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B a b y lo n S p i c e a n d f r a n k i e ' s t i k i r o o m : B r e n t H o l m e s

So I'm at T his Bar ... is perfectly busy and populated by exactly one person we know well: the barkeep. Cheers: Three Dots & A Dash is Frankie’s mod interpretation of the Navy Grog; one will get you just groggy enough to forget the day. JPR 1712 W. Charleston Blvd., 702-385-3110, frankiestikiroom.com

Embers Inasmuch as Vegas’ urban chi is devoted to a pure expression of the strip mall consumer-plex, Boca Park is close to a model entry, a muscular hybrid of midmarket and yupscale, utility and pleasure. But, damn, does it ever tire you out. Embers is a poshish video poker bistro that does oasis duty amid Boca Park’s asphalt lagoons and stucco cliffs, with its dark woods and dim lighting — even pa-

tio-noshing against the parking lot is classed up with a babbling fountain and rows of lighted trees. Cheers: Classic cocktails are as omnipresent as light beer these days, but these people get it right. The Aviation is perfectly proper, but The Vesper is potent, head-whirling therapy in a glass. AK 740 S. Rampart Blvd. #7, 702778-2160, emberslasvegas.com

ENCOUNTER

Evel Knievel was at the bar. It was the old Maxim Hotel. There was a rumor he lived there, and it may have been true, for his memorabilia was on a shelf — one shelf — in the gift shop. A comedian, I was working Comedy Max pretty regularly back in the ’90s, and he was the hotel’s Joe Louis. We didn’t know each other well; we nodded a lot. “What’s up?” he asked, as I came to the bar after the show. An Elton John cover band was setting up. “What a day. My girlfriend from Germany called. Eight hours we talked. It’s over.”

Paymon’s Mediterranean Café & Hookah Lounge

“Wait here,” he said. I noticed he limped. Of course he limped. When Knievel returned, he had a large, thin box, which he put on the bar and opened. “Huh?” he asked with a flourish. Before me was a line of skin-care products — lotions,

Slipping into Paymon’s is like embarking on a magic carpet ride, next stop Nirvana: Even in the searing depths of July, this sumptuously appointed chillspace is dark, cool and supremely peaceful. Settle back into mounds of plush, embroidered cushions, order a cocktail, and watch your worries go up in a cloud of fragrant flavored smoke. The gentle one-two punch of hookah and booze will have you comfortably numb in no time, and before you know it you’ll have forgotten all about your bad day/broken heart/bench warrants. Cheers: the mellow, rum-based Babylon Spice ($8) pairs perfectly with a bowl of stress-evaporating coconut-flavored hookah. SJW 8380 W. Sahara Ave., 702-804-0293, paymons.com

creams, cologne — all with an EK logo. “Wow,” I said, because what else do you say? “It’s my entire line of skin-care products for men … going to be huge.” “Wow. Just … just wow.” Knievel opened up a jar of lotion, poured some on his hand, rubbed his palms together, and then applied it to … my face. “Feel better?” he asked. Within 90 minutes of hearing Es tut mir Leid, mein teurer Schatz. Ich liebe dich, a guy in a wig, doing a pretty good Elton, was singing, “I remember when rock was young/Me and Suzie had so much fun,” and Evel Knievel was massaging my cheeks. And all seemed right in Vegas. — Barry Friedman

Laguna Champagne Bar You’ve got that surge of adrenaline from a concert or a casino win, but it’s a school night — what to do? Why, head to this charming lounge where bartenders specialize in imaginative champagne cocktails. And you thought nightcaps were out of style! JP The Palazzo, 702-607-7777, palazzo.com

From opposite page, Rí Rá; the Babylon Spice from Paymon's, Frankie's Tiki Room M AY 2 0 1 4

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Desert Companion - May 2014  
Desert Companion - May 2014  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada