Everybody knows Las Vegas’ Chinatown is overflowing with excellent eats, but food isn’t the only reason locals and tourists flock to Spring Mountain Road for weekend and late-night fun. The bars on this drag are as diverse and entertaining as the restaurants.
But you can’t really crawl it. It’s too vast and not really pedestrian friendly, but the real problem is that once you settle in at one of these spots, you won’t want to leave.
Let’s look at the Sand Dollar Lounge (3355 Spring Mountain Road, 702-485-5401), a 42-year-old blues dive that has been rebooted several times in recent years. Its impeccable cocktail program—drink the Smoke on the Water Oaxaca Old Fashioned ($10), a masterpiece “borrowed” from New York speakeasy Death & Company—could make it the perfect place to start your Chinatown night out.
But after a couple drinks, that food truck outside starts calling to you, then the band comes on at 10. Why leave? If it’s the last weekend of the month and the Sinful Sunday Burlesk troop has taken over, you’ll be lucky to beat the sun.
The Golden Tiki (3939 Spring Mountain Road, 702-222-3196) is another strong closer, dark and cozy and serving up potent rum concoctions and live music and/or DJ entertainment every night. Like the Sand Dollar, the Golden Tiki has its own character, something missing from most neighborhood bars.
And it’s just steps away from J Karaoke (3899 Spring Mountain Road, 702-586-1142), a popular spot thanks to its wide selection of songs, drinks and food. Soju cocktails, $18 buckets of beer, fried chicken and green tea shaved ice will fuel your performance all night long.
Chinatown is an obvious karaoke hotbed, and another longtime favorite in that realm is Zizzy (4355 Spring Mountain Road, 702-257-9499), an intimate operation located in the mom-and-pop Korean restaurant Western Soondae. This party runs until 4 a.m. on weekends, and happy hour is big, with drinks priced at $5.
Of course, eating something to soak up that liquor is a must, and that’s why many Chinatown nights include a meetup at District One (3400 S. Jones Blvd., 702-413-6868), where the Vietnamese menu soothes while the bar keeps it moving. The draft beer selection is more than respectable, and the midnight-2 a.m. happy hour offers the snacks you crave, from pork belly buns to fresh oysters. The District One bar program is one of the best in the neighborhood, stocked with a great selection of industry-favored spirits and powerfully creative cocktails like the Hennessy Cafe Sua Da, cognac shaken with Vietnamese slow-drip coffee and served over ice.
After you have a late-night snack and suck down one of those drinks, you’ll be riding the second-wind wave. Head back to the Sand Dollar. We’ll still be there.