Category Archives: Nightclubs

Stratosphere’s Level 107 Lounge Becomes 107 SkyLounge, Keeps One of the Best Happy Hours in Las Vegas

We’ve long sung the praises of the happy hour at Level 107 Lounge at Stratosphere, and we won’t need to change our tune now that it’s become 107 SkyLounge.

The “107” in 107 SkyLounge refers to the floor the bar is on, and the view alone would make it a must-do in Las Vegas.

107 SkyLounge

Guys, Spanish Flies aren’t real. This view, however, is.

But 107 SkyLounge ups the ante with not one happy hours, but two.

There’s an early happy hour, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., where appetizers are half price and cocktails are two-for-one.

Appetizers are half price during a late happy hour, from 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. And there’s another two-for-one cocktail happy hour from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

Both the food and drinks are great, and the discounted prices make them even more appealing.

White Peach Margarita

The White Peach Margarita should serve all your panty-dropping needs.

The food, small plates and appetizers, come from the same chefs as the Strat’s Top of the World restaurant.

107 SkyLounge Stratosphere

Please don’t confuse the sliders at 107 SkyLounge with the sliders at Skyfall Lounge at Delano. Significantly better value here.

DJs do their thing starting at 11:00 p.m., so that’s either a reason to stay late or to leave early, depending upon your level of enjoyment of the DJ experience.

Making 107 SkyLounge an even better value is the fact visitors going up to the Stratosphere’s observation deck pay $20 to do so ($12 for hotel guests, $10 for children ages 4-12). If you say you’re hitting 107 SkyLounge, you get to ride in the super fast elevators—they travel three floors per second—free of charge.

Here’s more about one of the best happy hours in Las Vegas.

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Crazy Girls Cabaret Ultra Lounge and Cigar Bar Coming to Planet Hollywood

It appears the “Crazy Girls” show at Planet Hollywood is expanding its repertoire.

The show will provide a theme for the new Crazy Girls Cabaret Ultra Lounge and Cigar Bar, opening Jan. 18, 2016.

The Crazy Girls Cabaret will “feature sexy entertainment,” says a recruiting ad on Craigslist.

The ad also states, “Just to be clear, we are not a strip club.” Why would anyone get that impression, anyway?

Crazy Girls

Yes, that “Crazy Girls.”

The new lounge seeks model servers (this designation allows Vegas venues to hire servers based upon looks), model bartenders, hostesses, cashiers, security hosts and porters.

The ad says working at the new Crazy Girls Cabaret Ultra Lounge and Cigar Bar is a “unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor with this amazing venue that will set the trend in Las Vegas for the coming decades.” Actual results may vary. Dramatically.

The new Crazy Girls Cabaret is also casting for go-go dancers, sexy specialty acts, burlesque acts and shadow dancers.

Translation: We’re in. Except for the cigar part, disgusting. Moving on.

We’ve yet to see an official announcement for Crazy Girls Cabaret Ultra Lounge and Cigar Bar at Planet Hollywood, but we suspect details will be forthcoming soon. It’s possible the new venue will take the place of the defunct Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Saloon & Fappery on the hotel’s mezzanine level.

“Crazy Girls,” of course, is the topless revue which recently relocated to Planet Hollywood’s Sin City Theatre from the now-closed Riviera.

Sin City Theatre offers a mix of comedy and burlesque, but mainly that last thing.

Sin City Theatre offers a mix of comedy and burlesque, providing us a convenient excuse to share a photo of the burlesque part.

“Crazy Girls” originally opened at Riviera on Sept. 25, 1987.

We look forward to seeing more about this enticing new offering once all the details are fleshed out.

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Las Vegas Arena Will Have Its Very Own Hyde Lounge

The new Las Vegas Arena will have its very own Hyde Lounge, which you would’ve known already if you took the time to read blog headlines.

Hyde Lounge Las Vegas Arena

Hyde Lounge will be so cutting edge, it will provide guests with complimentary shadows upon request.

Hyde Lounge at the Las Vegas Arena (likely to be called the T-Mobile Arena by the time it opens), will be operated by SBE, the L.A.-based lifestyle company that currently runs the successful Hyde Bellagio.

SBE is also the company that was involved in the opening of the struggling SLS Las Vegas. SBE sold its stake in SLS Las Vegas after the company realized the whole “if you build it, they will come” is more of a movie thing than a business plan. The news release about Hyde Lounge sort of forgot to mention all that. Oopsie.

Hyde Las Vegas Arena

The surname “Hyde” originated in 7th century England. A “hide of land” was 60-100 acres, the amount of land needed to support one extended family. Yes, you just learned history from a Las Vegas blog. You’ll live.

Anyway, SBE does seem to know a thing or two about lounges and nightclubs. The company already operates a Hyde Lounge at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as well as another at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

We’re going to include a quote from SBE CEO Sam Nazarian here, mainly because we find quotes in news release hysterical. Nazarian said, “We are extremely proud to partner with the Las Vegas Arena team on this dynamic and forward-thinking development that will transform the Las Vegas landscape. Hyde provides an unrivaled nightlife scene that will leave a footprint as we enhance the brand with this large-scale viewing and event driven destination.”

Las Vegas public relations, leading the world in using lots of words to say absolutely nothing.™

Hyde Lounge Las Vegas Arena

One of the bottle service packages at Hyde Bellagio costs $250,000. So, there’s that.

Jibberish aside, a sweet aspect of the Hyde Lounge in the Las Vegas Arena is its incredible location.

The 18,000-square-foot lounge will be located near the top of the arena, with two platforms extending out over the action. During our tour, these platforms provided stunning views and the arena isn’t even complete yet.

Las Vegas Arena

Anticipate approximately 220,000 selfies taken at this part of Hyde Lounge in the arena’s first year of operation alone.

Expect the usual Las Vegas club amenities at the new Hyde Lounge, including bottle service, couches, DJs and guests who are way, way out of your league.

The new, 20,000-seat Las Vegas arena is situated behind New York-New York, just off the Las Vegas Strip. The arena is expected to host about 100 events each year.

The new Hyde Lounge, and the $375 million Las Vegas Arena, will open in April 2016. Where should you park? Look, news releases don’t have all the answers. Just wing it.

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There Are Signs of Life at Alon Las Vegas

Things are happening at the site of the future Alon Las Vegas resort, and new signage now adorns the fence outside the project’s construction site.

Alon Las Vegas

And you thought you’d be able to carry out your sign installment duties in peace. Silly sign installment guys.

There have been rumblings of minor landscaping activity at the Alon site, but the new signs are the first real glimpse into what might be in store at the highly-anticipated resort.

Alon Las Vegas

Who has brass ones big enough to advertise “less service”? Alon, that’s who.

Alon, pronounced “AY-lawn,” sits on the site formerly occupied by the New Frontier, across from the Wynn and Encore, and between Fashion Show Mall and another project slowly taking shape, Resorts World.

Alon Las Vegas is being developed by Australian bajillionaire James Packer and his Crown Resorts (Crown gets a shout-out on the new signage).

Alon’s CEO is Andrew Pascal, a former bigwig at Wynn Resorts, and investment firm Oaktree Capital Management is also involved, although we were too busy to find out how, possibly due to our drinking and gambling duties. We’re pretty sure Oaktree Capital is bankrolling the project, though. How do you think bajillionaires get to be bajillionaires?

Alon Las Vegas

Alon Las Vegas. Less service, yes, but also less judging about plastic surgery and bralessness.™

Once plans for Alon were announced, it didn’t take long for the project to snatch up a metric ass-ton of Las Vegas talent, and not just because we are always looking for a reason to use the word “snatch.”

Alon grabbed Rob Oseland, for example, an all-around cool cat who was also the President and CEO of SLS Las Vegas. Another big hiring coup for Alon was Wynn nightlife sensation, Jesse Waits.

Alon Las Vegas

Alon Las Vegas. Leave your preconceptions at home, like the one about ruffies being just a guy thing.™

Alon Las Vegas will presumably have two hotel towers, a VIP and resort tower. There will also be a 126,000-square-foot water feature. There will also be a nightclub, a performance venue, movie theater, spa and meeting space.

Oh, and there will also be a “botanical chapel,” which we can only assume will be a place for exotic plants to drunkenly make legally-binding mistakes they’ll regret for the rest of their lives.

Alon Las Vegas

Alon Las Vegas. So flush with cash, we splurged on a macron over our “a” rather than one of those lame umlauts.™

The seemingly stock clip-art now outside Alon is a tad ambiguous in terms of illustrating a vision for the resort, but relax, the project has a very concrete concept in mind. Here’s proof: “Central to our vision for the resort is the careful consideration, creative exploration, detailed definition, and uncompromising execution of the resort experience,” says Andrew Pascal.

So, in layperson terms, “We actually have no clue what Alon is going to be this early in the process, but it’s going to kick ass, so maybe just back up off us, cupcake.” Or something along those lines.

Alon Las Vegas

Alon Las Vegas. Where anorexia isn’t a diagnosis, it’s a badge of honor.™

Given the line-up of talent being assembled at Alon Las Vegas, and the whopping $4 billion it will cost to build, anticipation is at an all-time high.

We love Las Vegas newness, and we can’t wait to learn more about the secretive project in the months to come.

Alon Las Vegas

Here’s a peek over the fence at Alon, looking toward Resorts World. That’s a lot of empty lot.

Alon Las Vegas is expected to open in mid-2018. This blog expects to breach the resort’s security sometime in late 2017.

Update (12/10/15): It’s being reported investor interest in Alon Las Vegas is “diminishing.” Yikes! Read more.

Alon Las Vegas

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10 Surprising Things About Las Vegas Nightclubs We Learned Cramming for a Radio Interview

We love being a guest on KNPR, the Las Vegas public radio station. We love it because
it makes us feel important, because it’s always great conversation and because we
always learn something.

Our most recent KNPR invitation was for a segment about Las Vegas nightclubs. While
we are not an avid club-goer, we are most definitely an avid club-observer, and not
knowing a lot about a subject has never impeded our ability to form opinions about
it.

Tao nightclub

Tao Nightclub’s name was inspired by a Chinese concept meaning “path,” “route” or “means to making a metric ass-ton of money.”

In the days leading up to our interview, we prepped intensively by doing our own
interviews with Las Vegas nightlife insiders. Many of the things we learned didn’t
make it on-air, but we figure you’ve got some time to kill, so here are some tidbits we found intriguing.

1. Clubs Sometimes Bus in Pretty People from L.A.

Las Vegas nightlife is a mysterious creature. For example, when a club isn’t filling
up with enough pretty people, it may actually bus in attractive people from Los
Angeles. Which is in an entirely different state than Las Vegas. More pretty people
creates more buzz, more buzz creates more business and more business creates more
revenue. Crazy, but true.

Tryst nightclub

Related: Suck it, diversity. See also #9 on our list.

2. Street Promoters Who Ask for Money Are Scam Artists

Club promoters on the Las Vegas Strip fall into two neat categories. There are those
working with clubs whose job it is to fill up the club with attractive people,
typically women. Others are scam artists, plain and simple. They create fake IDs and
often sell fake nightclub passes. How do you tell them apart? If they ask for money,
or a tip, they’re a scammer. Legitimate promoters aren’t selling anything. If you
encounter the other kind, flee.

3. “Bottle Rats” Are a Thing

There’s an entire subculture inside Las Vegas nightclubs industry insiders refer to
as “bottle rats.” These are women who roam the club looking for men with tables and
bottle service. They flirt until they’re invited into one of these exclusive,
expensive areas, and they mooch drinks. They’re not technically prostitutes, but the
practice is sort of the same business model, except without the sex. Usually.

4. Hosts Sometimes Ask for Photos Before Giving Comps

One of the realities of Las Vegas nightclubs is attractive, young women rule. Hosts
are highly-motivated to bring in that demographic, and will often give groups of
attractive women comps of bottle service. In one case, a Hakkasan host was outed as
calling guests “whales” and “hippos,” and all hell broke loose. The latest practice
is for some nightclub hosts to request photos of guests before approving their comp.
Wrong, sexist and superficial, yes, but also reality.

SLS Life Nightclub

Not every nightclub is a sure-fire money-maker. Life at SLS had high hopes but closed quickly and will soon be replaced with a live music venue.

5. It’s Not the Club, It’s the Management

Club-goers unfamiliar with Las Vegas often assume hotels own and operate their
nightclubs. Not the case. Hotels hire management companies to run their clubs, so
your experience is more a reflection of the management company than the resort
itself. There are just a few of these companies in Las Vegas, with the most popular
clubs being managed by just a couple of big players. Some companies get a reputation
for having less-desirable clubs. Before Light Group was bought by Hakkasan Group, its
clubs (1 OAK at Mirage, Light at Mandalay Bay, Bank at Bellagio) were considered to
be less cool, have shadier practices and less overall cache. The cult of management
companies is real.

Light Nightclub

Behind-the-scenes drama means Light Nightclub at Mandalay Bay won’t be Light might longer.

6. Hosts Are a Nightclub’s Sales Force

Nightclub hosts are what make Sin City’s nightclub business one of the most
remarkable success stories in the history of the city. Hosts, usually men, are the
hustlers who network and schmooze and pull in customers who are going to spend.
Nightclub hosts make a commission on what they sell, and they make tips on top of
that lucrative source of income. (It’s not uncommon for clubbers to spend $5,000-
$10,000 on bottle service during the course of an evening.) Interestingly, hosts pool
their tips.

7. Seventy Percent of a Club’s Revenue is Bottle Service

Bottle service is the engine that drives the massive profits of Las Vegas nightclubs.
A host’s job is to try and get customer’s to commit to a minimum they’re going to
spend before they ever step foot into the club, and to get them to spend more once
they’re inside. We’re of the opinion they shouldn’t call it “bottle service,” but
rather “celebrity service.” Because when you get bottle service, you’re a really big
deal, even if only for a night.

Lavo casino Las Vegas

Nightclubs make big bucks from cover charges and liquor sales. Lavo at Venetian recently added a new revenue stream, table games.

8. Nightclubs Have a Zero Tolerance Policy About Illegal Activity

Back in the day, hosts and other nightclub staffers would regularly supply customers
with drugs and prostitutes. The prime directive was to keep the customer happy, no
matter how outlandish the request. Now, however, the prime directive is, “WTF were we
thinking?” Clubs had their cages rattled by law enforcement to the point where now,
if you ask someone on staff at a nightclub for something illegal, you’ll be reported
to security and removed from the club. Staying open and making money are paramount,
and clubs no longer tolerate illegal activity of any kind. Sure, it happens, but the
nodding and winking by club staff and management is a thing of the past.

Update (11/20/15): Despite efforts to self-regulate, the Nevada Gaming Commission has made it clear nightclubs need to do a better job of monitoring potentially illegal activity. Read more.

Foundation Room

In 2014, the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay was fined $500,000 for narcotics and prostitution violations. Pocket change for a nightclub, but the venue’s legal and PR nightmare reverberates even today.

9. The Customer Mix at a Club is a Thing

The make-up of a club’s clientele is of critical importance to the success of a Las Vegas nightclub. Nightclub managers explicitly tell their hosts who they want, and hosts deliver. This includes not only the gender mix but also the racial mix. Having too much of an “urban” clientele is nearly as dangerous as being considered a “sausage factory” (a club with too many men). Clubs generally claim to prefer a 2-to-1 ratio of women to men, but the truth is the ultimate mix for a nightclub would be 99% young attractive women and 1% wealthy guys who like to spend money to meet and impress them.

10. Nearly All the World’s Most Successful Clubs Are in Las Vegas

According to the experts, a full seven of the top 10 most financially successful nightclubs in
the entire world are in Las Vegas: XS (#1), Hakkasan (#2), Marquee (#3), Tao (#4),
Surrender (#6), Hyde (#9) and Lavo (#10). Both XS and Hakkasan each rake in more than
$100 million a year. Las Vegas has got this down cold.

Nightclubs in Las Vegas continue to thrive, and lots of nightlife newness is in the
works.

The new Omnia at Caesars Palace, formerly Pure, is crushing it in a world-class way.

Pure nightclub

Even when you’re big in Vegas, you can always be bigger. Pure is now Omnia.

Tryst at Wynn recently closed after a decade, with a new concept, Intrigue, in the works.

Intrigue Nightclub Las Vegas

Intrigue promises to move away from what it calls the “DJ phenomenon.” The rest of us refer to is as “You paid them WHAT?!”

Nightlife impresario Jesse Waits, formerly of XS and Tryst, has moved over
to the $4 billion Alon resort project.

There’s never a dull moment in the world of Las Vegas nightclubs, and only the strong survive.

If you’re hungry for more about Las Vegas nightclubs, you can check out our appearance on KNPR radio, along with Greg Costello, director of customer development for Hyde at Bellagio.

We’d love to hear your Las Vegas nightclub insights and experiences. We hate learning new things, but in this case, we’ll make an exception.

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Riviera Slot Machines Get Second Life at The D Las Vegas as Vintage Vegas Floor Goes Ticket-In, Ticket Out

If you’re missing the now-closed Riviera, you’re in luck. The D Las Vegas has integrated dozens of Riviera slot machines into its Vintage Vegas floor, while phasing out its coin machines.

The D Las Vegas

The Vintage Vegas floor at The D is also the Vue Bar floor, or as we like to call it, our home away from home.

Ever since The D purchased more than 850 Riviera slot machines back in June, the downtown casino (formerly Fitzgerald’s) has been swapping out 15-20 per week with existing machines on its second floor, a floor devoted to classic machines.

Now, the only coin-operated slot machine at The D is the popular Sigma Derby.

Sigma Derby

When you play Sigma Derby, you don’t just win money, you win lifelong friends. Which we should totally trademark.

The move to TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) means The D’s second floor cage will be dismantled, and coin redemption from Sigma Derby will be handled in the casino’s main cage, downstairs.

The D Las Vegas

It’s curtains for The D’s second floor cage.

The integration of the Riviera’s machines means a greater variety of games for players, and far fewer headaches for The D.

There’s a long list of reasons most Las Vegas casinos don’t offer coin-operated machines. Some of the reasons are obvious, others are a little more technical.

The owner of The D Las Vegas, Derek Stevens, says, “The games from the Riv had some advantages over the machines we previously had on the second floor. For example, many of the games at The D previously wouldn’t accept the new $5 or $20 bill. There wasn’t any ability to fix this problem, as the bill validator manufacturer for those machines had long since gone out of business, and those slot machines couldn’t run without that specific type of bill validator. It forced us to keep ‘old’ bills in our cages and slot techs with wallets of old bills to swap out for new bills from customers.”

The technical term in casino parlance is “huge pain in the ass.”

The D

We have personally found those Wheel of Fortune machines on the right to be very loose. Especially after a couple of cocktails.

Stevens comments, “I decided to keep the Vintage Vegas theme, but just change the games out so all the games have TITO and bill validators that not only work but also have the ability to detect counterfeits, something that has become epidemic over the last 3-4 months. In some cases, we replaced old machines with older machines, but with the necessary TITO and bill validators.”

It goes without saying the cost of maintaining a coin-operated slot floor is far more expensive than having non-coin machines. Although we just said it, so perhaps it doesn’t go without saying after all.

While there’s a certain charm to grime-covered hands and the “clink” of coins falling into a “hopper,” it can get old. There are still a few spots in Las Vegas where you can play coins, but the demand for such machines is fading fast.

Derek Stevens says he’s seen the demand for coin-operated slots dwindling, especially within the last five years.

The D Las Vegas

“We don’t need your validation!” scream the bills. Um, wrong.

Overall, about 200 slot machines from the Riviera have been placed on the casino floor at The D and its sister casino, Golden Gate.

The second floor of The D is a great place to get intimate with the history of Las Vegas. If your hands are feeling too clean, bust open some rolls of quarters and bet on your favorite Sigma Derby horse. Otherwise, give a former Riviera slot machine a try.

And before you do any of that, rub the casino’s Blarney Stone. Long story.

Full disclosure: The D Las Vegas is a member of the Fremont Street Experience family of casinos. We work at Fremont Street Experience. Our opinions remain our own.

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