Las Vegas and liquor have long been intrinsically linked in many visitors’ minds, and Sin City tourists who are interested in a cocktail of alcohol and education can now travel back to the Prohibition Era in the Underground Speakeasy & Distillery at The Mob Museum. We took a tour of the downtown attraction’s adults-only expansion while researching The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas 2020 and brought back a video to help you decide if a visit is worth your time and liver cells.
The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, or The Mob Museum, commemorates the extensive nationwide history of the La Cosa Nostra and its influence on Las Vegas. The interactive exhibits on three floors provide diverse viewpoints about the impact of organized crime and the feds who worked to crush the gangs. The museum is inside the city’s former federal courthouse (300 Stewart Avenue), the first Las Vegas building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It houses the courtroom where the Kefauver Hearings on Organized Crime were conducted in 1950.
In addition to its main exhibits, The Mob Museum offers three optional attractions at an extra cost.
In the Firearm Training Simulator, participants are geared up with an authentic Sig Sauer pistol—adapted with carbon dioxide cartridges that provide a realistic kick—and then sent into simulated situations with suspects, first virtual and then flesh-and-blood. The goal is to not shoot anyone if you can help it, with a strong emphasis on deescalation. The brief but intense 15-minute exercise will help you appreciate what law enforcement officers regularly experience.
The Crime Lab Experience lets guests spend 25 minutes as a crime-scene investigator, exploring hands-on exhibits on DNA matching, fingerprint analysis, ballistics, and other forms of forensics. The room’s highlight is a digital autopsy table that lets you play Operation with a photo-realistic virtual corpse.
Last but not least, the basement conceals the Mob Museum’s most recent additions, The Underground speakeasy and on-site moonshine distillery.
You’ll navigate a shadowy corridor crammed with Prohibition-era historical artifacts—including an aquarium filled with sunken treasures from bootleggers’ boats—before reaching the “concealed” entrance to the bar.
The 30-minute distillery “tour,” offered afternoons on the hour, is really more of a tasting and lecture—you simply sit and stare at the small still through a pane of glass while hearing tales of famous rum-runners.
The presentation covers both the historical and political side of Prohibition, as well as the technical side of distilling in the modern day.
We found the information presented quite interesting, but the highly anticipated sampling session was much more of a mixed bag. Our correspondent Darcie Vance says she was “pleasantly surprised at the smoothness” of the house-made liquor, but co-author Seth Kubersky felt that three out of the four thimblefuls of hooch included in the experience were essentially unquaffable, even for a moonshine connoisseur. However, if you do happen to like it, jars and bottles are available for purchase.
You can experience highlights from the Mob Museum’s Distillery presentation in this video:
For a much less divisive imbibing experience, spend your money instead on a Prohibition-era–inspired craft cocktail (such as the sneakily smooth Ginger Jake) in the adjoining speakeasy.
The cozy brick-and-leather lounge doubles as a display of Jazz Age artifacts. There is even a secret lounge tucked behind a portrait!
Tickets can be purchased online (or at the box office inside the museum) and start at $27. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; the speakeasy closes at midnight. There is a small parking garage that charges $7 for the first three hours with an additional hourly charge after that. The museum is located at 300 Stewart Avenue in Las Vegas. Check the website for more information and special events.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here. For all there is to see and do in Las Vegas check out The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas.