Anyone visiting the recently opened MGM Grand nightclub/restaurant Hakkasan haplessly looking for any skeletal trace of Studio 54 — the longtime Strip danceteria closed early last year for the new facility — is bound to be distracted by the venue’s jaw-dropping opulence.
Hakkasan, a global fine-dining brand, and Angel Management Group (Pure, LAX, Wet Republic) reportedly spent north of $100 million to build the five-story, 80,000-square-foot eat-and-party spot, and you can quickly see where that money went, from the countless marble lattice walls that cage the dining tables and VIP booths, to the lush Garden Room, where partiers might find a little respite from the booming, laser-filled main room.
And in that two-story, nearly 360-degree main room, you’ll discover some of the most popular EDM names in the world — almost all pilfered from Wynn’s nightlife roster — holding court in the DJ booth above a remarkably small floor, surrounded by tables meant for bottle service. Those DJs — which include two official residents, Tiesto and Calvin Harris, and headliners Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki, among others, all claiming their own themed party and costumed-dancer squad — also did not come cheap. General admission to Deadmau5’s April 26 gig cost $75. That was for a grand-opening party, but will he ever play a nonholiday gig where his real fans can reasonably afford a ticket, especially since he’s said to be making over $400,000 a performance?
Which begs the buzzkill question: Will seeing a headlining DJ in Las Vegas soon be limited to the wealthy? Does soon-to-open Light at Mandalay Bay outdo Hakkasan with an $80 Skrillex ticket? Will Victor Drai’s future nightclub institutionalize a triple-digit cover?
Competition and Vegas’ over-the-top reputation all but required Hakkasan to be the most visually stunning entertainment complex on the Strip. But at some point, the very sort of fan that rocketed these superstar DJs to stardom will be priced out of these parties. Can the nightlife industry get by on $700 Grey Goose bottles alone?