Nightlife Awards 2013

Welcome to Vegas Seven's annual celebration of the people, places and ideas behind the world's best parties!


Best Afterhours

After more than a yearlong hiatus, Body English returned with a bang. Descend into the dark Hard Rock Hotel basement for a bass-heavy party that routinely bumps until 8 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Sorry, Drai's, we can't wait to see you in full effect soon enough, but this year, Body English has been the spot to keep the party pulsating through the night. With diverse music programming that bridges indie, electro, dubstep and rock, the nightclub has reasserted itself as a go-to-venue for both up and comers and established DJs.

Best Party Patio

For the second year in a row, the Chateau Gardens rooftop gets the nod. The top portion of Chateau's 42,000-square-foot, two-story megaclub boasts superb Strip views in the shadow of the Paris' Eiffel Tower. Plush floral greenery, larger-than-average VIP booths and a luxurious Parisian vibe create a certain - je ne sais quoi, unlike any other Strip party patio. Plus, the hip-hop-leaning programming has included open-air performances from the likes of Redman and Method Man. A patio with its own performance space? C'est magnifique!

Hottest Makeover

Perched on the 55th floor of the Palms, GBDC carved out a successful niche for Ghostbar as the "it" costumed pool-less, cold-weather dayclub. So when the Palms announced a $50 million renovation that would include a facelift to the already cool Ghostbar, anticipation was high. The top-to-bottom makeover turned the venue into a black, white and fuchsia adult funhouse complete with oversize chandeliers, leather banquettes, wooden accents and 14-foot-tall windows that accentuate the panoramic Las Vegas views. Apart from the visuals, Ghostbar introduced a rose Champagne cocktail menu and seasonal hookah offerings.

Best New Club

In April, Hakkasan opened as one of the largest and finest additions to Las Vegas' collection of clubs. The $100 million, 80,000-square-foot multi-room labyrinth—including a top-notch restaurant—occupies five stories on the most visible corner of the MGM Grand. The brand's global ambitions include creating boutique hotels beyond its already-celebrated nightclubs and Michelin-starred restaurants. For the moment, Hakkasan earns this award for being the Strip's top supper club, and for having one of the most celebrated DJ lineups anywhere, with A-listers that include Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris and Tiesto.

Best Bottle Service

There's bottle service, then there are bottle experiences. For $250,000, big spenders at Hyde get a 30-liter bottle of Armand de Brignac "Ace of Spades" Brut Champagne (40 bottles worth) and the opportunity to control the Bellagio fountains. Just choose the song, open the gold box and press the red button to cue the 4,500 lights, 1,200 nozzles and 460-foot-high streams of dancing water. Can't afford it? Don't worry, cheapskate, the individual bottle-presentation packages are still rad, such as "I'm on a Boat" in which a bottle-bearing babe rides a golden sailboat to your table.

Most Innovative Nightclub

The Light Group, the nightclub brand that helped establish the bottle service as the VIP standard 12 years ago at Bellagio changed the game again this year at Mandalay Bay. Now that bottle service is ubiquitous, Light is again taking the nightclub experience to new heights—literally. By collaborating with Cirque du Soleil, Light flies its top DJs from the mezzanine over the dance floor into the DJ booth. There are also acrobats zooming overhead throughout the night to create a theatrical atmosphere. The "acrowall," an acrobat-friendly installation, visually adapts as performers glide around.

Best VIP Host Team

While there are great hosts all over Las Vegas, top to bottom it doesn't get better than the elite crew at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan. We're looking at you, Larson Legris, Justen Crews, Derrick Runtas and the entire host team. From their "office" at the velvet ropes, they reliably answer texts, happily accommodate large groups, escort you through the entrance, write up your table slip and have you on your way to the party in relatively short order. Moreover, the stylish and sociable team fills Marquee nightly with beautiful people and big spenders, helping make it one of the top nightclubs anywhere.

Best VIP Experience

In a city that's very see and be seen, there's one scene where the most powerful players play. At the base of the super-swank Encore, XS compels the world's wealthiest and most influential to spend their money and influence. If you've got that, grab a plush dance-floor table for $7,000-$10,000, up to $20,000 on major holidays. But if you've got both in excess, and some friends in high places, you could be one of the uber-exclusive few to rub elbows with the DJ while enjoying on-stage bottle service. That's the owner's area, complete with celebs, DJs and their entourages. Price range: unlisted and unavailable to the general public. You're either in, or you're out. In Encore,

Lifetime Achievement Award

Before Tao, XS, Marquee, Hakkasan and (the new) Light, Pure Nightclub ruled the Strip from the moment of its New Year's Eve 2004 opening. Celebrities including Shaquille O'Neal and Celine Dion invested in the 40,000 square feet at Caesars that includes three rooms and a grand rooftop terrace. Pure was the first to pack 2,500 partygoers into one epic venue, and was a leader in the celebrity appearance trend that welcomed the likes of Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Britney Spears. The result: countless awards, including Las Vegas Mega-Club of the Year by Nightclub & Bar Magazine and No. 1 Club in the Country by E! Entertainment.

Best Club When You Don't Have Bottle Service

Not poppin' bottles tonight? No worries. Surrender Nightclub, Encore's second expansive indoor/outdoor club, has 60,000 square feet of space that includes a 48-foot-long bar for easy drink access, lavish furnishings, gorgeous pools, a gaming pavilion and - post-summer - a dome for outdoor partying year round. Throw in a world-class DJ lineup that brings celebrities such as Porter Robinson, Diplo and Steve Angello right on top of the dance floor, and you've got a recipe for an epic night out, table or not.

Hottest Performers

Whether it's dazzling bottle fairies (who are actually trained aerialists) fluttering overhead to deliver bottles, models dispersed throughout the venue (you simply can't miss the bathing beauties in flower-filled tubs, wearing nothing but petals) or glass cage-encased hotties welcoming guests, Tao understands how gorgeous women affect atmosphere. But it's the ever-changing, thematically costumed go-go dancers (a la sexy pilots and flight attendants for the "Vice Airwaves" set) who really steal the show at the Venetian club.

Best Dance Floor for Actually Dancing

At a time when many dance-floor patrons can be found standing stock-still, Instagramming celeb-DJs concert-style, Tryst's dance floor is all about dancing. The al fresco patio with the 90-foot waterfall and lagoon backdrop set a cool vibe at the Wynn nightclub. The constant stream of SKAM Artist DJs and other guest spinners are more substance than household name, and that they're housed in a relatively less prominent DJ booth (as opposed to a stage) means the dance floor is always the focal point. This Victor Drai brainchild was built for movers and shakers.


The Playboy Club yielded to the View. Ghostbar was reborn amid a sea of purple and candles. Rain is undergoing a refresh. That leaves just one N9NE Group club left to be overhauled: Moon. Renderings have surfaced online that could point to the drop-top megaclub getting a fresh coat of paint, although with the recent shakeups at the Palms - including the One Group decamping from its Herea outpost and President Joseph Magliarditi being replaced by Daniel Lee - a timetable is anyone's guess.

Sexiest Party Award

Remember when every club in the world used to run weekly girl-on-girl kissing contests? Oh, 2008 was such a quaint time. Lavo is stepping up the suggestive game with a five-night residency not for a DJ or F-list celebrity, but for a photographer. A photographer whose particular calling card is dumping Champagne on women and snapping stills that make it look like they just came out the other end of a Vivid Video masterpiece. The "Kirill Was Here Presents Las RAGEous" residency kicked off October 20, with its focus on those Champagne facials. Your move, other clubs that think you're marketing sex.

Best Thing in a Small Package

If Goldilocks tested nightclubs like she once tested porridge, she'd assuredly select The Bank for her fairy-tale evening. The compact club in Bellagio marries opulence and intimacy within its 8,000 square feet. The walls hug you within a warm embrace, and the inverted pyramid of booths boosts your odds of rubbing elbows with VIP partygoers and celebrities. It may be small when compared with the megaclubs, but in this case, less really is more.

Best Place to Turn 21 Again

All the birthdays of yore pale like sun-beaten billboards when compared with the blowout that Haze in Aria has in store. The birthday package has everything you could ever want, and a few things you didn't know you wanted until now. You'll be showered with party swag, name-dropped by the DJ and presented with a custom cake (if ordered in advance). Or you could opt for the Fun Enforcer package, which provides you with go-gos, confetti, light wands and a sexy cop in a squad car who brings your bottles. Because a modest celebration is so last year.

Best Place to Pick Up a Tourist

If you're hoping to hook an out-of-towner, look no further than LAX. Bouncers here have been checking out-of-state IDs since it opened in 2007. And while most locals have since moved on to newer haunts, the McCarran-adjacent gem at Luxor still draws droves of tourists. (See Yelp.) Plus, for the visitors stuck without a club at the nearby Excalibur, this weekend destination is just a shuttle ride away.

Best Buyout

Are you ready for the holiday party of the century? No, no you're not. And a deli platter won't cut it this year, Chief. Las Vegas is bouncing back in a big way and so is your corporate expense account. So you'd be a hero to your cubi mates if you were to, say, buy out 1 Oak for the night. And you actually can. Book like a boss this season and instantly become the master of this sexy nightclub's two distinct rooms—each with their own DJ booths and bars—state-of-the-art lighting and sound system by Avalon Sound and performance stage. You can secure the entire place for as few as 100 VIPs (very important personnel) or appreciate as many as 1,581. Sure beats the hell out of the break room!

Best Place to Pick Up a Zapponian

Just steps from the new Zappos headquarters, and considered by many to be the official Zappos Clubhouse, is the Gold Spike, the first hotel owned by Tony Hsieh's Downtown Project. If you're lucky enough to find a Zappos babe who shares your love for jumbo cornhole or beer pong, you might learn what "powered by service" really means. 217 Las Vegas Blvd. North,

Best Pre-Party Spot

When it comes to proximity, beautiful setting, big-group comfort and cocktail quality, it doesn't get any better than the Cosmopolitan's Chandelier Bar. Centrally located within the hotel and just steps from Marquee, the sophisticated three-story light spectacle is half art, half craft-cocktail haven. Meet up with your crew, have a seat and enjoy some tasty libations before that part later in the night when you won't remember how your drinks taste.

Best Open-Format Music Scene

Typically, open format means mixing house music, hip-hop, Top 40 and whatever else, at the DJ's discretion. But Insert Coin(s) takes the concept next level by introducing gaming to a deep roster of local resident DJ talent, including Dave Fogg, Kid Conrad, plus A-list guest performances from Jazzy Jeff, De La Soul and Talib Kweli, curated by DJ88. That's open format at its finest. 512 Fremont St., 477-2525,

Best Concert Party

While every concert serves booze, no one does it like the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan. While it starts with awesome bookings (see Panic! at the Disco, Phoenix, MGMT, Kid Cudi, Weezer and Theophilus London) and a picturesque urban rooftop pool, it doesn't hurt to have six bars (up to 10 when they add temporary VIP bars), two levels of VIP cabanas and adult popsicles courtesy of the Neapolitan bar.

Best Place to Avoid Tourists

The Artisan is central enough for convenience yet just far enough off the Strip to avoid tourists. The boutique hotel with an intimate club offers locals-oriented programming that includes Cuban Nights (with poolside Cuban tunes and hookahs) and boasts good taste in local DJ talent (such as M!ke Attack and Brett Rubin). 1501 W. Sahara Ave.,

Best Non-VIP Room

With the Strip being dominated by big-ticket bottle service, it was refreshing to see Hakkasan come out of the gates with the open-seating Ling Ling Lounge. The intimate third-level hideaway in MGM Grand is an ideal postprandial ultralounge, complete with seasonal mixology, marble walls, Hakkasan's signature lattice room dividers and vibe-y DJ programming. There are also 11 VIP booths for those wishing to pop their bottles away from the club scene.

Best Hip-Hop Programming

While the Ling Ling Club at Hakkasan deserves a nod for booking the likes of Rev Run and Questlove, no room has produced a steadier flow of hip-hop than the BoomBox Room in Marquee at the Cosmo. The hip-hop-all-the-time programming has featured such DJs as local favorites Lisa Pittman, Eric D-Lux and Lema, while attracting discerning superstar guests from Nas to Nelly.