Let's fast-forward past the PBR specials and get straight to the good stuff, shall we?
Eating out in—and drinking around—Las Vegas may not necessarily be the automatic bargain that it used to be, but with a little creativity, you'll find a wealth of good deals, some of them right at the heart of the action. So many deals, in fact, that it's a very good idea to come here armed with a strategy. Here's a simple rule for bargain-loving travelers, looking to live their best life in Vegas—avoid the average.
You certainly could fill up on the happy hour equivalent of bread, all over town, both on and off the Strip, but it's wise to approach the city (in particular, the Strip) like a giant buffet. In other words, eat all of the shrimp. And the oysters. And the creative small plates, and so on. Here, we've rounded up some of the best happy hours in Las Vegas right now—happy hours where good food and good drink are the normal, at prices that are typically anything but.
Michael Mina's relatively recent addition to the culinary lineup at Aria is far from your average brasserie, a shimmering homage to Paris in the 1920s with a menu of elevated classics, including plenty of seafood. Head to the bar and lounge area every day from 5:30-7 p.m. for the happy hour menu—steak or salmon tartare for $8, tartines ($8), oysters ($3 each), or splurge on the rich Poutine Lyonnaise, fresh cut fries covered in a gruyere fondue and caramelized onions, for $12. Wines by the glass are $8, cocktails $7 (get the French 75, obviously) and there's beer and spirits for $5.
Momofuku Las Vegas
One of the most anticipated new restaurants in Las Vegas has arrived—complete with a daily happy hour in the restaurant's Peach Bar, each day from 3-5:30 p.m. and offering a rather dazzling array of options. Pricing is hardly at the lower end of things (this is an understatement), but this a great way to get a taste and get out, before the start of the evening rush. A spicy fried chicken sandwich with cured cucumber and smoked pepper sauce goes for $11, the famed pork belly bun is $7, cocktails begin at $8.
Chef Danny Elmaleh's underrated restaurant at the SLS Las Vegas (itself an underrated destination, way, way up on the north end of the Strip) does a good spread of Mediterranean classics at its daily happy hour (5-7 p.m.). Start with the dips ($7)—labneh with feta, hummus with tahini, babaganoush, served up with fresh-baked laffa bread—then move on to kebabs ($9), flatbreads ($9) or veggie options like a quinoa and roasted veg salad for $8. Beer is $4, interesting cocktails and house wine are $8.
One of the best deals in town is offered from Monday through Thursday only (5:30-7 p.m.), but it's worth the weekday jaunt for a generous menu of $7 small plates that offer more than a small glimpse of Scott Conant's now-classic restaurant at its best. Duck and foie ravioli, short rib and bone marrow agnolotti, crispy glazed pork belly with apricot mostarda, a salted cod fritter with black olive oil—there's more, but you get the idea. There are drinks, also for $7—order more food instead.
SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill
This recent addition to The Venetian's Restaurant Row brings the Pan-Latin/globally-inspired cooking of Chef Timon Balloo—an instant hit when the concept landed in Miami, some years back—to a new audience; there's a killer, bar-only happy hour, too. Oysters are $1.50, salmon poke $8, a jumbo shrimp cocktail is $7, there are bacon wrapped dates ($7), goat cheese croquettes ($7), plus draft beers, cocktails and wines by the glass starting at $6.
Savvy Vegas visitors know that the some of the most interesting restaurants in town are far from the glitter of the Strip—Dan Krohmer's lowkey, seafood-centric Southwest spot is well worth a stop for its happy hour (every day, from 5-6 p.m.), offering tastes from the raw bar—a ceviche of octopus and shrimp, for example ($8)—and a fun selection of appetizers, from Rhode Island-style calamari with hollandaise and pickled peppers ($8) to blue crab hushpuppies ($8). Drinks are off-Strip reasonable, starting at $3 for beers.
Jose Andres' clever, casual spot at the Cosmopolitan brings Chinese and Mexican favorites together on one, fun menu—Monday through Thursday, from 3:30-6 p.m., one of the more fun happy hour menus in town can be found in here, with bites (tacos, guac, wings, a quesadilla) beginning at $2 and topping out at $8. With $6 beers and $7 Micheladas, this is one of the better-value happy hours at the heart of the Strip, too.
Andre's Bistro & Bar
The departure of Andre Rochat's legendary restaurant—Andre's, obviously—from the Monte Carlo was only temporarily sad; the long-time Vegas fixture is back and doing his thing in a new, more relaxed, Southwest Las Vegas spot. Stop by every day from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for what's more like an early bird special than your typical happy hour—get a couple oysters on the half shell ($2), a chopped salad ($8) and the lobster mac and cheese (with Maine lobster and blue crab) for $10 and call it dinner well done. Drink specials are available as well.
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace isn't exactly Beverly Hills, but it's still tons of fun to pile in to Wolfgang Puck's Vegas outpost of the Los Angeles staple for their daily happy hour, offered, quite generously, from 3-6 p.m., each day. Start off with a glass of Puck's own Cabernet Sauvignon ($5), then dig into the small plates menu—crab cakes for $11, deviled eggs with sturgeon caviar for $10, crispy calamari with a caper remoulade for $8, chicken wings for $8. There's also a selection of mini-pizzas, or pizzettes, starting at $7.