandelier would the waypoint upon which our hopes would rest. Too lyrical? How about this: If the Cosmopolitan casino space were the Enterprise, the Chandelier would be engineering. It’s where the important work gets done — drinking. And it’s got three stories and kind of has that shape. Whichever one of those metaphors you like better is up to you, but we can all agree that Chandelier is one of those bars that you’ll remember when you get home — whether that’s a land of mires and mist or a warm plot on Bajor.
The first floor of the Chandelier is the bar experience we expect in a casino. It’s open and smiling and you mostly can’t reach the crystals. The third floor is like stepping into a bar and expecting everyone to already know your name. They probably don’t because, let’s face it, that would be weird. But they’re still friendly. And the middle floor, open mainly for private parties and special occasions, is like being a wee little gnome tucked away inside the chandelier in the entryway of a mansion you’ll never span. It’s OK if you feel small — 700 billion (that’s a rough estimate) crystals dangling all about will do that. Just take it all in. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to be the center of everything, be that as a shining beacon of revelry or a Warp Core of which you don’t really understand the physics, this is the spot for you.
You should go here when: Nowhere else has tickled your fancy enough that you’ve giggled, but you have faith that someplace is out there with the necessary fingers
Fizz at Caesars Palace
Atmosphere: The inside of a champagne bottle that also happens to house a drunk genie
We don’t know what specifically glitters that isn’t gold, maybe some sort of children’s craft project, but once we hit up Fizz we don’t really care. Gold is where it’s at. Golden adornments, golden champagne, golden memories of dates that ended sort of well even though we never hooked up again, it’s all there at Fizz. This is highlight and high life heaven with a bottle of the bubbly already chilled.
If you didn’t already know that Elton John’s husband had a strong hand in creating Fizz, well, now you do. And we’ll also let you know that they do play songs other than “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” (They get annoyed at how often we request it but that song totally holds up.) But regardless of who made it or where it comes from, Fizz is to gold and champagne what an orange cooler filled with Gatorade is to a winning football coach. Yes, our metaphors are all over the place, but so is the golden beauty at Fizz. Toast to anything and enjoy the ambiance.
You should go here when: You want to feel elegant, alluring and underdressed if the train of your sequined cape is any shorter than 12 feet
Peppermill Fireside Lounge
Atmosphere: If you stumbled on the Garden of Eden while stuck in Tron, and it had a diner
Peppermill on the Strip just north of Encore is a classic piece of Las Vegas awesome. One part neon, one part flaming water and about 35 parts “why are there trees inside?” make Peppermill one of those places that locals love for its finesse and tourists appreciate for being basically a truck-stop diner that got overrun by plants from that planet from “Avatar.”
They have delicious food and some great signature cocktails you can enjoy around the fire pit. And you can experience it all in vivid Technicolor like you were issued a pair of ’70s-style aviator sunglass with a violet tint the second you stepped through the door. They don’t actually give those out, but we’re pretty sure their mutton chop magic has so infused the place since its inception that anyone who enters gains some sort of seventh sense that we call cocktail sight. You could spend an hour or a week in this place and still be enthralled. We should know. It opened in 1972 and we’re not entirely convinced we’re not still eating waffles there right now.
You should go here when: The only thing you want in life is to eat a made-to-order custom omelet under a tree, but you don’t want to go outside