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The grand equality of Vegas pool parties

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Daylight at Mandalay Bay.
Photo: Powers Imagery

I was a daylife novice. I like to party a little. I’m into day-drinking. Who isn’t? I’d gone to Rehab a few times back in the day, but before last summer I had zero interest in wet-and-wild pool parties and decadent dayclubs. Just wasn’t for me. Until I realized: these are for everybody.

“When you go to a nightclub versus a pool, it’s a very different vibe,” says Play Management partner John Pettei, who operates Light and Daylight at Mandalay Bay. “The nightclub can be a little stuffy if you ask me, and certainly much more intimidating. Everybody is buttoned up, looking sharp in their best outfit for the weekend. I always think of a bunch of guys standing around their table like, ‘Yo, don’t step on my shoes!’”

I think of that, too. And I thought the dayclub version would be the same thing, with less clothing. But now, after I’ve gone to Daylight and Encore Beach Club and Wet Republic and other sun-drenched, Champagne-soaked venues, I know better.

“At a pool, you’ve got your shirt off, women are basically in underwear and guys are basically in boxer shorts, and it de-escalates all of that potential stuffiness,” Pettei continues. “You can get a bite to eat, the drinks are more friendly—strawberry lemonades, daiquiris—and it’s just a different feeling. I always see people [at Daylight] meeting the people at the table next to them. And when we close, no one wants to leave.”

Vegas pool parties are typecast and pigeonholed as some sort of Spring Break that never ends, but the experience varies greatly from club to club—more so than at nightclubs—and it’s really about relaxation. These are not high-pressure situations. The desire to show off and impress strangers is noticeably lessened, and nobody cares if you don’t have the perfect beach body. Abs or otherwise, everyone is here to have a good time, catch some music and sun and get a little blurry.

And if you do it right, it’ll take the edge off whatever your nightlife experience turns out to be.

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

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