Shaken or stirred, happy hour just isn’t the same without a martini. Never mind the three-martini lunch of the “Mad Men” era. These Las Vegas hot spots serve up divine martinis worthy of James Bond, who ordered his drink with three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet, shaken until ice cold, then served with a large thin slice of lemon peel in “Casino Royal.” These top five martini bars will keep your inner Bond happy.
1 Red Square
No one knows a martini quite like the Russians. At Red Square at Mandalay Bay, Cold War kitsch mixes with caviar and icy cold vodka under the enormous statue of Lenin. Hang out on the red velvet banquettes kept cozy by soaring tapestries with a grand crystal chandelier and other relics of Imperial Russia. Grab an authentic Russian army jacket and fur coats to go into the subzero vodka vault stored at -10 degrees or mingle among 200 of the world’s finest vodkas at the frozen ice bar. Try one of the vodkas with fruits, herbs or vegetables. Order up Lenin's Kryptonite made with Belvedere Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Sour Apple Pucker, pineapple and orange juices with a bit of Sierra Mist and garnished with a cherry or the Russkie made with Zone Banana Vodka, Crème de Cacao, Crème de Banana and a bit of half and half and garnished with a chocolate-covered plantain.
2 Mandarin Bar
Keep your cocktails ultra-modern with martinis at Mandarin Bar. The vintage cocktail list features a vintage “Mad Men”-worthy cocktail list made by master mixologists. Best of all is the view from the 23rd floor of Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter. Try the Golden Leaf aka The Mandarin Martini made with Hendrick’s gin, Aperol, muddled mandarin, pineapple, fresh lime juice and simple syrup; the Silver Whistle with Lillet Rouge, vodka, fresh watermelon, Italian Maresca cherries, silver dust served tall over ice with Champagne; or the Cucumber French with cucumber with fresh lemon juice, Hendrick’s gin and a splash of Champagne. You’ll love the swanky decor set against the Vegas skyline.
Tucked away downtown you can find Sidebar, that tiny cocktail bar that takes its drinks seriously. Look for cozy white booths around the piano bar, a fine selection of cigars and martinis made with a skilled hand at this little gem. If you want to dine, you can order food from the power eatery Triple George next door.
201 N. Third St.
4 Fireside Lounge at the Peppermill
No matter what the cost, the martinis at the Fireside Lounge at the Peppermill just seem more romantic. Maybe it’s the flaming pool where you can sit fireside a la Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro in “Casino.” On the short list of 12 martinis you can find the Chocolate Monkey with Stoli, White Creme de Cocoa and Creme de Banana, the Rosatini with Stoli Raspberry, Chambord and pineapple and the classic Retro-Tini with Miller’s Premium Gin, Triple Sec, Peach Schnapps and cranberry juice.
2985 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
5 Blue Martini
A list like this would be remiss to leave off Blue Martini, that happening spot down at Town Square. Sit indoors or out on the patio while you sip on one of nearly 40 martinis on the list. Go for the namesake Blue Martini with Van Gogh Blue Vodka, Citronge, Blue Curacao, sour mix and orange juice served with a Glow Stick or stay calorie conscience with the Skinny Bitch made with Van Gogh Vodka, Tropicana 50 Blueberry/Pomegranate juice and Blueberry Purée weighing in at under 25 calories. These concoctions are served in oversized shakers so you always get two drinks with every order.