When I asked a Caesars Palace executive what inspired Shadow, he responded with a list of clubs that spanned at least a dozen cities and three continents. Supposedly every upscale bar from Bangkok to Brooklyn cast this "Shadow."
They could've fooled me. With its long white curtains (open to the casino during the day), funky 1960s bar stools, "show" bartenders flipping bottles and body stocking-garbed dancers grinding to Christina Aguilera hits behind backlit scrims, the Shadow Bar reminded your obedient scribe of nothing more exotic than the Olympic Garden Strip Club -- and that's just down the street. Bangkok didn't enter into it.
That's not to say it isn't a good time. Shadow is the kind of bar you see in big-budget movies, and just being there heightens your sense of the theatrical; you feel as though you should walk, gesture and sip your $11.75 "energy cocktail" in "Matrix"-like slow motion. (Even if the names of the specialty drinks in question -- "Blue Bawls," "Liquid Latex," "Doggie Dew" -- make them sound less like refreshing beverages and more like something you need to be immunized against.)
Shadow isn't a bar; it's a plot device. If you're of the mind to pretend you're in a movie about Vegas, check it out -- but if you prefer to be in the real Vegas, there's any number of regular casino bars around, where the crowd is less interested in itself, atmosphere is made and not born, and the drinks are up to $5 cheaper.
-- Review by Geoff Carter