THE PLACE: Bistro Napa Lounge fronts Bistro Napa restaurant in the renovated meeting and dining area on the second floor of the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. The lounge seems nearly as large as the restaurant proper, which is a good thing. During the 4-6 p.m. daily social hour, folks fill the lounge because everything on the menu — from specialty cocktails to flatbread pizza — is 50 percent off. Some days, if you don’t arrive by 4:30, you won’t get a seat.
THE LOOK: Those seats are cushioned and roomy, just like the seats in Bistro Napa restaurant. Large parties often push tables together, sometimes spilling from the lounge onto the landing.
THE MEAL: Bistro Napa Lounge has become, if not quite a weekly habit, then a frequent stop nevertheless. The social hour menu is large — 20-plus food items and more than twice that in beverages — so it’s easy to order different dishes across several visits.
The other evening, two friends from San Francisco join me in the lounge. We nibble at crisp calamari ($6), cracker-thin Margherita flatbread ($5), and artisan cheeses accompanied by fruit and cranberry-pistachio crackers ($7). A trio of mineral waters completes this light dinner.
On another recent visit, it’s all about the sliders, three to an order. There’s Wagyu breed beef with tomato jam and caramelized red onions, shaved prime rib with creamy horseradish, and lamb with Thai herbs and tzatziki. Each order is $6.
KUDOS: The social hour prices are a serious bargain. You couldn’t do better than $6 for three sliders from a street truck. And portions aren’t trimmed: I’ve had the same dishes at half off and full price, and they’re always the same size.
QUIBBLES:Not quibbles so much as two things newbies should note. One, as described above, you often need to arrive early to snag a seat. Two, the scene at Bistro Napa Lounge can be lively (in an adult way), a quality I think adds to its appeal, so if you’re uptight about buzz, laughter or the clink of glasses, well, now you know.
ALTERNATIVES: So many. Grilled vegetables ($5), ahi tartare with mango ($5.50), fish and chips ($6), and an onion and applewood bacon flatbread with grated Gruyère ($6) are just some of them.
RETURN TRIP?: What day do you want to go? (Mondays are tough for me, but I could make it work.)