10 Rules for Drinking in Vegas

Las Vegas: Great for Drinking
Photo by Daniil Vnoutchkov on Unsplash

Drinking in Las Vegas is considered a rite of passage for many, particularly if you are turning 21 or getting married or generally a party person. Remember though, this kind of drinking is a whole different ballgame and it comes with its own set of rules.

10. Be Safe

Sure, girls know this well enough as a vague idea, but if you’re going drinking in Vegas, it’s better to make vague ideas into hard rules right now. Never take a drink from a stranger. Never leave your drink unattended. If you think a drink has been messed with, throw it away. What will you miss more, the $5 to replace it or the next few days you spend recovering from a roofie? This goes for guys too! Sure, you are less likely to get raped, but it sure makes it easier to rob you.

Safe doesnt just mean in your drinks. If we may get a little PSA on you for a second, why in the actual fuck would you drive in Vegas, particularly when you’ve been drinking? This isn’t going home from your neighborhood bar, where you can drive it backwards and blindfolded. This is Vegas. Even sober the traffic is a shitshow that you are 100% unprepared to deal with. Just get a cab or Lyft or uber. You can take a drink with you and keep the party going without anyone having to play DD or “where the fuck are we going and how do I get there and where do I park?” It’s like $10. You and your friends lives are worth more than $10.

9. Keep it simple when drinking in Vegas

Now that I’m off my soapbox, let’s get to the good stuff. If you are in a cocktail bar, then do what you want. If you are sitting at the slots or the $1 minimum tables, you get liquor and mixers. Never order an old fashioned or a corpse reviver or anything that “this one bartender did for me once”. It takes long enough to get a drink already and you’re going to look like an ass.

If you really must have something special, order it from the bartender and pay for it. If you stay in the same vicinity of the bar and you think your waitress will be going to there to get the drinks for the slots or the tables, ask the bartender how to order properly from the waitress. They will remember and make your drink right.

See this shit? Fuck this shit.
Photo by 
Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

Another benefit of keeping it simple: you will likely be drinking A LOT while you’re here. While I’m usually a firm believer in mixing hard liquors (it’s totally cool to follow rum with whiskey, you wont immediately start vomiting), when you are drinking at this volume, you want to be able to keep track. Never say “first I had an old fashioned then a daiquiri then a gin and tonic, etc.”. You want to be able to say “I had 3 bud lights and 4 vodka cranberries last night”. You’ll pace yourself better and you will feel better in the morning.

Remember kids, sugar speeds alcohol absorption and covers the flavor of stronger drinks. Lots of sugary cocktails = more drunk, faster = passing out early and waking up feeling like doo. When you are drinking in Vegas, avoid sugary drinks as much as possible.

8. Give your body what it needs.

Don’t wait until the morning after to deal with a hangover. This isn’t your first rodeo, it’s just a really big one. You know your own hangover cures, so have them ready on the night stand. Start drinking more water than you think you’ll need, at least 3 days before hand. You should be pissing every 2 hours with how hydrated you are. Your body will thank you. We bring at least 4 BIG bottles of water to the hotel room for 2 of us for 2 days. Remember, that hotel AC is basically a dehumidifier so you are going to wake up dry as a bone every morning. Be ready to fix that.

More than 4 people? It should look like this on your counter.
Photo by 
Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

The day of, EAT. You know you’re going drinking later, I don’t give a damn how hungry you are. If your dress is too tight, it’s too late to fix that now. Have yourself a big, starchy lunch. Lots of bread, meat, and potatoes. Personally, I recommend breakfast foods the whole time you are in Vegas (with the exception of fancy dinners) but I know many people that prefer burgers 24/7. As long as you are eating, I don’t care.

7. Have a battle plan for drinking in Vegas

One cardinal sin is the idea “we will just walk the strip and see where the night takes us”. Spoiler alert, the night is going to take you to Blister Town with a quick stop in Shitty-Shots. “The Strip” is several miles long with stairs and harassing salespeople along the way. If you wouldn’t walk a mile in heels through your downtown city area at night, don’t do it here.

Every night pick 2 places you definitely want to go and build your battle plan around them. If there is a cool cocktail bar, then start there. If there is a hip nightclub, put that in the middle. Always plan to finish the night in a bar at or near your hotel. When you’ve been drinking for 3-8+ hours, you dont want to find yourself too drunk and a 30 minute cab ride from the safety of your bed (or toilet).

Not pictured: Vomiting
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Matty Adame on Unsplash

My Rules:

My general rule is to judge based on quality, expected alcohol intake, and vicinity to bed. I’ll gladly have a nice dinner and cocktails far away from my hotel at 6/7:00. When I’m hitting a club then I want to be (ideally) at the hotel or close to. If that’s too much to ask, then I want to pay close attention to how to get to the Cab stand from the club. If that’s too much, then I want to ask the security guard on the way in if they have someone who will help us get a cab and get home if we are too drunk. They will.

I also like to keep some drinks in the hotel room, as extra enticements if I think my friends need to leave before they get dangerously drunk. It’s a lot easier to sell “let’s go to my room for some cheap drinks at the hotel” than it is to tell a friend they are cut off and need to go to sleep. Usually on the ride home they will figure that out for themselves. This leads us nicely into my next point…

6. Always have room drinks in Vegas

Always have something you know you want to drink in the room. Bring a bottle or pick one up in the gift shop along with some easy mixers. There are plastic cups in the room or you can carry up your cocktail glasses from the casino floor. Locate the ice machine before you are drunk, because if you wait until after, you will be stone cold lost and probably half naked if my experience counts for anything.

Besides the benefit of luring your drunken amigos home to safety, room drinks have the added benefit of getting the ball rolling while you get ready. For guys it’s probably a little more negligible, but for us ladies, getting “Vegas ready” can take an hour or more. It feels a lot more like a party if you have a drink in hand while you do your eyeliner and shave your lady-stache. Plus, you save money, so that’s nice.

5. If you know the name of the bar, prepare to be disappointed.

Have you ever been to a Hooters and thought “why the fuck is this a big deal?” Prepare to have a lot of that feeling when you are drinking in Vegas. Now, I wont lie… I danced on the bar at coyote ugly on my 21st and did shots out of an ice luge.

I won’t deny you that pleasure and it really was a good time. Just don’t let the movies get to your head. These bars are just famous bars filled with regular people. Actually, worse than regular people, since everyone is there trying to fulfill deep seated Vegas fantasies of being the baddest, sexiest motherf**** in the room, regardless of who they actually are the rest of the time.

My general rule is if they have more than 2 locations (cabo wabo cantinas, coyote ugly, etc.) Then they’re probably fun enough but greatly overrated. If they have more than one location on the strip, then forget about it, there are cooler places. Probably right next door.

(P.S. if it says ________ by *famous TV chef* then it will 100% ruin your poophole for the next 3 days. There is also 0% chance of you meeting the chef while you are there.)

4. Follow the “how to interact with a bartender” rules.

These are general rules that you should always apply, but they are especially true of drinking in Vegas, where you might be so excited that you forget these people are literally just doing a job.

Don’t hit on the bartender.

They are literally at work and you wont get anywhere. There are lots of beautiful horny people all around you. Hit on them.

Never ask them to “make it strong”

If you want it strong, ask for a double. Its Vegas, the bartenders are already pouring loose, since everyone wants you good and pliable for when you walk through a casino.

Don’t tell em what you’re celebrating.

They probably already know. If you’re wearing a tiara and a birthday sash, I know it’s your fucking birthday. When you say “it’s my birthday”, all I hear is “I’m going to be super needy and rude and if you don’t give me free birthday shots, I’ll tip 10%. Or less. Also even if you do give me free shots I’ll tip like shit. Tee Hee.” If the bartender has time to chat, they will ask why you are here. It’s literally the go-to question.

3. Keep it with the times, man

You can drink at any hour. In fact, I think you should. At home, its daydrinking if I have 3 before 3:00. In Vegas it’s weird if you wait until noon for your first drink. The best way to drink is to keep with what time it is. Breakfast? Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are always a go-to but don’t forget the other breakfast classics! Basically anything with juice is gonna be a good call: tequila sunrise, vodka cranberry, screwdriver, greyhound… hell, as I write this I have a hard cider in hand, since it’s basically apple juice. Mom always did say to eat plenty of fruit.

You know you’re hungover when this smells amazing
Photo by 
Toni Osmundson on Unsplash

Drinking shouldn’t be a helicopter taking off, more like a little 2 seater pulling out of the hangar for a nice glide. Sure you can do some flips and shit at the end but you want to start easy. As the morning turns into afternoon (or evening, if you woke up around 1 or 2) you can start to get a little bolder. Maybe a vodka cran turns into whiskey and ginger ale, which eventually turns into whiskey and coke. Listen to your body and don’t order drinks because “that’s what I usually get” if your eyes don’t light up at the sound of a drink, then it’s not the right drink for that moment.

2. Don’t be “that guy” (or girl) when you get Drunk in Vegas

If you are an angry drunk, don’t get drunk. If you totally aren’t an angry drunk and people just happen to pick fights with you when your drunk, through no fault of your own, maybe you should also not get drunk. This isn’t your local pub, with a part time workout enthusiast to gently diffuse the situation and get you out the door. This is Vegas, and they don’t take kindly to disturbances of the peace. There is a Ton of money riding on people feeling safe and comfortable here and angry-mc-yellypants puts that money in danger. There are several very large guys right around every corner waiting to toss your sorry ass on the street or hand you over to a cop.

Literally every guy in Vegas after too many drinks
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Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

Is some asshole elbow checking you worth a night in the drunk tank? Is some tarted up blonde hitting on your man with ruining both your weekends? No, should be the answer. If you find yourself getting angry or some punk is trying to mess with your night, Leave. There are literally hundreds of bars within a mile. There is another cool place full of hot people serving the same damn drinks right next door. Just go there or go back to your hotel room. You aren’t drunken John Wick and hotel security can and will kick your ass.

1. For the love of all that is holy… Have Fun.

You’re not drinking for health reasons. You’re not drinking because of obligations or to further your career. There is literally no good reason to drink, other than because it’s fun. The number one rule for drinking in Vegas is to HAVE FUN. If it doesn’t sound fun to have a cocktail or beer then don’t. When it stops being fun to drink then stop. If you want to drink but the bar makes you uncomfortable then go to a bar that’s fun. When the people you are with don’t seem fun or trustworthy or safe, then leave em.

The only right way to drink is the way that keeps you safe and having a great time, and don’t think otherwise. A lot of people consider Vegas to be “no holds barred” and therefore get way out of their comfort zone. Broadening your horizons is great, but never feel obligated because its Vegas. When something stops being fun, then its the wrong thing to be doing.

If it feels like the right thing.. well it still might be a mistake (it is Vegas after all) but at least it will be a fun mistake, and isn’t that what being young (or old) and dumb is all about?

Good, Wholesome Fun
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thom masat on Unsplash

Published by Spirit Sirens

Head Mixologist and Class Coordinator at Lucidi Distilling Co. in Old Town Peoria, Arizona. In my free time I eat good foods, drink good drinks and make mead with my brother. Soon to be on YouTube with Lucidi Distilling Co. making drinks and talking history and under Spirit Sirens, where myself and my partner Mariah talk about women in the alcohol industry and our experiences!

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