Nightlife

Cosmopolitan’s new Clique Lounge is fueled by a hospitality dream team

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Jason “JRoc” Craig and Ryan Labbe of 81/82 Group.
Photo: Spencer Burton

So there’s been a changing of the guard at the Cosmopolitan, and we’ve all been a little worried, right? With new owners (Blackstone Group), a new boss (Bill McBeath), and fun venues like Book & Stage (a casino bar that had great live music at one point) closing for reinvention, we couldn’t help but wonder: Will Cosmo’s cool be intact? Or could it get more cool?

A small piece of the answer is coming. Clique Lounge will take over the Book & Stage space, soft-opening in time for New Year’s Eve. Conceived by former Light Group head honcho Andy Masi and his Clique Hospitality crew, the lounge is designed by Alessandro Munge with lavish touches, and the spotlight will be on fresh mixology, including a unique tableside bartending service. But that’s not all.

Clique’s secret weapon is the 81/82 Group, Vegas hospitality veterans Jason “JRoc” Craig and Ryan Labbe, who have partnered with Masi on the new Cosmo project. Their varied experiences in the industry—including marketing some familiar national brands and creating experiences at local clubs and casinos—add a progressive vibe to the new project.

“We’ve done a lot of different stuff along the way,” says Craig of his company with Labbe, which formed in 2012, “but all those experiences prepared us for what we have in front of us with Clique.”

Their union with Masi is set to produce other venues in Vegas and San Diego, but Cosmo’s Clique is getting the full focus right now, and the objective is creating and executing a unique experience, one that fits the hip resort’s reputation and even expands on it. How? It’s the little things. Like the music. “It’s our style of music,” Craig says. “We’ll play a lot of classics, mix everything from today back to the ’50s, but there will be a lot of mashup tracks. You might be listening to Elvis over a Jay Z beat, a wide range of different styles. Something a little more funky.”

The specialty seasonal cocktail menu will be complemented by a selection of small bites—not intended to steer you away from one of Cosmopolitan’s restaurants, more to whet your appetite. “No high price points,” Labbe says, “but totally shareable.”

The name might indicate exclusivity, but that’s the furthest thing from the minds of those who are curating the experience at Clique. “We’ve seen the city take a turn,” says Labbe, “from a Las Vegas that is very exclusive to people, locals and tourists, looking for a place where there is [no cover charge] you have to pay to have the experience.”

A little something different has always seemed to work for Cosmo’s cool. Maybe we have nothing to be worried about.

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Brock Radke

Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for almost two decades. He currently serves as editor-at-large covering entertainment and ...

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