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Nu kid in town

The “sanctuary lounge” opens at Town Square

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Nu Sanctuary Lounge at Town Square.
Photo: Mikey McNulty

Situated in a prime position at Town Square by Rave Motion Pictures and near Yard House, is the glowing tree that serves as Nu Sanctuary Lounge's centerpiece. The giant custom tree vibrantly glowing from within reaches across the ceiling and draws patrons in, as does the simulated root pattern segmenting the concrete floor. Both the tree and floor change color in sync with the whole environment — sometimes pure white, sometimes blues, sometimes yellows and reds.

So just what is a "sanctuary lounge?"

"It's Avatar meets a spiritual conception," laughs Managing Partner and Vegas nightlife veteran Gino LoPinto. Nu, which opened its doors May 4, is a refuge where an international nightlife vibe meets modern global fusion dining.

Nu Sanctuary Lounge

To the left of the entrance, a video wall and art instillation contrasts nature with a futuristic edge. Throughout the space, organic inspiration meets modernization via clean lines and wooden furniture. The menus are presented on tree rings.

Along the back wall of Nu (past the tree), is the "Nu Supper" private dining area, complete with modified Da Vinci painting to represent six religions eating together. Perhaps the diverse group is sampling yellowfin tuna and watermelon bites — LoPinto's current favorite dish. There are plenty of other tempting nibbles on the menu as well, courtesy of Executive Chef Brian Howard (formerly of Alize, Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bistro, Kerry Simon's CatHouse and LA Market in LA). "It's fun and progressive dishes from around the world," LoPinto explains of the varied of cuisine.

As LoPinto sips on a Dilli Lama cocktail with Level vodka, Agave Lime Nectar and a garnish of fresh dill and cucumber, the vibe switches from hip dining spot to energetic nightlife venue. On the patio, patrons enjoy cocktails from a list of libations created by Southern Wine and Spirits' Armando Rosario, Drew Levinso from Wirtz Beverage Group and Nu's director of nightlife, Jameson Visconte.

Post-dinner hookahs, which appear to be created from tree branches, also are available with fresh fruit blends soon to be on-hand courtesy of founder, Managing Partner, and hookah master Zaher "Z" Fakih.

Nu's music director, DJ Shoe (also of Little Buddha), provides the dinner-hour house music four nights a week. "I'm sticking to my roots," say LoPinto (no tree pun intended), of the music format, which will include variations of tribal house seven days a week. Schedule highlights include Keith Evan's Wednesday night party Taste relocating from Café Soleil to Nu (confirmed as special guests are Chuck Love this Wednesday, and Colette on June 9), Jason Lema on Divine Thursdays, DJs Fuzion and Albert spin for Forbidden Fridays, Spiritual Saturdays with Carlos Sanchez and Caycee the Drummer, plus Faarsheed as the Saturday late-night resident.

Restaurant Guide

Nu Sanctuary Lounge
Inside Town Square, 527-7851.
Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-4 a.m., Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m.-8 a.m.

Also worth checking out are Twilight Sundays featuring Live Elements, a new project from R.O.B. that incorporates congas, saxophone and what LoPinto describes as "top 40 vocals over groovy house music." The sound system designed by FBP Group (the folks behind the award-winning setup at Body English) only enhances the atmosphere.

That atmosphere is both worldly and casual — a mix LoPinto thinks will work well in the new space.

"Nu has the local friendliness of Town Square with a really cool, happening vibe you'd find in Miami or Ibiza," he says. And that's what's Nu.

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