We got that inquiry quite a few times after publishing last year’s inaugural list, as several very worthy bars didn’t make the cut—but many didn’t for one simple reason: They weren’t old enough. Remember, to qualify for our list, an establishment must at least be in its fifth year of operation. Here then are five bars we can’t wait to turn 5, so we can give them their proper due:
Aces & Ales (eligible in 2014): From food pairings to special keg-tapping events, few bars in this city take their beer as seriously as Aces & Ales, which has 22 brews on tap, plus more than 120 bottles, including dozens of very rare offerings. 3740 S. Nellis Blvd., 436-7600, AcesAndAles.com.
Vesper Bar (eligible in 2015): A proving ground for the city’s next bar stars, a magnet for the cocktail cognoscenti and a damn-fine mixology bar in its own right—save us a seat! (By the way, we’re singling out Vesper, but really, we’re excited for several of the Cosmo’s bars to celebrate their fifth birthday.) In the Cosmopolitan, CosmopolitanLasVegas.com.
Herbs & Rye (eligible in 2014): Following a few tweaks focused mainly around food and music, Nectaly Mendoza’s classic cocktail enclave has finally hit its stride, and remains a staple on the mixology map. But we hear Mendoza has a few more tricks up his sleeve, and can’t wait to see what next year brings. 3713 W. Sahara Ave., 982-8036.
Mandarin Bar (eligible in 2014): We’re not sure what’s more stunning: the view looking out from this 23rd-floor bar at Mandarin Oriental, or the elegant atmosphere from within. In Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter, MandarinOriental.com/LasVegas.
Velveteen Rabbit (eligible in 2018): Not two months open and we’re already pumped to see this bar come into its own. The Dylag sisters put enough elbow grease into their petite new Arts District craft-cocktail and craft-beer bar to make it timeless. 1218 S. Main St., 685-9645.