Glory ignored: An open letter to ‘Esquire,’ in defense of great Vegas bars

Atomic Liquors
Photo: Bill Hughes

Oh, Esquire. You’ll always be A Magazine We Love, even if you use your annual Best Bars in America issue to take shots at Las Vegas, unbelievably calling us “not a great drinking town,” and going on to gripe that “many of its bars feel joyless and mechanical, as if they were just going through the motions.” What? Unless you spent your boozy recon trip trapped in neighborhood video-poker bars, it’s pretty hard to crawl the Valley and miss the joy.

Sure, they managed to mention the Fireside Lounge at Peppermill, Frankie’s Tiki Room and Velveteen Rabbit as watering holes worth a visit, a triumvirate of super-solid picks. But Esquire missed obvious institutions like Herbs & Rye (as fine a classic cocktail bar as you’ll find anywhere), the dive-tastic Double Down Saloon, and unique-atmosphere spots like the Dispensary and the Artisan. It’s easy to choose favorites Downtown, too, from icons like Dino’s Lounge and Atomic Liquors to up-and-comers like Oak & Ivy (which earned some recent national ink in Bon Appétit) and Radio City Pizzeria.

And what about the Strip? If you can’t find the fun at Cosmo’s twin towers of imbibery the Chandelier and Vesper, Mandarin Oriental’s silky-smooth 23rd floor bar and lounge, or Wynn’s whimsical Parasol, that’s your problem. These are just some of the frontrunners. If you need more non-mechanical drinking experiences, holler at us.

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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