Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cool cats at the Peppermill Lounge

PeppermillI have more to write about Las Vegas (as well as lots more pictures), but I wanted to write about my new favorite place in Vegas: the Peppermill.

Located on the Strip, just south of the Riviera casino, the Peppermill was built in 1974. If not for the flat screen TVs they’ve put up in the lounge, you might think you had actually traveled back to that year. This place is old school Vegas, something you don’t see much of on the Strip these days. (In Vegas years, something built in 1974 is practically a dinosaur.) The place is actually separated into different (but attached) areas, the restaurant and the Fireside Lounge.

I had read about this place when researching for our last trip, but we didn’t manage to make it there last time. This time it was a must-see for me, and we took the opportunity to arrange to meet some online friends, Bill and Libby. Due to some family arrangements, Bill couldn’t make it, so we met Libby there. It turned out to be a good choice, because despite having lived there for several years, she had never been to the Peppermill! We had a great time talking with her and picking her brain about Vegas (whether old school or the new style).

How to describe this place? I walked in there and felt like I was a guest on the Dean Martin Show. The lounge itself is small, but a combination of low lighting, purple and pink neon, and a mirrored wall provides the illusion of a larger place. We were there at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, so pretty much had the place to ourselves; it’s open all night, and when going by there later, the parking lot looked packed. I bet they do pretty good business later on. (Libby told us that some of the entertainers hang out there after their shows; she knows that Penn Gillette has been spotted there. Cool!)

The seating is arranged in circles or semicircles, low to the ground (this short person rejoiced), and covered in a plush pink fabric. In the circular seating area, there is a firepit with a flame erupting from a pool of water. As I mentioned, it’s quite dark, but the lighting is skillfully arranged so that you don’t feel blinded. Of course, there’s all that neon bouncing off the brass rails and the mirrors!

Our waitress was wonderfully friendly, and they wear long black dresses with a big slit up the leg...a little more glamorous than most places. Inspired by the glamour, I felt like having something a little more glamorous than a beer, so I had a grapefruit juice and vodka. I wish I could have remembered that it’s called a Greyhound, but I had to settle for ordering it by ingredient. We decided to have some appetizers, so we got a sampler platter (lots of fried food, pretty good except for the onion rings) and a fruit and cheese platter. We were able to lean back on that pink upholstery and completely relax, like we were at someone’s home...if their home happened to look like a swingin’ ‘70s pad, that is! Groovy.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved this place. It will be a stop during every single Vegas trip from now on. I hope it survives for many years, because they don’t make them like this in Vegas anymore. Peppermill Lounge, don’t go changin’. I love you just the way you are.