Hakkasan isn’t just a huge venue, it’s a massive experience

Steve Aoki put on a show in Hakkasan’s tricked-out DJ booth.
Photo: Rukes
Jorge Labrador

If you follow the nightlife scene at all, you’ve heard the story by now: the apocryphal tale of an oil mogul who was denied his chosen table at a Las Vegas Strip nightclub and, fueled by spite, bestowed his resources on a club that would be the greatest in the world. It sounds ridiculous, but if it’s true, it’s made for some interesting nightlife.

The Details

MGM Grand, 891-3838.
Thursday-Sunday, doors at 10 p.m.

Interesting and big.

There’s no getting around the one thing people are going to point out about Hakkasan Las Vegas: It’s huge—even for Las Vegas. The main room alone is a big, amphitheater-shaped area with various nooks and crannies. To one side, the refreshingly open Pavilion room feels like an outdoor Zen garden, with its own bar. Above, VIP tables overlook the dancefloor for a voyeuristic view of the fray. There’s good use of space throughout the club and enough room to never really feel cramped, save for the walkways. If tight spaces are a nightlife pet peeve of yours, Hakkasan might be the club you’re looking for.

The tiered VIP booths and walkways give the venue its amphitheater shape, putting bottle-poppers close to the action while leaving plenty of prime dancing, drinking and listening real estate for the rest of us. The DJ booth’s front-and-center location in the main club makes Hakkasan’s performer-focused priorities clear.

Steve Aoki—a charismatic nightclub vet—was a perfect fit for the April 25 grand opening party, testing the venue’s sound and visual systems, along with its promise of larger-than-life party “experiences.”

Aoki came out at around 1:30 a.m. in what looked like a Technicolor headdress, and the spectacle only escalated from there. The two-tiered LED system right behind the DJ booth bombarded the club with surreal, futuristic scenes set to Aoki’s electro-house tunes, as dancers in odd futuristic outfits added an element of performance art to Aoki’s set.

If Hakkasan pulls off more nights like these, it’s going to be the perfect place for more artfully-minded DJs to put on a show.

And that’s just the main room. In another testament to Hakkasan’s sheer scale, the smaller Ling Ling Club and Ling Ling Lounge could be a standalone nightclub and bar, respectively, in any other city in the world. As with most “side rooms,” the Ling Ling Club has its own DJ and a hip-hop heavy rotation. So, while Aoki managed the main room, Jessica Who kept things bumping downstairs. The lounge is a ritzier, relaxed environment and will have more of an emphasis on mixology.

Is Hakkasan revolutionary? That might be too bold a proclamation to make just yet, but it has certainly raised expectations. If there’s something you already like about a particular Vegas club, Hakkasan has taken that idea and made it its own.

And that angry oil mogul? Well, he’s made Hakkasan his own, too.

Tags: Nightlife

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