Memorial Day Weekend approaches, which means the opening of Drai’s Beach Club & Nightclub at the Cromwell draws near, followed by the relocation of nightlife don Victor Drai’s eponymous afterhours to its original home in the property’s basement. But even as the finishing touches are being placed, Drai already has plans for the 7,000-square-foot Bally’s space he’s been using for his late-night party in the meantime. It will be an affair to remember when Liaison, the first dedicated LGBT nightclub in a Las Vegas Strip casino, opens in early June with a grand-opening celebration set for August.
“It’s really hard to believe that this is the first gay nightclub inside a casino on the Las Vegas Strip,” says Drai. Many gay Las Vegans and visitors would agree that the move by a major corporation such as Bally’s owner Caesars Entertainment couldn’t come soon enough.
“We are proud to be the home to Liaison and we have no doubt that Victor will bring the same type of excitement and sophistication that he brings to all his endeavors,” says David Hoenemeyer, regional president of Caesars Entertainment. “This is an historic and exciting venture for all of us involved, and it will no doubt enhance the guest experience for the gay travelers that visit our hotel and city every year.”
Las Vegas’ gay party scene burst exuberantly beyond the city’s so-called “Fruit Loop” nearly 10 years ago when Krave Nightclub became the first dedicated LGBT club on the Strip (though located not on a casino floor, but in a mall, the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood). A troubled concept, Krave has opened and closed its doors in numerous locations, most recently moving to the equally embattled former Empire Ballroom space across from the Monte Carlo. Meanwhile, a spate of gay nights in mainstream clubs—CatHouse, Ghostbar, Bare, Marquee—have been important milestones for veteran LGBT nightlife promoters such as Lisa Pittman and Eduardo Cordova.
But the Holy Grail, for those in the gay nightlife scene, has always been a dedicated club in a prominent Strip location with the backing of a major casino.
“It validates equality, and demonstrates just how far we have progressed culturally,” Cordova says. He’s has been tapped as Liaison’s creative director, and is tasked with remaking the temporary afterhours space into a seven-nights-a-week nightclub featuring a mix of musical styles including hip-hop and Top 40, plus a drag night. As it is, the space is not far from a finished product—two rooms in a gold-and-black theme with mirrors and Venetian-style chandeliers. However, a stage and minor reconfiguration are still to come.
“This has been the moment that I’ve been working towards for all these years and it’s exciting to see gay nightlife changing in such a big way,” says Cordova. “These are definitely exciting times in LGBT and Las Vegas history.”
Casting calls for all positions will be held from 12-3 p.m. May 17 at Drai’s After Hours in Bally’s, and 12-3 p.m. May 20 at Rare by Drai’s in Los Angeles. Proceeds from opening night in June will be donated to an as-yet-to-be-determined local LGBT charity. Follow Liaison’s development online at Facebook.com/LiaisonLV.