Back in the days when we had a really nice and cushy expense account and would use it frequently entertaining clients, we'd occasionally take them over to Mandalay Bay and stop into Aureole's for a rather expensive bite to eat. Other than the name--which would often get jokingly confused with areolas--we didn't find it a particularly exciting place...except for a couple of key things that made the restaurant return-worthy.
The food itself was good and we never had any client complaints there but it never seemed quite special enough to justify the cost. The wine rack was pretty cool, though, as it was over 40-feet tall and contained 10,000 bottles of red delight and one had to walk past and around it to go from the upper level entrance to the lower dining level. The observant clients would ask How do they reach those bottles up there? while the others would just gaze at it for a moment or two. If they asked we'd just say Oh, you'll see soon enough.
Aureole's was a pleasant experience which took a turn for the better when one of the "wine angles" would suddenly zip through the air and fly to the top of the wine rack. Since we generally sat with our back to the rack we had a bit of fun watching our guests suddenly get wide-eyed and emit a surprised Whoa! when one of the black jumpsuit-clad angels launched.
I do believe the angels caused us to order more wine than we might otherwise--although that's hard to say since we do love our expense account wine--as we wanted to see them put on a show for our out-of-town friends. They were generally delighted that our selection had caused the girl--always a shapely young lass--to have to fly to the top of the rack to look for our bottle. Or, at least, so it appeared.
In talking with an angle we soon discovered that going to the top of the rack is part of the show. While it may look like they aren't quite sure where the wine bottle is that's also part of the performance. Even if the bottle is located a few feet off the ground they are obligated to stretch the search out a bit and spend more airtime than is absolutely necessary. They know exactly where the wine bottle is, they just want to delight the crowd. (See below the jump for a video on the wine angels)
One thing this LowLife always thought would be even more delightful would be for the girls to wear something a bit more exciting. The black jump suits look like something out of a spy movie (the inspiration for the rope and harness trick came from the first Mission Impossible movie) but didn't stand out all that much, especially with the dark bottles in the background. We wanted to see...more. Hey, this is Las Vegas, after all.
Perhaps owner/chef Charlie Palmer heard from enough LowLifes and decided to take our advice. Whatever the inspiration was, the wine angels now have a new, sexier uniform. According to VegasInc:
After 14 years of wearing sleek, black jumpsuits to retrieve wine bottles on zip lines from the restaurant’s 44-foot wine tower, two wine server’s now have flashy red, orange and black outfits.
Charlie Palmer gave two local designers — Bunker Hill Bradley and Reyna Herrera — the opportunity to pitch a new costume designer. In the end, it was Bunker Hill Bradley, a designer with Las Vegas-based Cobra Culture Fashion, who won Palmer’s approval.
And to help them stand out (according to this article), Bradley added 100 light-emitting diode lights to each outfit. Now that's Vegas, baby!
Gina Ruggieri, left, and Soraia Millani pose in new "wine angel" uniforms
We haven't actually been to Aureole's for awhile but I do believe this will motivate us to check it out again. Now, we just need a friend with an expense account...
The Wine Angels became very well known nationally after they appeared on the Oprah show a few years ago.
The Aureole "Wine Angels" on Oprah and an Interview with A Wine Angel (continue reading this post->)