For the last 12 years, the 19th-century-style circus tent sitting in front of Caesars Palace has contained some of the wackiest, raunchiest, and most death-defying acts found on the Las Vegas Strip. What started as a temporary tent for what was expected to be a short-lived production has expanded into a Vegas mainstay. Absinthe is very much a permanent fixture of Las Vegas’s entertainment scene, with a footprint that now encompasses the Green Fairy Garden and a glowing 35-foot-tall LED tree. On Monday, April 3, the Spiegelworld production is debuting a new delightfully tucked-away speakeasy and a burger stand that celebrates the virtues of going pantsless.
Located in a shipping container, No Pants offers exactly three items: tater tots, a No Pants Burger, and a No Burger Burger — the vegan option. The burger is a stand-out, far beyond a concessions stand burger that one may expect just outside a circus. A soft pretzel bun comes layered with two short rib blended brisket patties, smashed with grilled onions so that the edges are charred and caramelized, melted American cheese, tangy secret sauce, and a generous handful of thick-cut dill pickles. The vegan version is nearly identical.
“‘No pants’ is an attitude,” says Niko Novick, the executive of beverage for Spiegelworld. “It’s the idea that anything you can do without pants is the best. It’s the ultimate freedom.” He says that leaning into that idea means doing something upgraded but still simple — like serving star-shaped tater tots with caviar. “ It’s a fancy idea but still plays into having no pants,” says Novick. Those upgraded tots can only be found in the Pier 17 Yacht Club, Absinthe’s new speakeasy.
Accessing the Pier 17 Yacht Club doesn’t require acquiring a password or knocking on a secret door like many of Las Vegas’s other speakeasies and hidden bars. Rather, one must snake through a row of hedges to the side of the Absinthe tent in order to find themselves in the outdoor seating area that leads into a cozy wood-paneled bar. The drinks here skew sophisticated, with suggestive names but classic flavors. The Big Duke Energy, pastel pink and sweetened with apricot, is grounded with scotch, port, and bitters. The Tantric Turnbuckle employs mezcal, aloe, lime, cucumber, and wormwood, for a cool take on a margarita. And the Gazerac — so named for the show’s Gazillionaire character — is a traditional sazerac. “It’s very representative of his soul,” says Novick. “It’s rough, classic, not for everyone. It has a strong personality!”
Novick says the inspiration behind the yacht club was the eponymous pier in New York where the first Absinthe show took place. The bar celebrates that first Absinthe run with old photos, souvenirs (like a No Fishing sign that was previously affixed to the pier), and breezy blue seating. While seated either in the hedge-enclosed outdoor area or inside the nautical converted shipping container, visitors can order cocktails, which are about $24 each, or food from the No Pants menu. At the Yacht Club, your burger ($14, or $19 with tots), will be brought out to you. For $50, upgrade to the yacht tots, which pairs your tots with French trout roe, chive, and cultured creme fraiche. The super yacht tots, at $100, adds Ossetra caviar to the mix.
You don’t have to be a ticketholder to Absinthe to visit No Pants in the Green Fairy Garden or to sneak past the hedges into the yacht club. Both venues, plus the garden’s cocktail stands and the No Pants coffee stand, open one hour before showtime and remain open until the last show of the evening closes. Located near Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, visitors don’t even need to enter the casino to access either venue. A representative says that they may extend the hours in the coming months.
No Pants and the Pier 17 Yacht Club join other shake-ups around the Caesars Palace resort. Chef Chris Santos just opened his photo-ready Stanton Social Prime. And Peter Luger is expected to open, well, eventually. Spiegelworld has two other shows on the Las Vegas Strip, plus a restaurant, Superfrico, and a bar, the Ski Lodge, adjacent to the Opium theater. The entertainment company also recently purchased the town of Nipton, 90 minutes south of Las Vegas, for $2.5 million. No Pants and Pier 17 Yacht Club open one hour before Absinthe’s showtime, nightly.