It shouldn’t come as a surprise that casino mogul Steve Wynn is expanding further into nightlife. After all, it was Wynn who had the foresight to offer five figures of square footage off the Bellagio casino floor to Light Nightclub way back when, a venue that would transform VIP nightlife in Las Vegas and spark a bottle service explosion. When he opened Wynn Las Vegas, it included a nightclub element, although La Bete struggled until it morphed into Tryst Nightclub, now a must-stop spot in Vegas nightlife. As for XS Nightclub at the Wynn Encore — well, the numbers, awards and acclaim speak for themselves.
With massive nightlife draws already existing on Wynn’s property, he is getting even more involved in the nightlife game with an announcement last week (even though the whispered rumors ran rampant long before then). He and nightlife impresario Sean Christie, who first partnered with Wynn to open Blush Boutique Nightclub, will open two new venues Memorial Day Weekend: Encore Beach Club and Surrender Nightclub.
Encore Beach Club will be Wynn Encore’s first foray into “daylife,” with an expansive 60,000-square-foot pool deck that will include three tiered pools, 26 luxurious cabanas and eight two-story bungalows, each with its own hot tub and, of course, poolside gambling. The venue has also been constructed with entertainment in mind. There is a staging platform that is sure to see some big-name talent starting with renowned DJ Kaskade, who has inked a beach club residency to play each week during Kaskade Sundays. Signing Kaskade to a Sunday residency is one sure indication of the Beach Club’s competitive direction. Encore Beach Club is definitely going after the upscale end of Sunday pool traffic that’s kept Hard Rock Hotel’s ongoing Rehab promotion thriving to the point that it’s now being expanded to a weekend-long format, and has bolstered upstart WET Republic at the MGM Grand, which had strong success last year and announced a ‘War on Nightlife’ in the colorful campaign we covered in the last issue of Nightclub Confidential.
Just off the pool deck will be Surrender Nightclub, a 5,000-square-foot venue that will expand outdoors into Encore Beach Club, weather permitting. Décor specifics are still a little murky, but expect a major focus to be on sound and lighting, as Wynn has enlisted John Lyons Systems for the project. The venue has already inked a Friday night residency with emerging superstar DJ Steve Aoki, who will also serve as musical director to the club. Lastly, the back wall of SWITCH Restaurant will be knocked out and replaced with windows allowing a peek into the Surrender Nightclub scene. Switch will also cater to crowds who want to remain in the sun by adding a 1,200-square-foot patio.
Since Wynn Encore opened nearly two years ago, it’s a testament to Wynn’s vision for the property that the square footage was found to make this project, estimated at $67 million, come to life. Both the Beach Club and Surrender are being constructed in a space that used to host the Wynn Encore porte-cochere. According to Wynn, that space was originally designed to front the mega-casino complexes that were supposed to go up across the street. But with Boyd Gaming’s Echelon project still standing as a simple frame with all construction plans on hold and the El-Ad Group’s plan to build a 5,000-room replica of New York’s landmark Plaza Hotel most likely in the trash bin, to Wynn it just made sense.
"Because we have such a strong financial statement, and because we have the working capital that’s necessary to keep us competitive, we take off that unused porte-cochere and we put something on it that would generate profits," Wynn told the Las Vegas Sun. There are also some whispers on property hinting that, with some serious nightlife on the Encore side of the property, the marketing strategy might change a bit to make the newer tower a draw for a stylish, younger, hard-partying audience with the original tower staying focused on Wynn’s stable of older, casino-focused clients. But, as with many things in the Vegas nightlife scene, that remains to be seen.