It’s hard to walk through the doors at 3765 Las Vegas Blvd. South and not feel blasts of nostalgia. This, after all, is the building that served as the home for Club Utopia, the vanguard nightspot that brought rave culture and EDM to the Strip.
But that flood of memories ends abruptly once you’re greeted by the still-life male model lounging in the lobby, his beaked briefs implying that he’s excited to see you — and that the building has entered the next phase in its evolution as a pioneering Vegas venue: It’s the first gay nightspot directly on the Strip.
The place is now called Boulevard Theatre, which hosts a few productions you’d expect to see in the tourist corridor, but on Sunday evenings — and Friday and Saturday nights, too, come Memorial Day Weekend — it presents The Affair Nightclub, a no-cover Zumanity-meets-Krave party that aims for a more artistic sexiness, from the “greeter” in the lobby to the produced acts on the stage. It’s the latest local nightclub that emphasizes a stage performance complement, but according to its creators/partners Armando Macias and Eric Schyman, who also are affiliated with Saxe Theatre at Planet Hollywood and own the V Card club-hopping pass service, the nightclub part didn’t come first.
“Our true core is not nightlife, it’s entertainment,” Macias says. “And working with David Saxe, coming up with new shows and concepts, it’s about having a creative imagination and really finding a way to tie entertainment and nightlife together. If we do an S&M skit, it’s not just opening the curtain and it’s there. It’s immediately there as you walk in the club. It’s a whole experience.”
The Affair’s mission to thread a provocative theme throughout each of its events is motivated by the desire to give the LGBT demographic a nighttime alternative, which also plays into the concept and name of the club itself. “You can attend an affair, but an affair is also something you can have with a lover,” Macias says. “In the gay community, you have an affair when you’re not satisfied with what you have.”
Furthermore, Macias and Schyman considered the feedback of LGBT tourists who prefer the “straight” dance palaces in the casinos. But they also wanted to avoid the new-paint smell of the megaclubs, hoping the unique layout and decor of the Boulevard Theatre — as well as its legacy — would give The Affair some character and class. (Utopia veterans will no doubt appreciate the remodeled patio, as well as the dance-floor “birdcage” that allows patrons as well as go-go dancers.) Add the carefully produced stage numbers, and the duo hopes to evoke a clubby classicism of something more akin to the Hollywood Roosevelt.
“Vegas is so focused on flashy colors and bigger fireworks,” Macias says. “We’re going back to the basics. We’re going back to true entertainment, not confetti.”
WHAT ARE THE OTHER GAY NIGHTLIFE ADDITIONS?
Nightlife promoter Eduardo Cordova has been quiet the past year, waiting for the termination of his noncompete agreement with former partner Light Group, and working on ventures outside of the gay party circuit. However, the founder of Revolution Lounge’s long-running Sunday gay night has resurfaced with three huge additions to the men-4-men party scene. He’s already relaunched his nighttime pool party Heaven, now held Fridays at Hard Rock Hotel’s second-level Breathe pool.
On June 12, he’ll start a new, still-unnamed Sunday party at Marquee, which represents both his biggest project yet and the first-ever weekly gay event at a Strip megaclub. Access to all the venue’s bells and whistles will reportedly be at his disposal. “Being able to bring the Marquee experience to the gays, no one else can offer that,” he says. “It’s really exciting for me.” As with Heaven, locals get free entry.
As if that wasn’t enough, Marquee’s host hotel, Cosmopolitan, has recruited him to host a midweek event called Social at Bond, the casino-floor lounge. It’ll take place every Wednesday, also starting in mid-June, when, according to Cordova, patrons can “drink martinis, put a dress shirt on and catch up.”
Cordova won’t be the only gay nightclub magnate with his hands full. His Heaven partner, Kelly Murphy, is the man behind Krave Massive — the pink elephant in the gay nightlife room. Despite headline-making setbacks, the supersized version of the former Miracle Mile Shops dance spot is set to open June 15 at downtown’s Neonopolis complex, just one floor above Murphy’s year-old Drink & Drag bowling bar. Krave 2.0 will vie for the title of world’s biggest gay nightclub.
Murphy is also working to open Boys Lounge, a chic, nonsmoking hangout at the former Sasha’s/Tramps location on Paradise Road. It’s tough to say which new Fruit Loop ultralounge will open first: Boys Lounge, or South Beach Las Vegas, which replaces veteran gay danceteria Gipsy across the street. SBLV is being overhauled as part of the Bar Rescue reality TV show; both venue and series episode are slated for a summer unveiling.
Finally, Club Metro will be the latest LGBT venture to occupy 1000 E. Sahara Ave. The former Crews’N lounge spot — longtime local gays will also remember the space as piano bar Keys in the late 1990s — will transform into a nightclub, featuring mostly EDM music, new lighting and sound systems, food options and bottle service. The 3,000-square-foot venue is slated for a late May/early June opening, upon final permit approval.