[The Nightlife Issue]

Summer of Drai’s: Live jams keep the year-old club on the cutting edge

A Fight Weekend show featuring Chris Brown, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and more.
Photo: Chase Stevens/Erik Kabik Photography
Rita Ora

Rita Ora

When Victor Drai opened his posh nightclub and beach club last spring atop the Cromwell boutique hotel, it was immediately clear this was a unique addition to the Las Vegas nightscape. And since its first party started, the new version of Drai’s has been steadily proving—especially this summer—that content is key. With its smart, stellar lineup of diverse artists, Drai’s programming is at least as special as its breathtaking location.

The 65,000-square-foot club has capitalized on the industry’s still-pumping EDM heart with a DJ roster that has included Adventure Club, 3LAU, Borgeous, Dannic, Dyro, Mike Hawkins and many more. Yet Drai’s has made a bigger mark for live performances from the likes of The Weeknd, Chris Brown, Capital Cities, Chromeo, Big Sean and 50 Cent. With building buzz that live music is the future and big contracts for DJs might be the past, the Drai’s system appears to be catching on up and down the Strip.

“I don’t know if it’s necessarily being mimicked. I think people are trying to find a way to mimic us,” says Drai’s CEO and partner Michael Gruber. “This club was built and designed to do what we do, built for live performances and to give our customers a great experience with an artist. It was built with different standards than anything else in town.”

You only need to catch one show at Drai’s, whether it’s hip-hop, indie rock, R&B or EDM, to see that difference. The rooftop venue has unparalleled views of the Strip, and the indoor-outdoor stage magically melds the expected booming club atmosphere with a breezy music-festival vibe. The club has leaned heavily into hip-hop lately, a genre that hasn’t always had a rock-solid headquarters on the Boulevard.

“It’s what the audience clearly wants, and again, we tried to lead the trends and get there a little bit early, which Victor has done his entire career,” Gruber says, noting that a focus on treating resident artists well has nurtured the club’s success. None of the big names have rotated out of performing at Drai’s, and more artists are being added to the stable. “We want people to realize Las Vegas really is the entertainment capital. You can see everything you want to see here, and certainly [as a nightclub] we’re No. 1 in bringing the stars to the city.”

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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