You’ve heard that Hakkasan at MGM Grand is big (80,000 square feet) and cost a lot of money (reportedly $100 to $200 million), but beyond that, isn’t it “just another Vegas nightclub”? Not exactly. “I think the customer is still trying to find their way around it,” says Neil Moffitt, CEO of Angel Management Group and HKK Hospitality. “The main room is such a colossal piece of real estate, [but] people are now starting to realize that there are many experiences within the facility.”
Here are a few things we’ve discovered at this hot new Strip venue:
• Hakkasan’s main club level was very carefully designed so that the DJ booth would be visible from virtually anywhere on that level. You don’t pay this much for talent and hide it.
• Those model servers on the main floor don’t just have one sexy outfit to wear. Or two. They have four—or more—changing for each of the resident DJs, at least one of whom, Steve Aoki, co-designed the uniforms for his nights.
• The third-level Ling Ling Club isn’t just a chill-out lounge or afterthought but a legitimate destination of its own (more hip-hop and Top 40 playlists). It hasn’t gotten as much attention, but several of the DJs on rotation there are names that would be heavily promoted elsewhere, like Questlove and Rev. Run.
• Unlike most other nightclubs, cocktails here get a lot more interesting than Grey Goose and soda. The Ling Ling Lounge is a legit mixology bar with original cocktails like the Saffron Poire (Hangar One spiced pear vodka, nashi pear, saffron, nigori sake, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Rouge and lemon juice) and guava bellinis.
• Feel free to help yourself to a VIP booth in the Ling Ling Lounge. Unless someone is occupying it, all the seating here is wide open. Always.
• Instead of including an outdoor area into its space (for complex reasons), Hakkasan brought the outdoors indoors with the Pavilion area, which offers a two-story waterfall and impressively lifelike foliage, along with yet another DJ.
• The main room’s TurboSound Line Array System is actually rated for a major concert arena. And even bigger deal: the lighting system is based around Robin Pointe lights from Europe. And it’s even done yet. “We have invested even this week in more lighting for the club,” Moffitt told us just before Memorial Day weekend.
• Got juice? No, we’re not talking about mixers or connections, but the fact that every VIP booth in Hakkasan has battery chargers that promise to fit “any cell-phone device imaginable” (according to AMG).
• Wondering where the mysterious fifth floor is? You’re not alone. It’s actually the second floor, devoted to private dining, which you might not have seen. Yet.
• Hakkasan Limited owns or co-owns 15 restaurants around the world. This is their first night club, but sequels and spinoffs are already in the works. “We’re currently building a beach club brand and a hotel brand,” Moffitt says.