Las Vegas

Inspired by the "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" attitude, and that it usually happens after dark, nightlife impresarios keep dipping into their vast pockets to create over-the-top experiences where party-mad Visigoths—plus, well, you and me—can live out some wild fantasies. The number of high-profile nightclubs, trendy lounges, and sizzling strip bars continues to grow, each attempting to trump the other to attract not just high rollers, but A-list celebrities and the publicity that surrounds them.

Many of the newest clubs even have gambling. Though, we ask, Why bother when you can lounge beside the pool by day and bellow at the moon by night while dancing half clad at a club until noon the following day (when it's back into the pool you go)?

In the late 1990s, once the Vegas mandarins decided that the "family experience" just wasn't happening, Sin City nightlife got truly sinful again, drawing raves from clubbers worldwide. A wave of large dance clubs, such as the Luxor's (now-defunct) Ra, opened their doors, followed by a trendy batch of cozier ultralounges—lounges with dance floors and high-tech amenities.

The game of one-upmanship has continued—recent additions that have kept the city hopping include the massive Omnia at Caesars Palace and more intimate Intrique Nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas. What's more, bawdy 1950s-era burlesque lounges are continuing their comeback with a gaggle of clubs now dedicated to the art of striptease.

Few cities on Earth match Vegas in its dedication to upping the nightlife ante. So with all these choices, no one—not even the Visigoths—has an excuse for not having fun, however you define the "f" word.

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  • 1. Atomic Liquors

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    This Downtown bar is the oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas and owns the first liquor license in the state (literally, No. 00001). It takes...Read More

  • 2. Drai's After Hours

    Center Strip | Piano Bars

    All hail Victor Drai, classiest of Vegas nightlife sultans. The wild scene inside this after-hours titan is closer to a dance club or a rave...Read More

  • 3. FreeZone

    University District | Bars/Pubs

    An egalitarian mix of (straight and gay) men and women congregates at this 24-hour bar with a dance floor, pool tables, karaoke, and video-poker...Read More

  • 4. Hakkasan

    South Strip | Dance Clubs

    The 80,000-square-foot Vegas haunt is one of the latest iterations of the nightclub brand that started in London. The space is one part nightclub...Read More

  • 5. House of Blues

    South Strip | Live Music

    This nightclub–concert hall hybrid at Mandalay Bay was the seventh entry in this chain of successful, intimate music clubs. As if the electric...Read More

  • 6. Oak & Ivy

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    Should you happen to be Downtown, head over to the Downtown Container Park and sit inside a shipping container to sip barrel-aged cocktails...Read More

  • 7. On the Record

    South Strip | Dance Clubs

    As the name suggests, the nightclub at Park MGM is all about sound. Sure, the brainchild of L.A.'s Houston brothers brings in live DJs every...Read More

  • 8. Parasol Up

    North Strip | Piano Bars

    Not to be confused with sister lounge "Parasol Down," this exquisite-looking—and exquisitely tranquil—setting near the entrance of Wynn ensures...Read More

  • 9. Peppermill's Fireside Lounge

    North Strip | Piano Bars

    Pining for a genuine taste of retro Las Vegas? This kitschy and shagadelic lounge remains one of the town's truly essential nightspots. Just...Read More

  • 10. Petrossian Bar

    Center Strip | Piano Bars

    Leave your designer handbags on the bar; this is a place to see and be seen. Sophisticated clientele frequent this piano lounge with experts...Read More

  • 11. Spearmint Rhino

    West Side | Themed Entertainment

    At the Rhino, as everyone calls it, you can expect a veritable onslaught of gorgeous half-clad women and an international name brand trusted...Read More

  • 12. Tao

    North Strip | Dance Clubs

    Nowhere else in Vegas furnishes you with the four Ds—dining, drinking, dancing, and drooling—in quite as alluring a mix as this multilevel ...Read More

  • 13. The Chandelier

    South Strip | Bars/Pubs

    True to its name, this swanky lounge sits in a chandelier with 2 million crystal beads, making it the largest chandelier in town (and, perhaps...Read More

  • 14. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts

    Downtown | Cabaret

    Las Vegas got its very own ($150-million) world-class performing arts center in 2012, and what a spot it is. The multibuilding complex (complete...Read More

  • 15. Velveteen Rabbit

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    There's nothing better than a feel-good story in Las Vegas. Sisters Pamela and Christina Dylag saved and scrimped to open this great, velvet...Read More

  • 16. XS

    North Strip | Dance Clubs

    This club backs up onto a pool that converts into one of the most spacious open-air dance floors in town. Steve Wynn's signature attention to...Read More

  • 17. 107 SkyLounge

    North Strip | Piano Bars

    The Strat might be downscale compared with other Vegas hotels, but there ain't nothing "down" about the high-in-the-sky experience to be had...Read More

  • 18. Alibi Ultra Lounge

    Center Strip | Piano Bars

    Who knew you could have an alibi all night long in Las Vegas? This cocktail lounge offers up that—it's open until 5 am most days—along with...Read More

  • 19. Badlands Saloon

    East Side | Bars/Pubs

    Consider the Badlands a 24-hour haven for local gay cowboys. It's decorated with a mock-log-cabin façade and offers cubbyholes in which regulars...Read More

  • 20. Blue Martini Lounge

    South Las Vegas | Piano Bars

    It's in a shopping mall eight minutes from the Strip (by taxi), but we won't hold that against the Blue Martini, because it's still pretty cool...Read More

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