Located at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and renowned as one of the nation’s top places to catch a burlesque show, Forty Deuce has a great deal of pressure to promote the world’s most romantic holiday.
“We like to think that Forty Deuce is about romance,” says owner Ivan Kane. “I’m in the nightclub business, and let’s face it, it’s about sex, and sex sells. Nightlife and romance are intertwined, and our club is about celebrating sexuality –– in a classy way –– so, Valentine’s is always one of our largest nights.” For the holiday in 2008, Kane looked at his establishment, its inspiration and origins and its crowd’s desires, and came up with a comprehensive event that wowed everyone.
"The inspiration for Forty Deuce comes from the fact that my wife is the striptease artist Champagne Suzy,” Kane says. “Forty Deuce was created to empower women, and she is the model for that — she is talented, beautiful and sexy. I audition all of our dancers, and the common question I am asked is, ‘Who is Champagne Suzy?’ I tell the story all the time. So we thought it would be fantastic to celebrate her and burlesque and how it is really about empowering women and sexuality.”
Kane and his wife pulled her vintage gowns and costumes out of storage and set up a display in the front windows of the club, and also had her most famous gown, the Dragon Dress, copied and made available for purchase. The retail store, Champagne Suzy’s, located in the Shops at Mandalay Place, offered signature T-shirts and novelties at special sale prices.
For the big night, the pair hosted an intimate cocktail reception where people could chat, mingle and really come to understand the thought behind burlesque and Champagne Suzy’s legacy. The specialty cocktail of the hour was — what else? — the Champagne Suzy, a chilled flute of Veuve Clicquot Champagne with a splash of Chambord garnished with a juicy red cherry. “The event went off flawlessly,” Kane says. “People were thrilled to meet her and hear her stories, and this year her dresses will be in the club’s windows again.”
Nationwide Campaign of Caring
One company has been celebrating Valentine’s Day for years successfully in a totally different way. If your venue is less burlesque and more cold beer and delicious food, then linking with a good cause is a wonderful means to promote your place. Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar is a chain operation headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with more than 50 locations nationwide and two locations in Mexico. The group is known for pizza, and while many operators focus their philanthropy efforts on the December holiday season, Boston’s management team puts its heart and soul into the Valentine’s spirit in February.
A charity is chosen every year, and we try and find one that’s appropriate for us,” says director of marketing Erika Buesing. “In years past it’s been a localized effort in each city, but for 2008, we wanted to explore something national that fit our family style (concept). Last year we chose the Children’s Miracle Network. We have paper hearts for sale for $1 for a month leading to the holiday. A portion of our proceeds from sales and all of the money from paper heart sales goes to the charity.”
Buesing’s team takes it a few steps further to attract guest attention. For the week before the 14th, every pizza is made in the shape of a heart, and specialty drinks are available at the bar, including last year’s hit, the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini. Imported beer Stella Artois is on special, as well. “The Stella feature is a good fit for us and sales from that particular brand are high,” Buesing says. “On Valentine’s Day there is also a grand finale with a check presentation that takes place in our store here in Dallas. We get a lot of media coverage that entire week, and since it is such a feel good story, a lot of television stations pick it up.”