XS and ohhs

Drai delivers on his New Year’s baby

The XS pool at night.

Monday, January 5, 9:55 p.m.

A throng queues up willingly and early in XS’ general-admission lane, winding down the hallway from the gilded entrance back to Wynn. Opposite, the VIP-table line is short but still not inviting; its very existence offends some, who scoff and stand in protest between the two, much to the chagrin of security trying to keep the chaos controlled. That’s what XS’ hosts said they wanted: chaos. Not since the grand opening of Tao or maybe as far back as Pure has there been such posturing and jockeying for position. There are reportedly 6,800 people on the list tonight for a club that holds about 4,300, and XS is going to do its damnedest to accommodate them. But as this is the opening of industry Mondays and not the grand opening (that was New Year’s), one must note that virtually everyone tonight is “someone,” and all wield some measure of power in this town.

XS, the new nightclub at Encore from Victor Drai, boasts opulent decor with stunning design touches like intricate mosaics in the bathrooms and a combination disco ball and chandelier.

XS, the new nightclub at Encore from Victor Drai, boasts opulent decor with stunning design touches like intricate mosaics in the bathrooms and a combination disco ball and chandelier.

There could be blood.

Behind a no man’s land of velvet ropes scurry oodles of VIP hosts, all vying to outshine each other with the size of their lists, the depths of their patrons’ pockets or the sheen of their locks. In suits rivaling those from the Esplanade shops’ finest, and save perhaps the black and gold Creative Recreation skateboard sneakers, they cut very dashing figures.

Inching forward until we are next at bat, we gratefully accept our table slip and meet the handsome, beaming Ken doll of a host enlisted to machete his way through the crowd for us. It’s rather like accepting an award. We bid adieu to the masses and sprint though the short hallway of golden bodies (I’m told the female models are Wynn cocktail servers) toward DJ Create’s beats.

Though I know Victor Drai disagrees with me (Drai to me: “I disagree with you”), I’m not alone in noticing the striking similarities between XS and its older sister, Tryst. Only where Tryst is narrow and lozenge-shaped, XS is round and voluptuous. Casts of a Tryst cocktail server grace the very bar backs as the ideal female form—equally curvaceous. Where Tryst took you down into its bowels, XS whisks you up eight steps and down eight steps, providing a rare opportunity to really make an entrance. There, greeted with a view of XS’ pool (the yin to Tryst’s 90-foot waterfall yang), we trot along past the stripper poles (hello, 12 of them!) to a nook with soaring windows by the smaller of the two inside bars.

Golden women in fabric line the entryway to XS.

Golden women in fabric line the entryway to XS.


Behind the scenes
Inside XS (1/8/09)

On the dance floor, the glass walls are thrown open entirely, per Drai, allowing the two atmospheres—nightclub and night—to kiss under the twinkling of his custom mirrored, spinning disco chandelier. With 95 tables and 30 cabanas to choose from, most tastes can be accommodated, from the ostentatious to the misanthropic. Even Drai’s own cream, croc-embossed booth can be had … for a price. On New Year’s he gave the prime spot to a man willing to pay $25,000 for that privilege. “I like him already!” Drai boasted.

Victor Drai at XS during the day.

Victor Drai at XS during the day.

Our own booth is magnificent, a stage almost, with three tables facing out and the entire club for an audience. “Caveat emptor,” warns one VIP host, and sure enough, as the tide brings more bodies into the club, we are nearly whisked out to the pool area. Instead we hunker down with our new neighbors, an ever-expanding group of women with their few lucky male cohorts, all refugees from the bitter cold. Over time and booze we become friendly (save one scowling holdout), sharing bottles and gossip and very nearly huddling for warmth; Drai also has ordered that those soaring windows be thrown open. But through it all, our server Tiffany maintains a stunning smile.

Celebs abound, yes, but the real starlet is the club herself. My ear catches the locals’ chatter: “Tryst goes to Havana,” “Tryst on steroids” and other such comparisons, but little negativity; even the sourpuss at the neighboring table holds her forked tongue. XS is the sleek new Porsche pulling up next to last year’s sleek model Porsche; it would be madness to decline a drive in either. We stumble out around 4 a.m. as if to insure that we live up to the club’s professed attitude of “too much is never enough.” Amid closures and cutbacks, wild, flagrant excess just feels so good!

Read more on Xania's night out in Behind the Scene: XS


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