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a welcome freshening, and in adding the Press lounge to what was before a staid and quiet lobby, they reinvigorated their status as the place where in-the-know locals go for a quiet respite. Echoing the country club feel of the hotel’s Verandah, Press offers comfy indoor-outdoor seating replete with fire pits, couches and twinkly lights, and offers a selection of tasty small plates (including something very much like New York’s famous, trademarked Cronuts), and a menu of classic and tiki-style cocktails. Service is excellent, and happy hour prices make us even happier. JPR Four Seasons, 3960 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-632-5000,

cocktail menus, throngs of fancifully moustached hipsters or soul-crushing pop music. Enter The Hard Hat Lounge. We’re not certain if the mural-adorned, dim-and-smoky venue’s claim of being the oldest continuously operating tavern in Las Vegas is true, but we do know this: Drinks are cheap and strong (a Pabst and a shooter is always $4), charming early-evening bartender Nora remembers your libation of choice, and despite the preponderance of Fox News-tuned TVs, the atmosphere is relaxed, genial and best of all, free of the bullhonky from your workaday existence — or the outside world altogether. PJP 1675 Industrial Road, 702-384-8987,

Frankie’s Tiki Room The story of Frankie’s is well-documented: Respected bar proprietor enlists pedigreed tiki designer to remake old Vegas bar into a modern classic, tended by friendly faces who create a killer menu spotlighting both old- and new-wave rum bombs. What’s not as well known is that Frankie’s is an excellent place to disappear any time of the day or night. Maybe it’s Frankie’s stance, just-far-enough from downtown. Or perhaps the pitch-black-at-noon ambience. Or the uniquely memorable Vegas aura of perfume, tobacco and hair spray. Whatever it is, whenever we drop in, the place

Stage Door Casino The Strip does not lack for bars — every property is rife with mixology bars and piano lounges and margarita joints and Irish pubs and country saloons. But one thing you cannot find in the vast Caesars/ Harrah’s dominion is a decent dive bar. For that, you must go about 50 yards off the Strip, to the Stage Door, a classic dive. It sits in the shadow of the monorail with a mini-mart and Italian restaurant. They have Jäger shots and hot dogs and cheap beer, the game — several games — on the televisions overdubbed by a soundtrack of Journey, AC/DC and other classic FM radio rock. Hunkered down around the bar are teamsters, tourists, conventioneers, bachelor parties and bemused locals. Yes, locals, which should tell you how un-Strip the Stage Door is. LTR 4000 Audrie St., 702-733-0214


Rí Rá Hard Hat Lounge After a hard day of work — or in the middle of it, we’re not judging — sometimes you just want a drink, without dealing with inscrutable


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The Guinness (and other beers) never stop flowing, and around every corner, there’s a new adventure. But it’s the homey feel that makes this Irish standout feel like you’ve found your own neighborhood bar — right on the Strip. Rí Rá has multiple bars in multiple rooms, each painstakingly created with genuine artifacts from the Emerald Isle. JP Mandalay Place, 702-632-7771,

Rí Rá: Christopehr Smith


Desert Companion - May 2014  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada