There’s only one Victor Drai. And there’s only one After Hours.
Drai’s After Hours will celebrate 20 years of memorable revelry in Las Vegas this weekend, a number nothing less than astonishing considering the city’s ever-changing nightlife landscape. “The clubs that were around when I opened are all gone,” Drai says. “Vegas really changed in the first few years after I opened, with Bellagio and Venetian and Mandalay Bay [arriving]. I’ve made lots of changes but they are changes people don’t see. Drai’s has its own niche, and you don’t f*ck around with things when it works.”
Drai’s After Hours feels designed for the locals, the industry set, people who work to make sure Vegas visitors have the time of their lives and want a party of their own. That’s where the legendary basement club at the Cromwell comes in, just as it did when it opened—originally as a restaurant—inside Barbary Coast in 1997.
In this sexy venue, Drai has helped keep house music and hip-hop on the Strip, pioneered bottle service and developed countless hospitality careers. “I think almost 90 percent of the kids working at any club in Vegas today, at one point or another, they’ve worked for me, so Drai’s is like family to them,” he says. Through his own game-changing Vegas career—opening Tryst and XS at Wynn and Encore, then developing Drai’s Beachclub and Nightclub on the Cromwell’s rooftop—there has always been After Hours.
“I never think that far ahead with things, because I’m more instinctive with what I do,” Drai says. “After Hours was a very natural thing, and then Tryst and XS. Drai’s [Nightclub’s] reputation for live performance goes back to my roots and background in Hollywood. It’s so much fun, because it’s just like producing [films]. I’m enjoying that direction more and more.” Drai’s After Hours 20th Anniversary Party, June 25 (starting at 2 a.m.).