Even in the Las Vegas desert, rooftop bars provide the best of all worlds with fresh air, inspiring views, cold beverages and hopefully some amenities to make it worth the climb. So, here’s a lofty notion: Despite the constant triple-digit temperatures, these roofs are actually the coolest places to be this summer.
Opened in July, the 910-square-foot rooftop bar and patio above chef Kerry Simon’s Carson Kitchen is poised to become a favorite after-work hangout. It has all the boxes checked: stylish shaded table seating and stools; a six-foot-tall “living” wall garden; an ample bar serving signature cocktails, small-batch American craft beer and wine; and the complete menu (hello, crispy chicken skins) from “Rock ’n’ Roll Chef” Simon’s new restaurant below. Music is a mix of rock and Top 40, with weekly live music beginning in the fall. The spot is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., but the best bet is to grab a spot beneath the strings of festival lights — is this Austin? Portland? Brooklyn? — early Friday or Saturday evening, when downtown’s nightlife scene hits a fever pitch.
At the intersection of the old Strip and the new, the Inspire Theater building’s breezy new rooftop bar offers some of the finest people-watching there is downtown. The roof comes alive at 10 p.m. in summer (earlier in fall and winter), affording views of Las Vegas Boulevard, the Fremont Street Experience and the bars and restaurants of the Fremont East Entertainment District. The hip 2,670-square-foot joint has a casual feel, and features lots of lounge furnishings as well as a shaded bar specializing in communal seating and the beverages that are conducive to that: craft and international beer for the whole table, and bottle service for high-quality highballs. After the sun goes down, DJs light up the night Thursday through Saturday.
Seasoned to perfection by blazing-hot summers since 2012, Commonwealth’s lively lid brings the most experience to this season with aggressive misters, a covered bar, couches and a nearly 360-degree view of downtown, Wednesday through Sunday, starting at 9 p.m. Like the rest of Commonwealth, this laid-back 2,142-square-foot roof is kitted out in exposed brick, dark wood and eclectic furnishings, as well as bar games, funky artwork and enough room for you and 124 of your new friends. The full bar still serves the same signature pre-Prohibition-style cocktails (such as the vodka-, lime-, syrup- and cucumber-soda-packed Ello Guv’nor) and specialty brews as downstairs, so you can kick back during the week and soak up the relaxed Fremont East vibe. But on the weekends, the DJ turns it up for a high-energy dance party that can be seen for blocks.