Atomic Liquors 917 Fremont St., 982-3000.
If you’re an early adopter, you’ve probably already happened across the recently renovated and reinvigorated Atomic. It was updated without eliminating the old-school charm of the original package store, and today an outstanding soundtrack and charming staff create a welcoming ambience for all comers. Perhaps even better: the bar’s free parking lot. Guests are encouraged to start their night at Atomic, wander down Fremont East, then come back for a nightcap. Uncommon hospitality—exactly what the neighborhood needs.
FireSide Restaurant & Tavern 1785 E. Cactus Ave., 307-7000.
You can’t be blamed for having never set foot inside FireSide, hidden behind an America’s Mart off St. Rose Parkway near Eastern Avenue. With its rustic exterior, it could be any Timbers or Lodge, but step inside and you enter a bastion of beer where local brews from Joseph James and Tenaya Creek mingle with Firestone Walker, Ballast Point and Hangar 24. So lose yourself in a good adult beverage without worrying anyone will find you ... just in case you’re on the lam.
The Dispensary Lounge 2451 E. Tropicana Ave., 458-6343.
Why should you check out Dispensary Lounge? First, there’s the décor, which includes a (fully operational) water wheel, shag carpeting and the indoor use of quasi-lawn furniture—like a hunting lodge gone wrong in the best possible way. Second, gaming aside, it reminds of the corner bars back in Chicago, where the clientele is a cross-section of all makes and manners. Third, there’s the food, most of which is made from scratch, including one of the Valley’s best burgers. Open since 1976, it’s never been remodeled, but why fix what ain’t broken?
Money Plays 4775 W. Flamingo Road, #G, 368-1828.
Money Plays is fairly well known on the craft-beer circuit, and under the radar, owner Stan Henderson has amassed one of the Valley’s more cutting-edge tap lists. Recent selections have included Brewer’s Cabinet’s Sierra Nousi barrel-aged sour and Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout—a crazy, bourbon barrel-aged collaborative from Wil Wheaton brewed with pecans. The bar’s regularly rotating 24 taps and 100-plus bottles are certainly worth the visit, but be prepared for divey, really divey. Stan wouldn’t have it any other way.