The term lobby bar generally has very little luck in getting anyone honestly excited. Major hotels in Las Vegas and beyond have one somewhere within a short stroll from the front desk to give you a hand in quickly dousing your thirst or need for a temporary boost. Typically they're not much to look at, only a space with lots of bottles of liquor on display in front of mirrors and clean glassware throughout. And maybe a couple of micro-brew beer taps.
Vegas is moving in a slightly different direction now. The idea is to make the lobby bar a destination you can spend quality time in. Not just come and go. The Galleria bar at Caesars is attracting a steady stream of hotel guests, shoppers from around the property, some locals and resort visitors. During the day it's a place to sit down and relax and people-watch, which is often entertainment in itself. At night there is sensible entertainment that allows quiet conversation, if that's what you prefer.
MGM Grand's answer to the challenge is Zuri. It's decor is rather appealing with severely padded couches, chairs and foot stools and there is real floor space between them, too. Daytime guests include conventioneers who come in to start a deal, maybe even involving residential real estate, work on a deal or close a deal. Those who have no deal to work on, just mingle. Hotel guests frequently choose to plan their day on the premises or meet one another there. At night it has carved itself a niche as an after-dinner destination. To give the bar atmosphere a variety of music is piped in that is kept low to accommodate proper interaction.
The concept has been a hit. The trend is catching on along the Strip. Lobby bars used to be break-even missions but are now slowly turning into revenue generators. They add a new flavor to any resort in the fierce competition for customers. The casino was the king in the past but is gradually seeing its role diminish as other features, the latest being the revamped lobby bar, move in to claim territory.