What’s Going Down

As in down-Strip, downtown and Down & Derby

Veteran nightclub operator Mike Milner greeted me at the Copa Room’s door, and in an instant it was just like old times. Since April, the former Studio 54, Tabu and Teatro GM has been laying low, but been busy nonetheless, keeping his focus on the burgeoning events lineup at his new nightspot on the south end of the Strip.

Formerly Matryoshka Euroclub (so named for those little Russian nesting dolls and known briefly and only for its Club LED party), Milner’s new project is annexed to ex-Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt’s 10-acre swath of land that includes the Bootlegger Bistro.

Outside, the wall still reads “Euroclub” but inside, the Copa looks like the love child of MGM Grand’s Teatro (now Rouge) and the once and former freestanding home of house, Ice—all chrome and concrete with splashes of color and dramatic white silks. As the logo states, the Copa Room hosts weddings, banquets and has private function rooms for 30 to 300. But in the wee hours, it’s a DJs dream come true.

Milner has a 15-year history of assembling solid teams. At the Copa Milner’s team includes DJ R.O.B. (Robert Hathcock), DJ Lisa Pittman and DJ Pryme Tyme (Matthew Tufono). But the ranks are still building, and the events program is growing ever more robust.

Two Saturdays a month, DJ and promoter Lisa Pittman presents Booty Bar (LesbiansLasVegas.com), a wildly successful night “for girls who like girls” featuring guest DJs and the so-called L-Word Girls bartenders (a pack of sassy, chic lesbian barwomen). “This is the nicest venue the lesbians have seen in Vegas,” she says.

R.O.B.’s increasingly popular Facebook parties (DJRightOnBeat.com) take on the alternate Saturdays, with an old-school-meets-today sound and where break-dancers take advantage of the Copa Room’s smooth concrete floors. He teamed up with DJs Frankie and Bubby to present the Shark Club Reunion on Sept. 24, a long-overdue party honoring DJ Derek “The Doctor” and that seminal Vegas nightclub.

When I stopped by, the newest player, DJ Pryme Tyme, was just about to launch his new weekly Radio Tuesdays on Sept. 21. Since then, DJ Arty (of Club Rio’s Latin Libido fame) has announced that his Latin Grooves Fridays will launch on Oct. 8 along with another Club Rio alum, DJ Dave Guzman.

For all events, doors open about 10 p.m., and parties regularly sail past 3 a.m. Bonus: Bottle specials hover in the $100 range. Spirits are high where the bottles prices are low! (the Copa Room, 7700 Las Vegas Blvd. South, at Robindale. 562-0756. BootleggerLasVegas.com)

Meanwhile, downtown, the Vanguard Lounge, Maharaja Hookah Café and the 14,000-square-foot new Latin nightclub, Azul Tequila, popped their corks Sept. 29.

Vanguard Lounge (516 E. Fremont St., 868-7800, VanguardLV.com) quietly opened Sept. 16 and is now open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, serving beer, craft cocktails and boutique wines.

Just a few doors down, Imtiaz Ali of Kabob Korner across the street and partner Aisf Jah opened Maharaja (506 E. Fremont St., 684-7900) on Sept. 24. Stop by between 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Thursday or 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday to enjoy 15 kinds of chai, six varieties of coffee, international appetizers and desserts, and—as the name would imply—50 flavors of hookah.

If you frequent downtown, you might also have noticed a new saffron-yellow entertainment compound at 115 Seventh St. Says owner Francisco Lara—also owner of Commercial Center’s Las Palmas restaurant—Azul Tequila (476-6498) will be Vegas’ largest full-time Latin nightclub and concert venue and can accommodate more than 700 guests, 21 and over. Although the ribbon has been cut, the grand opening will be celebrated Oct. 21 with a band on the 6,000-square-foot patio. Modeled after a Mexican hacienda, Lara says, Azul specializes in tequila and will have its doors open from 8 p.m. till at least 2:30 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday for Latin bands, DJs, rock en Español, meringue and salsa, and a downtown-centric Tuesday industry night.

And save the date now—Oct. 8—for the relocation of Down & Derby to the new Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Let’s see if a little old-school eight-wheeled roller disco jam can bring new life to the beleaguered property. “That’s the Joint, that’s the jam!”