In a town where older buildings are routinely razed to create new, more elaborate, and (hopefully) more profitable replacements, Atomic Liquors is something of an exception to the rule. Founded in 1952 just down the street from Old Vegas stalwarts like the Golden Nugget and Binion's, Atomic is the oldest freestanding bar in town, named for the fact that you used to be able to sit on the roof and watch nuclear blasts from the Atomic Test Site. With a huge wrap around bar and a guest book that includes The Rat Pack, the Smothers Brothers, Barbra Streisand, and — more recently — Anthony Bordain, it's a great place to enjoy a little bit of history in a town that could use more of it.
We're far from 100% sure that Vegas is the right city to host such a gathering — after all, things can look pretty ugly out on the Strip after a long night out on the town — but no matter, as it's for sure the site for the Life is Beautiful Festival. Scheduled for October 26 & 27 in downtown, this event incorporates music, food, art, and learning, with a Culinary Village of gourmet dishes and appearances by chefs like Todd English, Michael Mina, and Michael Symon, an art schedule that includes some of the city's best-known shows as well as a street art program, and a music lineup featuring performances by the likes of Beck, Vampire Weekend, Childish Gambino, Portugal. The Man, The Joy Formidable, Cayucas, hometown favorites The Killers, and many more.
Las Vegas is responsible for its fair share of zombie-making — one need only stand outside one of its mega-clubs at dawn for proof — so what better place to have a store dedicated to preparedness? Whether you take a looming plague seriously or jokingly, the Zombie Apocalypse Store is worth the trip. Set a couple blocks off the north side of the Strip, this unique shop offers plenty of functional items — think canned goods, water filters, and go packs — for surviving an outbreak, as well as whimsical items like zombie-themed energy drinks and zombie makeup — or as the hardcore call it, "camouflage". [via]
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of The Venetian's St. Mark's Square, it's easy to pass by OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria on your way to more glamorous options. Our advice? Don't. Run by celebrity chef Mario Batali, this Italian eatery mixes extraordinary food with a casual atmosphere. There's more than enough pasta, meat, and seafood dishes to tempt your eye (and mouth), but as the name suggests, the menu shines brightest with the fantastic charcuterie and wood-fired pizzas. With a massive wine list and impressive desserts, it's a nice respite from the chaos outside.
Plenty of people go to Vegas and never even make it Downtown — and that's a shame, because they're missing out on Commonwealth (among other things). This stylish new cocktail bar features a pre-prohibition era design and a drink menu to match, it's own speakeasy called The Laundry Room, and the best rooftop patio in the neighborhood. And don't worry if it looks crowded — at 6,000 square feet, there's more than enough room for everyone.
The Strip has tons of fantastic high-end shopping, but if you're looking for a more interesting assortment of goods, Broadacres Marketplace is the place to go. Situated on the north side of town, this gargantuan swap meet/flea market/entertainment venue boasts over 1,150 vendor spaces and buildings, selling everything from clothes and housewares to fresh fruit, tools, and art. Admission is really cheap — never more than $2 — and there's a stage that hosts live bands and DJs every Saturday and Sunday. There's also a wide assortment of food, and best of all, they also sell beer and micheladas to help cool you off on hot summer days (or nights).
Apart from a handful of movies — several of which have the city's name in the title — Las Vegas isn't the first place we think of when it comes to filmmaking. Yet it will be all about the movies when the Las Vegas Film Festival comes to town later this month. Scheduled for July 18-21 at the LVH, the four-day event will include screenings of feature films, documentaries — including the politically-focused Of By For — and short films, as well as an awards ceremony, and plenty of VIP parties (and after parties). It is Vegas, after all. [via]
The number of options for high-end dining on The Strip are nearly overwhelming — but sometimes all you want is something simple. Like a hot dog. Sitting on the west side of town, Buldogis Gourmet Hot Dogs has you covered. This Village Square serves up 100% pure premium beef dogs, with a huge number of available toppings, including Korean bulgogi, bacon, kimchi, Bahn Mi slaw, and sriracha mayo. And with nothing on the menu over nine bucks, it's a nice change of pace from the prices on The Strip, as well. [via]
Looking for something to do in Vegas that doesn't involve gambling isn't that hard. Finding something that fits the description and doesn't cost much money, on the other hand, can be quite difficult. Located just a couple blocks from The Strip, the Pinball Hall of Fame qualifies. Operating as a non-profit — all extra proceeds, beyond operating costs, go to charity — this unique 10,000 square foot destination offers over 200 games for your playing pleasure, dating from the 1950s up through the 1990s. With all the machines costing $0.50 or less per play — and most set to just a quarter — it's the most fun you can have with nothing but pocket change. [via]
As if you needed an excuse to drink in Vegas. Now in its seventh year, Bon Appétit's Vegas Uncork'd runs from May 9-12, and offers a top-tier eating and drinking experience in a town known for both. The schedule includes dinners with celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, and Joël Robuchon, sessions dedicated to mixology, vodka and caviar, margaritas, oysters, beef and whiskey, and beer, as well as a number of different parties. With events scheduled at the Bellagio, Caesars, Mandalay Bay, and the MGM Grand, you'll have plenty of opportunity to explore the town — presumably on a full belly and with a happy buzz to go along with it.
To say there are plenty of places in Las Vegas to get a drink would be a colossal understatement — but if you're looking for somewhere sophisticated and away from the strip to imbibe, the Downtown Cocktail Room is a great choice. This converted wedding chapel offers 3,000 square feet of space for you to unwind, with plenty of booths, lounges, and arm chairs for you to sit, and hand-crafted cocktails for you to sip. Whether you hang in the front cocktail room or speakeasy, you can be assured a chill time just steps from Fremont, thanks to rules that encourage tasteful clothing, gentlemanly behavior, and seek to reduce douchebaggery to a minimum.
Ready for a break from the insanity of the Strip? The National Atomic Testing Museum should be just the thing. This unique Smithsonian-affiliated museum offers a collection of over 12,000 artifacts related to the development, testing, and deployment of the atom bomb. Located on the campus of the Desert Research Institute — roughly 65 miles southeast from the government's Nevada Test Site — it also explores the effects of the bomb on pop culture and society in general. It's not too heavy-handed, however — one of its current exhibits explores the truth behind the legendary Area 51 base, with help from the very people that worked there. And after a few nights of fantasy-fueled debauchery, a dose of truth may be just what the doctor ordered. That, and a good Bloody Mary. [via]