Selected from nearly 300 entrants, these 21 winners of the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards are the bar and nightclub innovators and success stories. A panel of judges including the nation's top nightlife, spirits, wine, beer and hospitality journalists, writers and consultants reviewed the entries and cast their ballots for their favorites. Raise a glass to the 2011 winners!
2011 Bar Awards
Bartender of the Year
Jackson Cannon, Eastern Standard
Jackson Cannon is a bartender Hemingway would admire: He’s passionate about taking care of his guests and making the finest drinks possible night after night. For the former musician, working the stick is more of a lifestyle than a job.
“One of the things I enjoyed most about touring was making cocktails after hours for fun with the tenders,” says Cannon. “Eventually it got to the point where I wanted more — to be running the bar, from setting it up, doing the service and then breaking it down. So I ventured behind the bar full time. I found out quickly that I love the life.”
At most any time — day or night — you’ll likely find him hovering about the bar at Eastern Standard in Boston’s Kenmore Square. He describes the popular eatery as offering a mix of craft cocktails, grower wines and artisan beer, plus a bill of fare that includes chicken cordon bleu, traditional salad niçoise and a killer burger. It’s all presented with a “yes” attitude and served alongside great tunes on the stereo.
Although he did pick up on bartending while touring, then expanded his repertoire with on-the-job training and his own personal research, he also bolstered his knowledge and skills with some formal education; Cannon successfully completed the intensive BAR program in 2009.
Humbled by the professional acknowledgement of this award, he attributes any success he may enjoy to a deep and abiding respect for the craft. That said, he bridles somewhat at being described as a master mixologist.
“Mixology is one of a number of disciplines required to be an accomplished bartender, but it’s not the end all. Indeed, being outstanding at guest service and hospitality are disciplines as valuable to the house — if not more so — than being a great mixologist. As far as I’m concerned, I’d say I’m a bartender who’s pretty secure in my mixology at this point.” Better to leave the titles to those who need them.
In fact, Cannon has advanced well beyond working solely as a bartender, or mixologist for that matter. He oversees the bar operations at both Eastern Standard and its sister restaurant, Island Creek Oyster Bar, which opened next door in October 2010. There, his beverage program features seasonal cocktails made with fresh produce and herbs, small batch organic spirits and bitters made in-house.
The depth of his immersion into the art and science of bartending is most evident when he’s interacting with guests. Cannon knows that although precision crafting is important to being a standout bartender, engaging guests who often times get stuck on what to order is the real mark of a great bartender.
“I occasionally like to ask people if they enjoy dirty Vodka Martinis. If they say yes, then I take them in a slightly different direction, but along the same lines — perhaps a gin cocktail prepared with bitters and a healthy dose of vermouth like a Martinez or an Astor. It works well because people who order dirty Martinis crave flavor. Satisfy their craving, and you’ve made friends for life,” he advises.
Get a group of bartenders out socially and the talk soon turns to the lame things guests do at the bar, and most bartenders wouldn’t hesitate to share their pet peeves or bar disaster stories. Cannon, however, opts for the hospitable high road.
“Am I supposed to say I don’t like split checks or guests who keep their change in front of them after cash transactions or order Mojitos in New England during the winter…well, you’ve got the wrong guy. I don’t care about any of that,” he quips.
Jackson Cannon is a most deserving recipient of this year’s Nightclub & Bar Bartender of the Year Award. As further evidence is his personal philosophy on his chosen profession: “Bartending is essentially a metaphysical pursuit. The more you embrace guests’ needs and treat them with compassion, the better the bartender you’ll be.”
Honestly, who wouldn’t want a guy like him working at their bar? And who wouldn’t want to enjoy a drink with him after closing time? - Robert Plotkin
Cocktail Bar of the Year
To say Martin Cate is passionate about rum is a serious understatement – he is a reknown tiki and rum expert - to say he wants to share that passion is stating the obvious. In 2009, he opened a veritable rum Mecca in San Francisco. Smuggler’s Cove is three levels of rum selection, education, imbibing and celebration, with a treasure trove of rum, tiki and nautical memorabilia, not to mention a waterfall, completing the experience.
And yet, the experience is never really complete, which is part of Cate’s genius. From the 200 available rums – including two exclusive expressions, Smuggler’s Cove Private Reserve and Eurydice – his team creates the 77 cocktails on the menu. Patrons need not slog through the 12-page drink list trying to make a selection, however. The offerings are divided into five sections: Rum Through the Ages, Prohibition-Era Havana, Exotic Cocktails from Legendary Tiki Bars, Vintage Exotic Cocktails without Rum, Traditional Drinks of the Caribbean and Contemporary Rum Drinks. All cocktails are mixed with only fresh-squeezed citrus juiced in-house daily mixed with 15 house-made syrups, tinctures, liqueurs and the necessary premium and super-premium spirits. Still can’t make a choice? Get serious and try a flight – the well-versed barkeeps regularly walk guests through the selections with a bit of education, history and color served alongside their flight.
The crown jewel among the rum booty is the Rumbustion Society. Members first take a journey through 20 sugar cane spirits – agricole, Spanish, naval, Demerara and so on – to become acquainted with regions, production and ingredients. The, they work their way through tasting all 200 rums available at Smuggler’s Cove, with rewards along the way. The Rumbustion Society exemplifies Cate’s personal mission to help the masses “understand this complex spirit and learn to make informed choices.”
For more on rum trends and Smuggler’s Cove, click here.
Small Wonder Bar of the Year
Intimate and authentic best describe Pittsburgh’s Embury, the brainchild of Warren Spencer, whose Firehouse Lounge just upstairs has gained his cocktail cred. Named for David Embury, author of The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948), the bar holds true to its namesake’s teachings – cocktails mixed by hand with fresh ingredients, precision and care – and delivers a pre-Prohibition experience in the glass, as well as in the ambiance.
At 1,000 square feet, Embury holds barely 40 people. Bartenders work their craft from a wooden corner bar, selecting ingredients from back bar shelves made from old grandfather clocks. Bookshelves line one wall – the rest of the room is cleverly hidden among the shelves – and eight wooden tables play host to curious customers and those well-steeped in the early days of cocktail culture. The mood in the room can range from subdued to lively, but it is always convivial and welcoming.
Between eight and 10 cocktails grace the menu, which include drinks from Embury’s book along with new takes on classic faves and are made with fresh ingredients and high-quality spirits. In true pre-Prohibition style, vodka bottles are absent from the back bar. Consistent favorites are the Bitter Silence – Bombay Sapphire, Aperol, Antica vermouth, float of Green Chartreuse, simple syrup and mint leaves – and the Root Champarelle – Root, Yellow Chartreuse, Courvoisier, Orange Curacao, lemon and simple syrup. This tiny Pittsburgh cocktail haven proves small is indeed beautiful.
Hotel Bar of the Year
Commonwealth Hotel, Boston
Boasting the longest marble bar in Boston, Eastern Standard also boasts the Nightclub & Bar Bartender of the Year as its muse and mixology master. Jackson Cannon created the drink program at this hip establishment, which opened in 2005 and his innovation quickly made it a favorite among hotel guests, Kenmore Square locals and imbibers all over Boston.
Fifty classic and custom cocktails grace the list, with the classics mixed and presented in historically correct fashion thanks to Cannon’s research and dedication to authenticity. Signature libations are the Au Provence, a tarragon-infused Gimlet, and the Whiskey Smash, showcasing muddled bourbon, lemon and mint served over crushed ice. The list changes seasonally and is complemented by what’s hailed as one of the top beer and wine offerings in the city.
While its home in the Hotel Commonwealth insures a steady flow of potential new patrons, Cannon and company work to keep Eastern Standard’s offerings fresh and appealing with unique programs. A 12-month program in 2008 celebrated the 75th anniversary of Repeal, featuring a menu of 12 Prohibition-era cocktails, with one drink priced at $7.50 per month ($10 is the typical cost of a cocktail). Selections included the Jack Rose, Monkey Gland and El Presidente. The program culminated in a Roaring ‘20s celebration, and drove a 21% increase in bar sales at Eastern Standard for the Year.
Hospitality is the real commodity at Eastern Standard, however, as Cannon schools his team that what makes a cocktail truly delicious is the manner in which it is served.
Beer Bar of the Year
Five hundred fifty-five unique beers. Thirty countries represented. Three climate-controlled cellars. Service temperatures unique to each brew. Staff schooled in each and every beer. And inally, the right glassware.
Such is the credo of Greg Engert, beer director for Churchkey, the newest place for serious beer in Washington, DC. Opened in 2009, Churchkey benefits from Engert’s experience at Rustico Restaurant and Bar in nearby Alexandria, Va., where he honed his operational expertise and his sense of how to bring the beer curious deeper into the world of brew.
Engert handpicks the beers on Churchkey’s massive list, showcasing the full range of styles and countries producing beer. The selection includes 50 draft beers and five cask conditioned ales, all of with rotate regularly. Each beer is stored and also served at the proper temperature for the particular style. “The flavors of the most complex beers will no longer be numbed by excessive chilling, and yet the crisp, vibrant brews will tantalize at colder temperatures,” he explains.
The beer is lovingly – and properly – poured into the appropriate style of glass by staff schooled by Engert in the nuances of each style. Finally, the beers are expertly paired with a menu developed by Chef Kyle Bailey, who drew inspiration from the flavor profiles within beer when crafting the food items. And at 3,200-squar-feet, Churchkey seats 140 and has capacity for 300, meaning it packs in a good number of beer lovers. Thanks to Engert’s passion, the place is ready to satisfy them all.
For more on ChurchKey, click here.
Wine Bar of the Year
Mercy Wine Bar
“No one looks as good as you….Mercy!” sings Roy Orbison in his legendary single “Oh Pretty Woman.” That line spoke not only to Glen Agritelley’s appreciation of wine, but also to his passion to make wine fun, approachable and comfortable for everyday people.
Appropriately named Mercy Wine Bar, the lounge-like space features couches and furnishings that patrons are encouraged to move and regroup as they see fit to create their own space in which to enjoy the more than 150 wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle. Vintages can be paired with selections from the Nuevo-American food menu, with staff ready to help guests create interesting matches.
New staff members undergo a six-week training course to become fluent in all wines offered and also shadow a veteran server to sharpen their ability to engage guests in discussing and exploring the wines. Wine education geared toward making consumers comfortable with grown-up grape juice is Agritelley’s real purpose here; wine classes are held weekly, where “students” gather on the couches to taste, compare, learn about the background of various wines and become comfortable in reading wine lists and ordering.
Wine generates 75% of Mercy’s revenue, with food making up the final 25%. The broad selection, comfortable space, friendly and helpful staff – not to mention live music on Thursday and Saturday nights – keeps a loyal group of followers returning regularly and also constantly draws in new customers ready to sit, sip and explore.
Sports Bar of the Year
The Tavern Downtown
Sitting amidst the Rocky Mountains, flanked by views of Coors Field and the downtown Denver cityscape, The Tavern Downtown literally stands above other sports bars in the mile high city. In fact, for Owner Frank Schultz, this labor of love has been in the works since he and his mother conceptualized it in the late ‘90s.
“I didn’t see a lot out there: attention to details, fireplaces, dark wood finishes, high-def TVs, patios, heaters and misters. It didn’t seem to be in Denver as much,” he says, noting that run-of-the-mill sports bars seemed to come and go as quickly as the seasons change. Schultz decided to make sure his venture would survive the most arduous sports and weather seasons.
That means 30 large HD TVs adorn the interior bar, and even with Coors Field always in guests’ peripherals, fans stick around to watch the games on two massive18-foot projection screens on the rooftop patio, where misters keep them refreshed in the humid Denver heat.
The Tavern is a 16,864-square-foot indoor-outdoor Mecca of sports furor and excitement. After a remodel and expansion in 2008, the patio tripled in size, becoming the bar’s pièce de résistance. With a capacity of 1,000 people, 18 bartenders on hand, 18 Fat Tuesdays Frozen Daiquiri machines and a newly-installed burger bodega, created for quick services of hamburgers and sandwiches, customers at The Tavern are always satisfied.
By nature, The Tavern Downtown isn’t a traditional sports bar — its upscale ambiance belies its hard-core sports focus. The meticulous attention to the smallest design details — mahogany bars, high-end light fixtures, large leather lounge seating areas, an in-house advertising system, etc. — coupled with attention to all things sports, an investment in clientele and a focus on impeccable service are the core of The Tavern’s strategy, and one that scores every time.
2011 Nightclub Awards - Sponsored by Modern Line Furniture
Mega-club of the Year
The Pool After Dark, Harrah’s Resort
Atlantic City, N.J.
Atlantic City is a place with a storied past and a promising future, as well as a nightlife scene that ebbs and flows. The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort is one of those mega-clubs that has redefined the ever-evolving city making it vibrant once more.
The mega-club is two floors, and, unlike most clubs, has a pool that is open all year-round, creating a daytime atmosphere even in the darkest and headiest of nights. The pool, at a balmy 82 degrees, is situated under a 90-foot doom with six secluded hot tubs, four wading pools and 12 private poolside cabanas. The Pool After Dark welcomes more than 3,000 clubgoers on any given Saturday night and that precludes those nights when Guest DJs and celebrities such as Will.I.am, Kim Kardashian and Lauren Conrad are in the house.
The Pool After Dark is used to accolades as it was recently named Best Dance Club, Best Resident DJ, Best Bottle Service and Best Industry Night from ACWeekly.com, so it goes without saying that The Pool After Dark is an original one-of-a-kind nightclub that knows how to keep the party going all night (and year) long.
New Club of the Year
What makes Fluxx so innovative — an undoubtedly cool club in the heart of downtown San Diego? It’s all in the name, actually. The club is constantly in a state of metamorphosis. From the décor to employee costumes to entertainment, every detail changes. For instance, during its first week of opening, the theme was Pollination, an idea rooted in rebirth, which showed in the décor — blooming spring flowers festooned the walls, go-go dancers were adorned in sweet bumblebee costumes while cocktail servers wore vibrant purple dress; it seems everything and everyone transformed.
However, what makes this club stand out is the attention to things such as lighting and sound. Nightlife designer Davis Krumins of David Ink, created an other-worldly space with a 13-foot tunnel leading patrons into a space illuminated with bright colors, and 1,000 linear feet of LED lights encircle the large dance floor, which is flanked by VIP tables and a bar area.
The Fluxx journey goes beyond just flashing lights but relies on custom sound systems from System Investment Audio, ultimately complementing the lighting and the overall décor. Fourteen 21’’ subwoofers and 50,000 watts of power evoke a high-intense, energetic – almost frenetic - experience.
Fluxx has all corners of nightlife covered, transcending the laid back vibe of San Diego with a powerful and pulsating club atmosphere, sparking curiosity in only one year.
Nightclub of the Year
New York City
Webster Hall isn’t, by any means, a secret to New Yorkers. The building was built in the late 19th century, evolving into the live music and dance club it is today. After a renovation in 2009, Webster Hall turned into an all-purpose venue, focusing its attention on live music but not abandoning its dance music roots.
Webster Hall is a four-level space with a labyrinth style blueprint. DJ booths, live music stages and a new venue within the venue called Studio are all new additions to the NYC staple. Webster Hall has certainly come along way, since it was once a hall for weddings, receptions and balls in 1886.
The new Webster Hall, handled by Steve Lewis and Marc Dizon, features banquettes, tables and a statue that resembles Michelangelo’s David covered in green stripes. Three dozen flat screen TVs displaying geometric patterns line the rear hallway. But with these updated changes, Webster Hall remains true to the high-end architectural design, maintaining its maze-like layout.
Walking into the club, one is immediately taken by the unique pinkish façade, with bearded-men carvings and griffin light fixtures as the focal point leading to the marble stairs. The journey takes you to a retro checkerboard tile floor with thick-framed mirrors lining dim hallways. From there, doors lead from room to room, allowing for a discovery into the unknown. It seems as though Webster Hall pays homage to its history while also exulting its future.
Baja Sharkeez, Fashion Industry Nights,
Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Running a successful ongoing promotion can make or break a business. Baja Sharkeez figured this out with their Fashion Industry Night. The third Monday of every month is reserved for a night of fashion, art and music, created a year ago by industry workers who have a passion for the arts.
At the Southern California bar, Fashion Industry night has turned into a monetary success, increasing sales by more than 500%. With the growing popularity, Baja Sharkeez now has a line of 50-100 people waiting to attend to event along with media outlets who cover every show.
However, planning something so elaborate and successful isn’t easy. It involves a full commitment from staff to produce a full runway fashion show and transform the patio into an art gallery, which features local artists and live painting session. With this emphasis on artistry, it’s no surprise that the DJ lineup adds to the creative environment, invoking a muse-like quality onto the crowd.
With the help of sponsors and social networking sites, Baja Sharkeez certainly has its finger on the pulse of what gets SoCal guests ready to party.
DJ Of the Year
The flashing lights. The loud bass. An energetic crowd. These are, of course, things that all contribute to a successful club atmosphere, and the person who makes sure all these things coalesce is a good DJ. Manning the booth at Playhouse Hollywood is DJ Chris Garcia, an electronic music genius who has worked alongside Erick Morillo, Paul Oakenfold, Kaskade and more.
His Dirty Sexy House resident spot at Playhouse began in the fall of 2009 and things have only grown since thing. His innate ability to work the turntable established a loyal following of devoted fans. This, of course, means Garcia knows how to please a crowd, ultimately brining the party – and the atmosphere - to another level.
At Playhouse Hollywood, an already booming party is only enhanced by Chris Garcia’s booming beats, accelerating Playhouse into a high-energy club that can’t be beat.
Single Promotion of the Year
Moulin Rouge Party at Kiss & Fly,
For couples celebrating one year anniversaries, the gift of paper is often required, but for a club as rambunctious and high energy as Kiss & Fly in Austin, Texas, a paper gift would not do for their one year anniversary. Instead, to celebrate this momentous occasion, they threw a cabaret-style party, transforming the club into utter deviance; the underworld of Paris’s Moulin Rouge.
The Moulin Rouge event, sponsored by Ciroc, was an anything goes affair, with costumes, aerobatics and a performance of the “Can-Can” by the Austin City Showgirls. As the premiere gay bar in Austin, there were no limits to this year’s event. Female impersonator Rachel Mykels joined the AC Showgirls with a rendition of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” followed by a sultry burlesque-type striptease.
But that wasn’t all, because the three-act party followed the burlesque show with a performance of “Roxanne” by aerialist Agent Red, who sang and danced while being suspended 15 feet in the air. And the final act of the evening: Sangre Del Sol, a fire dancing duo, did a routine to “Lady Marmalade.”
Dangerous yet high energy, Kiss & Fly dispelled the rumors that the honeymoon is over after one year, because for them, it seems to be only the beginning of a very passionate relationship with the Austin locals and visitors from around the U.S.
Ultralounge of the Year
New York City
New York City is called the city that never sleeps, with good reason, and chic lounge SL is one of those reasons. Nestled among the trendy boutiques and restaurants of the Meatpacking District, SL, owned by EMM Group, is a dichotomy: sleek and modern with a hint of old-school nostalgia.
The 2,200-square-foot ultra-lounge features a bar area enveloped by banquet seating, from which guests marvel at the cut mirrored glass bricks that cover the backbar. Edison-style bulbs light up the surrounding reflective blocks, creating a stylish yet laid back atmosphere.
Danny Volk, EMM group director of operations says SL is a modern boutique ultra-lounge, reflecting a healthy marriage between club energy and lounge appeal. “It’s a big personality in a small space,” Volk notes, adding that beyond its rousing aesthetics, SL excels at hospitality and consistent service.
“It’s everyone from the operators at the top who create systems that set us up for success to security who offer patrons a ‘Good evening and welcome,’ to the servers and bartenders who say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’”
SL is a juggernaut of transforming moods, bringing to life all your senses. It’s certainly the best of both worlds with a lively backroom and a laid-back front room. In the backroom, “the front room’s sexy twin sister,” as Volk describes it, the dramatic lighting and sound energize guests, while the segmented mirrors and screens are visually interesting. The DJ contributes to an elevated vibe, immersing customers in the vibrant vigor of any night. “By contrast, many clients prefer the front room where they get the same atmosphere with a little more room to sit, spread out and socialize,” Volk says.
Volk describes SL as a “modern day ‘Cheers,’” where clients become regulars because SL treats them with loyalty and respect. SL encompasses all that New York has to offer — stylish and cool in front, energetic in back — it’s a club guests can tell their friends about the next day, enticing them to share the unique experience.
2011 Las Vegas Awards
Las Vegas Dayclub of the Year
Liquid Pool Lounge, Aria Resort & Casino
Liquid Pool Lounge in Aria Resort & Casino is a tropical retreat from the bright lights of the Vegas Strip. In this poolside hideaway, guests are offered an exclusivity seemingly only reserved for elite VIPs, which include two private dipping pools adjacent to chaise lounges and plush day beds.
Guests relax in this tranquility while sipping on handcrafted concoctions like the Liquid Passion, Watermelon Cooler or the Liquid-Rita. But the calmness of Liquid Pool Lounge is only one part of its wonder. The sprawling 1,200 square foot main dayclub also features 40’’ flat screen TVS and luxe private cabanas, as well as a state-of-the-art sound system. Even amongst these serene elements, Liquid Pool Lounge proves that it’s also a hot club, especially with its live performances from hot singers and top DJS.
This juxtaposition contributes to the overall modern ambiance of the dayclub. In fact, what makes Liquid Pool Lounge stand out is that it goes beyond just being a conventional outdoor pool area. Of course, the live entertainment and relaxing areas are a nice escape from the realities of life, but it’s the pervasive luxury that makes Liquid Pool Lounge stand out.
Guests at Liquid Pool Lounge may feel like they’re living out a fantasy beyond even their own imaginations. Great music. Great food. Great atmosphere. All of these combine together to create a modern-day, luxurious poolside getaway.
Las Vegas Mega-club of the Year
Pure, Caesars Palace
Pure Nightclub inside Caesar’s Palace is not unlike many other clubs that populate the Vegas Strip. It offers VIP service, an interesting décor and upscale feel. However, what sets Pure apart from its competitors is its ambiance of luxury, its keen attention to detail and the undivided interest it has in satisfying its guests.
The 40,000 square foot mega-club leaves nothing to the imagination, creating three ultimately different yet remarkable environments. Within the two-story space are three different rooms – the White Room, Red Room and outdoor Terrace – that create varying moods yet have a consistent quality of luxury permeating throughout.
Each room is lavish: the White Room is bathed in a white, ivory, cream and silver backdrop, creating a dreamscape for guests. The area also features three bars, an oversized bed seating area and raised VIP areas that overlook the dance floor. From the heavenly White Room, guests can meander to the sensual Red Room where the rich reds and Champagne colors accentuate the mysterious setting. Enigmatic though it may seem, the Red Room offers pockets of privacy, and, it’s said, this is where the real action takes place.
Finally, guests can check out The Terrace. This 14,000 square foot room is the zenith of guest experience, literally. The sojourn to the rooftop starts by walking up a seemingly endless spiral staircase, but the Terrace doesn’t disappoint. With fireplaces and panoramic views of the city, the rooftop is the culmination in an unforgettable experience at Pure.
Las Vegas Nightclub of the Year
Tryst, Wynn Las Vegas
Tryst at Wynn Las Vegas comes from a pedigree of successful clubs created by entrepreneurs like Jesse Waits and Steve Wynn, so its no surprise the 12,000 square foot club is one of the most popular clubs in Vegas.
For one thing, the club itself is tantalizing in all the right ways. The interior area surrounds a sunken dance floor, with a portion of the floor extending to the lagoon region and cascading waterfall. The dichotomy of the luxurious with the exotic is part of what makes Tryst transcend conventional club settings. The outside of the club features a private 450-person lagoon area, which is reserved for European bottle service guests. For more privacy, guests can wander into the hideaway VIP library, considered one of the desirable places on the Strip.
The club experience at Tryst relies on the sensual ambiance, the secret moments in each hidden enclave, but what makes it stand out is the music by Resident DJ Justin Hoffman, who spins everything from hip hop, pop and house music. At Tryst, the emphasis on these differing varieties of music means that every night is an original experience.
Tryst certainly knows how to create an unforgettable experience, taking its guest on a journey to different yet exotic locales throughout the club. Tryst, of course, means clandestine rendezvous, but it’s no secret why Tryst is NCB’s Las Vegas Nightclub of the Year.
Las Vegas Ongoing Promotion of the Year
Vice Sundays at Lavo Las Vegas
Vice Sundays at Lavo debuted in 2008 and since then has become a staple for the Vegas nightlife scene. The success of the promotion is that it’s centered around a DJ, and specifically, a DJ that knows how to keep a crowd interested and coming back for more.
DJ Vice is that DJ, and he’s created an atmosphere surrounding Lavo, that when Sunday rolls around, guests go to Lavo to re-energize and enjoy the spontaneity of Vice’s spinning.
Its’ no surprise then that Vice Sundays uses the tag line “Where everybody knows your name” because it’s is such an integral part in Vegas nightlife. DJ Vice’s notoriety in the DJ world and Lavo’s energetic and fun atmosphere, are all part of Lavo’s successful formula to bring in a loyal fanbase that rely on DJ Vice to help them end the weekend or get them started for the week.
The clubgoers come for DJ Vice, and with that, they’re often witness to surprise guest and DJs who stop by to wrap up their Vegas weekend. Vice Sundays at Lavo Las Vegas just goes to show you that in Vegas the party certainly never stops.
Las Vegas Resident DJ of the Year
Kaskade at Encore Beach Club
When it comes to spinning or mixing beats, many DJs think they have it – that innate talent, that one thing that intoxicates the crowd, gets them up and dancing until the wee hours. And DJ Kaskade certainly has that “It” factor.
Since the launch of the 60,000 square foot Encore Beach Club, it’s been the premiere dayclub venue in Vegas, and the reason it stays on top of its competition is because of DJ Kaskade - the face of the venue.
In 2010, DJ Kaskade became the reason Encore Beach Club remained the go-to please for Vegas revelers. Crowds of people packed in every weekend to hear DJ Kaskade spin. His sound is authentic, but more importantly, it’s that his music draws a variety of guests, transcending beyond beautiful young women that love to dance, but to anyone who appreciates a fist-pounding beats.
Because Kaskade is so established, so well-known and respected in the industry, he’s made Encore Beach Club one of the most entertaining places to be on Sundays. With famous friends in tow like Groove Armada, Steve Aokie, Afrojack and more, who guest DJ throughout the summer, the buzz around Kaskade is all the more verifiable.
Any dayclub can claim to have it all, but without a powerhouse DJ behind the turntables, those clubs pale in comparison. Encore Beach Club knows this, and that’s why DJ Kaskade is a remarkably unique and necessary fixture for Encore’s success.
Las Vegas Single Promotion of the Year
Erick Morillo Labor Day Weekend at Tao
Tao knows how to throw a party. This is evident by their jam-packed Labor Day Weekend party with Erick Morillo. Sure, it helps that Erick Morillo is a DJ of such caliber that his mere presence has guests rolling in. His skills mixed with theLabor Day holiday, which unofficially end of summer, meant that people were ready to unleash the party beast before they sent it hibernating all winter long.
Morillo took to the DJ booth at 2 a.m., pandering to the crowd that erupted in cheers upon his arrival. Asking “TAO Las Vegas, are you ready to go until 9 in the morning tonight?” was certainly a promise, as the clubgoers continues to dance for the next seven hours.
Morillo’s playlist was a masterful collection, keeping the capacity crowd on the dance floor as the sun came up on the Strip, proving that time doesn’t matter when you’re having that much fun.
Las Vegas New Club of the Year
Haze Nightclub in Aria Resort and Casino
Since Haze opened in December 2009, the 25,000-square-foot club’s innovative décor, sound and lighting elements take guests away from the bright lights of the strip and into a tech-fueled dreamscape.
“Basically Haze was built and designed for lighting, sound and production,” Kevin Dailey, general manager explains. “We do things differently than anyone in town.” Walking into the nightclub, with its constantly changing design elements, Avalon-designed sound system, 10 moveable screens, five tresses that are in constant motion and avant-garde production numbers, it’s evident that Haze is a larger-than-life concept. It’s not so much a club, as it is an experience.
“We wanted to make it look high end — a classy, comfortable environment for all our guests,” Dailey says. “It’s high energy,” though that may be an understatement. The uneven surfaces and hanging props present the club as a free-for-all carnival in which guests are immersed. The custom-built sound system, and the dancers in viewing rooms called aquariums, portray and perform based on different themes each night, adding to the cabaret-like elements that pervade every inch of the club.
Though visually stimulating, Dailey says the real key to Haze’s success comes from something as simple as service. “Our strategy, over and over, is service; our service isn’t like any other club.” Each section is small, holding only three tables with security at each section, and three cocktail waitresses servicing an individual table. “We have an exclusivity here,” he notes.
Being ahead of the technology curve serves Haze’s initial purpose of creating a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional experience; the bar and dance floor highlight large steel structures with projection screens, while two-way mirrors behind the bar play on people’s perceptions and senses. Plush suede couches furnish the room, creating a luxurious escape. Though the club’s moniker connotes a sense of intoxicating headiness, it’s clear why Haze made its mark on the Vegas scene in merely a year.