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Krave moves downtown, plans to become world’s largest gay night spot

<p>An artist&#8217;s rendering of Krave at Neonopolis.</p>

An artist’s rendering of Krave at Neonopolis.

Krave, the 17,000-square-foot nightclub at the Miracle Mile shopping center adjacent to Planet Hollywood, will move from its expensive Strip location to the slowly reviving Neonopolis. It will transform the shuttered Crown Theater/Galaxy 11 cineplex on the third floor — just feet away from drag queen-themed Drink & Drag bowling lounge, with which Krave shares an owner, Polaris Entertainment — and is slated to open, if not be completed, by year’s end. The current Krave will close as the new one opens.

The nightclub will actually be renamed Krave Massive, a nod to its ambitious expansion plans. It will now encompass 80,000 square feet, which will include five dance rooms (themed in accordance to the music to be played in each: house, Top 40, hip-hop, dance, country and Latin), Tickled Pick comedy club, a performing arts theater, an LGBT-themed movie theater, a “lesbians-only” lounge, three bars, a martini lounge, two private lounges and a retail store. An outdoor pool with cabanas is even in the works. Combined with a possible pool and Drink & Drag — which may one day be connected to its big-brother dance spot — the Krave downtown complex may grow to 120,000 square feet.

Krave Massive will be the first major nightclub to open in modern downtown Las Vegas, as well as the first gay nightclub to set up shop in downtown proper. (The Backdoor Lounge, a Latino gay bar with a dance floor, resides in the Huntridge District on Charleston.)

While Drink & Drag is pulling more than 4,000 bodies a week — two-thirds of whom are LGBT patrons, Murphy estimates — gay revelers have yet to join the downtown renaissance en masse. Downtown proper hasn’t had a hangout dedicated and marketed to gays until Drink & Drag opened in May.

Krave/Polaris owner Kelly Murphy is projecting about 12,000 people a week will eventually patronize his complex — Krave draws about 4,500, seven days a week — with one-fourth to one-third of that attendance being straight-identified locals and tourists. Plans call for four shuttles to pick would-be revelers up on the Strip and at the Fruit Loop — the gay nightlife hub just southwest of UNLV — and take them to Neonoplis. And Murphy has already established a “strategic partnership” with The Grand, the upscale hotel that will replace the nearby former Lady Luck and no doubt seeks to lure the much-coveted LGBT traveler demographic.

“My clientele, primarily gays and lesbians, they’re location-driven for specific events,” he said. “I don’t necessarily have to be on the Strip.”

Krave Massive is a big turnaround for Neonopolis, which in 2003 rubber-stamped and then denied a lease to an Ohio businessman seeking to open a gay club in the facility. (A settlement was reached in 2005, and current owner Rohit Joshi took over in 2006.) It also feels like something of a goodwill gesture from Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who joined Murphy for the announcement. She irked some in the gay community when she gave cringe-worthy answers about her stance on same-sex unions while running for office last year, and was one of the few metropolitan mayors to refuse to sign a pledge declaring support of gay marriage. Nonetheless, she enthusiastically welcomed Murphy, Krave — and “the next generation of showgirls,” as she pointed to the drag queens from Drink & Drag — into the downtown fold, while further extoling the promise of Neonopolis and the Fremont area. “We’re alive and well here,” she said. “It’s going to be a knockout, fabulous place for all of us.”