Music

Nite Bite: Welcoming Crown Nightclub

Vacant former Club Rio space acquired for concerts and parties

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Photo: Jacob Kepler

The venue formerly known as Club Rio (and Prince's 3121 and ND's Fuego) once again has been acquired in a four-walled lease deal with Harrah's. Crown Nightclub is expected to soft-open mid-May at the Rio, with a grand opening on or around June 1. When it opens, Crown Nightclub will have a two-fold focus: concerts and nightlife.

Following the bankruptcy and subsequent closure of Latin-themed nightclub ND's Fuego last June, the club's sound and lighting systems were liquidated and the doors shut creating a turnkey opportunity for an entrepreneur with the vision to see the room's potential tempered with the realism to understand its limitations. Crown's owner and operator Darin Feinstein purchased LA's Viper Room from actor/club-owner Johnny Depp in 2005 and ran the club through 2008. Since then, Feinstein has been operating vegashotspots.com, which is, according to Feinstein, Vegas' largest hosting company by volume and of which he is also an owner. Feinstein himself has degrees in accounting and law, and has practiced in the state of California.

Once Feinstein has re-outfitted the room with sound and lighting — two things he's very familiar with from his Viper Room days — Crown will accommodate concerts for 900 to 1,800 people from 8 to 11 p.m., then operate as a nightclub from 11 p.m. until late. Feinstein is importing his former Viper Room talent-booker and seeking successful local promoters to apply the Vegas nightlife machine to his new venture.

Performing live on the Crown Stage, one might see corporate-sponsored shows with A-list talent, nostalgic throwback acts like the Go-Go's and ZZ Top and cover acts such as the Boogie Knights. These events will be interspersed with full-production festival shows such as July's Audiotistic Festival, which has previously played to an abandoned airfield and the Long Beach Convention Center. There is also the opportunity for piggybacking on Vegas' mega-stages, bringing major performers in a day before or after a larger show for a more intimate performance at Crown, which rivals the Hard Rock Café and House of Blues for capacity.

Very little will be done to the existing room before the doors open in May. All bars and guest areas were left in ideal condition and pricey upgrades had been made to the stage, VIP seating, furnishings and the retail area before ND's Fuego vacated. Only lighting and sound effects will be employed at first to stage Crown for different performances. But as time passes, new go-go spots will be added, as will some furnishings and accents, which Feinstein says will be turned over at least quarterly.

Crown Nightclub is tentatively expected to operate Thursday through Monday, with locals-friendly programming to include — in addition to the concerts — a gay night, at least two mainstream club nights featuring celebrity DJs and hosts and, of course, a Latin night.

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