Wedged into the Cosmopolitan’s northeast corner, Bond was always an impressively cool version of a casino bar, if not always the most lively social spot. With the multilevel Chandelier just steps away and its fellow cocktail phenomenon Vesper just off the lobby, there was too much competition. Bond needed to become something different almost immediately, and that became even more evident when Clique Lounge doubled down on the casino floor’s tremendous bar and lounge offerings in 2015.
It’s certainly different now, yet the new venue aligns perfectly with the Cosmopolitan’s signature style. This place has always forced you to explore and built layers of discovery into its various experiences, and the Barbershop is a cozy continuation of that approach.
Access to the bar and lounge is granted speakeasy-style. To get there, walk through the actual working barbershop and sneak through the door to the janitor’s closet, a Narnia-esque journey to the latest version of the Vegas ultralounge: This time it’s a swanky rock ’n’ roll whiskey bar.
The soulful soundtrack skewed from Lenny Kravitz to Al Green as I downed my Mr. Pickles ($16), a healthy shot of Jameson with a pickle juice back served in a hollowed-out dill pickle—a crisp snack I also enjoyed with my chaser, a bottle of Brooklyn Brown Ale ($9). This is a bar for those who know what they want to drink, not a place to peruse the menu—almost entirely bourbon, whiskey and Scotch—and sample something new. The selection is vast as long as you dig the brown stuff, and it’s a refreshing approach for any bar on the Strip. There are “spiked juices” for the uninitiated, including the Black Beauty ($17) with Bulleit bourbon, strawberry syrup, lemon juice and Peychaud’s Bitters.
The Barbershop is the perfect pre- or post-show meeting spot if you’re hitting the Chelsea or catching Opium, but it packs plenty of its own programming, too: House band The 442s take the small stage most Fridays, DJs and other live bands round out the weekends, and Faded Karaoke takes over on Tuesdays. I recommend visiting early to catch the vibe, sip something neat and chart your Cosmopolitan course at your own pace.
THE BARBERSHOP CUTS & COCKTAILS Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7434. Monday- Saturday, 5 p.m.-close.