New club to wean off bottle service

Nightclubs rake in millions by compelling people to buy bottle-service tables for hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. That system irks many club-goers.

But the new Cirque du Soleil nightclub, being built at Mandalay Bay, is cutting back on space dedicated to bottle-service tables to make room for dancing, drinking and standing.

That may sound like an obvious thing to do. But you would be surprised how hard it is to just stand in some clubs.

At Mirage’s 1 Oak nightclub, so much floor space is taken up by VIP booths that I was harangued by security to stop standing, so I left.

Josh Held, who is heading design and architecture at Mandalay’s new Light club, tells me it is not being designed specifically for bottle service.

“There is much more room between the bars and the tables,” Held says. “There is room for people to experience it without getting bottle service.”

But of course, he adds, there will be an “enormous number of tables.”

Light opens in April boasting the Strip’s biggest dance floor.

Held says the club will have performers “flying through the room.”

And it won’t offer traditional go-go cages.

“I can assure you, though, there will be many, many dancers,” Held says.

He and other designers are trying to make the entrance less bottleneck-ish, with different entries for general admission, table VIPs and ticket-holders.

“The throat to get into the club is much bigger” than it used to be when that space was run by club Rumjungle.

“Hopefully there will be much more of a flow into the club than people are used to.”

Held, 40, has real credentials. He designed spaces for club Cherry; the “Phantom” and Gordie Brown shows; the Hard Rock Hotel expansion; restaurant Yellowtail and chefs Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay; and the renovation of club Marquee in New York City.

Held’s Cherry club design featured a supercool red tunnel entrance. Light will have a tunnel too (but not red).

“You want to create this transition — this birth canal — that you arrive at the other end of, and you’re in the middle of this experience.”

Club Light (a collaboration between the Light Group and Cirque) has signed exclusive residencies with big DJs: Skrillex, Zedd, Sebastian Ingrosso (of Swedish House Mafia), A-Trak, Axwell, Alesso, Bassjackers, Nicky Romero, Otto Knows, Thomas Gold and Mat Zo.


■ Sapphire strip club is donating $5,000 to the family of cabdriver Michael Boldon and setting up a donation station at the club’s valet stand. Boldon was killed in Thursday’s Strip shooting and cab explosion.

■ Coco Austin could be surpassing the popularity of Holly Madison as the star of “Peepshow.” She just signed a four-month contract extension for the Planet Hollywood show.

Meanwhile, Austin (also Mrs. Ice-T) has been working out at Shine Alternative Fitness. She was there Tuesday in leggings and a pink sports bra.

■ And DJ-producer Calvin Harris — of the superhits “We Found Love,” “Sweet Nothing,” “Feel So Close” and “Bounce” — just signed a deal to be a resident DJ at MGM Grand’s upcoming Hakkasan nightclub for 46 dates, plus 22 dates at MGM’s Wet Republic dayclub.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at He blogs at