It’s a big room, envisioned, in part, by a man with equally outsize dimensions.
Mio Danilovic gesticulates with arms the size of a pro wrestler’s as he elaborates upon the attention to detail paid to Life, the new 20,000-square-foot megaclub at SLS Las Vegas.
“We literally changed that layout 100 times. I’m not exaggerating,” says Danilovic, the vice president of nightlife operations for Sam Nazarian’s hotel management company SBE, which is overseeing the SLS. “We sat and redid the drawings 100 times. Even in that large space, every inch of every couch is very carefully measured and thought out.”
Located in the space that once housed the Sahara Theater, Life uses the bones of that venue, with its 60-foot-high ceiling, tiered floor and snaking fly loft, from which a dozen aerial performers can be suspended at once, Danilovic says.
It’s a mix of grit and grandiosity, with a slight industrial feel thanks to the remaining theatrical rigging contrasted with more luminous flourishes such as the massive LED wall positioned center stage above the DJ booth.
The room holds 1,800 people, with three bars and 70 VIP tables positioned in an open layout with clear sight lines throughout.
“There’s not one dead end in the entire place,” Danilovic says with something approaching parental pride. “You can move around everywhere without stopping. It’s a seamless flow. When we saw the box, we immediately noticed, ‘OK, this is something where we can create a large nightclub that has the energy and intimacy of a small nightclub.’ ”
Life will host the kind of de rigueur big-name DJs who have come to define high-end Vegas nightlife, with Erick Morillo, Laidback Luke, Dirty South and Borgore among the first acts booked for the club.
Next spring, rooftop dayclub Beach Life will open.
If Life is meant to bombard the senses with a candy land of sonic and visual ostentation, the room in which Danilovic currently sits, Foxtail, has a darker, more underground feel to it.
Perhaps the most prominent feature of the midsize, 8,000-square-foot nightclub is the gorgeous, hand-drawn calligraphy that shimmers across the black walls in golden and silver hues, some of the words taken from Charles Bukowski novels.
Contrasted with lavish drapery and chandeliers, it gives Foxtail an upscale, yet edgy vibe, with custom cocktails and blackjack tables.
“It’s like James Bond going to a black tie event,” Danilovic says. Sort of. “But James Bond has his shirt rolled up, his tie undone and there’s some tattoos under there.”
The indoor-outdoor club opens to the SLS pool, where there’s 3-D mapping on one side of the building.
Above the dance floor, an LED fixture swarms the ceiling in pulsating color.
DJs will perform here also with Swedish duo Rebecca &Fiona scheduled for Foxtail’s grand opening on Thursday.
OK, so if Life and Foxtail are SLS’ large and medium-sized nightlife properties, respectively, what about its small one?
Enter chameleonic L.A.-transplant The Sayers Club.
“My goal has always been to walk that line between a nightclub, a live music venue and a lounge,” says Sayers Club curator and creator Jason Scoppa, a former actor and model who looks kind of like Skeet Ulrich.
Appointed with designer leather couches, stylish rugs and a patio that overlooks the Strip, it’s an intimate, inviting space that has a handcrafted feel to it.
“I drew this stage on a napkin,” says Scoppa, gesturing toward the spot where artists ranging from jazz acts to indie rockers will perform in the 4,700-square-foot club.
Scoppa made the L.A. Sayers Club a hot spot for celebrities and musicians alike, with big names such as Prince and The Black Keys dropping by for impromptu performances. It’s also been an incubator for up-and-coming talent, such as electro pop duo Capital Cities, who played the room often before breaking nationally last year.
The L.A. incarnation of the club is perhaps best known for its Sayer Sessions, weekend cover shows that Scoppa is bringing to Las Vegas on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Scoppa hosts the shows, bringing in local and national talent depending on who’s in town.
“We don’t lay out the set,” he says. “I may come up with a loose set of 10 songs and cancel all of them as soon as we get up there because so and so is here and I know that person can sing this and I’ll call them out. There’s that real sense of, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen next.’ ”
Scoppa likes to keep performances short, limited to 25 minutes or so.
His reasoning: Each night isn’t meant to be defined by one thing.
Kind of like the club itself.
“It’s a place for people who love music, and it’s a place for people to get introduced to live music, but we try to put it in a context that makes it palatable for people who aren’t really going to DJ-driven clubs,” Scoppa says. “There’s more of a connection. The Sayers Club is really supposed to cater to everybody.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.