Maybe you had a big night out at a club and by the time you left, you realized you had dinner the equivalent of a full work day ago. Maybe you fell asleep at 5pm after a day party, slept a full eight hours, and woke up ready for dinner. Or maybe jet lag is just hitting hard and you and your friends all woke up at 4am on the dot with nothing else to do. Regardless of the why, sometimes you need somewhere that’s open late (or never closes). And while Vegas has plenty of places to go in the middle of the night, not all of them have great food. Here’s our guide to the best ones that do.
Open Until: 4am Fri-Sat, 2am Sun-Thurs
You ended up downtown, you’re hungry, and that White Castle you passed on the Fremont Street Experience isn’t how you want your night to end. Take a quick 10-minute car ride and go to Tacos El Gordo instead. This late-night staple serves street tacos with meats cut straight from spits, like their most famous: the adobada, which is the best spicy pork in the city. We like the lengua, tripa, and adobada tacos too, and they also make burritos, sopes, tostadas, vampiros (a tostada with a heavily-griddled tortilla), and mulas (a meat and cheese sandwich between two corn tortillas).
Open Until: 2am Daily
Located just off the Strip, Osaka Bistro has been around for over 50 years, so while you debate what people talked about during middle-of-the-night meals in the ’70s, sit down in one of their huge booths and take advantage of their late-night menu. They have discounted half-rolls and small plates - the baked NZ mussels, steamed gyoza, yakitori (go for the heart and liver if you’re feeling iron deficient), and 911 roll are some of our favorites. Regular menu items are also still available if you want to go all out with things like live surf clams and abalone. Either way, try putting your phone away the whole time for the full effect.
Open Until: 24 Hours
The original Starboard Tack opened in 1976, and because it was one of the only places open 24 hours, it became the place for celebrities and musicians to come after a show. Now there are plenty of all-night spots, but the new iteration of Starboard Tack is still one of the best. This rum-centered spot a quick drive from the Strip is a mix of ’60s/’70s kitsch and tiki, so you’ll see booths made from fabric that you’re pretty sure you last saw covered in protective plastic at your grandma’s house, a stained-glass underwater scene on the walls, and a live lizard behind glass. You also might catch the end of one of the many local indie or punk shows while finishing up a pu-pu platter or the grilled beef with red miso gravy and Thai-curry mussels.
Open Until: 1am Fri-Sat, 12am Sun-Thurs
From the red walls to the billowy white curtains to the vases that you really want to but definitely shouldn’t touch, Red 8 is one of the classier late-night options in town. At the same time, this Chinese spot in the Wynn manages to be really comfortable and casual so there’s no need to worry about being too loud or whether you’ll feel out of place in whatever you show up wearing. Get the oxtail soup and the spicy pork dumplings to wake yourself up before getting at least one order of pumpkin dumplings - you’ll find yourself telling people at home about them as frequently as you tell that story about riding the Strat’s Big Shot.
Open: 24 Hours
If you really want to see what the tour guides who whisper-talk into their microphones refer to as “Old Vegas,” make your way to Fremont Street and the El Cortez Hotel and Casino will come into view. Head inside and navigate around the slot machines to find Siegel’s 1941 - one of our favorite places to stumble into after a long night of collecting plastic necklaces. The overnight menu has everything from corned beef hash and eggs to a Reuben and a burger with bacon named after Bugsy Siegel, one of the original owners of the hotel. There’s also a plate of chicken and waffles that is almost guaranteed to turn you into a mouth-breather slumped in one of their big red booths.
Open: 24 Hours
You’ve been planning for that one big Vegas night for months now: you signed up for Zumba classes at the gym and bought a pair of wedges that you dance-tested awkwardly in the store. And you know you succeeded because your feet hurt and you can’t remember what you ate for dinner a full six hours ago. So now you need somewhere close by to eat comfort food in a comfortable booth. Head to the Peppermill. Your first steps in are like walking into a ’70s lounge: red booths, a fireplace, and stained-glass flamingo lights. There’s a long list of always-available breakfast options, though there are about five more pages of lunch and dinner options too so there will be something for everyone.
Open: 24 Hours
You’re at that in-between point where you have an equal need for your bed and food. Roberto’s is the perfect place to stop by and get takeout to bring back to your hotel, because the food is great and their burritos can stand up to a little travel time. There are also a ton of locations around town, which means you’re usually never very far from one. One thing you should definitely order and then eat immediately in the car, though, are the carne asada fries that we’ve considered taking to the next drive-through chapel, or at least serving at our wedding. Make sure you take advantage of the salsa bar before you leave and definitely don’t miss the escabeche.
Open Until: 3am Fri-Sat, 2am Sun-Thurs
You’ve left most of your money behind on various Blackjack tables, even though you were sure the dealers were communicating the next card to you through a complicated series of winks. That’s when you head to Izakaya Go’s reverse Happy Hour (from 10pm to close) for Japanese tapas and sushi dishes all around or under $5. It’s not a huge place so you may have to wait for a table, especially right when the deals start, but it’s worth hanging around for things like deep-fried tuna belly skewers, dollar oysters, and half portions of ramen and curries (you can also add your name to the list online to skip some of the wait).
Open Until: 5am Fri-Mon, 4am Tues-Thurs
Walking through The Cosmopolitan to find Secret Pizza is the journey you’re not sure you need after an entire night spent on your feet, but we promise it’s worth it. You’ll ride the escalator alongside the massive chandelier bar to the third floor where you’ll find an unmarked, dim hallway decorated in record covers from every decade. When, finally, the smell of pizza reaches you, you’ll know you’ve arrived. The slices are $5 each, but they’re better than most of what you’ll find on the Strip, plus you already made the journey so there’s no turning back. There’s limited seating inside, but the chairs right outside will be just what you need when simultaneously holding your plate and eating is beyond your capabilities.
Open: 24 Hours
Trying to get a large group of people at different sobriety levels to agree on one place to eat is like trying to herd stray cats, but Lucky Penny at the Palms makes it easier. This sleek diner has a full bar and a huge menu of everything from omelets and pancakes (breakfast is served 24 hours) to an avocado tostada with green papaya and kung pao spaghetti. Lucky Penny is a great place to end the night with everyone happy, that is until the one Type-A friend reminds everyone about the early reservation they made for tomorrow morning.
Open Until: 4:20am Thurs-Sat, 2am Sun-Wed
We feel like there should be a disclaimer outside Evel Pie, something along the lines of: “Trying to look at every piece of Evel Knievel memorabilia on-site may result in whiplash or at least major confusion and slight dizziness.” As the name suggests, this place in the heart of the Fremont East District downtown is dedicated to a certain daredevil, but once you get past the pizza mural and the bright red light-up sign, you’ll find some of the best pizza in town. Be adventurous and order a slice of the rattlesnake sausage pizza then, while you wait for your food, head over to that pinball machine you’ve been eyeing since you entered.
Open: 24 Hours
You just finished a bar crawl and you need something cheap and heavy to soak up the last four hours, but you also don’t want to venture too far from the Strip because of your strict plans to be horizontal very soon. Crown and Anchor is the place you’re looking for - it looks like a cottage in the English countryside from the outside and a divey England-themed sports bar inside. The menu is full of pub food that we really like, from scotch eggs and fish and chips to bangers and mash, and it will all be enough to put you immediately to sleep or fuel you for round two if your second wind hits and karaoke somehow sounds like a good idea to you.
Open: 24 Hours
If you can’t be held accountable for your neighbor who wears a parka year-round and glares at you every time you pass by and say hello, then El Dorado Cantina shouldn’t be tied to theirs either. Make your way past the strip club next door to get some of the best Mexican food in Vegas. This somewhat upscale spot is open 24 hours a day and has a massive menu that includes our favorite tableside guacamole, fajita plates, and a great flan. They’re also known for their $5 Don Julio 1942 Tuesdays all day if you feel like bringing your rowdier coworkers post-convention.
Open Until: 12am Sun-Thurs, 2am Fri-Sat
We all have that one friend who might as well get “Agree to Disagree” tattooed on a very visible part of their body because they say it so frequently. Instead of arguing over what city’s pizza is best, just take them and the rest of your group to Pizza Rock. You can choose between Napoletana, Romana, California, New York/New Haven, Classic American, Classic Italian, Chicago thin crust, Sicilian, and Detroit styles, which makes for a lot of decisions, but at least no one can complain. They also offer a late-night Happy Hour menu from 10pm to close that includes three of their famous meatballs for $4 and a few $7-8 personal pizza options.