Mark Gilbert has certainly earned his stripes in Las Vegas nightlife, beginning his career at the Palms during its post-Real World heyday, sticking around to open the Playboy Club and Moon there, and also taking turns managing legendary venues like Studio 54 and Tabu Ultra Lounge.
But the Indiana native who originally wanted to be a lawyer considers himself much more of an F&B guy, and his current role as director of food & beverage at the iconic Flamingo Las Vegas resort proves his point. Here at the center Strip, his projects range from the Flamingo Go Pool and its raging Saturday Daybeats party to assisting with the development and opening of Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips next door at the Linq Promenade.
“Being 70 years old, [the Flamingo] definitely comes with its challenges, but it’s very cool to be here because you’re kind of a part of what Vegas was founded on,” Gilbert says. “It’s a force to be reckoned with. It’s not the shiny new toy on the Strip but it has the opportunity to be cool and relevant. The pool was one of those cool opportunities to find a niche where no one was really capitalizing, giving people some real value and showing them what hospitality was like in the city before it turned into what it is today.”
Between the tropical lagoon-style Go Pool’s new Wednesday industry nights and its coming summer Night Jams concert series, there’s a lot of momentum outdoors at the Flamingo. But that’s not all there is to offer.
“Center Cut Steakhouse is definitely a hidden gem,” Gilbert says. “You can find some really great product, like the Wagyu beef you find at top steakhouses, but you would never think a small steakhouse in the Flamingo would have it. It just works for our clientele, who are value-driven but still want an amazing product.”
As Gilbert knows well, it’s all about creating experiences. And at Flamingo, it’s about making those experiences as easy, fun and welcoming as they possibly can be.
“Who you are doesn’t matter, we just want you to come have fun with us,” he says.