After nearly eight years at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops, Strip-side gay nightclub Krave announced last week that it will move Downtown in December, becoming part of a new megaclub concept, Krave Massive. The 80,000-square-foot project (already being touted as the world’s largest gay club!) is a huge score for Downtown revitalization and, more specifically, for the club’s new home: the largely vacant Neonopolis. But the move also leaves a giant void on our city’s iconic boulevard. Four miles of clubs, bars and lounges, and not one is totally devoted to serving the gay community? Casino executives, I hope you’re listening.
And Krave is giving up a particularly convenient piece of real estate—one reason my friends and I have always liked visiting the club. The “straight-friendly” venue is situated among the city’s top mainstream nightspots, allowing its heterosexual clientele to club hop with ease. The city’s only gay neighborhood, the Fruit Loop, is just two blocks away. As a confessed club hopper, I can recall many nights spent between the two scenes. Will tourists staying on the Strip take the nearly-seven-mile cab ride Downtown when a handful of gay bars and clubs are so close? Krave owner Kelly Murphy is banking on yes. He expects to triple the current club’s business at its new location and with its new format.
Each of Krave Massive’s five separate dancefloors will cater to a different demographic: house/electro/Top 40, hip-hop (which Piranha provides regularly), country (giving gay Western bar Charlie’s some competition) and Latin, with a dedicated lesbian room. (Lesbians currently only have Share’s monthly BootyBar party and a few other lesbian nights to choose from.) Also included in the plans: a martini lounge, a private VIP room, a comedy club, a performing arts theater, an LGBT movie theater, a multi-purpose room and a retail store. As if that wasn’t enough (perhaps even too much?), Murphy plans to open an outdoor pool with cabanas in the future.
But even with Krave Massive built as a mecca of gay nightlife, will it be enough to entice LGBT tourists away from the Strip? Will a megaclub survive in a neighborhood known for bar culture and dollar shrimp cocktails?
We’ll see in December. With any luck, Murphy will have continued success at Neonopolis (his Drink & Drag lounge is one floor beneath the new club’s space), and Krave’s signature atmosphere will endure. If that happens, Krave Massive may win over Downtown skeptics and tourist taxi fares alike.