Sure, Las Vegas is more a liquor town than a coffee town (exempting the ubiquitous green mermaid of a certain chain)—but a city that stays up all night has to get its caffeine fix somewhere. It’s a sure bet that the best cafés and coffee shops in Las Vegas that rival any other city’s. You just have to know where to look. For the early risers, the aptly named Sunrise Coffee will deliver just the right fair-trade jolt. If you find yourself in Summerlin, ground yourself at Sambalatte Torrefazione—a veritable java mecca worthy of a pilgrimage. And Downtown’s Beat Coffeehouse & Records has quickly become an institution, with excellent joe, good eats, vinyl and live music.
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Las Vegas's best coffee shops and cafés
Part coffeehouse, eaterie, bar, vinyl record store and music venue, the Beat is Las Vegas’s epicentre for all (anti-establishment) things Downtown. Local musicians play on the stage-less floor at the front of the store, while their fans and friends spill out on to the sidewalk of Fremont Street. Cheap food and strong coffee is available during the day; after 7pm even cheaper beer is served.
It’s loud and fun, and a visit to José Andrés’ tapas restaurant can feel like sitting alfresco at a streetside café in Madrid. Jaleo is located on the third floor of the Cosmopolitan—that’s the prime people-watching area of the city’s hippest casino—and diners share small plates like bacon-wrapped dates, fried eggplant with honey and jamon Serrano with sangria and flan, and watch the unsurpassable parade of hyped-up humanity.
The Wolfgang Puck eaterie that reinvented Vegas dining in 1992, Spago has managed to stay smart with tourists and power-lunchers by regularly reinventing itself. And although Spago may have its detractors (as does anything in Las Vegas that’s more than five years old), it still manages to turn out quality food. Options in the formal dining room include seasonal specialties (lobster, truffles) and organic vegetarian offerings; in the indoor patio café, there are signature salads, pizzas and sandwiches.
Outfitted in everything from suits to tennis shorts, rock stars, real-estate magnates and other sundry types find this comfortable California country club-styled spot irresistible. The under-promoted yet popular Sunday brunch is an all-you-can-savor treat, putting other buffets to shame at a price that says it should. A poolside dining area (request when booking) spirits you away to Santa Barbara for bellinis and blintzes.
A rather scruffy-looking motel at the wrong end of Las Vegas Boulevard provides the unlikely setting for the most popular Cuban restaurant in Las Vegas. This isn’t subtle food, by any means, and nor is it especially healthy. But don’t let that stop you—as comfort cooking goes, it’s just exotic enough to stand out from the pack. Try a Cuban sandwich if you’re not absolutely ravenous.
Long before the idea caught on, Paymon Raouf was serving the kind of ethnic food that the college crowd adores. Even now, when so many Middle Eastern restaurants have opened in Vegas, the Med still wins out, simply because its kebabs and salads are better than anyone else’s. Next door’s Hookah Lounge is an effective companion. There’s a second location on the west side (8380 W Sahara Avenue, 804 0293).