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Nightlife

You’re so vain

You probably think this club is about you. It is!

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Nightlife editor Xania Woodman rings in the New Year at Vanity Nightclub with DJ Vice.
Photo: Collier Minerich

Thursday, December 31, 11:30 p.m.

It’s my New Year’s resolution to get to the club early this New Year’s Eve and not arrive during the obligatory DJ remix of “Auld Lang Syne.” I just barely make it after cutting short an amazing New Year’s dinner at the newly relocated Ferraro’s across from the Hard Rock, dodging frantic Paradise traffic in high heels and high hopes to reach my destination before the big moment.

Happily situated just 50 yards from the dedicated HRH tower valet is Hard Rock’s New Year’s baby, Vanity Nightclub. Before being granted access, a checkpoint of sorts stops the crowd just feet from the prize. From there it’s a short walk and escalator ride up to the Vanity doorsteps. So very close, we sprint the rest of the way through the serpentine entry hallway, encrusted floor and ceiling in brassy, gold-tone metal.

No expense was spared in making Sexy a Vanity design element.

Emerging by the gas fireplace and its accompanying VIP nook, I there doff my coat at the coat check (“I’m sorry, did you say $10?!”) and make straight for the smaller of Vanity’s two inside bars (“I’m sorry, did you say $17 for a Skyy and Monster?!”). Not 10 minutes in the door and I’m out $30. But, coaxing my date from friend to midnight kiss requires that I have a cocktail or two. I write it off as a cost of being fabulous.

Speaking of egomania, as the Vanity name implies, the club is all about one person: you. We ladies needn’t search long for a reflective surface, as much of the club is covered in that same brassy gold-tone, from the studded columns to the brass stripper po ... um ... “lamps.” Two-story sepia portraits occupy the walls flanking the dance floor, four VIP stage booths, an owners’ table and a total of 10 dance-floor booths. A beauty pit crew stands ready in the ladies room to touch up hair, makeup and nails.

Gents, there’s something special for you, too. Inside what Nightlife Group managing partner Cory McCormack calls the Box, club designer Mr. Important gave the teal velvet booths a so-called “strip club lean,” which comfortably seats the guest in a posture guys might be accustomed to. Backed by the up-lit onyx catwalk and eight of the fully functioning “lamps,” one enjoys a commanding view of the dance floor and the love-it-or-hate-it wallpapered DJ booth.

Overhead, the one-of-a-kind cyclone-esque chandelier of 20,000 LED disks is a riot of color morphing in time with DJ Vice’s pre-midnight set. “I’m calling it the Neck-breaker,” McCormack had said during a private tour earlier in the week, craning his own neck to look up. At 14,000 square-feet, Vanity is the middleweight debutante of 2010’s three new clubs.

From the little bar it’s a straight shot down the middle of the club, past the honeycomb main bar to the patio. Located on the 50-yard line between pools, the patio will this summer afford peek-a-boo views of Rehab to the right, the hotel’s Beach Club to the left. But on cold nights like tonight, it’s nice just to stand beside the patio’s fire pit with someone and get lost in the licking flames like Narcissus at his pool.

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When the big moment finally comes—a surprise thanks to various cell phone carriers differing on when midnight is—we take in the fireworks over the Strip and everyone gets a split-second alone with their thoughts—New Year, clean slate! I get my midnight kiss, and the troubles of 2009 fall away like a dropped inhibition.

Downstairs at Body English around 1, it’s clear the spirit has already left the body. After six years, the club is closing to make way for Afterlife afterhours club, opening around May/June. I had hoped to blow out the year with one of those nights that turns into day as you dance on the VIP room banquettes, holding on to the ceiling while DJ Jack Lafleur cranks out the tunes. But gazing around the empty room, the bar blocked off by pipe and drape, I see that like 2009, those days are gone. We are witnessing the changing of the guard, as Vanity slides into the spotlight and Body English hands over her crown. Next stop for Body English is The Afterlife. Next stop for me is Tao—oh no, this night ain’t over yet.

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