Could there be a Las Vegas club curse?

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When I discovered Rain Nightclub in 2010, it would soon become the club that invented Las Vegas mega clubs in my eyes. In 2012, Rain shut its doors to make way for a $50 million renovation of the Palms. The 9Group managed Rain, which had it all ̶ a flame-throwing chandelier, three levels to explore, amazing entertainment and performances. Somehow, it was not enough to bring Rain back to its full capacity, so it remained closed. This is when, what I call, the “Vegas Club Curse” starts. Not only did Rain close in late 2012, with plans to open back up in 2013 but two other venues, The View and Moon in the Palms would soon follow in 2014.

Starting to explore the LGBTQ+ scene a bit more, I loved watching Shannel perform at Gipsy, an LGBTQ+ nightclub that was in the “Fruit Loop.” In 2012, the bar closed and was featured on the TV show, “Bar Rescue,” to get needed updates. The “Vegas Club Curse” was just kicking off. Bar Rescue’s fabricated and insulting storyline, along with slipshod work, only succeeded in making the disgusted owner close the place and begin a multi-million dollar remodel. Then a contractor allegedly absconded with the funds. After a lawsuit and several years of delays, construction has started again. Meanwhile, you can still visit her sister club, Piranha, across the street where you can see some of the same wonderful queens you saw at Gipsy’s, including Shannel, India and more, at a new club called “Share.”

Striking a pose KAOS SOAK night
swim at DeadMau5 on July 29.

Things started to get wonky with the “Krave Situation.” Right about the time Tao and XS opened on the Strip, so did Krave Nightclub, an LGBTQ+ nightclub that was on the Strip in the Miracle Mile Shops. Everyone in the LGBTQ+ and ally community was craving it from the beginning. After much success they had elaborate plans for Krave Massive to be built in downtown Las Vegas. They also opened Drink & Drag. In late 2012, Krave closed its doors at Miracle Mile. It announced its temporary location at the Rio across from the Palms. It was announced that it would be opening Jan. 18, 2013, until Krave Massive was ready. Krave Massive opened in mid-2013 and was closed by September 2013. Drink & Drag followed suit and closed in October of 2013.

Krave was down for the count but not out, yet. It found a new home at the “Tommy Wind Theater,” next door to the MGM Grand. Other LGBTQ+ clubs: The Affair and Equilibrium had recently opened and closed, while Krave, unfortunately, met the same fate.

The Las Vegas Club Scene has been such a whirlwind that it can be tough to keep track. Club Metro opened at the site of the former Keys Piano bar, across from Commercial Center. The Locker Room opened and closed in the Fruit Loop. That was 2015 and 2016.

When Caesars Entertainment turned the Barbary Coast into The Cromwell, Drai’s Nightclub brand grew and launched an LGBTQ+ club inside Bally’s called Liaison. It was exciting to see such a notable nightlife and entertainment company take a chance on the LGBTQ+ market in Vegas so I started promoting for them. Circumstances lead to the untimely closing of Liaison in early 2015 but I learned a lot in the short time I spent there.

Share Nightclub and Piranha were yet again the only club options for LGBTQ+ clubs in the Vegas Valley, and the “Vegas Club Curse” continued when Share changed management in early 2015 and closed its doors that June. Share closed. Krush and Rendezvous would open and close in the next year in a venue next to The Orleans.

Stephan Penczek dresses for KAOS’ SOAK
Night Swim to see DeadMau5 July 29

April 2019, I thought that I was dreaming. The Palms’ $700 million renovation was almost complete and KAOS was due to open. I was incredibly excited to go see how the Palms would reinvent nightlife yet once again. Not only was KAOS opening, but also a new and promising, LGBTQ+ centric club called ICONIC was opening where Share opened eight years prior. I knew there was something big coming for the Las Vegas nightlife, but little did I know it would lead me to be writing this article titled “Vegas Club Curse.”

As of October, ICONIC has gone into “hibernation” and is seeking an investment with a goal to come back in this summer. KAOS, on the other hand, reopened Halloween weekend, after closing for two months to build a climate-controlled dome over its pool. KAOS, after reopening, abruptly closed after Halloween on the seventh anniversary of its predecessor, Rain. The media reports the KAOS closing signifies a shift or change in nightlife, and to that point so could one more LGBTQ+ club closing. Whatever change may come, nothing can change the fact that Vegas has endless opportunities as we see every day, it’s all about the hand you play.

Stephan SirFreezy is with Pride Tour Guide, a radio producer and on-air talent with the FoXX & Freezy show in Las Vegas on 94.1 HD2 and Radio.Com. To learn more about SirFreezy go to StephanSirFreezy.com. 

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