Andy Masi Returns to the Strip with Clique Lounge in the Cosmopolitan

Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Photo by Krystal Ramirez

If there is one thing you need to know about Andy Masi, it’s that he’s the guy who pretty much established bottle service as an industry standard in Las Vegas during his tenure as CEO of The Light Group. And now he’s breaking that paradigm with a new lounge in the Cosmopolitan, Clique.

It has been an incredible year for Masi. Since stepping away from the Light Group, a company he helmed for more than a decade, Masi’s new venture, Clique Hospitality, has been forging full steam ahead, taking over Hearthstone at Red Rock Resort and opening Salute in the adjacent former Terra Rossa space. Along for the ride are several of his former executives, including Clique Hospitality partners Shane Monaco and chef Brian Massie.

Masi says that after many successful months off the Boulevard, he’s ready to return to his old stomping grounds. “We are over the moon about Clique [lounge],” he says. “The Cosmopolitan is just an awesome place. I worked with [Cosmopolitan CEO] Bill McBeath for the last 15 years, when he was at MGM Resorts.”

Clique will open mid-December, occupying the former Book & Stage space on the casino floor. The venue will be partially enclosed, and will have a distinct identity from the resort’s other bustling watering holes. It will also serve food in the form of the ever-popular small bites—a tuna dish, gourmet wings, tacos—as Masi calls it, “drinking food.” Comparison can be drawn to such places as NoMad Bar in New York City, which has consistently been voted one of the best drinking establishments in America. Clique will open at 3 p.m. to capitalize on the Cosmopolitan’s convention business, and will close at 3 a.m.

“They have incredible bars throughout the Cosmopolitan. The food and beverage program, the cocktail program—everything they do is phenomenal. We wanted to do something really cool that complemented the rest of the hotel,” Masi says.

Clique will offer patrons an alternative to bottle service by way of tableside mixology, with a cocktail program created by longtime collaborator Michael Monrreal. “We want to take mixology to another level. I believe that bottle service is great, and it’s great for nightclubs, but I don’t think that is something a lot of consumers want any more,” Masi says. “The mixologist comes over, makes some great cocktails at your table [on a custom-built cart], talks to you, shows you what they are doing and teaches you how to make a drink. We bring the mixology right to the customer as opposed to them going to the bar and watching it happen.”

He hopes that social interaction will solve the lack of connection between patrons that is common in nightlife venues. “Back in the day, you went to the bar, you got a place to sit and you hung out,” Masi says. “Guy meets girl, girl meets guy. [Then] people started going to nightclubs, where they are forced to buy a table, and they are only interacting, really, with the people next to them.”

Don’t expect to hear EDM at Clique either. With music from a DJ or a band as its centerpiece, genres will range from the 1950s on. The approach will be to let the crowd’s vibe dictate what is played, versus a set playlist. “I will probably mix in one or two nights of some sort of live entertainment, and our DJs will be like curators of music in the space,” he says.

It is important to note that before Masi made his way to Las Vegas and before opening his first nightclub or restaurant, he worked as bartender. Still, when asked if patrons will see Masi behind the stick at Clique, the answer is a pretty firm no.

“I only poured tequila and handed people beer. The mixologists of today have far surpassed my skill set. But if you want a really chilled shot of Jägermeister, I’m in.”