Now in its eighth summer season, Encore Beach Club continues to break its own attendance records. The upscale pool party at the Wynn Nightlife venue is more than just one of the most popular weekend events on the Strip. Its size, style, innovations and top-name talent make it a true game-changer, in an industry that doesn’t really exist outside of Las Vegas.
“You can eat at Carbone in New York or Carbone in Las Vegas, but in terms of structure, there’s no Encore Beach Club anywhere else,” says Michael Waltman, the club’s executive director of operations. “There’s nothing to compare it to at all. Our customer base is diverse and international—people are coming from everywhere to get to that party. You’ve got 4,000 people doing a daytime pool party with the biggest DJs on the planet and that’s definitely unique to Vegas. People base their entire trip around their budget for the beach club, and that’s why we continue to grow.”
According to Waltman, last year’s EBC attendance blew that of previous years out of the water, and this season promises to do the same, especially with extended Nightswim programming Thursday through Saturday every weekend and big Vegas events coming up like Labor Day and the Conor McGregor UFC fight on October 6. (He’s no DJ, but McGregor is on Wynn’s resident roster.)
No one is doing the dayclub at the same magnitude as EBC, and the same can be said of Las Vegas in general. “Vegas always provides more options, and we want to make sure we’re the best,” Waltman says. “We have to provide the best experience to make sure customers keep coming back.”
This season’s 15th anniversary of Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel reminds us that the big Vegas pool party hasn’t been around that long, yet it’s a dominant force in the city’s summer tourism picture.
With new ownership at the Hard Rock, the original pool party is winding down this year, but the first Vegas venue built specifically for this type of fun is still going strong: Tao Beach at the Venetian.
“I don’t think there’s anything that compares to the energy and impact and attendance Vegas has,” says Tao Group partner Jason Strauss, whose company also operates Marquee Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan and a diverse portfolio of day- and nightlife venues around the world. “There have been parties like this in European and Mediterranean resort towns well before Vegas plugged into it, but like everything else, Vegas takes it to another level. Our daytime business [in Vegas] has gone up every year and continues to boom.”
The intimate and plush Tao Beach was the beginning. The Tao Group has been at the forefront of Vegas day party innovation with the Marquee Dayclub Dome allowing winter festivities and the pool-free party brunch at Italian restaurant Lavo. That kind of creative programming and design is building heavy anticipation for Tao’s upcoming club at the Palms, an indoor-outdoor experience expected to be the largest of its kind.
“Since we were one of if not the first [dayclub], we can look at the progression of the venues and take a lot of learning and bring that to all we do in our new and existing venues,” says Strauss. “It’s an explosive business in Vegas, especially because you’re able to do bigger groups and have a longer experience [than nightclubs]. I think we’re going to see a lot more dayclubs opening in Las Vegas. There’s still a lot of room to grow.”