[13 to watch in 2013]

Big Daddy’ Carlos Adley, Nightlife Impresario

Big Daddy’s come a long way, and now he’s bringing his brand of fun from LA to Vegas.
Photo: Adam Shane

In kindergarten, Carlos Adley played glam-rock records for show and tell. At 11, he biked to backyard punk shows in LA. By 16, he’d parlayed his fake ID, linebacker build and mad charisma into running doors at some of Hollywood’s hottest clubs and even had the stones to bounce Madonna (“she had a f*ckin’ attitude”). A few years later, he was a successful DJ and promoter as well as a full-time college student with two majors, an athletic scholarship and a potential career in pro football. Not bad for a kid from the ghetto.

That kid chose life behind the velvet rope and worked (and played) hard becoming nightlife mogul Big Daddy Carlos, known best for the Velvet Margarita in Hollywood. He calls Vegas the flipside of the entertainment coin, and he and his wife/soul mate/business partner Ava believe in the Downtown dream. Partnered with Binion’s owner Terry Caudill, they’re remodeling that historic property and transforming 601 Fremont into a multimedia powerhouse. Its Backstage Bar & Billiards lounge is already thriving, and anchor Fremont Country Club promises a live-music destination, with legendary booker Michael Chugg eyeing headliners from Elvis Costello to Prince (the venue is top-secret till it opens in February, but think Texas whorehouse meets space cowboy meets Sinatra). The 601 masterplan includes TV and recording studios, a radio station and a record label, and Adley is chronicling the ambitious adventure as executive producer and star of a docudrama.

“I talk fast; I think fast; I get sh*t done,” he says, grinning. “Here’s the one certainty: You won’t be big if you don’t think big.”

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