Las Vegas doesn’t keep its charms quiet. The city is an exhibitionist, with flashing lights and giant marquees blasting out its message to anyone within eyeshot. But there’s more to the town than mega clubs with mile-long lines and pack-’em-in celebrity restaurants. If you know where to look, Las Vegas is also home to secret cocktail lounges, modern speakeasies, and hidden gems in surprising locations, where chefs cook what their hearts desire and diners bask in the deliciousness. Ditch the obvious temptations in Las Vegas and duck into these 10 must-visit spots, hidden (sometimes) in plain sight.Read More
10 Under-the-Radar Bars and Restaurants You Have to Experience in Las Vegas
The Laundry Room
You can’t see this speakeasy from the street (its doorway is obscured by years of stickers). Access to the laundry room-turned-cocktail hideaway is via neighboring bar Commonwealth and granted by reservation only, obtained by texting a secret number to secure your seats. And sit you will. Inside the stylish lounge, there are rules: No standing at the bar, no photos, no phone calls. Abide and you’ll be treated to custom beverages crafted to your personal tastes; break the rules and you’ll be bounced.
Where EDM and hip-hop is rife in the nightclub, Corduroy stands out as a throwback to another era. Seventies decor, ‘80s hair metal posters, a smoking lounge in the back (complete with cigarette vending machine), and an installation of old-school TVs, speakers, and microwave ovens harken back to the golden age of dive bars. You’ll find a long beer list, with breweries like Elysian Brewing Company on tap, and cocktails of the past — Tequila Sunrise anyone?
Fourth-wave coffee exists far outside the Strip. In the heart of the East Village, PublicUs is a refuge for coffee snobs and those wanting a quiet escape from the city. Order up a specialty drink (like a macadamia nut latte or the London Fog, made with Earl Grey and house-made syrups) and stay for brunch. The menu favorites are the avocado toast (obviously) and pork belly hash. There’s even a small beer, wine, and spirit selection too.
Doorbells, pay phones, and disguised entrances. Half the fun of this off-Strip “speakeasy” is finding your way inside, where a throwback, Mafia-inspired red sauce joint awaits. Think tufted red booths, a crooner at the piano, chandeliers so dim the tables come with flashlights, and a menu of Italian-American staples. If the mob still ran the town, this would be their clubhouse.
Gäbi Coffee & Bakery
Behind an unmarked wooden door in an unremarkable Chinatown plaza is a months-old cafe taking Las Vegas — and Instagram — by storm. Gäbi Coffee & Bakery is a whimsical vacation from reality: a restaurant inspired by 1920s Korea where chefs bake rainbow cakes inside a glass greenhouse and patrons lounge on ornate couches surrounded by stacks of books. Order a latte in a dainty teacup and enjoy a view so chic it feels like a photo shoot.
Double Down Saloon
What makes this 26-year-old dive bar a hidden gem of Las Vegas? Its age, precisely. While most bars and concepts in Vegas are fleeting, Double Down Saloon is here to stay. Unlike the nightclubs and trendy cocktail bars, Double Down Saloon doubles down (heh) on the necessities of a dive bar: murals covered in graffiti, a jukebox playing the hits of the ‘80s and ‘90s, pinball and pool, live shows, and strong drinks. In a city of big spenders and elaborate bars, you’ll be craving an authentic experience at what’s been called Las Vegas’s best dive bar — grab an Elysian Space Dust IPA and settle in for awhile.
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Tiki Di Amore
Inside Casa di Amore, it’s “Vegas the way it used to be” — think vintage casino photos, a jazz singer on the mic, and plates heaped with Italian-American classics. But just out back, the owner has transformed a parking lot into tiki paradise, complete with thatched roofs, bamboo furniture, the Stardust’s Easter Island heads, and oversize octopus decor. Order a rum-centric cocktail and a half-price pizza and embrace the unexpected.
Chile Verde Express Mexican Grill
Forget beef jerky and Doritos. Inside a gas station in southwest Las Vegas, this one-man joint serves Mexican fare far more satisfying than your average fill-up snacks. That man is Carlos Cervantes, and chile verde is his domain — a tiny kingdom of loaded carne asada fries, hefty burritos, and cheese-bathed enchiladas have earned a loyal following of fans.
In a city of gluttony, it’s only necessary to seek out the most gluttonous of all: a bacon-wrapped hot dog, LA-style. Head to Dirt Dog to load up on calories and outrageous toppings on a hot dog. Order up the must-try dog on the menu is the House Dog, topped with a green chile spread and bacon Thousand Island, along with your Elysian brew. And save room for the deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos, served with whipped cream and house-made sprinkles.
Boulder Dam Brewing Co.
For a taste of Prohibition-era Las Vegas, take a drive to Boulder Dam Brewing Co. in nearby Boulder City. The brewpub and beer garden was constructed and decorated with actual equipment used to build the Hoover Dam for just a hint of old-timey, 1930s style. The family-owned brewery is best known for its Powder Monkey Pilsner (named for the dam workers who packed explosives), but it also pours craft beer from other breweries around the region, like Elysian Brewing Company.