Ready for Takeoff

A new Palm Springs lounge recalls the good old days of air travel.

March 22, 2020
PS Air Bar Palm Springs
At the 737–themed bar PS Air, guests sit in first-class and coach seats and order drinks, including the Jet Lag and Black Box, off a menu styled like an airline safety card.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GEORGE DUCHANNES

111 East

DRINK

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Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the onset of the COVID-19 virus, resulting in the closure of many restaurants and bars. Check the website for information on their status.

You long for an escape but fear flying, abhor the TSA process, fret about your carbon footprint, have exhausted your travel budget, or any combination of these.

Welcome aboard PS Air, where you never reach altitude, have your body and possessions scanned, emit CO2, or spend a fortune.

When Tom Beatty and Dennis Costa opened their Bouschet marketplace/bistro/wine-tasting venue in Palm Springs a year ago, their underlying goal was to create a lounge space like no other. Beatty, a flight attendant for 34 years, and his colleague Jim Deeley, a Cathedral City resident, had the idea for a 737-themed bar 15 years ago. More recently, the three men went to an airplane junkyard in the Mojave Desert, where Beatty and Costa bought eight first-class and 27 coach seats, a pair of crew jump seats, and airplane sidewalls. A regular Bouschet customer sold them a 1975 beverage cart from Continental — “The one I was trained on!” Beatty enthuses.

PS Air “passengers” will note deviations from flight-restricted interiors. The aisle features floor-lighting strips but is wide enough for two people. Though seats feature locking belts and “can be used as a flotation device,” Costa affirms, they face each other across tables resembling riveted airplane wings.

psairbar

Though seats feature locking belts and “can be used as a flotation device,” Costa affirms, they face each other across tables resembling riveted airplane wings.

denniscostapsairbar

Dennis Costa, Jeff King, and Tom Beatty.

“We want people to connect,” Beatty says of the layout. Further to that end, Costa notes, “You have to put your phone on airplane mode.”

“Safety cards” will not tell you how to exit in an emergency, but rather what you can order: handcrafted cocktails such as the Mile High Club, Jet Lag, and Black Box (for the pessimist?) and dishes (served on divided trays) like cauliflower flatbread with ahi tuna and peri peri sauce. Bartenders dress as pilots and servers as flight attendants.

Beatty and Costa emphasize their desire to make people laugh. Lit panels behind sidewall windows show not only scenery, but also airborne companions like the Flying Nun and Superman. The partners in business and life credit photographer/graphic designer Jeff King for helping in the creation process, as well as installation of those panels, vintage airline images, and an approach view of Palm Springs International Airport’s runway. A collage by King backs the spot for live music or a DJ to spin destination-themed music. Projections on the back wall and a screen behind the “cockpit” bar are especially useful for dinner-and-movie nights.

PS Air holds true to one value-added aspect of commercial aviation: free peanuts.

For more information, visit psairbar.com.