IMG 2175A lot of what I’ve been writing about on this site is all about classy entertainment of one sort or another. The Peppermill Fireside Lounge is not really classy, I suppose, but BOY, is it entertaining!

Imagine a singles bar/cocktail lounge that remains trapped in the 1970’s, complete with shag carpeting, chrome railings, mirrors everywhere, pink, red and blue neon, big, crazy drinks with little paper umbrellas, and a fantastically time warp-y circular fire pit at one end. That’s the Peppermill!

Located on Las Vegas Boulevard, between a strip mall and the Riviera Casino Hotel, there are actually two sides to the Peppermill - there’s the restaurant; a 24 hour, pseudo-Denny’s sort of affair (I’ve heard the food is not too bad and a good value for the money), and the Fireside Lounge, which to my mind is the true reason for going here.

IMG 2174As you walk into this retro Ultra Lounge, you’ll see the bar to your right, complete with the requisite video poker machines embedded into the bar top, and the sunken fire pit to your left. In the center of the pit, is a glowing pool of water, in the middle of which is a small jet that spurts flame. The feel is a little like a space age ski lodge, filtered through the 70’s. There are low sofas surrounding the pit, perfect for casual conversation and drinks. I suppose the atmosphere could be considered romantic, in a kitschy sort of way. Surrounding the chimney hood above the fire fountain, as well as placed throughout the bar, are flat screen video monitors. They are basically the only concession to modern technology, and some people feel they detract from the old-school feel of the place, but they do show 70’s themed videos, apparently. The first night I went, they were all turned off, and I must say I didn’t feel anything lacking. Toward the back of the bar are more low, dark booths, good for larger parties or couples that want a little privacy - after all, The Peppermill Firseside Lounge has been voted one of America’s 10 best make-out bars! In the middle of the club, there is an amazing decorative element that I’m DYING to check out a little more closely the next time I’m there: four curved booths, back to back, covered by an arbor filled with plastic ivy and plastic red flowers. It’s cheesy to the N’th degree, but in the best, jaw-dropping way!

IMG 2167The night I went, I was accompanied by my friends Gaylin and Traci, both of whom I’ve worked with in the bar/nightclub scene in New York. They were as eager as I to see the place and they weren’t disappointed. We grabbed some seats by the fire and our server came to welcome us right away. The “uniform” for the servers is a simple but slinky black evening gown. The gowns are slit to the thigh and very sexy, but not vulgar in any way. Our waitress was a beautiful, naturally curvy girl who was cheerful and friendly. Maybe she realized that we were fellow bar workers and that we’d treat her respectfully. I’m guessing that we also just seemed like friendly, fun-loving customers with whom she could have a little fun. At any rate, she handed us menus and gave us a little time to choose from the wide selection of specialty cocktails.

The cocktails are fun: there are a few standards on their Martini list, such as the Apple Martini and the Lemon Drop, but there are several more interesting selections, like the Whatatini; which contains watermelon and apple pucker schnapps, the Mango Tango Martini (Fruja mango, Tangerine, Stolichnaya Vodka and orange juice, and the Chocolate Monkey Martini, made from Stoli, White Creme de Cacao, and Creme de Banana liqueur.

Their specialty drinks are equally interesting: The Creamsicle, the Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Oatmeal Cookie, all of which are blended drinks, the White Chocolate Raspberry, made with Chambord, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Stoli Razberi Vodka and ice cream, and one that I’m going to have to try sometime - the Scooby Snack, a concoction made from Melon Liqueur, Malibu Rum, and pineapple juice.

Gaylin and Traci made their choices but I asked about the Peppermill’s signature cocktail, The Scorpion - an enormous cocktail made from various liquors and lots of fruit juices. This immense drink comes served in a snifter the size of a soccer ball. It’s the kind of thing you’d see in a piano bar, for the pianists tips! The Scorpion is meant to be shared, but I ordered one just for myself. Not only is is huge, but it comes with fruit garnishes on the rim, a paper umbrella, and several large bendy straws. It was way too sweet and way too much for me, but I’m SO glad I ordered it! Sitting with friends around a retro 70’s fire pit sipping on a drink as big as your head is a brilliant experience!

The Fireside Lounge also has an appetizer menu, featuring bar food staples like Chicken Wings, Nachos, Onion Rings and Quesadillas, but we hadIMG 2171 already had dinner, so we stuck to our cocktails.

The crowd at the Peppermill Fireside Lounge can be a little dodgy - girls with too much make-up wearing heels that are too high and dresses that are perhaps a wee bit too tight, guys with badly dyed, spiky hair, whose intentions might be a little shifty, and someone that I could’ve sworn was a drag queen - she wasn’t! As a matter of fact, the night we were there, a group of young ladies kept leaving and coming back, over and over again. I’m not exactly sure why, but at one point, a gentleman I assumed was a manager came in, followed by a rent-a-cop, and shouted across the bar at them, telling them that if they didn’t stop what they were doing, he’d have them all busted!

Still, these are just a few bad examples. The customers sitting near us in the fire pit were funny and friendly and we all engaged in boistrous conversation. They offered to take pictures of Gaylin, Traci and me, so we’d be able to remember the evening.

Don’t get me wrong. A lot of what I’m saying might sound negative, but it’s truly not. I absoultely LOVED the Peppermill Fireside Lounge, in all it’s glorious tackiness. This place is so famous for it’s retro atmosphere, that it’s been seen in the films Casino and Showgirls, as well as on TV, in CSI Las Vegas. I can’t wait to go back again and again, and bring more friends, to give them a taste of a Las Vegas from long ago!

If you’re looking for a Vegas experience that goes beyond the sleek casinos, the fancy restaurants, and the ultra-modern Ultra Lounges, I highly recommend the Peppermill!