Do you want to explore that old Vegas vibe but don’t know where to start? While many of the relics of past eras are gone for good, there are a few locales where you can still kick it old school from day to night. No list of the best of Las Vegas would be complete without these five hot spots, which give you a taste of the city’s roots in the Mob, meat, and martinis.
The Mob Museum
The city of Las Vegas has never shied away from its past with organized crime. In fact, these roots have been publicly broadcast and recounted in countless television shows and films. So it’s only fitting that The Mob Museum, or the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement calls Sin City home. You can start your visit in a “line up,” and then take a journey deep into the criminal world with experiences that show the perspective from both sides. While here, you can shoot a Tommy gun and take a seat in the electric chair without actually suffering any repercussions. As you make your way up to the second floor, you’ll see exhibits that prominently show how the Mob influenced Las Vegas. But before you leave, make sure to pick up a “Fuggedaboutit” coffee mug from the gift shop.
Signage is an important part of a city’s history. This is especially true in Las Vegas, as the city’s landscape continually changes to reflect the times. In fact, the average lifespan of a building in Sin City is less than 30 years. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, you should head on over to the Neon Museum, or the “boneyard,” where old signs go to die after they are retired or replaced. Sign up for a guided tour to revel in the town’s short but sweet, and sometimes forgotten, past. As you make your way around, you can snap pictures of the bursting Stardust letters or curvy shells of the La Concha, which were moved from their original home to become the structure that now houses the museum’s visitors center.
Piero’s Monkey Bar
With its rich, 30-year history and reputation for serving a variety of famous patrons, Piero’s is a bonafide Vegas landmark. This hot spot was even featured in the movie, Casino. Once you make your way there, you should pull up to the porte cochère, toss your keys to the valet, bust through the doors, and slide into a seat at the Monkey Bar. As you sip on your martini, your eyes will be drawn to the ornate ape paintings that adorn the walls.
Golden Steer Steakhouse
Frank, Sammy, and Dean all still have their tables at the Golden Steer Steakhouse, which some say is Las Vegas’s oldest continually-operating restaurant. After you enjoy a delicious cocktail at the bar, you slide into your booth, which is adorned with photos of the celebrities who once claimed it. As you take in the scene, your eyes are immediately drawn to a server making a tableside Caesar salad from scratch. When it comes to ordering your main dish, you don’t have to think twice. Vegas is a steak town and the Golden Steer Steakhouse has been called the best of the best. You decide to order shrimp scampi as an accompaniment to your meat and top off your meal with the Bananas Foster, a show of sugary delight capped by a large plume of fire. On your way out, you ask to see the backroom, which used to be a dining ground for the famous mobsters who sought out its private entrance.
New York’s Major Food Group, headed by chef Mario Carbone, brings its critically-acclaimed New York eatery Carbone to Aria Las Vegas. This location offers experiential dining at its finest. When you enter the dazzling red dining room, you feel as if you stepped into a mid-century movie, showing the best of Las Vegas. As you look around, your eyes are drawn to a cascading chandelier, which was sourced from an old Ferrari dealership back east. Music from the era serenades you throughout dinner, and you find it nearly impossible to avoid tapping your toes while eating the signature spicy rigatoni. For an encore, you pick a tasty treat from a dessert cart filled with elaborate Italian confections and top it all off with a tasting of rums from around the world.