If the name Krave prompts you to roll your eyes, you could hardly be faulted. What was once a respectable and popular gay nightlife institution in the mid-2000s fell victim to alleged mismanagement and tax fraud in the hands of its previous owner, Kelly Murphy. When state officials closed its supersized incarnation at Neonopolis in August, most locals responded by telling Murphy and his beleaguered club to sashay away.
However, Krave’s founder, Sia Amiri, aims to reverse the damage brought on by his ex-partner, to whom he had sold his remaining interest in 2012. Since the closure of the Downtown operation, Amiri repurchased the Krave name, digital entities and guest databases; hired former employees from both the club’s early days and its summer Downtown experiment (including his DJ sons Lightknife and Morningstar); and relocated the operation back to the Strip, at the former Club Utopia.
On November 1, the grand reopening party at the now-christened TW Theater & Nightclub wasn’t packed, but at 1 a.m. the dancefloor was, with healthy crowds elsewhere. Amiri was very pleasantly surprised. “I wasn’t expecting ... a lot of people, like at the old one,” he says. “Mostly in my old club they had a lot of tourists, but last night was about 90 percent locals, [which] was a good thing.”
Krave 3.0 will limit itself to Thursday-Sunday operation, with Saturday afterhours on the balcony patio, so partiers can watch the sky light up from the rising sun—just as they did when the building and party were called Utopia. “A few weeks from now, I know it will be strong,” Amiri says. “It worked before, it should work now.”
Coincidentally, that name now brands a new LGBT party at another nightspot with a high-turnaround history. On October 25, Utopia drew hundreds of locals to the massive House Nightclub, which was formerly Scores, Rick’s Cabaret and Jaguars. Utopia doesn’t feature strippers—just go-go dancers, performers and DJs—and it has already moved to Saturdays. A month ago, gay clubbers crowded the few dancefloors available to them. Now, there’s room for everyone.