There’s a full-on ménage in the First Food & Bar photo booth. Six of us are crammed in there like a clown car. Pretty sure we have room for two more. The house music is bumping thanks to Jeff Retro and I can smell doughnuts.
And that’s how the night kicked off at FF&B for Ménage Mondays. The venue on the cusp of both the Shoppes at The Palazzo and Venetian near Barney’s first foray into nightlife is casual and welcoming with no dress code and cover-free entry. The DJ booth presides over the bar area to the left of the entrance in front of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Strip (though keeping the sheer curtains drawn—as we later found out—is a good idea in that the light from the Palazzo’s electronic marquee is blinding).
Kicking off at 11, the crowd trickled in with mostly familiar faces who were out to support the local DJ lineup of Retro, Marlon Florez and Freddy B. While never insanely packed for the launch of the Monday night party, attendance held solid and there was a positive energetic lounge vibe all night that extended past 5 a.m. Industry folks from Blue Martini, Tao and Lavo stopped by as well.
With bottles starting at $100, First has the potential to become a chill kick start after a manic Monday and an alternative to some megaclubs that charge upwards of $400 bottle with a multi-bottle minimum. Classic burlesque strip tease movies played on screens throughout the venue only enhanced the mood, though I couldn’t help but comment that seductive siren with the 1940s hairdo is likely someone’s grandma now. Or dead. She then spastically gyrated and shook it like a Polaroid picture. “And we though our generation invented the booty shake,” joked Freddy B.
A steady stream of people came and went throughout the evening. Just when one would think First was going to empty out, a new group would arrive. Ya know what else arrived later on in the night? Free doughnuts courtesy of chef Sammy D. And don’t forget the hot dogs. Free hot dogs and house music. Find that somewhere else in Vegas.
I returned on Tuesday night for Gen X. DJs Michael Toast, Mckenzie and Fuzion were mixing in some flashbacks from the ‘70s, '80s and ‘90s. In lieu of the gyrating granny, The Breakfast Club oddly synced up to Toast’s tunes, while John Cusack brooded over Laura in High Fidelity.
An ‘80s meetup group bounced happily in a booth enjoying bottle service while a young woman dancing squealed in front of Toast, “Isn’t he awesome?!” Still tired from the late night on Monday where I didn’t leave First until after 3 a.m., I took advantage of open seating at the bar and sampled the late night dining, plus a Cotton Candy Kiss cocktail complete with a crushed Life Saver rim and tuft of cotton candy that delightfully dissolves in the cocktail to give me an extra sugar rush. Good thing, too, because even Toast got in on the dancing with a throwback to the ‘90s fav movie Swingers with “Go Daddy-O” and snagged me off my barstool for a few impromptu steps with the others on the floor.
Later he threw on some Right Said Fred, “I’m Too Sexy,” poking fun at a comment from my Robbie Rivera interview earlier that week. Fortunately, that was a minor joke and the rest of his set blended samples from our youth with banging beats. The Brits to my left loved it as well. Fun times at FF&B. Wearing my ratty sneakers for a night out and doughnuts doesn’t hurt, either.