When you were planning Drai’s, how did you decide on the then Barbary Coast (Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon)? Did you consult other properties?
No, because at the time, it was very clear in my mind I wanted to be on the Strip and … nothing on the Strip [was] available. … It was really my only option. … I liked the location of the place. … The place itself was not that great, but I always believe if you create something great enough people will find it and people will come.
Was opening Drai’s for afterhours an immediate success?
Yes, immediate … Vegas is a small town. When you open something, and if people love it and it’s something very attractive to them, it’s like a fire—everyone will know immediately. And when the locals know, the tourists know. … The tourists always ask locals, “Where do you go? What do you do?”
What do you think attracts people to Drai’s?
I don’t know. [There] is definitely a little magic there … It is a very special space. It is beautiful and very sexy and it’s very different than any other club. … It is its own niche and people, lots of people, think it’s the greatest club in Vegas. … People love to come there after work, and it’s like home, it’s been there so long.
- 15-Year Anniversary with DJ Jamie Jones
- March 15, midnight, $30 men, $20 women, local ladies free.
- Drai's Afterhours, 737-0555
You’re celebrating 15 years on March 15. To what do you attribute Drai’s’ success?
I’m very constant with the way we manage the club, the way we take care of the customer, the way we operate. And you know, it’s like a mom and pop’s place, but it’s not. It’s quite big. … It’s a totally different feeling than any other club, and I think the property will go on for another 15.
Do you have a favorite night at the club that you remember?
Oh, there are so many. … It’s almost 20 years now, between LA and Vegas … Everybody came to Drai’s. I mean, if you talk to anybody who came to Vegas the last 15 years, and they’re 40 years old, they have been to Drai’s. From all the sports guys, all the stars, they all come.
Your LA outpost includes a pool. Will we be seeing a Drai-owned dayclub soon?
We hope so, yea. We’re talking with Caesars about a huge project. Hopefully we will be able to announce that in the next few weeks or few months.
What kind of synergy do the two Drai’s clubs have? Do they borrow ideas or parties from each other?
Vegas is very unique. Vegas is the only place in the world you can create the kind of club I’ve created, because you have the appearance of new people every weekend. … You have that new blood coming in every weekend; it’s very easy to keep them satisfied. If they only come a couple times a year, you will have a place for a long time. So no, and the next club I’m doing is so huge it will be bigger than XS.
You were a movie producer before you opened your venues [credits include Weekend at Bernie’s]. Why did you decide to make such a radical career shift?
My wife at the time was pregnant, and it was my first child. I wanted to be around for the birth and for the kids, at least for the first couple years. So I didn’t want to go on set and fly all over the place to make movies. I decided to open a restaurant, just for fun, and be around for the next couple years. That was my intention in the beginning. And then, when we opened Drai’s in LA, it became such a huge success and it was just more interesting for me as a career, in the sense that I can be with my children. And I did what I wanted to do in film at that point. … As a producer, you are limited with what you can do. It’s not like a director or a writer.