A common misconception that people seem to have about Vegas is that drinks are super expensive, unless you’re sitting at a machine gambling for awhile, in which case they are “free”. Here’s a little secret for ya though: the amount you’re going to lose playing slots to get your “free” drink would be more than enough to cover quite a few drinks at my favorite Vegas dives! Plus, some of these places also have awesome food or karaoke! If you’re looking to down a few drinks without having to spend all of your hard-earned cash, read on. And also, don’t try to buy drinks at the hotel pool!
4178 Koval Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89109
This might just be one of my favorite places of all time in Vegas. Counter to what you might think, the Ellis Island Casino & Brewery is located nowhere near the Strip’s New York York. I wasted a lot of time and energy my first trip searching…learn from my mistake! Instead, Ellis Island is a couple blocks east of the Strip, just between The Linq’s High Roller and Bally’s. It’s a nondescript little place that lacks a lot of the glitz and glam of the bigger hotels. But what it lacks in decor, it makes up for in $2.50 20-ounce beers brewed right there at the casino. I’m yet to have a beer here that I don’t like. Their light lager is one of the most flavorful light beers I’ve ever had, yet still perfect for the Vegas heat.
Ellis Island also has the best breakfast for your buck in Vegas: it’s home of the $6.99 Steak and Eggs Special. As a now vegetarian, this is a lot less exciting for me than it once was, but an 8oz steak, breakfast potatoes, choice of toast and 2 eggs for that price is hard to beat! For the non-meat-eaters like myself, there are still cheap, yummy, breakfast items to choose from. Their veggie omelette is also under $7 and comes with potatoes and toast, and I can rarely finish the whole thing!
2. Stage Door Casino (and Liquor Store)
4000 Linq Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89109
If you head from Ellis Island to the Strip, after walking about a block you will stumble (maybe literally if you took advantage of all the cheap beers at Ellis) upon Stage Door Casino. Located in a slightly run down strip mall less than a block off the strip, this combination casino/bar/liquor store is divey as fuck. Stop in for $1 bottles of PBR; $4 shots of liquor including Jack, Fireball, and Patron; and then buy a flask of whiskey from the liquor store in the back to keep in your pocket when drinking on the strip gets too pricey. I believe it’s cash only, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most travelers. What are you doing in Vegas if your wallet isn’t full of $1’s to stuff into slot machines and throw at the stage at Spearmint Rhino? OK, that’s not really how I Vegas…most of the time.
3717 Las Vegas Blvd South, Ste. 210, Las Vegas, NV 89109
This little bar will always hold a special place in my heart as the first place I ever went to in Vegas after leaving my hotel…as well as the place I met my partner! Located just under the bridge over Las Vegas Blvd connecting Planet Hollywood to the Cosmopolitan (as in, super centrally located!) it’s the perfect place to relax and hang out while enjoying a craft beer. Beers are $7/pint, which is about as cheap as you’ll find them on the strip! They’ve got another of my favorite light lagers, and they always have a fun new seasonal beer to try (there was a sour beer this summer, my favorite!). There are only about 10 seats at the bar and 3 high top tables so it’s a pretty intimate little place and always draws a fun crowd. The bartenders here are all amazing as well. The great service, conversation, and delicious beer make this an almost daily stop for me when I’m visiting the Strip.
Since it’s Vegas, you can enjoy one beer in the A/C and then take your next one in a to-go cup as you hit the Strip! Hungry? Cross the bridge and head up to the top floor of The Cosmopolitan to grab slices of NY-style Secret Pizza (not so secret because the long line makes its location pretty obvious) and feel free to bring it in to the brewery and enjoy your lunch with a beer!
3557 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89169
It’s worth venturing off the strip for a karaoke night at this retro dive! You’ll pass an excessive amount of wig shops, an aquarium, a couple of strip malls, and not much else on the 10 minute ride here, but it is worth it, I promise you. It’s tiny, but there’s ample seating in big leather circular booths, and a decent amount of seating at the bar itself. The decor and vibe is one of a kind: the Fleur De Lis print wallpaper is VELVET. Yup. I touched it. And as promised, it’s a cheap place to drink. Well drinks are $3.50, cocktails are $6-7, and from what I can tell they usually have some sort of drink special going on everyday. They also do karaoke a few nights per week, and if you love to sing, this is the place to do it. I’ve been here on a Friday night and a Monday night over the summer, and both times I was able to go up for multiple songs. On my last trip there, my partner and I belted out a laugh-ridden rendition of System of a Down’s “Chop Suey” as our grand finale. I apologized to the 10 patrons at the bar in advance.
Where are your favorite affordable Vegas bars? Do you prefer to party it up on or off the Strip? Let me know in the comments!