Famous Namesake

Let's be honest: During its heyday in the 1970s, you -- and, for that matter, everybody we know -- never would have been admitted into New York City's legendary Studio 54.

But, flash forward a few decades, and Studio 54 -- the Las Vegas version -- is available even to people whose names don't happen to be Mick, Elton, Liza or Andy.

Studio 54 opened in December 1997 at the MGM Grand. And that makes it "really the pioneer for your larger megaclubs in Las Vegas," notes Anthony Olheiser, the MGM's director of nightlife.

The 22,000-square-foot club can accommodate about 2,000 revelers at a time. And, while the club is the beneficiary of continual updates -- last year's renovation of the upstairs VIP area, for instance, created a space "much more open and more social," Olheiser says -- touches of its famous Big Apple namesake remain.

The idea is to offer "some newer things in the club, but keep it very nostalgic," Olheiser says, from the iconic signs to the industrial look to the archival photographs of A-list celebs partying like it's 1977.

Key to Studio 54's success is customer service, Olheiser says. "We really treat people like they're the only people in the club."

Also important are the "world-renowned DJs" whom the club regularly hosts, he continues, as well as its regular slate of hosted and celebrity-driven events.

And, unlike that NYC club of a few decades ago, locals definitely are welcome. Locals are "really our bread and butter," Olheiser says, and "responsible for (the club) being as successful as we are."

Of course, it couldn't hurt that Studio 54 bears what Olheiser correctly calls "probably the most famous name in nightclub history."

Both locals and tourists, even after all these years, remain "sort of intrigued by Studio 54 and what it's about," he says.

Studio 54 is open from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays (dark Sundays and Mondays), although, on Saturday nights, after-hours festivities can continue until as late as 7 a.m. Sunday.

Cover charges range from $20 to $30, Olheiser says, but locals -- both men and women -- are admitted free.

Table reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 891-7279. For general information, call 891-7254.

Contact reporter John Przybys at jprzybys@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280.