The phrase “cultural nightlife” could easily be one of those empty marketing slogans that might mean anything but doesn’t mean much. When Zaher “Z” Fakih uses it to describe something he’s actually doing and has been for a while, the meaning becomes clear. It’s about a true alternative.
“Where is the culture of nightlife?” he asks. “Everyone is running from this idea of fake Las Vegas. Locals need a spot to get away from all that. This is a spot where everything is real.”
The nightclub and hospitality impresario who brought a higher standard of hookah to the Valley with the Shisha Lounge (2005) and Almaza Hookah Cafe (2006) before expanding his vision with Nu Sanctuary (2010) and Oracle Nightclub (2012) is starting fresh with a new venue, a bigger one in a great location where his goals to create diverse, locals-oriented nightlife options have solidified.
In May, Embassy Nightclub took over the 30,000-square-foot former home of Jaguars, just off the Strip and a block away from Chinatown. The theme will soon be illustrated by giant flags of various countries outside the club, and it’s a welcoming one. Fakih continues to serve his strong Latin following with Viva Thursdays and predominantly Hispanic music/programming on Fridays, too. Global Saturdays lean into hip-hop with an open format, and Sunday’s Runway Day Club promotion came out swinging during fight weekend with host model Jesse Mae and stalwart Bay-to-Vegas DJ Franzen.
Embassy has four bars, one upstairs. The music could be coming from the DJ booth or from a singer performing on the second-floor balcony or from a band playing on the grand staircase. Plans for the upstairs space include a Champagne cabaret, and Fakih says he might look into parking-lot festivals with food trucks and other outdoor entertainment. Late this month, he’ll add Eight restaurant and lounge to the first floor, serving Latin American fusion and tableside hookah.
“This is going to be home for a long time,” he says. “We went from a 3,500-square-foot hookah lounge in a Smith’s shopping center to clicking 900 people at the door here ... it’s a great thing.”
Fakih says he was approached to help renovate and operate vacant casino venues at Bally’s (Victor Drai’s former Liaison) and the Palms (the Moon and Playboy Club spaces) before the Embassy location became available, and decided to continue to develop local nightlife ... for now. He might make the jump to the Strip eventually.
Anyone looking for something different—much different—from the Vegas megaclub scene may have already found Embassy. Now Fakih has a better venue, yet the prices haven’t gone up—still free for ladies and $10 for the rest. That’s as welcoming as it gets.
Embassy Nightclub 3355 Procyon St., 702-609-6666. Thursday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-6 a.m.; Sunday, 3-8 p.m.