NYE 2011 – Celebs Celebrate as Marquee LV Debuts
Famous faces always make a nightclub better. Every clubber wants to be able to whip out a cell phone during the night, covertly snap a picture of some A-lister reveling beside them, then brag on Twitter or Facebook how insanely cool their evening out was as a result. Marquee Night & Day Club Las Vegas, recently opened in the new Cosmopolitan Hotel in the heart of Sin City, delivered precisely that with no shortage of boldface names over the New Year’s Eve weekend; I had the privilege of witnessing the festivities firsthand.
From the Florence And The Machine concert to Jay-Z and Beyonce holding court in a private corner upstairs in the Library room -- the singer’s sister Solange Knowles manned the turntables -- you couldn’t move from one area to another without bumping into headliners, including the likes of John Mayer, Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kayne West, Alex Rodriguez, Cameron Diaz and more. The list can easily continue on and on, but the true mark of success for a new nightlife venue isn’t how expansive and impressive the owner’s phonebook is; it boils down to the space itself and experience guests have within it.
In those regards, Marquee LV doesn’t disappoint. The venue is laid out well, not surprising given the 60,000 square feet owners Noah Tepperberg, Jason Strauss, Rich Wolf and Lou Abin set upon not long ago to create what’s billed as the nation’s (and possibly the world’s) largest nightclub. The main room (on the middle floor) possesses an amphitheatre-like vibe due to table placements at three distinct heights, the lowest surrounding the dance floor. No matter where you stand in the room, you can swivel your head up or down for a clear view of the rest of the club, making for a panorama of interesting views.
In the main room, the stage is the focal point with a 40-foot LED wall looming large over the DJ booth, spraying an array of color into the space. It’s impressive when it’s all in full swing, as it was when Erick Morillo spun on New Year’s Eve. The lights blinked, strobed, flickered and stayed constant exactly in sync to Morillo’s tracks. As an added bonus, a portion of the LED wall can flip down directly above the booth on the second floor to double as a second stage, enabling go-go dancers carrying neon light sabers to literally walk out over the crowd and gyrate. I found the effect quite stunning.
Trek up or down a flight and you’ll find yourself in either the Library or the Boom Box, each a separate mini club or lounge in its own rights. The Library is essentially a rip off of Rosebar in NYC, but has a much better feel than the Gramercy Hotel space. A pool table greets you first, and books and cool knick-knacks adorn the shelves and a fireplace softly flickers from the back wall. It has an intimate and inviting aura and was easily my favorite room in the club. It was never too crowded, even when Jay-Z and Beyonce were hanging in there, and the comfy oversized leather couches were perfect for taking a break from dancing.
The Boom Box is Marquee LV’s more urban offering, and – while hip in design – I wasn’t digging the music each time I went in to check it out before NYE, though with Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West and more all performing that quickly changed. But that’s the point of having multiple rooms with different feels - you don’t have to love each of them; just stay happily in the ones you do.
The crowd within the club varied depending on the night. For the opening party, it ranged from leggy models to middle-aged mothers of three and everything in between, all of whom seemed to immensely enjoy themselves even while cavorting at the same table. I smiled when watching one 20-something girl teaching a 50-year-old woman how to dance to the electronica thumping out of the Funktion One speakers. I would love to know what the older crew thought of the volume though, as my ears consistently rang until about 2 p.m. the following day.
For New Year’s Eve, it was markedly a younger set of patrons, especially the ones who lasted until the party finally stopped…at 9 a.m.. Morillo later said he kept going because the crowd simply wasn’t done partying until then. While there were a number of tables filled with comped influencers and celebs, the overwhelming line at the door of revelers who’d shelled out the requisite $300 entrance fee for the New Year’s Eve bash spoke volumes, and I saw more people than not signing large bills under the table waitresses' flashlight beams. The multiple bars were at least four people deep at any given point and with the high price points for drinks, surely the paying customers far outnumbered those hosted for free.
In fact, the only real issue with Marquee LV appears to be getting in the place. Given the high level of demand (admittedly my experience may have been atypical given that it was the grand opening weekend and simultaneously New Year’s) the lines at the elevators to enter the club were rather lengthy. After passing through the velvet rope, you’re then queued into one of two lines to wait for one of four elevators. Our average wait time at the lifts was about 15 minutes, but on New Year’s Eve at 1 a.m., it jumped up to close to 45. That said, my friends who showed up around 3 a.m. said they breezed in without much of a delay or hassle.
All in all, I’d rank the weekend among my top three New Year’s Eve club blowouts. Aside from the caliber of talent present, the space speaks for itself and it seemed to be whispering in everyone’s ear, “Don’t you want to stay all night?” The answer seemed to be a resounding “Yes,” as each time I left at 4 or 5 in the morning, the elevators taking me down to exit typically contained only me.