Friday, June 27, 2008

The Playboy Club

I've racked my brain to think of a fitting word or phrase for the Playboy Club in Las Vegas, but no matter how fancy I tried to get, I kept coming back to the first two words that popped into my mind when we walked in the door. "HOLY BALLS!"
You may already know this, but the Playboy Club is at the top of the Palms Casino. It's not really very close to the strip and the last time we were in Vegas, it wasn't even mentioned as a "place to be." It seems to have gained in popularity ever since the MTV show, "The Real World" was filmed there a few years ago. Still, it was never even on our radar as a place to visit. (Aaron and I, by the way, are so not "the place to be" type.) But Aaron has a business associate who offered to put us on his VIP lists when we were out there. The Playboy Club was one and The Foundation Room, which tops Mandalay Bay, was the other. I opted for The Playboy Club because I see celebs in US Weekly visiting the Playboy Club and I'm always up for celebrity spotting. Our only option was Saturday night, our first night there, so that's what we did. And all I can say is, again, HOLY BALLS.
First of all, we walked up to the Palms Hotel from the street. Where the bus dropped us off. I walked in bare feet to the bus, so my soles were jet black, but I was wearing heels and couldn't take the walking anymore. Stretch limos lined the driveway, where fabulously young, possibly rich, definitely over-indulged MTV types emerged, dressed to impress and attract. Already, we knew we didn't fit.
Then we walked in. Just passing through the slot section of the casino, we noticed that the vibe at the Palms is different than any other place in Vegas. It's filled with the same young, rich (maybe), over-indulged children coming from the limos out front. No one looks tourist-y, or desperate to win, or disappointed that they don't have $5 blackjack. It's a very cool, laid-back atmosphere. We are very tourist-y, very desperate to win, and always looking for $5 blackjack, so again, we didn't fit. But we still didn't know how out of place we were. Until we saw the line.
As we walked toward a sign that said "PLAYBOY," we noticed a line of people, approximately 50 people deep. There was also a sign that said N9NE (the steakhouse), so we thought (hoped) the line was for dinner. No such luck.
As we walked toward the line, we noticed two gentlemen in dark suits directing traffic. I walked toward one of them and told him we were "supposed to be on a list for the Playboy Club?" He pointed to the other man in the dark suit and said "Ask him."
We noticed several other people asking him. And being turned away. It was like being in the movies. Some were turned away because they weren't on the list. Some were turned away because they were dressed inappropriately, and others had "too many guys" in their group. I started to sweat under my arms. What if we were turned away? What do you mean, 'what if'? We are definitely going to be turned away. We are too old, too dull, and too married to be in this place. I almost turned to Aaron and said "Let's just forget it." But then I thought about that long walk back to the bus. And my dirty, sore feet. And I decided, What the hell? We'll never see this guy again. And just like that, it was our turn to be rejected. "We are supposed to be on the list," I told Rude Guy in Dark Suit. "Name?" He said shortly, much like the David Spade receptionist character on SNL. I told him our names. I was wishing our names were Biff and Muffy Beauregard at that moment. "Who put you on the list?" We said the two names we were told to say. And Oh.My.God, he's lifting the velvet ropes. We are IN. He gave us a little card and said "You are VIP comp tonight." Thank goodness because the cover was $40 per person. And that was it. We were in.
And once you are in, you are in. Even Rude Guy in a Dark Suit is nice to you once you are in. It's amazing. There are Dark Suits everywhere, directing you to the bathroom, riding with you in the elevator, and generally just making sure you are the happiest club-goer in the land while you are there.
I have to be honest. I kind of started to feel like somebody. Even though I was wearing jeans and heels while every other girl had on slinky, shiny, tight dresses, I felt like I belonged there. Because we were on the list. And as you know, not just anybody can be on the list.
We sauntered up to the bar like all the other rich, fabulous clubbers and ordered. Vodka tonic and Bud Light. "That will be $18." What? Did he just say $18? Holy balls. (sorry I can't think of anything else to say) We will be the only sober people in this club at that price!
I have to say, the club itself is cool, but not amazing. It's just a club, with music, drinks and dancing. It's the people and the money that is amazing. There are groups of sofas and chairs with either people or "reserved" signs on them. The reserved tables have drinks already there, especially for the high-rollers who will be sitting there later. For example, if a "client", as they say, likes vodka, then there is a bottle of Ketel One Vodka with carafes of cranberry, tonic, Sprite, orange juice and just about anything else you can mix with vodka. I always wondered how people like Paris Hilton can run up an $8,000 bar tab on one night out. Now I know.
There are also blackjack tables. No $5 minimums here. The miminum bet here is $100. And there are also reserved blackjack tables. We saw an older (60s, at least) man sit down at "his" table with two very young, very sexual looking young women. They just sat there, arms hooked in his, watching him bet $5,000-$10,000 hands, looking very bored but very attentive to "their man." Frankly, I was repulsed.
There is an escalator, which takes you up to Moon, a top-floor club with a retracted roof so that you can see (duh) the moon. Dancing under the moon...ahhh, so nice. Wait, did I mention that the dance floor is packed with sweaty, over-privileged young people? Yeah, so we danced two songs and went back down to Playboy. It's so much more us. (Can you read sarcasm in that statement? Please do.)
After an hour and a half of people-watching (sadly no celebs), and eighty freaking dollars in drinks, we decided we'd had enough. We were still feeling pretty ritzy though, so we took a cab back to the hotel. No stinky bus and sweaty, black feet for us after a night mingling with the rich folk.
We discussed our night on the way back...we both agreed that it was definitely worth the $80 drinks and the $20 cab ride just to get a glimpse into that lifestyle. And we also agreed that grilling with friends in our backyard and drinking longnecks at local hole-in-the-wall bars is more our style. And we like it that way.

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