When we took on the challenge of reformatting the NCB Five Star Award Program we knew it wouldn’t be easy. Fast forward a year and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the all-new Nightclub & Bar Awards, with more than 235 entries in 14 categories. Our panel of respected industry heavyweights, scribes, columnists and trendsetters from across the country had the tough task of sorting through the entries and making some difficult choices. We thank each and every one of you for your assistance in highlighting the best in the business and assisting us in rewarding the hard work of hundreds of industry managers, staffers and owners. For the complete list of 2010 Nightclub & Bar Award winners, click here.
The nightclub portion of the awards program was split into seven categories that ranged from the venues themselves to the DJs who set up shop each and every night to the promotions that continue to wow guests. As a Las Vegas resident who spends far too many late nights dancing on a banquette, it was tremendous to see how strong Las Vegas finished in the voting. In my opinion, and for many different reasons, no one builds them bigger, better or more profitable than here in Sin City, and that was reflected in the winners as five different Las Vegas companies took home prizes, creating a clean sweep for the city in the desert.
Anyone who has even passed by XS Nightclub on a Saturday night knows Victor Drai and the Waits brothers have accomplished something seriously special in their multimillion-dollar ode to excess. That’s why it should be no big surprise that XS captured two of the most coveted nightclub awards: Mega-Club of the Year and New Club of the Year. If you haven’t had a chance to see XS for yourselves, we recommend circling Tuesday, March 9 on your calendar, when the party honoring the Nightclub & Bar Top 100 takes center stage at the beautiful indoor/outdoor venue.
The other nightclub company to take home two awards this year was the N9NE Group, which has taken a different approach to Sin City nightlife than its brethren at XS and Tryst. At The Palms, it’s all about the production-driven events and the big-name DJ. When N9NE Group VP Michael Fuller inked international superstar DJ Paul Oakenfold to a residency at RAIN Nightclub, the industry took notice. When Oakenfold’s Planet Perfecto launched with dozens of costumed characters and oddities and an integrated A/V system that transplanted guests across the galaxy to Paul’s home planet, mouths were left on the floor. Oakenfold picked up the award for Best Resident DJ, and we have a feeling the performance piece was a big part of that. The second award picked up by the N9NE Group was for Single Promotion of the Year for its annual Midsummer Night’s Dream party. Still a traditional gala at Hugh Hefner’s mansion in Los Angeles, Fuller and his team took the party to a whole other level, committing a six-figure budget to turn the Palms Pool into an unrecognizable haven of pure party pleasure.
XS wasn’t the only Wynn Las Vegas venue to bring home an award, as Sean Christie’s Blush Boutique Nightclub took home the Ultra-Lounge of the Year award. The beautifully decorated venue has always played with its intimate size as a selling point and the hundred-plus Cantonese lantern lighting system is still truly unique, which helped Blush pull out the victory in one of the tightest categories.
Lastly, in the category for Ongoing Promotion of the Year, it was the Hard Rock Hotel that took home the award for Rehab, the pool party that has changed the way the industry looks at both waterside festivities and daylight. Incredibly, the weekly Sunday pool party simply keeps getting bigger and more profitable each year. Last year, with the help of Tru TV and its own reality show, Rehab rocked every record for attendance, reservations, cabana sales and profitability. With Morgans Hotel Group now holding the Rehab reins, there is talk of the party expanding to other markets, but there will still only be one Rehab.