Polishing the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmo

One of the most notable chandeliers –and Casino bars– in town has undergone an upgrade, to the tune of $960K.

While the two higher levels were not involved so did not have to close, work has been underway on the lower level of the Cosmo’s Chandelier Bar for the past two months.  It’s now been reopened, so you can again enjoy your choice of libation there amidst the same shimmer and shine, glitz and glamour that previously prevailed.

The results are not an overly dramatic revamp, which is doubtless a good thing. The eye-catching dazzling crystals and mood lighting are still present, as is an ambiance of elegance and grace.   Mainly there is new carpeting, and increased seating with nice comfy furniture.   The floor layout has a greater open feeling, resulting in a more inviting and accessible setting, and provoking a sensibility which designers refer to as “unified”.   They also revised the drink menu, but we’ll get to that later.

Chandelier Bar

Perhaps the most notable changes were operational:  there are now more video poker machines (8 at the main bar, 10 at the side bar), and they installed a comped drink voucher system.  Happily, implementing that software does not seem to have presented any difficulties.  It is not a new system for the Cosmo (they already use it in their Bond Bar), and is common in a number of Vegas bars.

If you’ve never seen the Chandelier Bar, it is worth a visit — definitely a sight to behold, and a great place to drink and people watch.   As the name suggests, it stimulates an impression of having walked into a giant 65 foot tall chandelier.  There are multiple strands and curtain-like layers draped all around, created from over 2 million handmade octagonal -shaped crystal beads.   The year-long effort involved in setting it up initially represents an architectural and engineering marvel.

Also, for those new to the Chandelier, it might help you to know how it works.   The venue is a composite of three distinct levels, each with their own personality, hours and drink menus (no food is served, other than as drink accompaniments).  The lower level, called the “Bottom of the Chandelier”, opens off the Casino floor, and pulls in that high energy.  Up a flight (level  1.5), you are “Inside the Chandelier” , a sophisticated setting where you’ll find the finest spirits.  Up still another flight, “Top of the Chandelier” (level 2), the atmosphere is more relaxed.  You can use the stairs to get from one level to the next, or simply take the elevator.  Each is worth seeing, and you can carry your drink with you if you want.

There is no happy hour, no cover, no doorman, no dress code.  Your choice of casual or dressy attire is fine, but this definitely has more of a classy lounge than crowded club feel.  Tables can be reserved (perhaps worth considering for larger groups), and bottles can be ordered — but that is not really the vibe here.  This is one of the Cosmo bars which features professional mixologists with a longstanding reputation for creating speciality one-of-a-kind cocktails.  To back this up, the Cosmo’s beverage program is helmed by Mariena Mercer, who has been there at least five years now.

Now, as to the drinks that everyone raves about.   They have had a wide variety of interesting concoctions such as a campfire cocktail, with the taste of real roasted marshmallows.  Other uncommon components have included maple syrup, cinnamon, dark chocolate, lemon curd, lavender, various liqueurs or flavored syrups, plus seasonal treats involving pecans, squash, etc.   One legendary drink was the nitrogen-requiring Fire Breathing Dragon, but sadly, it seems that has not been available for a  couple of years.   As you may suspect, not all of these will be to everyone’s taste.  However, if something is not pleasing, people have been known to inquire if the bartender can do anything to adjust the flavor.

The Chandelier lists and describes three signature cocktails on their website:  The Forbidden Fruit, The Infinite Playlist, Verbena.  Oddly, only the first of these is shown on current menus although you can always ask for an off-menu favorite, as well as any of the classic standards – including, naturally, a Cosmopolitan.

Verbena is the one I’ve heard the most about, a margarita-based drink, but it seems that sometimes the essential tiny Szechuan ‘buzz button’ flower [acmella oleracea] is out of season.  When available, the process is to eat the flower bud first and it makes your mouth tingly and numb, somehow changing the texture of the drink.  People refer to it as “the flower drink” but be careful there.  I think an orchid may top off a drink called the Finishing School, a cocktail similar to a Moscow Mule but with a twist.   There is also a floral tribute on the Schnozberries, albeit fake, but you get a neat sour flavored ice ball and some lollipops for your $20.   If flowers are not your thing, you can opt for a stuffed animal along with a Monkey’s Uncle.

On each level, the signature drinks are generally $16, with a couple of exceptions at Inside.  Depending on the level, glasses of wine are available from $11-$29 (includes champagne), and beer (includes cider) ranges from $7-$9.

While things inevitably change from time to time, here is the current list of signature drinks by level:

Bottom of the Chandelier Inside the Chandelier Top of the Chandelier
Level 1 – Daily: 24 Hours Level 1.5 – Daily: 6PM – 4AM  Level 2 – Daily: 11AM – 11PM
Afternoon Delight Sacrificial Virgin  ($20) Flora & Fauna
Keep Your Pansies On Classy Lassi Finishing School
Give Peach a Chance Keep Calm and Curry On Devil May Care
Becky With the Good Hair Bon Vivant The Royal Tennebaum
Mr. Miyagi Soylent Green American Gothic
Spritzfaced Apples to Apples The Forbidden Fruit
Whiskey Business Lost in Translation Summer of Love
-o- Old Dogs, New Tricks Monkey’s Uncle
-o- Schnozberries ($20) -o-

It is not just signature cocktails which are unique to each floor, that theme is reflected in the wine and suds/beer offerings as well.  For instance, one type of Pinot Noir is offered in the Bottom and Top versus two types Inside, cider is not on the menu for the Top, etc. – although of course you could always ask for it, and might get lucky.

To be fair, since this is a really popular bar, it can get extremely busy.   The servers do a good job of keeping things moving, but producing some of the exquisite bevvies can take a bit of time, so be patient. Also, please realize that while bartenders know their own menu items, they may not be aware of which cocktails are on the other levels OR which have been dismissed.