As 2016 draws to a close—the first year Industry Weekly has covered the Las Vegas nightlife landscape—it’s time to look back at key trends that defined the club scene this year …
The importance of intimacy. Two major new venues arrived in the spring—Intrigue at Wynn, a thorough refreshing of the iconic Tryst space, and Jewel at Aria, a wholesale revision of the former Haze nightclub—and both were designed with striking luxury, superior service opportunities and a more intimate vibe in mind. The monstrous megaclub that has come to define Las Vegas nightlife is well-represented; a more diverse audience is ready for different, unique experiences, and the industry leaders are ready to provide them.
A more open format. Music is cyclical, and what’s hot will always be changing, but hip-hop—which never went away, so don’t call it a comeback—surged forward in Las Vegas in 2016, driving the live performance trend from arenas to concert halls to clubs. The reports of EDM’s death have been greatly exaggerated; the pop crossover of established artists like Calvin Harris and Diplo and newer ones like DJ Snake and The Chainsmokers proves the sound isn’t going anywhere. Expect to see more genre-blurring and more playlists and clubs that run the full gamut of dance music.
Press play. Encore Players Lounge debuted last December, a stylized, luxed-up casino party pit where you can watch sports, bet on them and play games that cost money and don’t. Then the new Wynn poker room arrived just steps away from EPL, Surrender and Encore Beach Club, connecting all the dots. This development came after Lavo Casino Club incorporated traditional VIP gaming into the nightclub environment, and during an era when every casual concept—from Downtown’s Gold Spike to the suburban PKWY Tavern to the Strip’s Beer Park and Beerhaus—is using traditional pub or taproom games to bring a bit of interactivity to the mix. And now MGM Grand’s Level Up is here to set a new standard, armed with everything from Giant Pac-Man to a gaming arena. What’ll they think of next?