1 When Caesars debuted its brand new, $3 million Toga Bar in May 2004, it threw a toga party of sorts, with Roman soldiers and Venus-like goddesses escorting pop empress Paula Abdul from the Boardwalk to the casino floor where the venue is located. The lounge has maintained some of that energy since, providing an inviting yet intimate environment with the right elements for pre-gaming, taking a break in the gaming action or a casual night in an upscale environment.
2 The best nights to be here are when the DJs are spinning and the Grecian goddess Toga Dancers are doing their thing on platforms around the bar. There are turntable artists on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and the dancers perform on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. When it comes to the DJs, expect a set of premier mash-ups with some of the latest hits as well as funky classics to get you moving. As for the flashily, minimally clothed dancers, they'll definitely show you how to move to the music, just don't get stuck staring at the, er, Roman busts.
3 Although its set up on the casino floor like a typical lounge or party pit, Toga Bar is designed a little differently. It's fully enclosed, so on weekends there's a modest cover charge and the kind of dress code you would find at a typical casino club. VIP bottle service booths give the feel of a destination spot rather than a stop along the way. But if you're not ready for a break from the gaming action, there are a few inside.
4 Toga Bar's happy-hour specials run 5 to 8 p.m. Sundays to Fridays, with $3 Miller Light drafts and $5 cocktails. Those hours extend until closing on Tuesdays, to complement the upstairs megaclub, Dusk, for cheap pre-gaming or to wind down if the club gets too packed.
5 A wall of massive TV screens at the back and flatscreens throughout the bar offer prime sports viewing throughout the year. A tailgate menu during football season has a $12 South Philly cheesesteak pizza, $10 popcorn shrimp and the $8.99 "Pint and a Pound" with a collectible Miller light glass.
Heard on a Saturday night: Mash-ups of today's hits with yesterdays jams, such as Jay-Z and Beyonce's "'03 Bonnie and Clyde" mixed with "Africa" by Toto, perked up the younger crowd's ears, while Motown classics including Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious" started hips shaking among those in their late 30s and early 40s.
Seen at midnight: The Toga Dancers sensuously shake, spin and otherwise mesmerize on their platforms while the crowd at the bar orders drinks, chats and fails to resist looking. A group of girls gets the dance floor going, their hands up in the air and their heels stomping the ground. People come down the elevator, look over the scene, tap their friends and then come closer to check it out.
Club Owner: Caesars Entertainment
The look: Long dark shades partially hide the lounge from the rest of the casino floor. Inside, the architecture matches the casino's theme, with ornate gold and white moldings, granite bar tops and crystal wall sconces. On the ceiling is a mural painting, a la the Sistine Chapel, rounded by more gold trim and everything is awash in shades of pink and blue.
What They're Saying:
"It's a cool atmosphere with the dancers and music. Great place to start the night."
Cait Gregory, 26, Hammonton