12 sure bets for fun in las vegas

by Brian Lipton

108 DRINKS

There’s more than one way to get high in Las Vegas. Just head to 108 Drinks, located on the 108th floor of recently rebranded ­The Strat Hotel, and indulge in elevated craft cocktails, such as the Big Shot (made with Patrón Añejo); the 360 (made with Grey Goose, peach schnapps, cranberry and orange juice); as well as the Pure Insanity (made with Cruzan Rum, Myers’ Float, triple sec, orgeat, pineapple, and orange juice). You may never come down. (2000 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 702-380-7777).

BARBERSHOP CUTS AND COCKTAILS

You can get a haircut or the hair of the dog at this unusual space in ­the Cosmopolitan Hotel. During the day, gents in need of grooming can kick back in a barber’s chair for a classic cut, beard trim or straight razor shave, all while being invited to enjoy a complimentary selection of fine-aged whiskeys. In the evening, the joint is home to a swanky hideaway bar that features an extensive whiskey selection and modern takes on vintage cocktail favorites. Talk about the best of both worlds! (3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 702-698-7000).

BEER PARK

Literally bigger and better than ever, this rooftop bar at Paris Las Vegas recently more than doubled in size with the opening of a 10,000 square-foot indoor area for dining, drinks, karaoke, and games to complement its famed outdoor rooftop bar and grill. The comfortable, oversized seating has the feel of a living room, with dozens of HDTVs offering prime views of the game from every seat, and there’s an array of arcade and carnival games that include skeeball, pop-a-shot, and darts. And, of course, everywhere you look, there’s beer, with dozens of ales, IPAs, lagers, white beers and more available on tap or in bottles. Head on over! (3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 702-444-4500).

AMBRA ITALIAN KITCHEN & BAR

Say “ciao, bella” to this beautiful new eatery and lounge in the MGM Grand. ­the ultra-appealing menu ranges from must-have starters, such as an ora king salmon crudo to an arugula and beet salad with ricotta salata to a warm octopus carpaccio. For the main course, consider one of the sumptuous homemade pastas, such as a bucatini carbonara, or you can take a different route with grilled branzino or a ribeye steak. Don’t forget to leave room for delicious desserts such as a classic tiramisu! (3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 702-891-7600).

HATSUMI

This new eatery at the now-trendy Fergusons Motel on Fremont Street brings a bit of Japan to the Southwest, focusing on traditional Omotenashi-style hospitality that invokes the “subliminal happiness” found at a 1980s hotel lobby bar in Tokyo. ­The restaurant features traditional robata izakaya dining with a yakitori bar—which means diners can order luscious skewers containing chicken (in many variations), pork belly, veal sweetbreads, beef filet, quail and a host of veggie options. Other delicacies on top include gyoza with pork, house-made tofu, lomi lomi with ocean trout, eggplant katsu, edamame and more. Yep, good things are definitely happening downtown! (1028 Fremont St. 702-268-8939).

CHOSUN HWARO & NARA TEPPAN

For some people, barbecue means brisket and ribs. But those folks have clearly never had Korean BBQ. This expansive 13,000-square-foot dining space inside the Miracle Mile shops boasts 30 Korean BBQ tables and 12 teppanyaki tables where one can order classic table-grilled meat options like pearl steak and boneless kalbi that will please even the pickiest carnivore. Other guests can take advantage of a full sushi menu and everyone will indulge happily in specialty cocktails like the Knight’s Voyage (made with Tanqueray Rangpur gin, Aperol, house-made orange bitters and fresh lemon juice) or a wide variety of sake and soju! Talk about a house of Seoul! (3663 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 702-857-7676).

LA CAVE WINE AND FOOD HIDEAWAY

While not exactly a hidden gem, this restaurant at the Wynn Las Vegas has recently revealed a stunning expansion, which takes advantage of its unbeatable setting in a lush garden overlooking the pool, making it worth either a first or return visit. ­The menu emphasizes small plates including hand-cut charcuterie, bacon-wrapped dates, and salt-roasted beets, while the incredible wine list offers over 250 bottles (and 50 wines by the glass) from the nest boutique producers from around the world. So, come hideaway and get lost for a while! (3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 702-770-7375).

JULIE BUDD AT MYRON’S CABARET JAZZ

Sometimes, the perfect antidote to the hustle-and-bustle of Las Vegas is an intimate evening hearing one of the world’s great singers. If you’re still in town on February 7th, Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at ­The Smith Center hosts the incomparable Julie Budd. A teen star in the 1960s, Budd still delights worldwide audiences with classics from the Great American Songbook. (361 W. Symphony Park Ave. 702-749-2000).

BANKSY: GENIUS OR VANDAL?

Many artists have become one-named wonders, from Monet and Van Gogh to Basquiat and Warhol. And then there is the truly one-named Banksy, whose works will be displayed inside the Fashion Show mall’s new Immersion Vegas space. The appropriately named “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?” will showcase more than 70 original creations from the groundbreaking and mysterious street artist, including “one of a kind” artworks, 3-D objects, limited editions, video installations and a specially-created multimedia presentation. Meanwhile, exclusive merchandise will be available inside the retail store. Genius, indeed. (3200 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 725-600-0081).

PLANET 13

It’s one thing to have your cake and eat it too, but how about buying your favorite CBD product and having a satisfying snack or cappuccino while you’re at it? It’s all possible at Planet 13, which now has a large bistro/pizzeria (operated by the owners of Arizona’s famed Rickety Café) and ultra-enticing coffee shop in its supersized complex. As an all-in-one experience, it’s out of this world! (2548 W. Desert Inn Rd. 702-815-1313).

SIXTH+MILL

Many visitors to ­The Venetian Hotel feel instantly transported to Italy, and their “trip” now has an added attraction: Sixth+Mill Ristorante, Pizzeria, and Bar, located in St. Mark’s Square of ­e Grand Canal Shoppes, allows diners to savor dishes from the southern regions of Italy. ­The menu includes hand-crafted Neapolitan style pizzas along with an array of homemade pastas, including a lighter-than-air gnocchi sorrentina and an enticing pasta with clams. Grab a gondola and go! (3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 702-414-1227).

RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE LIVE!

Life can be a drag, but your nighttime entertainment doesn’t have to be. And it won’t be now that some of the most famous drag queens in the world are performing in RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Each live performance is packed with outrageous comedy, eye-popping fashions, over-the-top singing and dancing, and numerous twists and turns that will leave the audience begging for more. Be warned, though, the atmosphere of the show encourages audience members’ participation. Then again, who wouldn’t want to be part of such fun? (3555 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 702-733-3111).