All Grown Up

Finally, Vegas cocktails for the rest of us

Though Las Vegas's drinking scene once had a reputation boasting all the elegance of beer buckets and free drinks at the blackjack table, the landscape has changed recently. Here are the serious spots to hit the next time you're in the desert:

Sage Chef Shawn McClain's restaurant (pictured) in the new Aria resort matches its notable American bistro fare with elegant, inventive cocktails. Try something from the stunning small-batch spirits list or order the Desert Shrub ($14)–an ode to the restaurant's namesake herb–which unites 7 Leguas reposado tequila, Prosecco and house-made grapefruit-sage syrup. 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 877-230-2742

Herbs & Rye This former mob hangout is now one of the best late-night escapes from the Strip. Go for oversize steak dinners and cocktails made with hand-pressed juices and house-made bitters. The bartender's choice ($10) will get you a one-off libation like Hangar One Mandarin vodka with yuzu and shiso leaf. 3713 W. Sahara Ave.; 702-982-8036

Downtown Cocktail Room This downtown speakeasy is one of the original game changers in the cocktail scene. The drinks menu–filled with signature recipes, punch bowls and classic concoctions–rotates regularly. The fruity 817 on Main, a summery concoction of cachaça and strawberries, is particularly good on hot desert nights (click here to download the recipe). 111 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-880-3696