The face of nightlife in Las Vegas changes almost as often as the actual faces of nightlifers visiting Las Vegas. New venues, remodels and rumors of new ventures have the industry constantly buzzing. From holograms and Avatar-esque tree sculptures, plus an attempt at resurrecting an oldie and a new venture for New Year’s, here’s what people are talking about in Sin City this summer.
The approximately 11,000-square-foot behemoth of a venue has gone through a series of incarnations inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Once one of the few large-scale venues in Vegas during its early days as Club Rio, the venue also operated as Prince's 3121 followed by ND's Fuego and then just plain ND’s The Club after the Latin concept failed almost as soon as it began. Then ND’s went bankrupt after only a few months of operation.
One theory amongst many in the Vegas media as to why the space continues to flop? Management has never put in restrooms for the 1,800-capacity room.
The Crown Theater and Nightclub, which opened in May, is owned and operated by none other than Darin Feinstein, who bought the Viper Room in LA from Johnny Depp and ran it from 2005 to 2008. The lighting and sound has received upgrades (though it pretty much looks the same as it did during the ND’s phase). Yet, there are still no restrooms. Concert and clubgoers must exit Crown and use the casino’s facilities. However, lines to get back into the venue aren’t a problem because, well, attendance has been moderate at best.
Originally having a mixture of live music plus club events throughout the week, including a Wednesday night residency with legendary turntabilist Qbert, Crown has already scaled back on its schedule and days of operation to only Fridays through Sundays with the occasional one-off event during the week. Concerts are overpriced for the talent on the bill ($50+ for the English Beat?!?) and tickets are being given away in an attempt to fill the space. Our prediction? It probably won’t last until the end of the year.
Lolita’s Cantina and Tequila Bar and Nu Sanctuary Lounge
Nightlife in Vegas is heading South on The Strip, as two new venues at Town Square on Las Vegas Blvd have sprung up in the past few months, the first being Nu Sanctuary Lounge. Its centerpiece, a resin tree lit from within by LED lighting, emerges from the bar and spreads out across the venue, giving the space an overall earthy feel. Additionally, modern, chic touches help the space transition from dining to nightlife seven days a week. Vegas nightclub veteran Gino LoPinto serves as an owner/operator on the project along with Zaher Fakih of Almaza Hookah Lounge and Restaurant, plus an investment team of five doctors, including Tim Beckett and Naz Wahab.
Directly upstairs, Lolita’s opened July 23 and promised it would be the first holographic nightclub in the U.S. However, since opening weekend, the space — more of a bar/lounge than nightclub in Vegas standards — has already had difficulties with the technology. Upon inspection, the hologram presentations (said to range from DJs to dancing girls and mariachis, housed in what looks like a large puppet theater) have been intermittently working. It appears a projection is displayed on angled glass and is less futuristic than promised. Plus, the booming sound system affects the image and an insider says the problems are trying to be worked out. On the other hand, more than 100 varieties of tequila, some available on tap, could help guests forget the technical difficulties.
If the new options have yet to impress, look ahead. A new venture from the Tao Group is rumored for a scheduled opening as partiers ring in 2011. Little information is out at this point, but word on the street is the $60 million dollar venture at CityCenter will encompass the top three floors of The Cosmopolitan and include a restaurant, ultra lounge, pool club and sky-high gardens. The resort’s 65-foot marquee comprised of four LED screens just debuted on Tuesday.