Vegas’ Newest Restaurant Spectacle Takes You on a Lavish Trip Under the Sea

With 16 courses served in an immersive environment, Lost Spirits’ “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” is the most bizarre dining experience in Sin City.

Photo courtesy of Lost Spirits
Photo courtesy of Lost Spirits

It wasn't enough for Lost Spirits to be an interactive tourist attraction. The rum distillery just debuted 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, an immersive, 16-course tasting dining experience that’s helmed by a renowned chef and only available to 12 diners per seating. It’s fantastically weird, aggressively experiential, and serves as one of the most rewarding meals you'll enjoy anywhere in Las Vegas.

You’ll find Lost Spirits in AREA15, a growing entertainment complex full of strange destinations (including Meow Wolf's trippy grocery store spoof Omega Mart), but has its own separate 35,000-square-foot building across from the main parking lot. It's a dark maze of Chinese lanterns and vintage decor, with a surprise around every corner. "It's designed to make you lost,” says owner and mastermind Bryan Davis.

Everyone is greeted at the main entrance with a snifter of Lost Spirits' signature navy rum: military-grade at 122 proof and strong enough to ignite wet gunpowder. Diners then enter a simulated submarine that travels to an "underwater" lounge where chandeliers sway, fish swim by with cartoon grins, and Leonard Cohen plays in the background.

Round a corner into the dining room and you'll join one of the most exclusive tickets in town. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea welcomes just 12 guests per seating (5:30 or 9 pm), Thursday through Saturday, at an all-inclusive price of $240 per person. The meal is divided into 16 courses and broken down into four sections inspired by Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, but you don't need to read the book or stream the movie on Disney+ to follow along.

Photo courtesy of Lost Spirits

Much like the story itself, the dinner is a journey across land and sea with a strong emphasis on the latter. The dishes were created by Taylor Persh, whose resume includes a run at LA fine-dining institutions like Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, Bestia, and Trois Mec. She clearly relishes the eclectic, adventurous nature of her assignment and the freedom to stretch her creativity. Booze is used in every recipe—first noted with the Dark & Stormy macaroons that kick off the meal, crafted with ginger, lime, and 1.5-ounces of uncooked rum. "More than your welcome cocktail," the chef points out.

The meal is built on a series of well-presented culinary creations, whether it's a sweet potato pillow stuffed with foie gras, blueberry, and garlic, or the head of a Canadian spot prawn that's fried and stuffed with the tartare of the remaining body. Open up a replica Fabergé Egg to reveal a soft-boiled quail egg with gold oscietra caviar or kiss a plate of three-dimensional porcelain lips for a slice of Japanese hokkaido uni with a hint of fresh wasabi. And why use a knife and fork when you can eat a Beaujolais-braised octopus tentacle with a small sword and drag it through a butternut squash puree? "Try not to poke your mouth, poke your eyes, or kill your neighbors," Persh jokingly advises.

During the evening's most dramatic moment, the chef emerges from behind a curtain, taking her position at an altar to butcher a pig's head to the chants and pulsating rhythms of "Wolf Totem" by The HU. It's a beautifully tender pig, brined in apple cider for 72 hours and roasted for nearly two days, with a touch of leek oil that gives the skin a tasty crunch. It's the climax of a culinary journey that mirrors its source material—a whimsical adventure that turns dark and sinister before winding down with a sense of reward and resolution.

Photo courtesy of Lost Spirits

"It's all about being this pampered prisoner," says Davis about the captives on Captain Nemo's Nautilus submarine. "The characters in 20,000 Leagues are there against their will, subjected to this ultra-fine dining, five-star hotel, cruise-line journey of the world as prisoners."

The dinner makes a point to not overwhelm guests with drink pairings since everyone is welcome to roam the rest of Lost Spirits before or after the meal, with five sips included. The entertainment is equal parts Cirque and Vaudeville, ranging from magicians and burlesque performers to aerial acts and contortionists. A hologram may make an appearance. A jazz lounge, inspired by the recent purchase of a vintage 1917 piano from a New York auction, has The Moonshiners as the house band—a stellar act that knows how to give Blondie's "Call Me" a retro Prohibition-era spin, take a hard turn into Lizzo's "Juice," and come back again without missing a beat.

While Lost Spirit’s California distillery remains closed due to the pandemic, the new 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea experience feels right at home in Las Vegas, where dinner and a show is always appreciated—and best enjoyed in a world of pure imagination.

Lost Spirits is open for dinner Thursday through Saturday with two seatings at 5:30 pm and 9 pm. Reservations can be made online.

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Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. In addition, his work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Leafly, Supercall, Modern Luxury, and Luxury Estates International's seasonal publication. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.