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Boulder Highway bargains at new lounge, but will it last?

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In Vegas chic and cheap don’t usually go together, but a new ultra lounge is trying to change all that.

“It’s all about affordable elegance,” says Vegas nightlife veteran and One Six nightlife director, Frankie Anobile.

While it takes a fist full of Benjamins to get a single bottle of vodka at most clubs on the Strip, bottle service at the One Six Sky Lounge in the Eastside Cannery Casino starts at a single – and that’s not a promotion or “bailout” bargain, it’s the regular price. (Yes, buying a $35 bottle of vodka for $100 is hardly a deal, but $100 is far better than $500 or $750.)

Reduced bar tabs are a welcome change from the months’ worth of rent that can easily be spent at bars on the Strip, however, One Six’s affordability does come at a price.

First, location: One Six isn’t on the Strip, or within a stone’s throw of the Great Boulevard, but rather sits just inside the Vegas line on Boulder Highway.

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Second, the “luxury” at One Six is more Chevy Aveo than Mercedes Benz. While the luxe black marble bar top is authentic, the leather on the chairs is not. Neither is the snakeskin on the ottomans, the pleather-upholstered couches or the flooring, which looks like wood but isn’t.

The impressive view from the three-sided patio and through the floor-to-ceiling windows, however, is completely authentic. You can see the trailer park next door, the lights of Boulder Highway, and most of the casino’s parking lot, too.

The main attraction, however, is the golden glow of the more expensive clubs on the Strip: One Six enjoys an unobstructed view of the Vegas skyline as it sparkles in the distance.

XS, the new nightclub at Encore from Victor Drai, boasts opulent decor with stunning design touches like intricate mosaics in the bathrooms and a combination disco ball and chandelier.

XS, the new nightclub at Encore from Victor Drai, boasts opulent decor with stunning design touches like intricate mosaics in the bathrooms and a combination disco ball and chandelier.

While One Six opened its frugal doors this weekend, another, far more extravagant and expensive nightspot, XS, will open on December 31 at Encore.

It’s hard to compare the two clubs – One Six is off the Strip and fosters more of a lounge atmosphere than a full-blown nightclub, while XS, which comes from Vegas nightlife icon Victor Drai, is located inside a gleaming new casino that caters to clientele with nice, deep pockets.

The club is being touted as the centerpiece of Wynn’s new casino, and it’s not hard to see why. The interior done in rich browns and gold is the definition of luxe. Tables and booths with plush banquets surround a small dance floor that looks out onto the 21+ plus European bathing pool, itself equipped with more than 20 VIP cabanas for daytime lounging or nighttime partying. Behind bartenders in sparkling corsets, inverted female torsos, also in gold, form a backdrop for the bar.

One Six Sky Lounge @ Eastside Cannery

Still, it is a strange time to open a nightclub in Las Vegas: The economy sinking, unemployment is rising, and tourist dollars are drying up. Considering the conditions, it will be all the more interesting to see which concept is embraced with open arms.

Anobile is placing all bets on One Six, predicting the lounge will have a Blue Martini-like feel and a popular happy hour established by late February.

“I’d bet my career on it,” he said, with over 30 years of Sin City club experience on the table, including tenures at Tabu, Studio 54 and Cherry. “It’s the décor of the Playboy Club, the layout of Mix lounge, and the business approach of Blue Martini’s early days,” Anobile says.

“We want to be like they were in the beginning, … very friendly to locals and not intimidating (to) anyone,” he says, clarifying the Blue Martini comparison.

Like the enviable Town Square hot spot Anobile hopes to emulate, One Six’s martini menu includes a nice assortment of tasty libations, including a grape cosmo (grape Skyy vodka, cranberry juice and triple sec) and the “16 Breeze” (Skyy vodka, pomegranate liqueur and sweet and sour mix). Like the two martinis mentioned, most specialty cocktails like the “16 sunset” (a tequila sunrise infused with strawberry puree) will set you back $7.

A range of tapas are available for $9 or less, including skewers of coconut shrimp or beef tenderloin, an assortment of flatbreads, macaroni and cheese fondue, a trio of ahi tuna tartar and a Mediterranean plate complete with hummus, olives, cucumbers, tomato and pita bread.

Half-price food and drink are also offered with no cover during nightly happy hours, from 5 until 8 p.m.

The club offers the rare combination of attractive and modern surroundings along with neighborhood pub prices – but will people make the trip down Boulder Highway to see it for themselves?

Anobile says that’s his biggest challenge.

“Without seeing it, it’s a hard sell,” he says. “But if you see it once, you’ll come back.”

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Melissa Arseniuk

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