The venue on the southeast side of Luxor’s casino boasts quite a legacy. One of the first casino nightclubs in Las Vegas, it opened as Club Ra on New Year’s Eve 1997. Almost 10 years later, and then under the care of Angel Management Group (now Hakkasan Group), it was completely reimagined as LAX. Last year, Hakkasan handed the reins back over to Luxor, which decided to renovate and overhaul the club but keep the name, forgoing any multimillion-dollar re-branding campaign.
Here’s what’s different:
Bigger dancefloor: One of the biggest criticisms of AMG’s LAX was the narrow dance space squeezed between two floor-level VIP areas, where crowded groovers could easily fall over the velvet ropes and into some big spender’s lap. Luxor has mercifully widened the dancefloor by 9 feet.
A slicker, less churchy club: Local design firm Urbane Design did away with LAX’s swanky cathedral look—and right angles, apparently, as Frank Gehry-lite curves mark a less-rigid interior. The scarlet motif is also gone; much of the new LAX is awash in silver and gold trim.
Programming: “It’s very different,” says Sujoy Brahma, vice president of food & beverage for Luxor. “LAX was a hip-hop club before, but while we’ll have some hip-hop, you’re not going to hear the dirty hip-hop.” Top 40 will rule the weekends, while Throwback Thursdays—also the de facto locals’ night—will champion sounds from the 1980s through the 2000s, all performed by non-exclusive, Vegas-based (and mostly female) DJs. Themed nights and on-the-rise guest performers will occasionally surface; on February 19, a Mardi Gras party featured newcomer Betty Who. “These artists are known in other markets,” Brahma says. “They want to play Las Vegas, but the marquee clubs won’t touch them.”
Farewell, Savile Row: The exclusive and adjacent hangout is now LAX Lounge, which serves as a cush pre-party area for VIPs until the public is allowed access at 12:30 a.m. The DJ booth remains, but the front room has been opened up, and the rear, circular room now boasts a life-size bird swing for dancers.
Less emphasis on VIP: LAX has lowered its booth count from 51 to 38, though its seven upper-level lofts and separate dance space are solely the domain of bottle service customers. This overlaps with the club’s new clientele focus: Luxor and Excalibur guests. “We have 9,000 guest rooms,” Brahma says. “That’s who we want. It’s a non-pretentious club. We’re not competing with Hakkasan, Marquee and Hyde.”
LAX Thursday-Saturday, doors at 10:30 p.m., $30 men, $20 women (prices subject to change on guest-performer nights), 702-262-4529 or luxor.com/nightlife/lax.