Sometimes you want to drink like a local does. One of the most popular place in Las Vegas to do so is, Atomic Liquors, which is the city’s oldest free-standing bar. Located right near the historic, El Cortez Hotel in Downtown, on the famed Fremont Street, Atomic Liquors has continued to serve as a landmark for locals and is the perfect place to grab a good craft beer or try one of their famed, Atomic Cocktails.
Since its inception in 1952, Atomic Liquors has been one of the most popular Las Vegas watering holes and drew its name from where locals would watch nuclear blasts from the nearby Nevada testing site. The local charm soon spread to visiting celebrities from the Golden Era, as Barbara Streisand came here so often she had her own seat, which has since been restored and framed for posterity. Renowned author and rabble-rouser, Hunter S. Thompson, was also a regular and now has his own popular Atomic Cocktail, the appropriately named, Hunter S. Smash (which goes heavy on the whiskey). After briefly shutting its doors in 2001, the bar was purchased during the Downtown revitalization project in 2012 with the aim to transform the bar back to its former glories. Since opening its doors again in 2013, Atomic Liquors has picked up right where it left off, becoming the go-to Downtown destination and also a new discovery for visiting tourists.
What’s great about a night out at Atomic Liquors is its vintage and wide-open atmosphere, which makes it an ideal place to hang out at, especially on a hot Vegas night. The bar has over 20 microbrews on tap for true beer aficionados, plus, some sweet deals on your favorite domestics. If you’re craving a strong mixed drink, you’ll definitely want to try the special “Atomic Cocktails” featured on the menu, like “The F Bomb,” which is the official cocktail at the National Atomic Testing Museum. We also recommend The Manhattan Project and the summertime favorite, Strawberry Fields. But if you’re the adventurous type, be sure to ask for the “bartender’s choice” and they’ll serve you up a potent concoction that only the Atomic Liquors’ staff of mixologists could dream up.
You can enjoy your drinks out on the huge back patio, which is always full on the weekends, but also offers an inviting place where you can enjoy a cold drink while working on your laptop as there is free wi-fi available. If there’s a knock to be had on Atomic Liquors is that they don’t have a kitchen. But there’s always a local food truck parked right outside, or you can walk a half block to the nearby, Container Park, which has a bevy of food options on-hand. However, it’s all about the quality drinks and pretension-free environment that Atomic Liquors is beloved for. That’s why this place has continued to endure and thrive in a time during a lot of changeover in historic Downtown Las Vegas.
The next time you’re looking to drink like a local and embrace the history of Las Vegas, take a trip to Atomic Liquors. The experience and the drinks are well worth it.
917 Fremont St., (702) 982-3000