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Paris’ Chateau nightclub gets off to strong start

Here’s the question: Since The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ club Marquee is the hot new girlfriend of Strip night life, can Paris’ new club Chateau be satisfied as your girlfriend on the side?

The answer partly will hinge on whether women put up with Chateau’s ridiculous staircase entrance. To get into Chateau, you cram together with hundreds of people at the bottom of a staircase — in liability-proof Vegas.

“We are wearing 5-inch heels,” says a local clubber named Chantel who passes on giving her last name.

“You should be designing your club for women, because that makes you your money. There are gonna be women tumbling down the stairs,” she worries.

That was Chantel’s only complaint, however. So let’s assume for a moment that the stairs don’t matter and go inside.

It’s a rectangular club. You think, “This seems a lot like Rok Vegas over at New York-New York.” It’s either “intimate” or “cramped,” depending on your mood.

The sound system is superb, loud yet crisp, as a Japanese anime amount of strobe lights blast your pupils.

You walk outside to the patio and you are immediately aware this is a club crafted by Stevie D. (Steve Davidovici, the man who made Pure and LAX what they were.)

The outdoor area is Pure-light, but smaller, and with a “CHATEAU” sign glowing with too-bright bulbs, making anyone under that 20-foot area look uglier.

The bottom line, however, is it’s a chill patio done well enough. It inspires couples making out, girls dancing, cocktail waitresses wearing French maid outfits, and guys grinding against bent-over lasses.

If Stevie D. ran a Container Store for nightclubs, Chateau could have come from that store.

You walk to the “Exit” sign on the patio, and there’s a beautiful woman having a fit.

“I’ve been trying to leave for an hour and a half,” she tells a security guy.

He instructs her to walk to the other end of the club to leave. She tells him she tried that several times, and the doorman there sent her back here.

Within seconds, a group of people saunter up and say the same thing. They can’t get out.

This is the biggest trend in nightclubs: The circular insanity of drinkers trying to leave.

But that doorman does get those people exited. And you can find your way out of Chateau with mild detective work. It’s much worse at Marquee.

So considering Chateau just opened last weekend, and the only obvious issues seem to be the staircase and that too-bright Chateau sign, its overall strengths give it a strong start.

In May, it will open a third level, its most alluring promise: a 17,500-square-foot outdoor area overlooking the Strip.

Could that third floor take Chateau to the next level and overtake Marquee, across the street? Seems somewhat possible yet unlikely.

You stand at the bottom of that staircase at 2:15 a.m. and watch. People come out looking just about as happy or confused as they do at any other top club — tipsy, texting, posing, turned on, turned off, making out, or headed for Marquee.

Chantel issued her judgment: Chateau is “nice,” and she likes the design and “amazing architecture” (reminds her of Prive), but she prefers Marquee’s layout.

Chantel, as a nontourist, states the stone cold fact for locals: What will make or break Chateau is good DJs, networking and PR. But with tourists in mind, another stone cold fact is celebrities give clubs buzz.

Chantel and her group of 10 girls left Chateau because rapper Drake was DJing. She likes Drake. But his celebrity caused the dance floor to be jammed with people staring at him. You can’t dance like that.

With all the glam of Vegas night life, did you even know people still dance? Oh yes they do.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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