If two Vegas locals of wealth and taste (heck, just taste) wanted to have an illicit affair, there is virtually no nice bar in town where they could go without getting caught. Our city is too damn small—everybody knows everybody. Take it from me: The maître d’ of a gourmet restaurant once recognized me after I ate there with Gentleman X and returned with Gentleman Y. You don’t want that kind of recognition on a first date. On the advice of a friend, however, I found the best-kept secret in Vegas— and the best place to create a few secrets of your own.
“You just have to tell the attendant we’re in love and we’ll get to the top for free,” he promised.
- The Details
- Level 107
- The Stratosphere
“How’s that?” We’re just friends, and I was skeptical.
“It’s called the Romance Lounge.” (Technically, it was; they recently changed the name to “Level 107.”)
“Really?” Even more skeptical.
“Just kidding about the love part.”
The attendant pointed us to a special entrance that bypassed the line and admission. We reached the 107th level, and I was blown away. This was a real bar. Low lights, deep reds, plush seating, all in a circular balcony overlooking the circular restaurant. A soundtrack of Frank Sinatra and ’60s Euro lounge music massaged away ambitions. A few couples canoodled in booths overlooking the curve of the Earth. My fears that the place would be a typical restaurant setup with a bar in the corner were averted— the bar and the restaurant were separate entities on separate levels.
We bypassed the seating for the bar itself and discovered a high-quality selection of alcohol.
“The real test is going to be if the bartender offers the choice of a sugar rim on my Sidecar,” my friend said to me, before jumping the gun and requesting it.
“Were you going to do a sugar rim if he hadn’t asked?” I questioned the bartender.
“Of course,” said Mario as he handed me my dirty vodka martini with three olives speared on a commemorative “Top of the World” (the bar’s original name) swizzle stick.
Our total was $23 for two fabulous drinks in real glasses and one incredible atmosphere, which was $7 less than admission to the observation deck above.
Being artistically-inclined locals, we chose to sit in bucket seats facing Downtown instead of the booths facing the Strip.
I took to my notepad but found myself writing the phrase, “The solitude, the isolation wears away your reserve.” I slammed the book shut and wished I was on an actual date.