Game Changers

Located on the lower level of the resort, XS the Nightclub at Encore lives up to its name. The 40,000-square-foot club flows out from the stairway, all curves and opulence. Chandeliers throughout and more than 10,000 light sources illuminate the richly appointed space, which is adorned in gold, bronze, black and brown hues. Curvaceous female torsos along the side walls draw the eye; the sculptures’ concave gold leaf finish adding a sensuous element. The sunken dance floor — surrounded by gold crocodile-embossed leather booths and crowned with a 10-foot rotating chandelier — flows out to a pool ringed by private cabanas. An island bar appears to float on the water.

On a Saturday night, a long line of guests eagerly awaits entering the most expensive club ever built in Las Vegas. Inside, the dance floor throbs with exquisitely attired partiers; beautiful women take to the dance poles scattered throughout the club. Bottles of high-end spirits — Ketel One, Dom Perignon, Absolut, Patron, Grey Goose — are paraded to VIP tables by model-perfect cocktail servers. Tabs run from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. One has to wonder, “Recession? What recession?”

Typically watching the action from a VIP booth are Cy and Jesse Waits, managing partners of XS and also Tryst at Wynn Las Vegas and Drai’s After Hours at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall. Flanked by a bevy of beauties, the identical twins, whose playboy reputations are well-chronicled, may look like they’re enjoying themselves, but they’re actually working. In fact, putting in 20-hour days — or nights, as it were — the pair may be the hardest working guys in Vegas.

Together with Victor Drai, who co-owns Tryst and XS with the Wynn organization and heads up this powerhouse trinity, the Waits brothers oversee a nightlife empire. From the exclusive, edgy vibe of Drai’s After Hours — one of the first clubs to bring bottle service to Las Vegas, the intimate venue is a favorite of hip hop DJs and fans — to the game-changing opening of Tryst to the blockbuster debut of XS on New Year’s Eve, the trio has raised the bar on nightlife to an entirely new level. Together, the three clubs are expected to exceed $100 million in revenue in 2009, a figure unheard of in Vegas and unimaginable in today’s economy.

Exquisite club environs, attention to detail and high levels of guest service are supported by precise operational systems and a loyal staff that drive astronomical revenues, attributes that earned them the 2009 Operator of the Year Award from Nightclub & Bar. Tryst and Drai’s are also among the Nightclub & Bar 2009 Top 100, ranked at number 2 and 22, respectively. XS hosted the Top 100 Party, sponsored by Absolut, held during the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in March.

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