There are two questions I’m asking myself as Sweet Thang Thursdays kicks into gear inside chef Roy Choi’s Best Friend. First, will anyone here know the theme from Mahogany? And second, would the soundtrack to a 1975 Diana Ross/Billy Dee Williams romance bring down the energy in the room? The answers, I presume, are “no” and “yes.”
The latest offering in Park MGM’s portfolio, Sweet Thang Thursdays is a carryover of Vinyl Thursdays at Primrose, another new-ish restaurant at the buzzy resort. At Best Friend, dinner guests can help program the evening’s music menu between bites of short rib and kimchi. And locals enjoy some extra perks: complimentary dessert when ordering Choi’s famous Korean barbecue, and free “Seoul Glow” Soju shots with their first drink order.
I slip Diamond Diana’s The Greatest Hits back into the album crate resting on the bar and continue my search for a selection that will deliver a standing ovation. It’s just after 8:30 p.m., and DJ Peter Shalvoy has opened the evening with Isaac Hayes’ “Hung Up on My Baby.” That’s a tough act to follow … but it’s a challenge fully accepted.
Shalvoy has been spinning vinyl for 30 years, starting out in New York City’s underground scene before making his way to Las Vegas, where he has played, among other spots, Intrigue at Wynn, Blue Ribbon at the Cosmopolitan and most recently Primrose. “This kind of rekindled my love for DJing and buying records,” he says of Sweet Thang Thursdays.
Sifting through the crates, I’m not surprised to discover that the Park Theater residency lineup is heavily featured, with Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Aerosmith albums alongside onetime Rio regular Prince and the likes of Burt Bacharach and Beverly Sills.
At last I’ve found it: Sly & The Family Stone’s Greatest Hits, specifically the 1969 smash “I Want to Take You Higher.” There’s a bit of a rush that comes with making the song selection for the entire room. It’s not unlike the feeling when your song comes up on the jukebox or when you take the mic at karaoke.
As “I Want to Take You Higher” starts to play, I bop my head to the “Boom shaka-laka” chorus and raise my glass to the DJ booth. Then, as if he knows me, Shalvoy follows up my choice with Average White Band’s “Pick Up the Pieces.”
I’m gonna have to become a Thursday-night regular.
SWEET THANG THURSDAYS Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. Best Friend at Park MGM, 702-730-6770.