Let’s say you’ve got a space inside your venue that you either rarely or don’t know quite how to use. And let’s say that you realize not only are you not making money with that space, you’re losing money on it. Sounds pretty bleak, no? It doesn’t have to be.
Why not turn that space into a private, invite-only area? Even better, why not turn that space into a private club-within-a-club that only plays music on vinyl? If you think that wouldn’t possibly succeed I would direct you to take a look at the 1,200-square-foot private room inside of the 14,000-square-foot Intrigue nightclub located inside Wynn Las Vegas.
In a city known as one of the premier nightclub destinations, Intrigue’s private club is a departure from the indulgent, over-the-top mega-clubs. The invite-only space has proven to be a welcome departure. Just a couple of months ago the private club reached 50 members, and that number is slowly growing.
The success of the space proves that clubgoers are looking for a change, and in this case that change comes in the form of a space that only allows music to be played on actual records. There are other rules – and we’ll take a look at those soon – but for now, the vinyl-only policy is the main focus here. The wall behind the turntables – actual turntables with an actual mixer – is lined with more than 1,000 vinyl records spanning various genres. It’s not out of the ordinary at Intrigue’s private club for a guest to step inside and hear Frank Sinatra playing…on wax. It also isn’t unusual for a celebrity DJ to step up to the wall, scan the records, and start spinning a mini-set for the lucky guests inside.
Intrigue’s space simply wouldn’t work were Serato, Traktor, CDJs or other digital music delivery methods permitted. Regardless of what’s selected, it would seem, the vibe remains the same: mellow, warm, sexy, genuinely happy. People don’t shout at one another, they converse. Nobody bumps into one another, they mingle and get to know new people. They share an experience; they’re engaged. The volume of the music and the fact that it’s emanating from a spinning, grooved disc adds something that no digital delivery method can match. The moment a needle touches a record, everyone in the room seems to key into the fact that they’re somewhere special and sharing a moment.
Other rules help maintain that vibe. First, no photographs are allowed. Want to document your time in the private room? I hope you have a good memory. That leads right into the next rule: Intrigue’s private space is social media-free. If you think that doesn’t contribute to the relaxed mood directly, you’re wrong, period, point-blank. To gain entry to the room you must either be a member or be invited. That invite may come from a member, it may come from one of the amazing hosts, it may come from a bartender you know… This is, when you get right down to it, Steve Wynn’s private room and invites come as the property sees fit. There’s an app on the way designed just for the room. A private entrance from the Lakeside restaurant makes guests feel like true VIPs. Adding to the air of exclusivity are the two-way mirror behind the bar (yes, the room has its own bar so guests don’t need to head into the main room to get a drink) and the TV that live streams what’s going on in the main space. Oh, and there’s free pizza. Actually, there are all sorts of special free treats at Intrigue for guests to snack on, but pizza in the private room just tastes better.
You certainly don’t have to implement every aspect of Intrigue’s design should you decide that a private, vinyl-only space is viable for your venue. To be honest, flat-out copying it isn’t what I’m encouraging at all. You probably don’t, for example, need to design and build your private club its own app, although that is a seriously cool detail and if you have the means, go for it. But you should definitely put your own spin on such a space, and make sure it somehow ties into your overall concept. The key, though, is that vinyl-only setup. Without that, well, you’re right back where you started: a space that you’re not really using correctly.