Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Live Music In Las Vegas - Lounge Lizards Need Not Apply

lounge lizard n. Slang

1. A generally idle man who haunts establishments or gatherings frequented by the rich or fashionable; a social parasite.
2. A habitué of cocktail lounges.


Check out their list of free lounge acts on the strip!

Check Out Mercurial Mike's Podcast

EXPLORING THE VEGAS LOUNGE SCENE. Good music can be free! OK - maybe you should buy a drink! And tip the talent, and don't forget the cocktail waitress...

Las Vegas Review Journal Weekly Lounge Listings

Las Vegas Review Journal Weekly Lounge Listings

City Search Listings

Another great list from Las Vegas City Search

Playing Real Good, Sometimes For Free

What I mean to convey here, perhaps poorly, is that to listen to great music in a Las Vegas lounge, you need not necessarily be a lush or a gigolo, just a lover of good music. Vegas has grown up, and the lounge acts have gotten more and more like the stage acts you pay good money to see. In the list that follows, I've provided a mix of casino based and independent lounges and other venues around Las Vegas, including some stage show venues. As always, feel free to add, subtract, multiply, or divide this list to tickle your se gusto.

Warning: some lounges do have cover charges and dress codes, so check each individual listing.

1) Celebrity Theatre
201 N 3rd St, Las Vegas, NV 89101 · 702-384-2582

Moving the party off the Strip, Celebrity's nightly proceedings feature a varied selection of music that moves beyond the typical Vegas lounge act. Live rock and even Dixieland can be heard, and DJs take over on some nights. With a minimum age of 18, you'll find a slightly younger crowd than at most Vegas nightspots. Patrons acclaim the venue for being more spacious than many bars yet more intimate than most music halls on the Strip.

2) Empire Ballroom
3765 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 · 702-737-7376

This elegant space accommodates 1,300 people, and its large stage typically hosts rock and metal bands, although at times, major DJ talents take over. The central floor is lined with recessed, semicircular booths, perfect for four or five friends. Large, cozy couches and a warm color scheme encourage audiophiles to mingle between sets. If more privacy is desired, head to the upper balcony or to the patio for views of the Strip. The prominently-hung signature chandelier occasionally descends in a blaze of color and light.

3) Gold Coast Lounge
4000 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 · 702-367-7111

If you need a hit of New Orleans in the middle of Las Vegas, stop by this cool lounge inside the off-Strip Gold Coast Casino. The Royal Dixie Jazz Band has called the lounge home for over 20 years, playing an upbeat selection of Southern-flavored jazz. Country and bluegrass acts take the stage from time to time, and in the wee hours, pop and Top 40 dominate. Although plenty of other action is available in the casino and movie theater, the lounge capitalizes on its solid reputation as a relaxed venue for highly enjoyable music.

4) Hollywood Theatre
3799 Las Vegas Blvd S, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV 89109 · 877-880-0880

Legendary crooner Tom Jones only performs at the Hollywood Theatre when in Vegas. If this fact alone isn't enough to draw you in, consider the place's 740-seat size, which is much more up-close-and-personal than most of the venues at Sin City's major hotels. Even more happily, each seat has a great view of the stage. Besides the Welsh heartthrob, other musical acts appear, as well as stand-up comics and magicians (including David Copperfield).

5) Hootie and the Blowfish's Shady Grove Lounge
3333 Blue Diamond Rd, Silverton Casino and Lodge, Las Vegas, NV 89139 · 702-263-7777

Easygoing good times are what this lounge is all about. Many types of musical acts take the stage, although the tendency is towards '80s and '90s rock. If you're lucky, Hootie and the Blowfish themselves will make an appearance to sing hits like "Hold My Hand" and "I Go Blind." Aside from great music, you'll find plenty of laid-back activities, including billiards and a one-lane bowling alley in a converted Airstream trailer. Alternatively, enjoy cold beers and appetizing snacks on the shady patio.

6) House Of Blues
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV 89119 · 702-632-7600

For great blues, rock, and alternative acts, this venue is not to be missed. Acoustics are superb, and excellent views of the stage can be had from both the floor and the balcony, allowing performers and audience to connect. On Sundays, the popular gospel brunch provides down-home soul food and top-notch music; acts like the Blind Boys of Alabama sometimes drop by. Lots of burnished wood and carefully peeled paint allow an air of faded Southern charm to pervade this beloved institution.

7) Orleans Showroom
4500 W Tropicana Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 · 702-365-7111

Catering to an older crowd, Orleans Showroom hosts yesteryear's headliners, who play shows to a packed house. Crystal Gayle, Boyz II Men, Engelbert Humperdinck, Air Supply, and Debbie Reynolds are just a few of the artists who have wowed audiences in this 827-seat theater. Comics and stage shows also make appearances. Tickets are typically upwards of $50.

8) Sand Dollar Blues Lounge
3355 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89102 · 702-871-6651

Long appreciated by locals, Sand Dollar Blues is the place to be for great blues and rock – and to catch the occasional star. The decor is simple, the music stunning, and the clientele friendly and down-to-earth. According to regulars, the lounge frequently beats out mega-venues like The Joint and House of Blues as the best place to hear live music. Lack of pretension, low cover charges, and a 24-hour, never-close policy keep the atmosphere relaxed and low key.

9) The Boston Bar & Grill
1030 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119 · 702-368-0750

If you need a lot of room to execute your moves on the dance floor, come to The Boston, which boasts a large, open space for doing just that. The off-Strip location and subdued exterior may fool you, but the bar and lounge pack them in for live music five nights a week – DJs can stay on the Strip. Rock and blues are the genres of choice, although punk, alternative, and soul also get some play. The menu might not live up to its "world-famous" claim, but it does feature a solid selection of pastas, sandwiches, pizzas, and appetizers.

10) The Joint
4455 Paradise Rd, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 89109 · 702-693-5000

Don't let the simplicity deceive you: Inside this wooden-floored, airy space, some legendary rock n' roll has taken place. Blondie, David Bowie, and Metallica have delighted fans, along with newer acts like Jimmy Eat World and New Found Glory. Guitars arranged in sunburst patterns provide visual interest, and more rock memorabilia can be found throughout the venue and in the adjacent Hard Rock Hotel. Due to the layout and fairly laid-back vibe, it's not uncommon to rub elbows with celebs.

Honrable Mention:
The Club At The Cannery Casino
The Cannery is proud to bring you the greatest Concerts, Events, and Festivals in the Valley!

Our Indoor/Outdoor courtyard transcends into themed weekend festivals featuring live entertainment, food vendors, and more.


Alley Kaye said...

As a part-time lounge musician, a full-time Las Vegas Grand Canyon vacation planner, and someone who'll be visiting your fair city with her 60+YO Mom soon, I found this information timely, useful and enjoyable! Keep up the good work and check out my Grand Canyon blog if you get a minute -

Mercurial Mike said...

Aley, thanks for all your kind words about my blog. Hope you and your Mom enjoy your trip to Las Vegas.

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