The Peppermill Restaurant & Fireside Lounge gives new meaning to that Las Vegas slogan we know all too well. In this town where the newest and most novel reigns supreme, there really isn’t much that has stayed in Las Vegas. Compared to Aureole’s flying sommeliers and the Encore’s Switch Steak where the decor changes several times during dinner, the Peppermill is a retro-sexy breath fresh air that’s much the same as it was when it opened over 30 years ago.
Getting to the Peppermill on foot from the spectacular and nearby Wynn is decidedly unsexy. Located on the Strip between the stalwart and shabby Riviera and the Stardust, it’s in a pretty grim neighborhood of seedy tattoo parlors, medical clinics and cheap variety stores. Plod on, nonetheless, and the Peppermill’s colorful, kicky neon looms large. Like a bright little Oz, it beckons you into the big parking lot and suddenly it’s 1979.
The Peppermill is a hybrid between a drive-in, coffee shop, diner and cheesy cocktail lounge. The décor hasn’t changed since Qiana shirts were king. Swirling, rounded ultra suede banquettes sport rings of royal blue, peacock and hot purple. Fake Tiffany lamps out of the Brady Bunch’s kitchen light every table. Big dried trees are underlit for even more dramatic effect. With their copious cleavage, the waitresses are sexy. They also couldn’t be friendlier. If you want a drink (Grasshopper? Singapore Sling?), summon the dedicated cocktail waitress in a long, black low cut dress. She ferries the candy colored drinks (with their umbrellas, fruit slices and swizzle sticks) from the Fireside Lounge out back.
The food at the Peppermill is oversized. It also happens to be really good. You’ll find favorites from yesteryear like The French Dip and the Reuben, plus big gooey hot fudge sundaes and giant pieces of pie. And for Vegas, the prices are really low. Open round the clock, the Peppermill is best between 2 and 5 AM when the dealers and showgirls stop in for pancakes, bacon and eggs before calling it a night — along with the hookers, tyrannies and other denizens of The Strip.
While the Coffee Shop has sex appeal, the Fireside Lounge is sexier. Apart from the restaurant, it’s a world unto itself where it’s Boogie Nights every night. Bright pink conversation pits ring cauldrons of fire that look like chafing dishes for the world’s largest casseroles. Colored lights create an otherworldly glow as the Mai Tais and Harvey Wallbangers go down like buttah.
Next time you find yourself in Vegas, check out the Peppermill. It could only have happened it Vegas. And lucky for us, it stayed.
Peppermill Coffee Shop and Lounge,
2985 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV