What was your initial reaction to launching the brand in Las Vegas? Were you nervous, scared, excited?
I was definitely excited to bring the brand to Las Vegas. It is the mecca for nightlife; the adult Disneyland. It was a huge market for us, and we knew it would take our brand to the next level and bring something new to the nightlife scene here.
What is the one thing you could have never anticipated?
We always knew the venue would be successful in Las Vegas, but I don’t think we ever anticipated how successful it would be. For the past five years, we’ve had A-list celebrities coming in and out, not just once or twice, but consistently returning. They come to Las Vegas looking to party, and they are very comfortable with the brand and love the atmosphere. I believe we have obtained this reputation for hosting celebrities on a whim, and this really appeals to our guests. It keeps people coming back because they never know what to expect or who they might see.
We’ve hosted parties throughout the years that people still talk about today.
What are your top three memories from the past five years—celebrity, personal or otherwise?
DJ Yeezy World Peace, a.k.a. Kanye West, opened the club for us with his first DJ set and performed alongside Kid Cudi, Big Sean and Fergie on New Year’s Eve 2011. In 2012, Lenny Kravitz, Puff Daddy and Common came in and did an impromptu performance. To have Lenny singing a cappella while Common rapped and Puff emceed—it was a legendary night. In 2016, following his closing act at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, we had Usher, Ludacris and Lil Jon at 1 OAK, and they all performed.
Why is the 1 OAK brand such a powerhouse? As you have added more locations [like Los Angeles], has it amplified or diluted 1 OAK?
I would say it has definitely amplified. [And] we do not just focus our parties and events in the markets where our clubs are located. We are continuously hosting pop-up events all around the world. We recently did a pop-up in Paris for Fashion Week with The Weeknd and Rihanna. From the Cannes Film Festival to the Super Bowl, 1 OAK is everywhere.
What do you take the greatest delight in when you come to work every day?
What I love the most about 1 OAK is that it’s so different from all the other clubs in Las Vegas. It’s a smaller venue, so it’s not as intimidating, and our staff is like a little family. The team members at 1 OAK really enjoy coming to work. They all love what they do, so it doesn’t feel like a job to them. That in turn allows them to create a great party environment that everyone wants to be a part of.
How have you changed, and how has 1 OAK changed over the years?
Something we are most proud of is the fact that we haven’t been pressured to change. Throughout the years we have stayed consistent with our brand and our programming, and we continue to play open-format music and host performances from different hip-hop artists. Where a lot of other clubs followed the trend of house music and EDM, we stayed true to our brand. We have a core following of people who love 1 OAK and love that we continue to provide a one-of-a-kind experience.
What’s next and new?
With the Las Vegas venue, we are looking forward to more live performances and celebrity appearances. We also have some new party concepts in the works, so we’re very excited to see where the next year takes us.