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Prive goes dark: Inside the last night at Planet Hollywood

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The party doesn’t live here anymore: Prive’s liquor license denial means the club is closing its doors for now.

In terms of ironic endings, this morning’s finale at Privé couldn’t have been any better.

For his last song of the night, the DJ chose “Roxanne” by the Police. As Sting sang, “You don’t have to put on the red light,” local policing authorities were giving Privé the red light, forcing the club to close.

Planet Hollywood’s flagship four-walled nightclub is being forced to turn off all of its lights after its application for a new liquor license was denied last week.

The club, which was operating on a license that expired today, now has to reapply but can’t do so until the State Gaming Control Board's next regular meeting a week from today.

The nightclub will remain dark until then, if not later, since there is no guarantee that the application will be given the green light next week. The nightspot’s previous application was denied, after all, on July 23.

Yet the hard line doesn’t come without reason: The rejection followed a litany of charges against The Opium Group-owned nightspot and its landlord, Planet Hollywood.

Among the complaints: not abiding by the duties of a liquor licensee; the dumping of drunk patrons on the casino floor; failing to prevent toplessness and lewd behavior; admitting and serving clubgoers who were under 21 years old; and physically and sexually assaulting customers. A $750,000 fine was subsequently delivered to Planet Hollywood, of which the resort paid $500,000. (They can avoid the additional $250,000 if no future issues concerning noncompliance are raised.)

Yet as the nightspot prepared to close for a week or more (or forever, if things really go south) this morning, the people clearing and optimistically resetting the VIP cocktail tables didn’t seem to realize the gravity of the situation.

In fact, many of them didn’t even realize the nightspot was closing at all.

“They’re not closing,” a busser reported with confidence. “They have too much money.”

“Come back Friday and see if they're closed,” he said.

His cocky attitude was nowhere to be seen after he was told about Thursday’s decision and the current situation.

“Oh, wow,” he said, eyes widening. “Maybe I should look for another job.”

One of the cocktail servers was similarly naïve to the situation.

“They might not be closing,” she said, sounding rather unconvinced herself.

Prive nightclub

Despite the uncertain situation, the server wasn’t worried about the looming closure.

“I’ll be OK,” she said.

The slim and attractive young woman has been working at the club for less than a year and said she enjoys it. She has worked at a few other clubs in town, including Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel and Tao at the Venetian, and said she likes Privé the best.

“The people, the management, everything,” she said, are the best in town.

Ironically enough, she said it was the nightspot’s lack of drama that she appreciated the most. Following Privé and Planet Hollywood’s recent, very dramatic charges and penalties, however, the server acknowledged that she may have to look for hours elsewhere.

She is going to take a “wait and see” approach for the first while, she said, but will ask for more hours at the other club she works at if Privé doesn’t reopen within a few weeks.

She currently puts in time at one of the Strip’s other popular nightclubs and said she could easily go from one to three nights a week if she wanted to.

“I’ll be OK,” she said, sounding far more confident this time.

A Privé security guard was similarly unconcerned.

“I have a day job,” he said with a laugh.

While he admitted he would miss the extra cash the after-hours gig at Privé provides, he said he wouldn’t bother looking for another evenings-only job elsewhere.

Besides, he said, Privé won’t be closed for long.

The Police-playing DJ also seemed rather sure that the closure would be both temporary and short-lived.

“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight,” he shouted over the sound system at 3 a.m.

“We won't be gone for that long,” he boasted. “We will be back, we will be back.”

All four employees, along with the thousands of partiers who go to the club every week, will have to, as the cocktail server put it, “wait and see” about that.

The club’s managing partners are expected to resubmit their liquor license application on Aug, 4.

Until then, the nightspot will remain dark and all of the club’s lights, red and otherwise, will be turned off.

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Melissa Arseniuk

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