If you want a Las Vegas experience — with up close contortionists, burlesque dancers, rum tastings, and more — Lost Spirits Distillery is for you.
For more help planning your trip, check out all of our posts about Las Vegas.
The best way to describe Lost Spirits Distillery is burlesque Cirque du Soleil. It took me the entire time we were there to come up with that description, and it’s so incredibly fitting.
Right now, that definition might not make sense to you, but keep reading our Lost Spirits Distillery review and it’ll make sense soon.
You can save money when you’re planning your Las Vegas trip, which leaves you extra money to purchase your Lost Spirits tickets.
For help saving, check out The Ultimate Las Vegas Budget Travel Guide.
History of Lost Spirits Distillery
Quick history of the Lost Spirits.
It started as a whiskey distillery in Salinas, California by Bryan Davis and Joanne Haruta in 2010. Three years later, the label switched its focus to rum, distilling it very quickly using the Davis method. Which Bryan Davis, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree, created. With science. Because he understood enough about organic chemistry to figure out a way to age spirits in days instead of years by using light (*probably but probably not magic and also conjuring spirits, like dead people, not alcohol spirts. Also, don’t quote anything I said after light because I made that up. But I didn’t make up the light part. That part’s true. Anyway).
Lost Spirits moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and then to its Las Vegas location in 2021, which is where we visited.
Lost Spirits Distillery Review
Affiliate links are included in this post and Drugstore Divas may make a small commission if you use them.
On our trip to Las Vegas earlier this month, Pete and I went to the Illuminarium in AREA15. When we were done there, we decided to walk around and see what else AREA15 had to offer.
We saw signs for Lost Spirits Distillery and decided a cocktail and some air conditioning would be a nice way to spend some time before lunch.
We followed the signs and ended up at a building with a ton of rickshaw carts in a parking lot. A sign said tickets and show times, with a website. But we didn’t really want a show. Just a beverage.
Every door we tried to open was locked. We walked around to the other side, which revealed a very boring, gray, rectangular building and more locked doors.
No spirits for us, we thought.
We got back to where we were staying and decided to look up Lost Spirits and see just what those tickets were for.
The website had photos of aerial acts and contortionists — and tickets.
Ticket prices aren’t cheap. They’re $69 a person, but they do come with four rum tastings. Personally, I don’t drink, so those tastings weren’t a selling point for me. But let me tell you. These tickets were worth every single penny we paid. Even without trying any new rums.
You show up and your ID is checked (because of the tastings, you have to be 21 to enter).
You’re then sent to check in, where you get a punch card for your samples. You walk down a red, wooden walkway that’s covered with greenery. And then into a very dark room that requires your eyes to adjust.
You’re handed a snifter of rum and that’s your Alice in Wonderland “drink me” moment where any association you had with time or reality are displaced.
Your hostess (I use that term loosely), Brandy Glass (*probably not her real name), welcomes you to Lost Spirits and gives you a couple of general rules.
There are three stages with performances, plus a jazz lounge with singing and magic, she says. There are four total samples of rum. You can drink them in any order, but save the submarine bar for last. Take as many photo and you want. It’s a self guided immersive experience with simultaneous performances. You can try to see them all, but, spoiler alert: you won’t.
She also says the performers understand that it’s hard to clap with a glass of rum constantly in your hand, so hoot and holler when you see something worth applause.
Now, get lost.
And get lost you will. Because you’re in a Willy Wonka-like maze for your senses and your eyes still haven’t adjusted. You don’t know where to go but you hear hoots and hollers from somewhere, so you follow them to find a stage.
Don’t worry. This gets easier once you’ve been inside for a while. You get oriented, your eyes get acclimated, your rum glass gets refilled.
You never quite find the words to explain what you’re seeing.
There are over 40 performers total at Lost Spirits Distillery, although only a handful of them perform each night.
There are contortionists, like two-time World Champion Hand balancer Shenea Stiletto who can touch their heads with their feet. And aerial acts, like the Pawel Walczewski, who holds the (very specific) Guinness Book world record for the most spins suspended from a lamp in 30 seconds (it’s 86 if you’re wondering). Pawel, formerly of Cirque du Soleil, performs an aerial act with a lamp that’s just breathtaking.
There are burlesque acts like Michelle L’Amour, America’s Got Talent contestant and world’s most naked woman. And there are magicians doing close up magic tricks that you may have seen before but will still blow your mind.
Each act is phenomenal (Side note: The burlesque acts weren’t for me, but the audience definitely enjoyed them. Plus, it’s Vegas, so you have to expect a little bit of Vegas-style performances). The performances will have your jaw on the ground, wondering how many ribs the performers were born with (it can’t possibly be all of them).
These are acts that you expect to see at a Cirque du Soleil show, which are very abundant in Las Vegas, not in a nondescript gray building (nondescript from the street side, anyway).
There are also performers who walk around, like a man on stilts who we saw briefly down a hallway and then never again.
But it’s also a distillery.
So every so often, there’s a 10 minute distillery tour that explains to you how Lost Spirits uses science in its distilling process to distill rum in six days instead of 20 years.
It has something to do with lights and putting wood chips from a wooden barrel inside of the liquid rather than putting the liquid in a wooden barrel.
And some witchcraft. Or rather, a séance and a creepy 120-year-old doll named Annabelle. A doll that maybe moved by itself one night, if you believe the story.
And if you don’t, go to the late night séance at Lost Spirits, held every day except the day we were there.
The pace of the stages is really great. There are one to three acts in a set, which sometimes repeat in case you missed it the first time. There are acts that don’t repeat and, like Brandy Glass said, you won’t be able to see all of them. So don’t try.
There are lots of themed rooms where you can sit and enjoy your drink samples, including The Dorian Gray room, a bar with lots of seats and no entertainment.
But. We don’t encourage sitting. Because even if you’re constantly moving from stage to stage, you’re not going to see everything. So if you sit and rest, you’re definitely not going to experience it all.
Although we contract this with this next piece of advice: Sit in the submarine bar.
The submarine bar is very disorienting. The tasting room doesn’t move, but it’s chandeliers that sway, making it feel like you’re on a boat ride. Large wooden fish with human faces are on a mechanical pull system, so they “swim” by large portholes next to your seats.
There’s a very small window, from about 8:45 to 9 pm, where no acts are happening. Use that last bit of time to meander into the submarine bar, get a drink, and sit for a little.
When we were there, the rum sample for that room (Navy Style Rum) was out. So we received a sample of a cocktail, the Candied Ginger Rum Punch, instead.
Pete loved it. He enjoyed all the rum, except he wasn’t crazy about the pineapple rum. Not that he didn’t drink it, but he didn’t love it.
Speaking of drinks, you can actually purchase cocktails at two bars within Lost Spirits. We took a quick look at the menu in the jazz bar and there were five options, all for $12.50 each.
The samples are about a half to a full shot each, which may or may not be enough for you depending on how much you’re in the mood to drink. For us, personally, it was enough … because I don’t drink, so that meant Pete had eight samples in the just over two hours we were inside.
Lost Spirits Distillery & Circus: Frequently Asked Questions
3202 W Desert Inn Rd (in AREA15)
Sunday and Monday: 6 pm to 10 pm; Wednesday: 6 pm to 10:30 pm; Thursday to Saturday: 6 pm to 11:30 pm.
Lost Spirits is worth every single penny.
It’s gonna cost you at least $69, which seems like a lot of money. But it’s two hours worth of entertainment, plus four rum samples. So in that case, it’s not a bad price for a Las Vegas show. And, really, this is unlike any other Las Vegas experience you’ll have. Sure, you may have seen similar acts before. But never this close.
We had so much fun and would absolutely go back next time we’re in Vegas. And we could for a completely different experience. Different acts perform on different days, so you could go back again and it could be so different.
The circus at Lost Spirits lasts just over two hours on shows when there’s only a 7 pm showing.
On days when there’s a 7 pm and 9 pm show, the earlier show may run a little shorter to assure the 9 pm show starts on time.
You can arrive late, although that’s not really a good choice. Since it’s already hard to see all the acts in the allotted time, it would be impossible to get the full experience if you arrive late.
We actually arrived 15 minutes early for our 7 pm show were allowed inside and we didn’t leave until the finale ended. So we were inside for a long time and we still didn’t see it all.
Lost Spirits is a self-guided show. You’re your own tour guide and you go at your own pace. Of course, the acts are on a schedule, but no one really knows the schedule besides the acts and the host.
If you want to end your experience early, you can. But we don’t think you’ll actually want to.
If you have to leave early, like if you have dinner reservations or something like that, you have the ability to leave early. We just recommend you plan on staying the whole time.
If you don’t enjoy rum, you don’t have to drink all four rum samples. You don’t actually have to drink any samples.
You get a punch card at the check in and punches as you get the samples. If you don’t want the samples, just don’t go up to the bartenders serving the samples. It’s that easy.
I didn’t see any non-alcoholic cocktails available for purchase. To be perfectly honest, I do think all the cocktails available for purchase are pre-made and the bartenders are just pouring them, so you can’t get a mocktail if you wanted.
However, each sample station has water to rinse your tasting glass. And there are additional water stations as well, so you could fill your sample glass with water and drink that if you need a break from rum.
Cocktails are available for purchase at Lost Spirits during the circus.
Lost Spirits Distillery doesn’t operate as a traditional bar where you could walk in and have a drink at any time.
The distillery tour was interesting and only took 10 minutes, so we didn’t regret taking it.
But, it wasn’t the best distillery tour I’ve taken (that honor goes to the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery Tour in Osaka, Japan) And that 10 minutes is taking away from time you could be experiencing the acts. So, if you don’t really care how rum is made, but you do care about watching a man perform a capoeira-based aerial act, skip the tour and enjoy more of the performances.
According to the joke on Lost Spirits’ website, you can bring your kids as long as they’re 21 or older.
But, my commentary: We don’t recommend you bring your kids (or your parents) with you, even if everyone is over 21. The burlesque acts do strip down to glittered pasties, and that’s not really something you want to watch with your dad.
More Distilleries in Las Vegas:
If you really like spirits and you’re looking for more distillery locations in Sin City, check out The Underground at The Mob Museum. That’s a secret speakeasy located in the basement of The Mob Museum.
The basement also houses a distillery. You can take a 30-minute guided tour of the distillery with the purchase of a ticket to the museum.
More Alternative Circus Ideas:
If you like the circus at Lost Spirits because it’s unique, you’ll love Paranormal Cirque. That’s a traveling circus that’s a little more macabre than a traditional circus.
Find out more in our Paranormal Cirque review.
Have you visited Lost Spirits Distillery & Circus? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.