A&E

Dustin Drai steps up to further his family’s nightlife legacy

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Dustin Drai
Photo: Wade Vandervort

If you meet the new director of marketing for Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub and Drai’s AfterHours, you’re going to make some assumptions. Yes, Dustin Drai is the son of Victor Drai, but he’s not the Vegas kid you’re imagining.

“I was born in LA, and I lived in Dallas four years while I went to SMU, so I’m really not that,” he says. “I look at things from the perspective of the experiences I’ve had worldwide, since I’ve been traveling since I was a kid. But Vegas has grown on me a lot. I thought I would be extremely bored all the time when I’m not at work. But there is so much to do here, and the quality of living in Las Vegas is so high. The more I’m here, the more I love it.”

He spoke to the Weekly about getting adjusted in the nearly three years he’s been a Las Vegan and taking Drai’s into the future.

This is a new role for you. I started as an operations manager and kind of grew through the ranks so I could get a taste of everything. Then I moved to the talent side for about a year, learning the ins and outs of how important that is, especially in Las Vegas, and building relationships with our artists. But this is where I always wanted to go, because I love the creativity of doing something new every week or month, coming up with new parties and themes and also being able to build myself as the face of the venues.

Because of who you are, have you had to make an extra effort to learn about this industry outside of Drai’s? One thing I would have liked to do is work for somebody other than my dad for a year to get that perspective. I know how Drai’s does it; it’s my life. So instead, in the two-plus years I’ve been here I’ve been going out and meeting as many people as I can, going to as many venues and different parties as I can and trying to understand what they do and why they do it. I just went to Ibiza for a week, because I’d never been.

Where do you think club programming is headed? I definitely think live talent is going to be the staple of what nightlife is, especially in Las Vegas. People come to Vegas and want shows, and we’ve been able to reinvent that where it’s still a show but it’s in a nightclub. I think the DJ thing is going to change a bit. The DJ show is going to have to become more theatrical and exciting, because people today are so easily bored. If you come to Drai’s today compared to six months ago, it’s extremely different. We started with the talent going on at 1:30, doing 45 minutes and getting off. Now, from the moment we open our doors to the end of that artist’s set, it’s a show with dancers doing full routines; we have a drummer doing a full drum set, a striptease-style [performance] occurs, the DJ does his thing. Your talent will fill the club, but we want everyone to come back and you have to turn on the event, really make it an experience, to make that happen.

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Brock Radke

Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for almost two decades. He currently serves as editor-at-large covering entertainment and ...

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