Las Vegas’ newest attraction defies conventional labels, an ultimately delightful detail that can be challenging at first. Is Rose.Rabbit.Lie. a theater? A restaurant? A bar? A nightclub? In a word, yes. “What sort of experience do you want to have?” the ushers and hostesses in their mustard or crimson velvet suits will dutifully ask you, trying to figure out how to help you find the best place to be at any given time within this labyrinthine space. Give in, and follow them through any number of doors to discover what’s in store for your evening. But if you’d prefer a bit more information before diving down the rabbit hole, here’s everything you need to know about the “grand social experiment” that is Rose.Rabbit.Lie.
Rose.Rabbit.Lie. is a collaboration between Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and two great partners. The first, Coastal Luxury Management, brings us such tony events as the Pebble Beach and Los Angeles food and wine festivals, as well as Monterey, California’s Cannery Row Brewing Company, the award-winning restaurant 1833 and Harvest: Farm-to-Table in Carmel. The second partner is Spiegelworld, which also puts on what is either Las Vegas’ biggest comedy show or its smallest spectacular. Either way, Absinthe is an uproarious, irreverent variety show housed in a vintage-y circus tent at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. At Rose.Rabbit.Lie., a similar show, Vegas Nocturne, occurs in three parts (“cantos”) over the course of the evening.
The Cosmopolitan almost simultaneously debuted The Chelsea theater and Rose.Rabbit.Lie. in December. If you didn’t know better, you might even walk right past the latter, assuming that those well-dressed people queued up in front of the soaring, nondescript doors were waiting for the adjacent Wicked Spoon food hall. They aren’t. Door staff does the sorting here, sending those with show tickets inside tall doors to the anteroom and to the right, those with restaurant reservations inside and straight ahead, and those just looking for cocktails inside and to the left. There are five main rooms, each of which has its own purpose, flavor and sound.
Tickets to Vegas Nocturne sell for $115 and $135 for the 70-minute 8 and 10 p.m. cantos, and roughly $30 for the abbreviated midnight show and nightclub. As with big sister Absinthe, Vegas Nocturne centers around a rich guy and his female comedic foil, in this case his Lucy-esque sister. Together with their maid and butler (spot-on for The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Magenta and Riff Raff) they attempt to put on a parlor show to share the story of how their lost family fortune and status were restored. But while the yarn is thin, what the audience gets is so much more than just their hilarious bumblings. Innovative and talented acts showcasing strength, agility, sensuality, beauty and balance take place on the room’s revolving stage. Seating options range from private boxes to folding chairs, but all are very close to the action. And you’d better believe the first two rows are dubbed “poncho seats” for a reason, too. Two bars flank the seating area, and this is the place to grab a quick drink before the show begins. Especially speedy are the Paloma and Moscow Mule cocktails, as they are both on tap.
The Swimming Pool
You might have heard: The entertainment isn’t strictly limited to the Ballroom. In this narrow, rectangular dining room, large groups and the canto-curious can sit in what is essentially Vegas Nocturne’s backstage. That aforementioned revolving stage? This is where props and characters enter and exit. You can get a great sense of the show from here before going all-in on tickets, but be forewarned: it’s mighty loud. There’s no bar, but you can order boozy nine- or 17-ounce cocktails in re-sealable glass flasks; try the Jacquemot Rose or the El Presidente ($45). That should get you through at least a canto or two.
The Music Room
One room back from the Swimming Pool, and more than double the size, the rectangular Music Room is a transitional space with a long metal-topped bar. There are also dining tables and cushy horseshoe booths, but there really is no bad seat when the handsome tap-dancing twins come barreling through or when a ribbon-dance duel breaks out between a contortionist and the butler to win the heart of a female patron. Like close-up magic? Look for the dour Piff the Magic Dragon — you really can’t miss him — or just marvel at the way your Whiskey Smash libation spins around and around on the smooth metal bar in special tumblers from Shtox.
As the evening progresses, the screens between this room and the Music Room drop. But before that, this is a dedicated dining room. Not to miss here is the beautiful glass fireplace boasting a triptych of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, though you might be more focused on the ornate, mismatched china, or the owl water pitchers. Resist the temptation to nick the etched flatware or the rabbit fork rest between courses of snow pea salad ($7), crispy oysters Rockefeller ($16) or uni perciatelli ($34). And if everyone at the table is in the mood for a lot more, spring for the whole roasted giant Alaskan Red King crab ($1,200), or the more conservative crown of lamb or beef Wellington ($275 each). Or, if you’re drinking your way through the exhaustive champagne menu, there are six caviar options ranging from $15 for the caviar tacos to $5,054 for a kilo of Osetra.
While the rest of Rose.Rabbit.Lie. morphs throughout the night, steady is the Study, a comfortable little nook that looks exactly the way you think it would: bookshelves, worldly knickknacks and souvenirs, mismatched tables and a wooden bar that bears the mark of those twin tap-dancers. This is where lead mixologist Marshall Altier is most likely to be found making his signature cocktails, such as One Night in Amsterdam, Heavens to Budapest or Casablanca Cooler. But then all the mixologists at Rose.Rabbit.Lie. were handpicked, and can astound you with their individual creativity. Throw some vinyl on the turntable and enjoy a pre- or post-dinner cocktail. Or stay here all night; the kitchen is open until Rose.Rabbit.Lie. closes at 4 a.m.
How to spend your time
Arrive by 7:45 p.m. Go straight to the Ballroom bars to grab a drink before the 8 p.m. canto. When that lets out, make your way to the Library for dinner; be sure to keep your camera handy for spontaneous performances. Try to move to the Music Room bar before the 10 p.m. canto lets out, then experience the transition from restaurant and show to nightclub as the midnight canto approaches. By 12:30 a.m., DJ Wiki is spinning open-format sounds in the Ballroom, sometimes in tandem with live performers. Dive right on in, or retreat to the Study for a nightcap and to contemplate the name “Rose.Rabbit.Lie.”
Photos Courtesy of Rose.Rabbit.Lie