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Nightlife

Victor Drai to open new gay club on the Strip this summer

The current home of Drai’s Afterhours at Bally’s will become an LGBT-focused venue

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Victor Drai takes in the view from the top of the Cromwell, where his Beach Club and Nightclub will open Memorial Day Weekend.

With all the news of nightlife impresario Victor Drai opening his nightclub and daylife pool atop the new Cromwell hotel—where he’s also renovating his pioneering afterhours basement spot—it begs the question: What’s he going to do with the Bally’s space currently hosting his pre-sunrise parties?

He’s going to turn it into a gay club.

During a hard-hat tour of Drai’s Nightclub and Beach Club this afternoon, Drai revealed his plans to open and develop Liaison, the first casino-situated venue aimed specifically at LGBT clientele, and the first foray into gay nightlife for the film producer-turned-restaurateur-turned-club-owner.

The Drai's Afterhours space at Bally's will become Liaison, an LGBT-focused club from Victor Drai.

The Drai's Afterhours space at Bally's will become Liaison, an LGBT-focused club from Victor Drai.

Though details are scant, plans call for a June or July opening. Drai will also team up with a soon-to-be-announced managing partner with closer ties to the gay community.

Drai went with an LGBT concept after surveying the Las Vegas nightlife scene and determining that another mainstream club was unnecessary. A gay one, however, would stand out and beckon an underserved population, says Michael Gruber, partner of Drai’s Management Group.

“[The gay community] has always been treated like second class in this town,” he adds. “It’s something we wanted to offer—a dedicated space.”

Gruber also highlights the unique cross-promotional opportunities Liaison would create not only with the Drai’s facilities just across the street at the Cromwell, but the Bally’s and Paris hotels and Planet Hollywood’s Axis venue, which hosts Britney Spears’ current residency and features beverage and VIP service from Drai’s team. (All four casino-hotels are under the Caesars Entertainment umbrella.)

Drai suggests that as Vegas nightlife grows, it should adopt the same cosmopolitan attitude he experienced as a young clubber in Paris, France. “I went to gay clubs all the time, especially with other straight people,” he says.

He adds that Caesars Entertainment—a longtime supporter of the gay community, to which it aggressively markets its entities—was quick to show its approval of the concept.

Caesars was once set to be a promotional partner with the short-lived Downtown LGBT club Krave Massive, owned by Phantom Entertainment owner Kelly Murphy. The current incarnation of Krave—now owned and operated by Sia Amiri, who initially started the local gay nightlife institution at the Miracle Mile Shops adjacent to Planet Hollywood back in 2004—takes place at the Tommy Wind Theater, located just a few blocks south of Bally’s.

With Krave being the sole gay hang Fridays and Saturdays on the Strip, and Piranha Nightclub owner Paul San Filipo due to open a remodeled and daylife-enhanced Gipsy in the nearby “Fruit Loop” later this year, it looks like competition is about to get—as the boys would say—fierce.

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