If you're really rolling in Vegas, you're being hosted. Highly liquid guests are assigned casino hosts who make certain things disappear (lines, doormen) and other things appear (tables, perhaps some company). But if you're not among the super-rich and already enjoying such privileges, it pays to be crafty.
Just ask Jack Colton, a local Vegas hero who reveals the secrets of Sin City nightlife on his Web site to everyday players who aspire to VIP-table status. One of his tips: If you're waiting in line in a large group of men, try scattering yourself among several groups of ladies. Divide and conquer.
And once you're inside, it's a good idea to just go with the flow. That is, assuming you can accept that this is all about excessive consumption and pushing the limits of a credit card, not to mention what's socially acceptable behavior just about anywhere else in the world.
"It's all about building a buzz for the nightclubs as well as a clientèle, not just celebrities but also brands. In Vegas a club is only as good as their last event," says Andrea Sun, one of the nightlife experts at Vegas.com.
European-style tableside bottle service is becoming more and more de rigeur — in return for a nice table, guests are obliged to purchase bottles of alcohol at astronomical mark-ups. And nightclubs and their marketing departments are heavily invested in customized experiences, especially when it concerns celebrities.
Steve Davidovici, managing partner of PURE Management Group, which runs the club by the same name in Caesar's Palace, says, "We have such high-end clients — ranging from Marc Cuban, Paris Hilton or a player that has spent a million dollars in the casino — that we personalize their whole trip. A limo picks them up, makes dinner reservations and our hosts find out what kind of music and drinks they like before they get to town. Waitresses will send thank-you cards after their visit."
So which club should you choose? If you're looking for a high-energy mega-club, we suggest Studio 54 or Rain. If you're looking to impress some clients with a Vegas experience they're likely to go home and brag about, don't miss TAO, Moon or PURE. And for more of a mellow, airy evening, we suggest Tryst at Wynn Las Vegas, with its 90-foot waterfall.
As with other leisure pursuits, timing is crucial. On Fridays and Saturdays Vegas nightclubs are filled with tourists, while on select weeknights the clubs host industry nights for the locals. Moon hosts a Tuesday industry night that’s popular with other club employees.
"Clubs thrive on weekends and industry nights," says Sun. "Both options are strong and well-known."
Wherever and whenever you go, though, Colton warns that while dozens of "VIP hosting companies" promise access to exclusive clubs, you're usually better off tipping the doorman directly. And by tipping, we don't mean five bucks. A few other words of advice:
- Ask about the bottle minimum before you show up.
- If you're splitting the bill between friends, collect the money up-front (to make sure you're still friends at the end of the night).
- Don't get hustled — make sure you're not obligated to buy more bottles to avoid losing your table.
- Have fun.