Consuming large amounts of alcohol can (and will) lead to the kind of hallucinations that have Paul Klee, Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso circling o’er your head as you lounge on a leather sofa listening to Bryan Ferry’s silky crooning on the stereo. Mix Georges Seurat, Edward Hopper and Piet Mondrian into the floating madcap art history jambalaya, and it becomes an even more bizarre wonderland.
But this was no cocktail-induced delusion when it happened early on a Thursday afternoon last week at the Downtown Grand’s Art Bar. Nor were there any drunkards in sight (the day was still young)—just business executives taking a meeting on one piece of furniture while a woman FaceTimed with a friend on another. The notion that this might be a sort of public living room, a phrase sometimes used in describing sophisticated urban hotel lobbies, sunk in as the cackling of guests ricocheted through a corridor and then disappeared onto Third Street.
Above us (à la the Artisan’s lobby) were dozens of reproductions of mostly famous artworks, framed and spanning the past 500 years or so. A stack of hardbound art books sat on a center table.
There’s also the name, which is identical to a defunct Arts District bar on Main Street. But that was merely a coincidence, says Downtown Grand CEO Seth Schorr, explaining that the aim with Art Bar was to surpass the average lobby bar and serve as more of a community gathering space. In January, the works of Las Vegas-based artist Sush Machida will be installed as part of an ongoing local artist exhibit.
“We wanted to make it more interesting, more thoughtful,” Schorr says, adding that the hotel was designed to integrate with the city. “It allows us to engage the local community.”
As for the pastiche of pastiche on the ceiling, Schorr says the work was curated based on color, rather than period, which is why we find such diverse works in one connected array. Okay. We’ll drink to that.