More Bars in More Places: My Favorite Nevada-Style Pubs

Steiner'sPhoto by Megan Edwards
Steiner’s, “A Nevada Style Pub”

The boomtown growth has slowed a bit here in Las Vegas, but new residential real estate developments are still popping up in the same manner we’ve grown accustomed to. Long before there is any evidence of an new housing track on a stretch of howling desert, workers gather at a small parcel of land. Soon, a new tavern rises on the spot. Often the tavern is open for business long before roads have been paved. Cars and motorcycles must bump over long stretches of gravel and dust to reach the new watering hole and, amazingly, they do. With rare exception, this sort of place offers not only drinks, video poker and slot machines, but also extraordinarily good food – 24 hours a day.

After the tavern has sprouted and begun attracting a clientele, school lots are roughed out. If there’s a high school planned for the area, chances are excellent that a Mormon meetinghouse will spring up right next to it. Eventually, houses begin to appear, followed by stores and other commercial properties. Somewhere in there, pavement begins to cover the streets, and other pieces of infrastructure take shape, like traffic lights and storm drains.

Home Plate Bar & GrillPhoto by Megan Edwards
Home Plate Bar & Grill: Family
dining and 24-hour video poker

Because of this well-established development pattern, there are literally hundreds of neighborhood bars and taverns in the Las Vegas area. Some adopt a particular college or professional sports team, others forge an identity based on a geographic region, but all strive to build a loyal clientele with good food and a friendly atmosphere.

You can’t judge these places by their exterior appearance. I learned this valuable fact shortly after I moved here. Near my house is a tavern called Screwballs that I immediately wrote off as a nasty—and probably dangerous – dive. I never dreamed of entering it. Then one day a neighbor who’s over 80 suggested we go there. I couldn’t believe it, but I also couldn’t believe the good food and excellent service we received. Whatever their appearance, most of these establishments are family-owned and operated, and there’s a down-home emphasis on good food. It’s a phenomenon unique to this city that never sleeps, and a very nice feature of living here.

I don’t know of any section of Las Vegas where it would be possible to drive more than three miles without passing at least one Nevada-style tavern, so it’s difficult to select just a few to write about. The thing to remember is that most of them are great and the seven I mention here are just personal favorites within a half-hour’s drive from my home. If you’ve got more to recommend, please add them!

Steiner’s: A Nevada Style Pub
Steiner’s offers 24 beers on tap, innovative seating in the bar area – long, raised tables where singles can more easily mingle, together with more traditional seating arrangements – and a 100 percent smoke-free environment. Founded by Hank Gordon and Roger Sachs in 1998, Steiner’s has three locations in the Las Vegas Valley, and each one features an extensive Las Vegas memorabilia and photo collection. I like the location on Las Vegas Boulevard, which is only a few blocks from my house. (Be sure to scroll over the photo of the people sitting at the bar on the Web site.)

Johnny Mac’s on Boulder Highway in Henderson
Remember the bar in the TV show “Cheers”? Johnny Mac’s has that feel – and excellent food and a very friendly staff. It’s especially popular with transplants from Buffalo, N.Y.

Mountain Springs SaloonPhoto by Megan Edwards
Loud rock ‘n’ roll at Mountain
Springs Saloon

Mountain Springs Saloon in Mountain Springs
This is a biker bar with great ambience and lots of ‘tude. Live music happens just about every weekend – some of it great and all of it loud. Biker bars can be intimidating, and this one is no exception. But again, the staff is friendly, the beer is cold, and while the food may not quite reach the epicurean standards of others down in Las Vegas, it is hard to beat the fresh mountain air at 5,502 feet above sea level. This is a perfect out-of-town watering hole for bikers, four-wheel-drive enthusiasts and people who like their style.

Home Plate Grill & Bar
Located on Blue Diamond Road, this is one of the places that opted to comply with Nevada’s new smoking law with a full architectural revision. A smoke-free family restaurant is separated from the bar by sound-resistant glass panels. On the night I was there, several families were enjoying dinner in the restaurant, and the smoke-filled bar was hopping. The food and service were great.

Village Pub & PokerPhoto by Mark Sedenquist
Village Pub & Poker: “Delicious
and Unique Menu Items”

Village Pub & Poker
When I first moved to my neighborhood, this was the tavern that was open before there was a paved road. At the time it was called The Hurricane, and it featured live music on a regular basis. Celine Dion and other superstars were known to show up on occasion and jam – another surprising feature of ordinary-looking neighborhood dives in Las Vegas. About a year ago, the property changed hands, and it’s now a Village Pub & Poker, a local chain. While it’s no longer known for its music, the food is excellent and inexpensive, and the parking lot is usually full.

PT’s Pub
The undisputed heavyweight in terms of local taverns is PT’s. It is owned by the Golden Tavern Group, which has more than 40 bars and restaurants in Nevada operating under seven different brand names. The PT’s next door to the grocery store I frequent is nicely appointed with comfortable leather couches and an excellently maintained pool table. And yes, you guessed it: great food, reasonable prices and friendly staff.

Henry's American GrillPhoto by Mark Sedenquist
Henry’s American Grill: Strip mall
dining at its finest

Henry’s American Grill in Henderson
For me, Henry’s is the quintessential Nevada-style tavern. It has an unassuming facade in an ordinary shopping center, but inside the décor is arty and the food is so outstanding I feel I must call it “cuisine.” It’s also got the video poker so many people enjoy (although I’m not one of them), a full bar and a friendly staff. In a town full of extraordinary dining options, Henry’s is at the top of my list of favorites.

I haven’t even scratched the surface with this list, so come on – help me out! Post your favorite Nevada-style taverns here – and why not try a new one tonight?


6 responses on “More Bars in More Places: My Favorite Nevada-Style Pubs

  1. There is brand new tavern just down the street — and once again, it was built on a plot of ground with nary any neighbors… It is called…. wait for it… “The Bar”

    Actually, it looks pretty spiffy — I will have to go and check it out and report my findings back here soon.

  2. My two favorite local bars aren’t exactly local but I go there anyway. The Griffen Pub downtown on Freemont Street feels like New York and the Downtown Cocktail Lounge around the corner on LV Blvd. has a chic LA martini bar vibe. The Beauty Bar in between the two is also great and has the added benefit of offering a wide-range of indie/euro rock live music.

    I wish I could find a good local pub in Green Valley though!

  3. Eric, What part of Green Valley?

    I like the bar at the La Collina Cucina Italiana restaurant on Carnegie Street at Horizon Ridge. Great food, best view of the strip in the valley and good, good bartenders. It’s not really an intimate pub — but a darn nice “date” place!

  4. A giant apology to Craig Smith — your post was removed in error when I was removing spam…..

    Hey Mark, As usual it sounds like you have done your research. Most of the bars seem to have a number of beers available. Has the trend moved towards a greater offering of micro brews than the blah stuff from the big brewers.

    This seems to be the trend here in Toronto/Ontario. There are a lot of micro product and they are making headroads into the local and chain owned pubs/bars.

  5. Craig,

    There are nearly 10 local breweries now and most bars do supply a significant offering of micro beers.

    Actually, one bar I want to check out soon, offers about 20 small batch bourbons — now that’s something of interest to me!


  6. On the 8th (comment above) I mentioned the opening of “The Bar” near my residence. I’ve stopped at the bar part of The Bar a couple of times for drinks, but tonight, Megan and I stopped by the restaurant after completing field research for tomorrow’s article.

    The food at THE BAR is extraordinary! I had the best very best “meat loaf” I’ve ever eaten at any restaurant anywhere. It was flanked with delicious carrots and garlic mashed potatoes and the presentation was both elegant and stylistic.

    Being a Sunday night, the 1/2 dozen flat screen TVs, mounted around the room, were tuned to CBS football – what was amazing was that the speaker arrangement was done in such a way that one could hear every play-by-play without any sense of an intrusion on the ambiance of the meal.

    It was an unexpected gracious and elegant setting — “The Bar” will give “The American Grill” (discussed in the article, above) a serious run for my favorite Nevada Style Pub. Try it, you’ll like it!

    The Bar is located at the corner of Bermuda Road and St. Rose Parkway

    —LLV Publisher

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