The Best 20 Happy Hours in Las Vegas: #20 — Salud Mexican Bistro and Tequileria
Why visit Salud? Because commitment, quality, value, and friendliness should be rewarded.
Salud Mexican Bistro and Tequileria is a new restaurant on West Sahara near the Cimmaron intersection located halfway between Buffalo and Durango. Longtime Las Vegas locals might remember this storefront as the spot where Rosemary’s restaurant used to be, which sadly shuttered its doors about ten years ago.
I have four words to say to the nice folks at Salud: Welcome to the neighborhood.
So far, we’ve dined at Salud three times. The first visit was during lunch, which is served daily. The second visit was to try out their Monday night (4-8 pm) “All You Can Eat and Drink” special. The third occasion was during happy hour on a busy Thursday late afternoon. All of our experiences were very different, yet each was immensely satisfying.
In a city littered with mediocre Mexican food, Salud stands out for at least two reasons. First. every ingredient is fresh and of top quality. There’s a noticeable difference between what’s served here versus the casual Tex-Mex places. Second, on each visit, the service has been absolutely stellar. I can’t say enough about the waitstaff we encountered who were thoroughly knowledgeable about every menu item and took the time to make recommendations based on our tastes and curiosities.
Salud is family owned and operated. I like that and want to support small businesses where and when I can — and so should you. The owners started out small 27 years ago when they opened a more casual Mexican restaurant in nearby Boulder City. Expanding for the first time to serve a far more demanding clientele in a far more expensive area (between The Lakes and Summerlin) was certainly risky. So, I want to see them not only make it but thrive, as well. Commitment, quality, value, and friendliness should be rewarded.
Before I get into Salud’s happy hour, first let me tell you more about the “All You Can Eat and Drink” special on Mondays. It costs $22. That’s right, just $22 bucks. Now, there’s a slight catch. The food items are limited to tacos, but there are eight different varieties and all are served in a soft blue corn tortilla, topped with heaping amounts of cabbage, tomatoes, cheeses, and various spices. I recently sampled my way through the menu managed to finish only six different varieties. My napkin served as a white flag. I couldn’t walk afterward, and that had nothing to do with the margaritas.
Oh, wow — those margaritas. The Monday special is also limited to the House Margarita, only. In most places, this would be an instant turn off. But Salud makes one of the best damn margaritas-on-the-rocks in the city, using freshly-squeezed lime juice and agave. No Triple Sec. Not a cheap powder chemical mixer. All natural. The house tequila is Pez Gordo Blanco, which retails for $40 a bottle at Total Wine. Any restaurant pouring a $40/bottle of tequila from the well should have a waiting line out the door. Seriously, I had to double check this fact because I couldn’t believe the outstanding value.
When it comes to liquor, Salud boasts having the largest tequila and mezcal selection in the city — with 100 different varieties. I’m not sure if that’s true, but from the looks of the bar towering with bottles, I’m becoming a believer. They even offer tequila “flights,” similar to wine flights which have become so popular. Check out Salud’s TEQUILA-REPOSADO-ANEJO-MEZCAL menu list here.
I have no idea how Salud can make much money on their Monday eat and drink special. The profit margins must be slim. During my visit, I consumed six tacos and two margaritas. The waiter and bartender continued offering me additional helpings had I wished to gorge myself and had a stomach the size of an elephant — but by then, I’d had enough. This is one of the few restaurants I’ve dined in where I didn’t want to take advantage of the situation.
Here’s a photo of my initial serving of three tacos, along with a list of the menu choices — including Cheek Barbacoa, Pork Belly, Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Chile Verde, Pollo Asado, Lamb Birria, and Mushroom Chipotle. These aren’t your usual “tacos.”
This article is about the best happy hours in Las Vegas and now I’m going to get to it.
First, forget anything calling itself a “happy hour” at any casino on The Strip. There, you’ll get ripped off, receive snooty service, and pay out the ass for cheap well-liquor out of plastic bottles. By god, please do not ever go to The Strip and expect to find a decent happy hour. It’s easier to find 2-1 on a blackjack.
All the good happy hours in Las Vegas are scattered around town at locals’ places. Places like Salud. Best of all, in a highly competitive market where drinks are free inside casinos (for gamblers), the happy hours have to be good, or they won’t draw clientele.
Salud’s happy hour is very good because of the fresh house margaritas and at least three menu items that are worth trying. Discounted beer, wine, drinks, and shots are certainly nice, but one sees those kinds of attractions all over Las Vegas. Come here for the margaritas, which cost $5 and contain a generous pour.
The three menu items highly recommended are three street tacos for $7 (just as delicious as the tacos served on Mondays), the Jalapeno Mac and Cheese at $5 (heaven, if you don’t care about diet), and the grilled Mexican corn that comes steaming right off the stove, also for $5.
Obviously, this isn’t just “happy hour.” It’s early dinner, which is the way I usually treat happy hours in Las Vegas. For $25 plus tip, you can enjoy more food than you can possibly eat, and sip one of the best margaritas in the city, and then order a second encore cocktail.
The atmosphere is comfortable inside the dining room, but slightly less so in the bar area, which is limited to counter seating plus hightop chairs and tables (a pet peeve of mine). There’s also a glaring sun through the front glass in the late afternoon, a common problem in many local restaurants. This is perhaps the only negative of the venue. If the worst thing to complain about is the style of chairs and the sun being too bright, then the food, drinks, and service speak for themselves.
Give Salud a try. Here’s the happy hour menu at Salud:
Salud also offers a nice variety of vegan menu options.
To learn more about Salud Mexican Bistro and Tequileria, please visit their website here.