The happily-ever-after bar

Wynn’s Parasol Up, and the search for Prince Charming

Photo: Beverly Poppe
C. Moon Reed

Parasol up is the type of bar that looks best from the outside looking in. Not that Steve Wynn’s whimsical take on luxury is any less attractive from the inside. It’s just that it’s best seen from the perspective of envy. The bar is the adult version of a Christmas-toy display window that you can press your nose against and wish on.

Wandering the Wynn, I stopped on that famous balcony and watched the parasols slow-dance. I looked inland to the Parasol Up bar, and it presented my wish unto me like an FAO Schwarz toy display, all moving and gleaming for a little 1920s newsie urchin in his torn knickers. “Prince Charming is inside. Come meet him,” the bar—if that crass word can describe such elegance—whispered to me.

Because the Parasol Up is aptly raised off the ground, it seems to exist above quotidian living. And there are the curtains. From the outside, they seem to frame a storybook fantasy. Or they could be the curtains on a storybook four-poster bed. The yellow, green-and-purple, red-and-tan striped color scheme somehow resembles Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. I made a note in my mind to return.

The Details

Bar Guide
Parasol Up, Parasol Down
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 770-7000.

The perfect opportunity: One of my friends was visiting from one of my past lives (we’ll call her Rachel, because that’s the name she uses when she meets guys she doesn’t like at bars). I told her that we just had to go to the “happily ever after” bar. Rachel, fresh off a boob job, was happy to oblige.

Off we went. Me, the trusty tour guide, to meet my destiny. And she, the sexy tourist, to test-drive her boobs. Except the place looked dead. There was no Prince Charming inside. Just a few people drinking. I lost faith. Rachel, succumbing to the tug of Vegas, suggested that there must be something more interesting somewhere else.

So Rachel and I walked until Wynn became Encore, stopping at the Eastside Lounge. If Parasol Up is the richie-rich incarnation of a center bar, then Eastside Lounge is that one bar on the side that’s almost always forgotten.

To my surprise, I saw what I had imagined I would find at Parasol Up. There he was—the kind of Prince Charming who frequents bars in Las Vegas—an older, tall, handsome, sophisticated man with a full head of gray hair. I felt that I had brought this man into existence through the sheer power of my imagination. He looked over at me, seemingly to nod a thank you for creating him. But really his look was saying, “I am Vegas Prince Charming, and your next drink is free.” I looked away. I wouldn’t play the game I had crafted, which was a real shame considering the price of drinks. Sometimes the female psyche is so mysterious it baffles even me.

Rachel did not suffer from the same hesitancy. She stopped the prince and chatted him up and got me my free drink. While Rachel was busy discovering that the dream man had a wedding-ring tan line, I was trapped listening to the guy’s friends lecture me about the futility of my writing career.

Turns out the men had been about to leave when we arrived. They said they were heading to “that one bar in the Wynn where there are all the beautiful people.” Though that statement could apply to every bar in the Wynn, I realized they were heading to Parasol Up. Suffice it to say, we changed their minds. So much for my plan.

At this point, I still had never actually been inside Parasol Up. In the meantime, the bar had reached mythical status, an idea of a dream that everything else revolved around

The first Prince Charming had been a married tourist in disguise, a mishap I blamed on faulty location. I would try again. As we made our way to Parasol Up (for my technical first visit), the conversation drifted to the ubiquitous nature of hookers in Vegas. From the convo, I deduced that hookers are everywhere and invisible, like germs or fairies. The coast seemed to be clear when I finally sat down to have a solo 3 a.m. nightcap in the bar of my dreams. Still, it seemed a little ironic that, in Vegas, the idea of “happily ever after” has been co-opted into a “happy ending.” And after all of that, the only person I met was a very skillful bartender. But there’s still hope: I’ve yet to visit Parasol Down.


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