A New York State of Mind
Bites of the Big Apple only make their way to Las Vegas when a) New York is ready to share it and b) Las Vegas is ready to handle it. 1 Oak, which opens with a bang in The Mirage on New Year’s Eve, is the product of the Butter Group operators Scott Sartiano, Richie Akiva and Ronnie Madra. The trio has created a nightlife experience that speaks to the very nature of New York, where cool, style-driven mortals mingle with the celebrity elite in a crisply designed venue. Here, the Butter Group will replicate the vibe, feel and atmosphere of that club, but on a Vegas scale.
“We’ve been going to Las Vegas for a long time,” Sartiano says. “We’re always thinking of doing something there. 1 Oak is a big brand, and Las Vegas was the next natural step for that brand.” Sartiano admits that he and his partners at the Butter Group are calculating in their process. “We’re slow-movers. It’s about picking the right space, picking the right city, picking the right market. It’s not just, ‘Hey, we’re opening up in L.A. or Las Vegas!’”
Their new home at The Mirage felt right. When they saw the former Jet nightclub space, they jumped at the opportunity to go with a larger property, falling in love with what the venue could become. They also wanted to work with a group that had a better understanding of the corporate structure pervasive in Las Vegas nightclub operations. The Light Group was a natural partnership, as Sartiano and Akiva both knew its founder, Andrew Sasson, from his New York days. “I’ve known Andrew for almost 15 years,” Akiva says. “For me, there are not many people I would work with and who [also] understand the way I work.”
Whereas 1 Oak New York is more of a boutique operation, the Light Group will help 1 Oak Las Vegas navigate the city’s nightlife waters, offering “a good infrastructure and good understanding of the business,” Akiva says.
“The Las Vegas market epitomizes what the club world is; that’s where you peak,” he says. “When you can do clubs anywhere in the world, New York is the epicenter, but Vegas is where you do something, and it’s bigger and badder.”
At 15,685 square feet, 1 Oak Las Vegas might be smaller than the Strip’s other powerhouse clubs, but it will definitely be bigger and badder in relation to its original location. “It’s bigger,” Sartiano says, “but at the same time we’re preserving the feel of our Manhattan club. We’re still trying to stay, on relative terms, more personal. We’re more about quality than quantity.”
What the Butter Group brings to the table, of course, is a glitzy and glamorous yet subtly cool New York-style attitude. “We want to be the place that people want to hang out in, every night, and you want your friends there, too,” Sartiano says. “We want to do something other people aren’t doing, [we’re] trying to do something special. Hence 1 Oak, which stands for ‘one of a kind.’”