Think Like a Boss

Going beyond the velvet rope into Jason Strauss’ mind (VIP wristband not required)

With the busy summer season upon us, we figured it wise to catch up with Jason Strauss. Here, the Las Vegas face of the Tao Group gives us his take on everything from late arrivals and dressing in drag to the hidden values among Marquee’s VIP tables. (Bet we got your attention with that!)

It’s 1 a.m., and Kaskade is about to go on. Can I still get in, or am I screwed?

If you have not bought a ticket and are not joining a table, it is first-come first-served unless you are on a VIP list from the owners or artists. There is not an option to pay more.

Marquee seems to book a major headlining DJ every night. What’s the best way to get a decent bottle minimum and secure some good real estate?

Cool tables in our Cloud Bar and Salon Bar areas are a little off the dance floor and still have a view of the DJ. Request these for a more value-conscious option.

Would you say that Marquee’s door is more relaxed about dress codes than when Tao first opened, or is it that our idea of what’s fashionable has become more relaxed?

We have stayed traditional in terms of our door policy. It’s the same as when we first opened Tao. Our doormen have a trained eye, so if it doesn’t fit criteria but makes cool fashion sense, we make exceptions.

Do guests with paid tickets need to have an even male-to-female ratio to get in the door?

No, they do not; tables do not, either. Everyone else, yes.

What’s the craziest thing you have seen someone do to get in?

I’ve seen guys wear a wig and dress to get on a promoter’s list. Some sports guys also wore leotards and ballerina attire to get into Party Rock [so that they would] get noticed and be chosen to get in the door.

Did it work?

It worked for the Party Rock theme.

If someone says they “know Jason Strauss,” will that get them in?

I’m not at the door as much as I used to be, [so if] someone mentioned my name they have to be on a ‘no fuck-ups’ list.

By what time should someone move mountains to be certain they are in the club?

It’s crucial to be in by 11:30 p.m., [so you can get] settled in, your first drink and get the lay of the land. Headliners start at 1 a.m., and we do a lot to buildup from 12:30 a.m. on, with music and different types of lighting and visual displays for the 1 a.m. headliner. That way you get to see the place peak, and get the essence of what we are trying to do.

How are Tao Group’s Las Vegas doors different from those in New York?

In New York we rarely do ticket sales; doormen pick and choose. The situation at the door in Las Vegas is traditionally that if you are in dress code, with an even [male-to-female] ratio, you have a good chance of getting in. The culture here, and size of the venue [necessitate this].

Is there such a thing as a “hard door” in Las Vegas?

I have not heard of, seen or even remotely found one in Las Vegas to date. The culture of the city, size of the venues and transient crowd make it counterproductive because it’s a tourist market.

Who is truly VIP?

Really, it’s the locals that support us and are brand ambassadors. We have also gone out of our way to embrace locals [with a lot of] juice and marketing for local men and women who have supported with referrals and by being there a lot. The most important VIPs are the artists, and the DJs’ guests are VIP; [also] celebrities, guests and friends of the hotel; and people who help the hotel at the senior level. Then there are out-of-town guests who are supportive. There are many layers of top influencers in feeder markets.

What else would you have us know about getting into your clubs?

If you’re interested [in getting in], call the main office and don’t [visit] rogue websites that claim to have access. They are never legitimate, and [they] overcharge. [The office will let you] find out true info, times when headlining DJs are going on, and give you the ability to buy prepaid tickets. That makes the whole process smoother and saves time the night-of with the door process. Buy [tickets] on our website and not from rogue websites.

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