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Has The Nightclub Market Topped Out?

By MikeE on Wednesday, 1st September 2010 4:02am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 16


One of Vegas's busiest weekends, Labor Day, is just around the corner. It's when the cab lines at casinos rival the busiest buffets and the busiest buffets' lines rival the public release of any one of Steve Jobs's table scraps. It's when the LA kids literally drive up on a Friday night in nightclub clothing and check in to their rooms *after* spending triple their hotel's nightly rate on a table. Rooms, restaurants, limos, shows - if you haven't booked long before making the trek out, you're likely shit out of luck.

When Encore opened and for many, many months after, even in the deepest times of the recession, you couldn't get a table at XS on a weekend night without reserving at least a week in advance. We're talking 63 tables indoors, 29 cabanas outside, and a ton of lily pads, daybeds, and various cushions - pretty much any real estate that could balance an ice bucket and a couple glasses was sold at a premium and always sold out.

Imagine my surprise when my host at XS texted me to say that they still have tables available for Labor Day weekend and to get in contact with her ASAP. What?! Has business declined so much that they need to ping their contacts list to sell out Labor Day? It's not Surrender - with their sloppy seconds practice of embracing XS rejects - cannibalizing business. It can't be Drai's departure affecting things this early in the game. Nor could it be Cy Waits's run-in with cocaine which, for this kind of industry, is more likely to have a positive John DeLorean-esque boost to the business.

Has the nightclub industry in Vegas topped out? Has every plastic card maxed out? Every just-out-of-college kid realized that home ownership is far more important?

Even as an unabashed patron, I can only hope so.

Tagged: wynn las vegas   encore   nightclubs   xs   


Comments & Discussion:

Placing too much value on home ownership is kind of what caused the mess, just FYI.

I'd vote for Surrender cannibalizing business, especially if what they're charging for bottle service is less than XS.

Just curious, how much $$$ are we talking about for a table this weekend at XS or Surrender?

After the overcrowding I experianced at XS a couple weeks back I think some softening of the demand could be good for that place. I have been to many clubs in my day including XS on seemingly busier weekends yet have never encountered such a debacle. We litterly waited 20 minutes to get anywhere near the dancefloor much less get a drink. It seems they totally forgot to count how many people they let in at the door. As a shareholder I kinda hope the demand keeps up though...

There is an oversupply of clubs and the market is fickle.

I also think we have too many pool parties. However, Vegas is now getting a lot of sun worshippers that normally would go down to Mexico.

Damn and just when I wanted to stamd in long lines to get into a club. Once I went into the Venetian and the line to get into Tao stretched all the way to Madame Tussaud's. It seemed like a pointless exercise to wait forever to spend my money and time.

I have never once encountered an "hour long" wait at any club. Now, mind you, I've only been to 4 of them in Vegas. But I've always gotten there about 30 minutes before the place opened and got in fine. I'm usually one of the first people in and can take my pick at any of the free benches/chairs scattered around most of them. I find one of those and guard it with my life for the rest of the night. I guess its people that think they can club hop in Vegas.

But another thing, I've heard stories of people that have paid $500 - $1500 for a table for a night. Get to the club before midnight and have to grease the bouncer and the club hostesses hands just to even get to their table, and on top of that you have to tip them all at the end of the night. Fuck all that. That's just not me. I don't work my ass off to pay a club bouncer $50 just to let me in the door and the club hostess another $50 to walk me to my table when I've paid said amount above to get the table.

It's not my style, but a lot of people like pissing away thousands of dollars on crap like that and as long as there's pissers, they'll be people there waiting to catch it.

Let's hope so. While I don't want Vegas to fail, it's very annoying to have even the high end resorts filled with 'Jersey Shore DBs'. Also, it seems that it's harder and harder to find a pool at a resort that is a relaxing hideaway for adults- sans bikini contests and loud music. I hear sleep at Wynn is a commodity these days due to all the clubs and that's not acceptable at a 5 star resort IMO.

I just hope that before they turn the Barbary Coast, Bills, or whatever they call it, that some bean counter thinks twice before ripping out the slots and video poker machines as well as Big Elvis'es dressing room. I've never understood the nightclub craze. I've never understood why people would pay for what they can get free. Vegas needs another huge nightclub even less than another 3,000 room hotel.

Maybe they just need something different. Last May I was amazed at the crowd at the Carnival Court outside Harrah's on a Friday night. Good live music, gambling, drinking and the crowd wasn't swarming with douchebags. Much more relaxed, and a great time.

I would love to see more late night options for the tragically unhip crowd. I think the best time at the clubs, especially Studio 54 is early while they are still playing good music and people are just dancing and having a good time.

I'm with you nd. Problem is the tragically unhip crowd doesn't want to burn through $200+ per person for a night out, or whatever it costs (See my question above. I guess it's a "If you have to ask, Drake, you can't afford it" kinda situation.) while the velvet rope crowd apparently has no qualms about it.

I've had some great times myself at Venetian's La Scena lounge. I used to love catching Purple Reign at Boardwalk's lounge. A lot of the lounges have good bands but of course they're smaller venues and you don't get the nightclub atmosphere.

Le Cabaret at Paris always used to be my top lounge for live music in the day, keeping me entertained for hours of old-fashioned reel slots back in the days of 2003.

The lounge scene is dying, it seems. None of the new places are building new ones, old places like NYNY are tearing theirs down, and ones still around at Mirage and the like are usually not hosting anything when I went by on the evenings I go out. The evenings I go out are usually weekday evenings, but that was also when I used to go to Vegas as a tourist.

That's sad to hear, Min. Hopefully it's just a temporary recession thing.

Nightclubs and pool parties are very profitable but they don't last long. With new parties and clubs being opened, XS soon will have to reinvent itself (and so EBC). But how can a club reinvent itself if every year there is a new hot spot opening?
BTW, do you guys have any ideas of how to use XS and EBC spaces once this clubs/pool parties trend is gone??? EBC should become a "private" pool for the Encore Tower Suites, with the high limit tables where Surrender is.
I personally can't wait to see the end of this pool parties and have Las Vegas back as the capital of gambling. One club and a two/three lounges are more than enough in a resort.

I think the fact that XS reached out to you on a traditionally busy weekend says that the point of market competition has been reached. If you don't have to do anything to get business, why bother to pay someone to market your product?

I think this is just a sign that competition (even between Surrender and XS) is heading up. It wouldn't surprise me to see a few nightclubs fold over this. On the flipside, there are likely to be good deals to be had if the competition heats up.

I think Paris Hilton has done more to help Las Vegas in the last 10 years than any other person. Remember I am a 52 year old, terminally unhip Okie, but I do know that the people from Southern California under age 40, who shamelessly piss away cubic dollars on a nightclub weekend in "Vegas" have been an incredibly profitable market. I don't think that crowd is going to do something else with their lives anytime soon. And Miss Hilton has never wavered in her support of those activities.

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