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Stadium Swim at the Circa Grand Opening

For years, the Las Vegas pool scene has been dominated by clubs such as Drai’s, operated by Caesars Entertainment, and MGM Resorts International’s Wet Republic, with celebrity DJs, thumping electronic music and steep cover charges. Wynn Resorts’ Encore Beach Club even had poles in its pool for dancing.

With Circa Resort & Casino, which opens to the public on Wednesday, Stevens is aiming for something different. Stadium Swim is more of an aqua sports bar than a nightclub, with six rooftop pools heated to as high as 39 degrees Celsius (103 degrees Fahrenheit) and a 143ft-wide TV screen showing sports.

On days with big games, Circa will open kiosks where guests can deposit money for poolside mobile wagering. Of course, hosting pool parties during a pandemic isn’t an ideal scenario, but Circa is taking precautions, including temperature checks, social distancing and frequent cleaning.

Circa is the first newly built resort on this scale since the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened in 2010, according to Chad Beynon, of Macquarie Research. It occupies the site of the former Las Vegas Club in downtown, an area undergoing a renaissance in part due to heavy investments by Stevens and his brother, Greg, who also own the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel nearby.

The sports-themed pool area and an adults-only policy throughout the resort could help it stand out in a market with a lot of competition, said David Schwartz, a gaming historian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“Appealing to aspects of Las Vegas that many people love in a different way can be a formula for success,” he said.
Stevens originally considered calling the spot the Backyard, to convey what he wanted. “Kind of a like a great backyard, with a great pool scene, great food, sports on, and just a ton of fun,” he said.

Book your cabana / daybed / lounge chair for Stadium Swim here!

Kaos Nightclub at the Palms Opening Date

As is often the case in Las Vegas, the rumors were true. The Palms is building a 100,000-square-foot, multi-level dayclub and nightclub with a massive glass wall-operable door dividing indoor and outdoor spaces, a DJ booth that rotates 360 degrees, a supplemental dome cover that will make it a year-round destination and a 65-foot bronze sculpture of a headless demon.

It’s going to be KAOS.

Set to open in April, the club and amphitheater-style complex is the last big piece of the resort’s $690 million update by Station Casinos, which acquired the 17-year-old off-Strip hotel and casino in 2016. “The opening of KAOS will be the culminating moment for the repositioning of Palms’ renovation,” general manager Jon Gray said in a statement. “We’ve assembled an incredible team of operators, attracted the biggest names across a variety of genres of music and designed a next-level space that will change the club landscape across the globe.”

KAOS takes over spaces previously occupied by the Palms pool and the Rain nightclub. Kaos dayclub is designed by Friedmutter Group LV while Kaos nightclub is designed by the Rockwell Group. As reported Wednesday, the first round of exclusive artist residencies at the new venue includes English electronic music trio Above & Beyond, hip-hop chart-topper Cardi B, Oakland rapper G-Eazy, longtime Vegas club mainstay, DJ and producer Kaskade, and performing for the first time here in two years, Grammy-winning producer and DJ Skrillex.

Imagine attending a Las Vegas pool party in the shadow of British artist Damien Hirst’s eerie, six-story sculpture “Demon with Bowl.” You look around to see layers of private cabanas—39 of them across multiple levels—with sparkling glass pools jutting out over and around the crowd, people dancing and splashing inside them. This could happen at KAOS’ “luxe Greek-inspired oasis” dayclub, as most of its cabanas will feature cantilevered glass pools. Besides the rotating DJ booth that sits at the center of the indoor and outdoor areas, the pool club portion also features an additional stage and live entertainment performance space and “the city’s largest LED wall” on the eastern side of the hotel’s Ivory Tower, streaming live shots of the club for Vegas visitors outside the resort to enjoy.

Pool party season in Las Vegas currently begins in March and runs into October, but dayclub business has grown so lucrative in recent years that several venues have experimented with offseason programming, most notably Marquee’s “dayclub dome” that has added a roof to the Cosmopolitan club for several weeks during winter months. KAOS will be the first Vegas megaclub to be built as a year-round venue. Its nightclub space, according to today’s announcement, “takes inspiration from a modern playhouse, with art and architecture working hand in hand to create a surreal, ever-shifting experience.”

The Palms has also woven technology in the KAOS logo, “the first-ever audio-powered living brand logo” designed to capture the sonic energy created by the club. The “O” in the club’s name is based on 12 audio variable inputs that use voice and music to create its shape, color and motion. KAOS’ first five resident artists are the first to debut this new technology, created by AKQA Portland, with their own unique sound-generated icons being unveiled across social media today, and you can create your own version of the KAOS “O” via an interactive platform on the website at palms.com/kaos.

New Nightclub On The Record Coming to Park MGM Las Vegas

On the record, twin-brother L.A. nightlife impresarios Mark and Jonnie Houston are coming to Las Vegas with their new nightlife concept, On the Record.

Known for creating multilayered entertainment spaces — such as Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, Black Rabbit Rose and the carnival-themed, politics-tinged Madame Siam Sideshow Emporium — that blend drinking, dancing, design, socializing and cool hidden “speakeasy” entrances, the fraternal twins have been considering Las Vegas for years. But a space in Park MGM (formerly the Monte Carlo), a resort developed in partnership between MGM Resorts and Sydell Group, helped seal the deal.

“Sydell made the intro to MGM Resorts, and we were courted by them for three years,” says Mark Houston.

The duo’s popular Break Room 86 is located inside Sydell’s Line Hotel in Koreatown.

“As avid visitors, we said, ‘Why not do Vegas?’” Mark says. “There is a demand for something new and to add another layer that the town doesn’t have right now.”

“In the past, when Mark and I went to Las Vegas there haven’t been a lot of [nightlife options] that appeal to us — we go to nice dinners, see a Cirque show, get a massage, do a little gambling,” says Jonnie. “There was nothing that drew us — it was the same nightclubs. We want to create an immersive experience to take people out of the norm. We want people to go out and have a good time.”

At 11,000 square feet, On the Record, situated across from the Park MGM theater (where Lady Gaga will also debut her residency New Year’s Eve), will be the largest venture to date for the Houstons but small by Las Vegas mega-club standards. But the brothers are quick to point out that they aren’t trying to compete with such hotspots as Marquee and Hakkasan (averaging around 50,000 square feet). “I do love those places for what they are and I do appreciate them,” Jonnie says. “What they do is amazing, and they are great at what they do.”

Divided into three main spaces but offering multiple experiences, On the Record will incorporate the hallmarks of the Houstons’ existing venues and is sure to lure Hollywood fans as their L.A. spots do (Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Pattinson, Billy Idol).

“[The norm right now in Vegas is] one big room with one DJ, bottle service — and if you don’t have a table, you may feel pushed aside. We want to create an experience where everyone feels important,” Jonnie says, adding that OTR will allow partiers “to escape and explore so you are not stuck in one room.” He compares it to “the best date I have ever had…. Every place you go a different piece of magic happens.”

“The entry of the space is a fully functioning record store,” says Mark. “As kids, we went to Tower Records and picked out records. On the Record is nostalgic and driven by our experiences. You had to work for it; vinyl had a raw, gritty vibe versus a download.” He adds that there will be a hidden entrance from the store into the club, a design that’s “something we haven’t done before.”

Inside will be a main room with hidden VIP areas and a reservation-only “speakeasy within a speakeasy,” which Mark calls the “jewel box.” The outdoor patio does not face Las Vegas Boulevard.

“[The vibe is] ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s — it is a journey,” Jonnie says. “Within the rooms there [will be a mix of ] DJs and opportunities for bands to bend their genres.”

As with their L.A. spots, the brothers will design the space themselves and curate found items that work with the theme. On the Record will offer bottle service and other types of communal imbibing like punch bowls. Food will be served by a yet-to-be named partner and the cocktail program will be a combination of their team and other mixologists.

“When I go to L.A. and see them doing such a good job of creating a vibe and an experience that is different, then that’s what gets me excited,” says Sean Christie, president of events and nightlife for MGM Resorts International. “I supported them to build infrastructure in Las Vegas so that we can have the best of both worlds, which is their creativity, their unique spin on the way they see the world, the types of places they do in L.A. — and then combine that with the expertise that I have related to nightclubs and Las Vegas.”

Over the last decade, Christie created some of the desert city’s most well-known and profitable nightclubs for Wynn Las Vegas — such as Blush and Encore Beach Club — and later served as executive vp business development for Wynn Resorts. He joined MGM Resorts in early 2018.

“I think the things that have really worked in the last 10 years are entertainment-driven concepts driven by DJs, artists or famous people — names that cause people to buy tickets, prepay for tables and make their itinerary based on a calendar, much like you would decide to see a live show,” Christie notes. “But I found myself sitting in Break Room 86 and I was having a lot of fun and I thought it could work. It was unexpected, and I’m a hard customer to please. We’re inundated so much with technology, and because of things like vinyl — lo-fi things — [On the Record] evokes a certain amount of nostalgia and imagery that hits your soft spots.”