Nightlife

40/40 Closes Its Doors

Plus: Old Paint: 10 years and counting at 1700 East Flamingo

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Jay Z’s 40/40 Club may be closing, but the space will continue to house a sports fan’s paradise.
Vegas.com

40/40 closes its doors

After months of whispers that the 40/40 Club/ultra-sports bar and lounge would be closing, Palazzo reps addressed the issue last Wednesday in a statement citing an agreement reached between the Palazzo Resort and 40/40 Club (owned by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z along with baseball’s Juan Perez and run by Perez’ wife, Desiree Perez, aka Desiree Gonzalez). As was rumored just before the announcement, 40/40 will return to Palazzo ownership to carry on as a sports-enthusiast’s paradise but with the added boon of gaming.

While the venue was touted as a sports lounge, it also gained notoriety among the nightlife crowd for having hired and then fired much of its staff over New Year’s Eve 2007, and for generally being a bad fit for the property, a problem that will be remedied when the space comes back into casino control and cashes in on the trend of tricking-out traditional gaming venues with all manner of luxurious amenities (the Hard Rock just reopened its Poker Lounge, now complete with iPod docks, massages and a full menu).

Says a Palazzo rep via e-mail, “The reason for the closure was a business decision, pure and simple. … Our current sports book offering is less than ideal. We want to change that and taking back the 40/40 space is the ideal option. Additionally, we will offer new gaming (tables/slots) in the space, which will be a component 40/40 couldn’t add (as we obviously have a Nevada gaming license).”

Vegas may be losing a club/lounge, but it’s gaining one sweet sports book, and those are some pretty good odds.

Old paint: 10 years and counting at 1700 East Flamingo

Before all the clubs, says nightclub operator Dave Satory Jr., there was Don Jose’s Mexican Restaurant. But it was the ’70s, and the landscape surrounding the white 1700 East Flamingo Road building was quite different then. Nightlife-wise, first came pioneering Botany’s nightclub, which enjoyed a long heyday beginning in the early ’80s, then the short-lived Metropolis, Babe’s topless bar and Suge Knight’s Club 662, which opened in 1994 and played a role in rapper Tupac Shakur’s tragic death (and yes, 662 spells M-O-B on your phone keypad).

In more recent years, many of us remember the long and profitable reign of SRO afterhours club beginning in 1998, a collaboration between Utopia’s David Cohen and lifelong club operator Dave Satory Sr. SRO ushered in a second hay day, and brought about the once-dominating “Midnight Mass” afterhours from midnight to 9 a.m. on Sundays. Some of today’s best-known Vegas DJs got their start in SRO’s main room or on the original patio which, Satory says, he built with his own hands with help from DJ Javier Alba. Hip-hop then became the order of the day when Club 702 opened (’04-’07) and then again most recently as the second home to Spin Nightclub.

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From the archives
Nine lives of buildings (1/2/08)

After opening around Thanksgiving 2007, Spin quickly outgrew its original location at Alexis Park Resort and subsequently relocated to Satory’s venue, reopening in mid-February and painting the then-iconic purple building tan. But Spin’s second incarnation was to be brief. “We were never able to achieve our original goal,” says Sanford “DJ Masterweb” Wallace, “which was to take an upscale urban crowd from the Strip to a location off the Strip.”

“It was a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Masterweb laments. “The location had a tough reputation. And because the higher-end clientele were afraid to go there, the clientele that did go there was the crowd that we did not want to attract.” It was over a long conversation that Satory and Masterweb decided to part ways amicably, and close Spin after Memorial Day Weekend. Masterweb has since re-aligning himself with his former home at Poetry.

The sign outside 1700 (now brown) currently reads “La Reliquia” (The Relic), the temporary name Satory settled on until the next round of promoters come up with something new for the final year of the lease. Regional Mexican music is what’s keeping the doors open these days. “That was the key to success, really, not trying to be one thing but adjusting to fit the market instead of trying to make the market adjust to fit you,” says Satory.

“The market has been taken by casino nightclubs. We aren’t going to get the house/techno back here again.” Thinking back on 1700’s 10 years, Satory can laugh at the cyclical popularity of hip-hop, the advent of paid celeb hosts, and the migratory patterns of locals and tourists. “The locals were who drove this club. And back then the tourists followed where the locals wanted to be. The locals set the stage for what took place in Las Vegas—if the locals were there, the tourists would follow. And now it’s exactly the opposite. The locals have kind of lost their identity and follow the crowd. They go to wherever the neatest creation on the Strip is now.” But that’s not anything Satory says he wants to go chasing after. Satory is still up in the air about whether or not he will let the lease go when it runs out towards the end of 2009 or whether he will renew and give 1700 another new coat of paint. “You never know.”

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