Friday, June 7, 2013

Hakkasan: Does 100 Million Turn into Vegas Rage?

One of the most hyped clubs since last year has been the Hakkasan. When I was at WMC this year in Miami, I saw cab after cab advertising for this place. After a month goes by, I heard many reviews both positive and negative and I thought the only way to find out is to go see it for myself. On this particular trip, I will be doing a preview and comparison between two of the newest mega nightclubs that Vegas has built to cater to the EDM crowd.  My other review will be on the Light at Mandalay Bay.

Located at the MGM Grand, the prime real estate serves as a convenient spot for the South end strip dwellers. Most of the younger crowd ends up staying at hotels around this area to be close to all the clubs without spending a fortune on cabs.  I didn't get checked into my hotel at the Platinum (by Ballys) until 9:30 and somehow I had enough to get changed in my Vegas bests (tie, vest and the whole 9 yards) and still make it to the club by 10:45.  I had a fairly good ratio of females with me and I had already texted my long time host which worked at Wet Republic, Thomas to get me us in.

Ratios. Don't leave home without them in Vegas. RK and Anatasia from EDME
As I approached the club, it was a zoo surrounding the place. Also the guestlist line wrapped around the building and into the hallway where the stores are. Finding Thomas was almost impossible, especially when he caters to mostly the higher end clientele and was probably busy seating one of his 25K min tables that he sold on that particular night. Thomas directed me to someone else that worked the ropes at the front, and he was able to get our group of ladies in smoothly. The process after getting past the ropes didn't last more then 5 mins after the bouncers checked your credentials for entry.

I physically set foot in the club at about 11:15 PM, and the dance floor was still not crowded. I managed to get a quick tour of the entire place and found a few sweet spots where the bass hit very well. Surprisingly the sound on the dance floor itself is not as loud as the second level. Another thing I notice is that the crowd tends to flow from the right side of the dance floor. If you are entering the dance floor, you would probably have an easier time staying on the left without being bumped into.  By midnight, all bets are off for free movement on the dancefloor.

11:15 is about the only time when there is room on the floor

One of the gripes I read a lot on the other reviews was that there are too many stairs. I did not find this to be an issue at all. If you are comparing the stairs that are at Marquee, these are just baby steps. There is also an elevator that takes you to two places, the exit or the downstairs hip hop room. The guys working the elevator specifically tell you where they are going, so make sure you take the right one.

So finally I decided I had enough with getting bumped into with the sub-standard opening EDM acts, and I went to the hip hop room with Chris, a promoter from Light that I met that night. We took the elevator down and I heard nothing but ratchet music and tons of smoke. People were definitely getting their party on. In the hip hop room there is actual dance space, and it seemed the crowd was able to have more fun. I spent a good 45 minutes down here before it was almost time for main act to come on at the main stage.

Dada Life as the main DJs at Hakkasan
When Dada Life finally came on, it seems like the lighting and volume increased and the production value went up. By production, I mean more confetti then ever before. Dada played a very expected set. It wasn't one I haven't heard before from other festivals and clubs. I think the problem with signing resident DJs that play every other week is that they tend to lose interest in changing it up for the crowd. It's probably more of a problem in Vegas now days then anywhere else.

Dada Life - Ending the Night by Kicking out the Epic
The night came and went. I can't say that it was let down. I also can't say it was mind blowing.  I think the owners really focused on keeping the restaurant element of Hakkasan and left out a few essentials that can probably help put this place over the top. The over crowding issue tends to occur at clubs converted from restaurants. I.e. Tao nightclub is almost unbearable on most nights with a full house. Hakkasan does have a few places for you to take a breather, only if you know where to look. I would definitely come back.

PS. I met my favorite dayclub hostess, Danny at Wet Republic. That, on its own made my night. For all your Hakkasan needs, contact Thomas Gorman at 702.340.6498. 

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