Joe Bravo remembers weekends before Rehab.
“You partied at night,” he says. “[Hard Rock] was so ahead of its time. Rehab built the pool industry in Las Vegas.”
Today, Rehab is dark, which is a funny thing to say about a dayclub. It’s one week before Flo Rida takes the stage and kicks off another season of swimsuits, celebrities and Champagne—all trademarks of the daylife concept Rehab launched back in 2003.
Bravo, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s director of nightlife and daylife, is busy with “Prehab,” a week of preparation leading up to the grand opening weekend.
“It’s a five-and-a-half-acre complex,” he reminds me. With a roster of about 225 employees on any given day, there is more to do than keep the champagne cool.
It is, by the way. The cooler is “stocked to the gills” with everything from a 750 ml bottle of Moët Impérial ($325) to a 15-liter bottle of Dom Pérignon White Gold ($50,000).
If your tastes (or spending habits) lean in another direction, check out the menu. There are 65 options for champagne and bottle service, and that’s not counting champagne sprays, wine and beer buckets, and specialty drinks with names such as “Clothing Optional” and “Bomb Pop.”
While alcohol is the fuel that powers Las Vegas daylife (and nightlife, and a whole lot more), Bravo says this season of Rehab will have food options that make people want to eat while they party.
Former Glutton owner Bradley Manchester is on board as Hard Rock’s new executive chef, and he’s expanded the menu beyond burger fare, with new items such as the Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl and Deep South BBQ platter.
The Hard Rock is hot right now. Journey is coming back for its residency and Channing Tatum is showing up every other night at Magic Mike Live. Rehab needed to make some noise of its own on opening weekend.
This season, Bravo says, Rehab nailed it. Flo Rida is up first on April 29. The artist, who is rarely photographed without sunglasses and a tank top, is a natural fit for the pool crowd.
Also, there’s the music.
“Flo is the party,” Bravo says. “He’s jumped in the pool with the microphone, he’s been up on lifeguard stands, he’s in the crowd.”
Flo Rida is the first act in a one-two opening-weekend punch. Comedian and actor Kevin Hart hosts Rehab on Sunday, April 30.
“When we had the opportunity to book him again, we jumped at it,” Bravo says. “The energy that he brings is unmatched.”
Bravo can’t reveal everything in store for the season: Some special guests and gimmicks need to be surprises, he says.
But if history is any indication, look for stars in the crowd. And not just Gronk, who’s in Vegas so often he’s practically a local.
“We’re not a pretentious place,” Bravo says. “It’s a party week in and week out, and we want to make sure guests leave with a story.”