Early Riser

Light Group enters afterhours market as Gold Lounge goes nocturnal

Once you’ve built enough venues that you’re down to decorating the outside of one with monkeys, there’s really no place left to go. You’re Sir Edmund Hillary at the top of the mountain and they’re monkeys, nature’s fun-loving symbol of excess.

Yet, exterior simian décor aside, there was at least one piece of uncharted territory left for Las Vegas nightlife power house, the Light Group, to conquer: afterhours.

No more of that going-to-bed-at-the-reasonable-hour-of-4-a.m. nonsense. Gold Lounge at Aria is now open late—really late. Starting April 30 (OK, technically May 1) at 2 a.m., the ultra lounge goes afterhours with Rise, featuring DJ duo Dresden and Johnston.

Gold Lounge director of marketing Pearce Cleaveland says the lounge was looking to strike a slightly different stride after an early remodel made some cosmetic changes to the five-month-old venue.

“It actually came about from a meeting with Andy [Masi] and Andrew [Sasson],” Cleaveland says, recalling the day the idea was conceived. “The room was dark—we were going through some lighting settings, getting ready for a party—and we all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘This is the perfect room for afterhours.’”

The Light Group has been looking to do afterhours for a while. “We didn’t have a place that really fit what we were trying to do,” he says. When the company opened Gold Lounge (along with Viva Elvis partners Cirque du Soleil and MGM Mirage) in December, that changed.

Cover has been set at $50 for men and $20 for women to ensure only hard-core house fans will come.

“It’s going to be tailored to the people who really, really want to come out and spend afterhours in a classier way, in an intimate environment where it’s not so chaotic and super fast-paced,” Cleaveland says.

Local DJs will provide the bulk of the soundtrack, yet Cleaveland is hoping to harness the Light Group’s economies of turntable scale to bring bigger national acts, as well—such as the DJs who already entertain the house-friendly crowd downstairs, at Haze.

DJ David Christian has been designated Rise’s resident DJ, while the newest project from Dave Dresden (formerly of Gabriel & Dresden), Dresden & Johnston, will help set the tone.

Suggested Next Read

Maria Nicolas, 28

Nightlife Profile

Maria Nicolas, 28

Cocktail server at Revolver