It was tough for DJs to thrive during the pandemic. Virtual parties and livestream sets can only get you so far. If you happen to be a reality TV star with a huge following, that certainly helped.
Not only did Jersey Shore star Pauly D relocate his Las Vegas club residency from Drai’s to Marquee, he also partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts and Grubhub to launch Pauly D’s Italian Subs, a delivery-only restaurant ready to supply eaters in Vegas and many other cities with classic sandwich favorites.
“It’s so fitting for me, because I really grew up going to the deli and getting a nice Italian sandwich, and I wanted to figure out a way to get that to the masses,” the longtime local resident explains. “The response has been great. It’s almost like if Pauly D was a sandwich. We have this sauce on it called the Drip, and that’s what makes my sandwich stand out, along with the perfect bread. It’s really consistent, they’re getting all the ingredients right and it gives [restaurant] kitchens another revenue stream. It’s good to help keep everybody afloat.”
Sandwiches are important, but getting back on the decks meant the most to Pauly, who played his first in-person, packed pool party at Strawberry Moon in Miami in May. He stayed busy with TV gigs as MTV’s Jersey Shore: Family Vacation continued to film during the pandemic, including last fall at Lake Las Vegas, but he says he couldn’t wait to get back to the music and the clubs.
“That’s what I missed the most—the traveling, the crowds and the DJ part, because during the pandemic, everybody closed up shop. I was doing virtual proms, birthdays, I was over the virtual stuff,” Pauly says. “So to actually physically connect and be in front of a crowd, that’s what I live for, and that moment of being back, there’s nothing like it. And Florida is a little wild because … they didn’t treat the pandemic the way everybody else did. It was like COVID didn’t exist over there.”
He spun at Marquee Nightclub at the Cosmopolitan last weekend and returns on July 2, with his first Marquee Dayclub set planned for July 10. Pauly’s long relationship with the Tao Group already had him playing the company’s venues in New York and Chicago, so completing the circle in Las Vegas was a natural move.
“I love Marquee, and I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like Marquee,” he says, acknowledging that he’s a different type of DJ for the venue, which has traditionally centered around EDM. “I think the sound is changing. You’ve got to play a little bit of everything. The people that come to Vegas to party are from all walks of life, from all over, and basically what I do is play that, an open-format set. I’m still playing the dance stuff, throwing in mashups, throwing in hip-hop, playing Spanish music. Vegas has people from all over the world, so you gotta play to them. They take me on the journey.”
DJ PAULY D July 2, 10 p.m., $50-$125. Marquee, 702-333-9000, marqueelasvegas.com.