Photos by Anthony Mair
At first glance, there may not seem to be much of an intersection of health and nightlife. But several local denizens are truly engaged in both worlds. And when you dig deeper, there’s a natural correlation: Nightlife is an industry fueled by good looks and late nights, yet crafting one’s image and recharging for the evenings ahead takes a significant amount work and focus. Whether it’s Alon’s experience curator (yes, that $2 billion project is still moving forward without investor James Packer) rising through the jiujitsu ranks, one of Marquee’s top cocktailers launching a healthful meal-prep storefront or industry veterans opening a megaworkout emporium in Downtown Summerlin—these clubbers know the right way to work hard and play hard.
As a cocktail server at Marquee Nightclub, McMahan definitely knows her way around spirits and mixers, but after a bit of continuing education, she has turned her childhood culinary passion into a career. She notes that, “When I started in the nightlife industry, I was making money, but thought, ‘I’m not going to be stupid and be one of those girls who blows it on shoes and handbags, I’m gonna get a degree.’” And with that, McMahan enrolled in culinary school at the Art Institute of Las Vegas, met ex-NFL player and Harvard MBA Gerome Sapp and became his executive chef and managing partner at Health Binge (6040 Badura Ave., tryhealthbinge.com). There McMahan offers 61 ready-made G-BOMB meals (think Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and seeds), which, the chef explains, are “the most nutrient-dense and health-promoting foods on the planet.” The recently opened storefront has already become a nightlife-industry staple in its first weeks of operations just before the holidays.
Having spent his entire adult life as a pillar of the nightlife industry, Waits knows a thing or two about time management. “When I worked at Wynn [running nightclubs XS and Tryst], I would take my meetings during the day and carve out two hours every evening to slip away and train,” Waits says. He received that instruction from Brazilian jiujitsu master Sergio Penha and alongside MMA greats such as Stephan Bonnar. It is the “intellectual discipline” of the sport that Waits says helps him “re-center and keep grounded, [both] inside and to Vegas.” Today, Waits is a purple belt who trains four to five times each week. It is to this practice that Waits attributes his success and what allows him to focus on bringing unique culinary and nightlife offerings to the Alon project, which is currently slated to open in 2018 on the Strip across from Wynn.
Brian Affronti and Ryan Michael Craig
This duo first united at Tabu Ultra Lounge in MGM Grand, and then again at XS and Tryst in Wynn, where Affronti served as GM to both venues and Craig was the director of VIP services and customer development. From there, the two opened Drai’s Beach Club & Nightclub and a remodeled Afterhours in The Cromwell as managing partners. Surprisingly, their next move was to launch Downtown Summerlin’s fitness studio, TruFusion (trufusion.com), which was conceived to have a superior sound system and high-end spalike amenities. Affronti explains this crossover better than anyone, saying, “I believe nightlife and health and wellness are lifestyle-type products. Nightlife excites people and drives them to go out, and it also motivates them to be healthy. We see yoga, in particular, as a major focus today.” As Craig points out, TruFusion is also about establishing “a sense of a community. [The nightlife] industry used to hang out at the gym. It was very social, but over the last year or two, there has been this big push for more group fitness and losing the weights. [TruFusion] allows people to achieve their goals together.”