[Nightlife Issue]

Weekly’s clubbing virgin Surrenders to the Strip’s nightlife temptations

Encore Beach Club and Surrender on May 28, 2010.
Photo: Erik Kabik/Retna/

Green and blue lights flood the dancefloor, painting every partygoer in hazy shades of neon. Throughout the sea of bodies, bikini-clad go-go girls writhe and gyrate as people push toward their destinations—the last square inch of space to call their own or the breezy beach exterior just past the throng. I squeeze past the sweaty mass of tightly dressed partygoers to claim a spot outside near the sparkling pool. The air is cool, a stark contrast to the muggy interior and the people watching—superb.

I’m not a clubber. A longtime local, I’ve never stepped foot inside a club until tonight. On an average Saturday, you’d probably find me Downtown at Beauty Bar for a local indie band, or putting a few back at Velveteen Rabbit. But I’d held out on the pumping house music and expensive drinks long enough. So, I sucked up my preconceived notions to get my dance on at Surrender—and surrender, I did.

Hours earlier, I was frantically running around the Fashion Show Mall, trying on every skimpy, sparkly, revealing outfit in the place. Looking like a lifesize Fruit by the Foot wasn’t working for me, so I settled on a comfy, edgy-enough alternative: a tank top, black skinny jeans and a pair of killer heels. Later, the girl waxing a stripper pole while simultaneously tugging at the hem of her dress proves my decision wise. Feeling hot without worrying that your lady bits are showing is crucial.

Back at my house, seven friends—most of whom are equally clueless about the whole club thing—and I pile into a giant touring van straight out of Wayne’s World. Dubbed the S.S. Mary, she is the perfect mode of transportation for a fancy night on the Strip. Imagine my surprise when we don’t valet our bodacious ride. Still, I check my disappointment at the sliding van door—the S.S. Mary has arrived. Land ho!

Outside the club, rows of decked-out men and women line up to see the headlining DJ, French electro teen protégé Madeon. At just 19 years old, he’s already used to holding court in the biggest clubs in the world, and tonight is no exception. In an hour, he’s captivating the club’s surprisingly cozy dancefloor. On my right, a giant serpent sculpture coils against the wall, keeping in line with the club’s tongue-in-cheek biblical theme. Clearly, I’ve bitten the apple.

Enjoying myself at Surrender is easy once I settle in with a few drinks and a prime spot on the dancefloor. Madeon commands everyone below him to move, and infectious electro-pop beats rain down on the crowd. Behind him, a giant LED screen lights up the room, flashing hypnotizing geometric shapes and bright, intoxicating colors. I look around the smoky sea of fist-pumping clubbers and notice that everyone has a smile glued to their faces—my friends included.

The scene might be different from what we’re used to, but the gang is all here. And there it is. In my first night out, I’ve already learned a crucial lesson: Who you choose to bring on your Strip adventure is what really makes a night of clubbing memorable. And whether you pre-game at home (a cost-effective strategy for a night of $15 drinks), or throw your own afterhours party there (that might have happened), the company you keep will make the experience all the more worthwhile.

Just be careful. I hear clubbing is contagious.

Tags: Nightlife
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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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