The best nightclubs in Vegas
Performance art meets period piece meets burlesque. If you can wrap your head around this unusual combination, you’ll have a rough idea of what you will find at unique and edgy the Act, one of the Strip’s newest clubs located in the Shoppes at the Palazzo. The brainchild of nightclub designer Simon Hammerstein (creator of the Box in London and New York), The Act is a funky mind-melt, intended to be experienced instead of just witnessed.
Lovers of fine art and the fine female form unite! Both are on display at the appropriately named Gallery Nightclub, located in Planet Hollywood in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip. OK, so the “artwork” isn’t likely to inspire any heated discussions among art history majors, but the vibe is plenty hot nonetheless: case in point, Thursday night’s Good Girls Gone Bad, which is bound to create inspiration of one kind or another.
You really can’t compare any other nightclubs in Las Vegas with MGM’s newly opened, gigantic Hakkasan because that would be, well, impossible. With multiple levels and room for about 7,000 revellers, Hakkasan puts the “mega” in megaclub. To fill this aeroplane-hangar-like space when the club opened in the spring of 2013, MGM execs signed on some of the hottest DJs, including Calvin Harris, DJ Tiesto, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 for residencies. The strategy has worked. All 80,000sq ft of space is packed—from the Ling Ling Lounge to the main dancefloor—and for good reason.
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Best live music venues
Beat Coffeehouse & Records
Part coffeehouse, eaterie, bar, vinyl record store and music venue, the Beat is Las Vegas’s epicentre for all (anti-establishment) things Downtown. Local musicians play on the stage-less floor at the front of the store, while their fans and friends spill out on to the sidewalk of Fremont Street. Cheap food and strong coffee is available during the day; after 7pm even cheaper beer is served.
The Cosmopolitan started hosting live musical acts at Marquee before it realised what a gem it had in the Boulevard Pool. The logistics took some retooling, but the hotel-casino now features regular bands on a specially designed stage that overlooks its fourth-floor open-air pool. The music is varied—Hot Chip, Gary Clark Jr, MGMT—and the sound system (and experience) is beyond superb. Enjoy top-notch music overlooking the Strip, and don’t worry about the view: the bands are broadcast on to a four-storey screen adjacent to the pool. Best Las Vegas music experience, hands-down.
This former country bar closed in the summer of 2013 for a makeover. While that wasn’t welcome news to Bunkhouse fans, who liked the taxidermy-and-cowboy decor, the management promised the redo wouldn’t sacrifice BH’s charm. It’s still too early to tell, but as long as the Bunkhouse keeps up the steady diet of fabulous music nightly, we’ll be OK with it.
The casino itself may be like a zoo, but the upstairs guestrooms are remarkably peaceful and minimalist, with mod space-age-y furnishings that are part-Jetsons, part-I Ching. And, thanks largely to the fact that the Hard Rock isn’t that old, they’re also very spacious. Most rooms have been decorated with museum-quality photos of rock stars, and some of the suites—Stones Suite; Sex & Pistols Suite—take the music theme to the max.
Looking for a more intimate—and diverse—experience than the acts at the Joint? You’d do well to check out the Hard Rock’s newer club, Vinyl. Opened in 2012, this 650-seater hosts everything under the sun, from heavy metal mariachi act Metalachi to Courtney Love to local crooners. Shows are often free, and if you’re not in the mood for music, check out bad-boy comedian Andrew Dice Clay, whose shtick is sure to offend even the most hardened sensibilities.