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GHOSTBAR

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The Palms

4321 W. Flamingo Rd.

Las Vegas, NV 89103

702-942-6832

website

Daily 8pm-Late

Ultralounge

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

After all these years, still one of the most popular ultralounges in town. The groovy space is enhanced by a big patio and lots of windows that provide some amazing views of The Strip.

Where is it?

Atop one of the hotel towers at The Palms, just off The Strip.

What kind of crowd does it draw?

This is definitely the kind of place where anyone but the most trendy, pretty, and young will probably feel out of place.

What are the prices like?

Very high. Cover charge starts at around $20 and can go much higher while drinks aren't much cheaper than that.

When is the best time to go?

Weekend nights are when it is the most busy but this means you will have a long wait in line.

Why should I go here?

Because you look fabulous in that slinky new cocktail dress you just bought at some high-end clothier.

What else do I need to know?

The wait for the elevator ride up and down can be long.

What's the bottom line?

If you can stand the dress-to-impress pressure, it just might be worth the attitude.

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FULL REVIEW

ghostbar (sic) has long had two things going for it - the view and the reputation as being one of THE hottest of hot spots in all of Las Vegas.

I can't argue with the first point. From high atop a hotel tower at The Palms, the view is stunning, offering unparalleled vistas of The Strip from both inside the bar and an adjoining outdoor patio. This really would be a great place to go have a frothy concoction, sit outside, and watch the city come to life at night. And if you're brave you can stand on the glass panel in the floor that gives you a direct downward view of the pool area way, way, way down beneath you. Me and my paralyzing fear of heights will pass on that particular bit of whimsy, thank you very much.

It is worth noting however that The Palms is playing the same games that next-door neighbor Rio plays with their hotel tower. They bill ghostbar as being on the 55th floor of the hotel, which would be fine if in fact there were actually 55 stories, but there aren't. There are only 42. Some interesting and culturally sensitive floor numbering (4 is bad luck in certain Asian cultures) has transformed the 42nd floor into the 55th floor and although I understand the concept behind it is ultimately an altruistic one, they are milking it for all it's worth and that kind of bugs me a little.

But it still doesn't change the fact that you're not going to find a view like this anywhere else in Vegas.

The bar got a makeover in 2013 that disposed of the ultra-retro mod-chic - a phrase I just made up to cover the sort of "Austin Powers" 60s and 70s futuristic look that was popular in bars like this for awhile - in favor of ultra-retro bordello-chic - another phrase I just invented that means something like classic budoir inspired furnishings with a modern spin. It's got swanky couches for the VIP seating areas, an ornate fireplace adjacent to the DJ booth, crystal chandeliers, and other almost roccoco touches that give it a classy feel but done in bright pink and stark black and white giving it a hip vibe.

Calling the open space in front of the DJ booth a dance floor is being generous - more than 20 people there at a time will be complicated, but this is more of a get your groove on wherever you happen to be kind of place. You have floor space and feel like dancing? Go for it.

While still a popular place, ghostbar has morphed from being a see-and-be-seen kind of destination club to more of a casual party spot. I'm thrilled by that because it means there is less attitude and more fun. When the club first opened it was stuffed to the rafters with people who were dressed to impress, with hair and make-up high, and skin showing wherever possible all so they could, for the most part, stand around and try to be seen while pretending to be too cool to care. The "I'm prettier than you" atmosphere was overwhelming and exhausting. Now, it's much more laid back, with an all-are-welcome vibe that I appreciated, especially since I am not young or pretty.

Cover and drink prices are pretty high - $20 and up to get in, $10 or so for a bottle of beer, and $14 and up for mixed drinks. That's about average when compared to other clubs around town so it's not as shocking as it seems at first glance.

I really like the way they have redone ghostbar from a visual perspective but am even more appreciative of the change of atmosphere. I usually hate places like this, but this one I actually enjoyed.

You're still not going to get me to stand on the glass floor though.

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