Best Of 2020

Best Immersive Retro Layover Lounge: Pan Am Layover Lounge

Best Immersive Retro Layover Lounge

This past October, Tokyo Kitty transformed into a Pan Am Layover Lounge — a groovy fake escape inviting guests to visit the airline’s most popular destinations, including Tokyo, Hawaii, Mexico City, London and even the moon (yes, Pan Am pre-sold tickets to the moon). The sold-out pop-up let patrons book a 45-minute “trip” that evoked a nostalgic golden age of flight-style of service and Pan Am’s iconic branding. When you checked in at the front desk, you were led to a private VIP suite, redecorated to emulate the height of Midcentury luxury, with authentic Pan Am memorabilia, a replica boarding pass/ticket and reimagined retro travel posters. Guests were treated to a personal cocktail tasting, which included two drinks inspired by the ticket-holder’s chosen destination along with tasting notes and fun quirks like faux cigarettes and a safety demo from a decked-out flight attendant. For those who had to skip the trip but still wanted some cool Pan Am swag, a gift shop was open during the duration of the event selling limited-edition prints, baggage and other merch. And after the immediate success of the Cincy Pan Am experience, Gorilla Cinema Presents (the minds behind Tokyo Kitty, the Video Archive, La Ofrenda, Overlook Lodge and Lonely Pine Steakhouse) took the concept to Columbus, offering more dedicated space, room for 12 passengers per trip — tripling in size from the first run — and adding two exciting new flight options: Havana and the North Pole. Tokyo Kitty, 575 Race St., Downtown, thattokyobar.com.