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April 19, 2014

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Off-Strip ultra lounge aiming for ‘affordable elegance’

One Six Sky Lounge @ Eastside Cannery

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The Details

  • The Place: One Six Sky Lounge
  • Location: 16th floor of the Eastside Cannery, 5255 Boulder Highway.
  • Standout feature: Impressive skyline views -- from the ladies’ room, too.
  • More to come: A small-yet-handsome dining room is attached to the lounge, though it is not expected to open for regular service for a few weeks, if not longer.
  • Open: Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 5 p.m.
  • ’09 at One Six: $20.09 cover with sparkling wine at midnight and an optional sit-down New Year's Eve dinner including a six-course tasting menu for $79.99.
  • Web site: onesixlv.com

The words “affordable” and “elegance” don’t usually belong in the same sentence, but a new ultra lounge is trying to change all that.

“It’s all about affordable elegance,” says Vegas nightlife veteran and One Six nightlife director, Frankie Anobile.

While it usually takes a fistful of Benjamins to get a single bottle of vodka at most clubs on the Strip, bottle service at the One Six Sky Lounge starts at a single – and that’s not a promotion or “bailout” bargain; it’s the regular price. (Yes, buying a $35 bottle of vodka for $100 is hardly a deal, but $100 is better than $500 or $750, as is typical on the Strip.)

While reduced bar tabs are a welcome change from the months’ worth of rent that can easily be spent at bars on the Strip, One Six’s affordability does come at a price.

First, location: One Six isn’t on the Strip, or within a stone’s throw of the Great Boulevard. It sits on the 16th floor (hence the name, one-six … get it?) of the Eastside Cannery Casino on Boulder Highway.

Second, the “luxury” at One Six is more Chevy Aveo than Mercedes-Benz. While the luxe black marble bar top is authentic, the leather on the chairs is not. Neither is the snakeskin on the ottomans, the pleather-upholstered couches, or the flooring, which looks like wood but isn’t.

The impressive view from the three-sided patio and through the floor-to-ceiling windows, however, is completely authentic. You can see the trailer park next door, the lights of Boulder Highway, and most of the casino’s parking lot, too.

The main attraction, however, is the golden glow of the Strip: One Six enjoys an unobstructed view of the Vegas skyline as it sparkles in the distance.

While beautiful burgundy curtains frame the view from inside the lounge, it’s hard to imagine they will ever be used, considering the view that sits on the horizon. Still, the brocade enhances the elegant feel and makes the $7 martinis taste even the sweeter.

But will cheap drinks and budget chic surrounds stand the test of time, or will they get tired and worn like that Ikea couch that you bought instead of the pricier version at DWR?

While One Six opened its frugal doors this weekend, another, far more extravagant and expensive nightspot, XS, will open later this week at Encore.

It’s hard to compare the two clubs – One Six is off the Strip and fosters more of a lounge atmosphere than a full-blown nightclub, while XS is located inside a gleaming new casino that caters to clientele with nice, deep pockets.

Still, it might be a strange time to open a nightclub in Las Vegas: The economy is down and unemployment is up. Considering the conditions, it will be all the more interesting to see which concept is embraced with open arms.

Anobile is placing all bets on One Six, predicting the lounge will have a Blue Martini-like feel and a popular happy hour established by late February.

“I’d bet my career on it,” he said, with more than 30 years of Sin City club experience on the table, including tenures at Tabu, Studio 54 and Cherry.

Anobile’s sky lounge includes an 11,000-square-foot main area with a lounge, bar and dance floor, and 1,700-square-foot patio outfitted with ample seating and heaters for chilly winter nights.

“It’s the décor of the Playboy Club, the layout of Mix lounge, and the business approach of Blue Martini’s early days,” Anobile says.

“We want to be like they were in the beginning … very friendly to locals and not intimidating (to) anyone,” he said, clarifying the Blue Martini comparison.

Like the enviable Town Square hot spot Anobile hopes to emulate, One Six’s martini menu includes an assortment of tasty libations, including a grape cosmo (grape Skyy vodka, cranberry juice and triple sec) and the “16 Breeze” (Skyy vodka, pomegranate liqueur and sweet and sour mix). Like the two martinis mentioned, most specialty cocktails like the “16 sunset” (a tequila sunrise infused with strawberry puree) will set you back $7.

It’s safe to say no one will go thirsty at the lounge, and with a bar menu of reasonably priced hot and cold plates, few will have to go hungry, either.

A range of tapas are available for $9 or less, including skewers of coconut shrimp or beef tenderloin, an assortment of flatbreads, macaroni and cheese fondue, a trio of ahi tuna tartar, and a Mediterranean plate complete with hummus, olives, cucumbers, tomato and pita bread.

Dessert options, all of which are $8, include sorbet, vanilla bean crème brulée and New York-style cheesecake.

If the drinks and nibbles are still out of your price range, bargain-conscious yet thirsty and/or hungry socialites can enjoy half-priced food and drink with no cover during nightly happy hours, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The club offers the rare combination of attractive and modern surroundings along with neighborhood pub prices – but will people make the trip down Boulder Highway to see it for themselves?

Anobile says that’s his biggest challenge.

“Without seeing it, it’s a hard sell,” he says. “But if you see it once, you’ll come back.”

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