The Cocktailer

Kellee Antalek

Today Kellee Antalek is a biosync practitioner, reiki master, a multi-disciplined massage therapist, actress and model. But in the late ’90s she was a VIP cocktail hostess at Club Utopia, where she served drinks to the likes of Slash and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “Utopia was just incredible,” she says. “It was kind of a secret underground home, where everybody knew everybody.” In fact, Antalek remembers her time at Utopia so fondly that even her weirdest nights on the job have become happy memories.

Before I had my boob job done, I used to wear fakes. There were all these beautiful people in Utopia; all the girls were gorgeous and had big boobs. So I started wearing fake boobs, those little gel ones. One night, the place was overpacked and I was running around cocktailing and sweating bullets. There were too many people in there, and I couldn’t get through the crowd. And everybody was passed out in their private booths, because they’re all doing Ecstasy or whatever. I remember we were charging, like, nine bucks for water, something crazy like that.

Anyway, I’m trying to fight through this crowd to get to this table that had ordered 12 waters. I go to drop these waters off, and I was so hot and sweaty that when I leaned over, one of those gel things just spit out from under my bra. It caught a guy in the face and he didn’t even know! I thought that was so hilarious. I just stood there for a second to see if anyone saw what happened, and I looked upstairs where Kathleen, the other cocktail waitress, was cracking up laughing. Out of 3,000 people, she was the only one who had seen it. At the end of the night, one of the guys who swept the floor was like, “Hey, Kellee, c’mere. Do you know what this …” And I said, “Just give it to me.”

On celebrities:

The worst celebrity I served was Busta Rhymes. What a jackass. He drank, I think, six bottles of Cristal. I ran my ass off for him, and he didn’t tip me anything whatsoever. I was in the office fuming and screaming, and one of our big bouncers, Pauly Mac—he was a rapper here in town, a phenomenal musician—literally picked me up with one hand and said, “What happened?” I told him, and he said, “I’ll be right back.” Busta and his group were getting into their limo, and Pauly got into the limo too—and when he got out, he had about $500 cash in his hand.

Utopia was the No. 1 club in the world, and I worked there. I miss the whole place. I miss working for [Utopia manager] Pauly Freedman. The DJs were like family—whenever they had gigs close to town, they would always give us a ring and say, “Come on down.” I miss that family atmosphere, and the craziness that went along with it. It was kinda supernatural.

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The Downtown Cocktail Room’s doors are impossibly un-door-ish. You walk up from the intersection of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard, happy to join the buzzing downtown camaraderie—the urban revolution taking hold of Las Vegas—and you’re faced with walls of one-way glass and no apparent door handle. For the uninitiated, it makes for an awkward moment. Had this happened to me, and I’m not confirming that it did, the larger metaphor wouldn’t have been lost: Maybe everyone doesn’t fit in here.