Part II During
Poetry is inside Cesar’s Palace. To get there we had to walk past Pure which is the higher profile club in that hotel. The line in front of Pure looked a lot like the lines outside of Marquee or Plunge or Hiro; long, annoying and unnecessary. The only difference is that in Vegas the lines snake very close to slot machines. As we walked past them, we wondered how many people standing on line lost all their cash before they even got into the club.
Standing outside Poetry was a little weird at first. The space is above one of Wolfgang Puck’s many Vegas restaurants, but right across the atrium was a huge FAO Schwartz. It was clubbers on one side, toy shoppers on the other. I actually looked out the window of the club, drink in hand and an arm around a beautiful woman and saw a guy looking out the window of the toy store, stuffed Dora in hand and an arm around a screaming toddler. I saw him, he saw me. I raised my glass to him and he looked a little cheated. Oh well.
The experience inside the club was pleasantly familiar. The crowd inside reminded me a lot of Fashion 40 or Sin Sin or Glass or bOb Bar. By that I mean they were hip hop lovers who didn’t go everywhere in basketball jerseys and sneakers as if a pick up game could break out at any minute. The drinks were just as strong as a New York cocktail, and the $15 per drink price tag matched what I’m used to paying on a Saturday night in the city. There was more than enough space available for bottle service and just enough space to hang out if you don’t want to rent real estate for the night. I didn’t see this with my own eyes, but she told me that a young lady could buy mints, flip flops and ecstasy in the ladies bathroom. The pretty girls were there with their cock blockers and the horny guys were there with their wingmen. If anyone made a love connection, there were opportunities for spontaneous lascivious behavior, if you’re well trained in that kind thing. The music never strayed from Billboard hip hop chart, except when they made that pit stop into reggae. She wanted more than a pit stop, but life is cruel sometimes. We decided to make our own love connection when they started repeating songs because that’s always a good time to go.
There was one noticeable difference from the New York clubs and that was the smoke, or lack of it. People around us were smoking, but there was no smoke hanging in the air. I’m assuming the hotels all have hospital grade ventilation systems installed so that smokers don’t have to walk away from their drink or the slot machine. I wish Bloomberg thought of that when he dropped his smoking ban on us…
So is Las Vegas nightlife better than New York nightlife? Some people may prefer it and I’m obviously biased, but I would have to say no. I didn’t visit every club, but my experience at Poetry repeated itself when we went to FIX in the Bellagio the following night. There are some things that Vegas nightlife does better than New York. They make it easy for you to get in the door and the city itself seems to do a good job supporting the industry as a whole. They replicate some aspects of the New York nightlife experience very well, since a lot of the owners and managers of Vegas spots came from the City. But I think New York nightlife is more diverse and more innovative. When we see fashion designers hanging out in Vegas clubs to get inspiration for their new clothes, then things will change. When we hear new music genres coming out of Vegas clubs, then their nightlife will be a cultural force. Until then, comparing their nightlife to ours is like comparing the New York, New York hotel to the actual city. It’s a good and affectionate imitation, but it’s still an imitation.