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Vegas nightclub scene the toughest ticket in town, and the price keeps going up

New Year’s party venues — and price points — have dramatically changed since Hollywood restaurateur Victor Drai arrived 20 years ago.

“When I opened, there were maybe three or four clubs in town,” Drai said.

Two years later, his modest after-hours club in the basement of the then-Barbary Coast helped ignite the city’s epic nightclub explosion.

His gamble took him from the basement to the penthouse. After running Steve Wynn‘s nightclubs for a decade, he opened Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub in June 2014 on the roof of The Cromwell, the former Barbary Coast.

About a year ago, he took Drai’s to another level by adding live A-list performers.

“I’m bringing in the biggest rock stars in the world. Grammy winners. They can not kill an old cat,” he said.

He’s predicting crowds in excess of 3,000 a night for a four-day run that starts with Nicki Minaj on New Year’s Eve and continues with Chris Brown on New Year’s Day, The Weeknd on Saturday and A$AP Rocky on Sunday.

Minaj will be handling the countdown duties.

New Year’s Eve admission at Drai’s: $250 for men, $175 for women. The VIP package for all four nights is $400 for males, $250 for women.

The raging nightclub scene is the toughest ticket in town, with an anticipated 300,000 visitors on the way.

“It’s the highlight of the winter months and one of the biggest weekends of the entire year,” said Sean Christie, recently promoted to vice president of operations at Wynn Las Vegas.

“Our clubs are full of our best customers and high-profile celebrities ringing in the new year,” he said. “It’s a destination for that crowd.”

Champagne brands range from $500 to $100,000, he said.

The price of experiencing one of the most popular New Year’s parties in the world keeps going up.

Andrea’s at Wynn is offering a $60,000 VIP package that includes dinner for 12 and a dance floor table next to the DJ booth to watch Diplo.

On the table will be a 6-liter bottle of Dom Perignon, among other libations.

It’s the biggest night of the year for many of the fine dining restaurants operated by celebrity chefs.

France’s Pierre Gagnaire is serving a $1,000 chef’s table dinner at Twist inside Mandarin Oriental. It includes a signed menu and a book by Gagnaire, who has earned three Michelin stars at the Hotel Balzac, his longtime base in Paris.

His two earlier seatings go for $295 and $595.

Joel Robuchon Restaurant at the MGM Grand and Picasso at Bellagio are offering $575 dinners.

Food Network star Giada de Laurentiis has three seatings at Giada at The Cromwell, from $150 to $250 to $300.

Daniel Boulud’s db Brasserie at The Venetian is offering a $50 deal for its first of three seatings. The first seating is 5 p.m.


Britney Spears and her sons, Sean Preston, 10, and Jayden James, 9, attending the 4 p.m. Jabbawockeez show at the MGM Grand on Monday. … Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, buying a swanky $2,000 black and white dinner jacket Monday at Stitched at The Cosmopolitan. Grohl wore it to dinner at STK with his wife, band mates and friends before heading for Spears’ “Piece of Me” show at Planet Hollywood. Grohl’s party ended up at Marquee at The Cosmopolitan, where he briefly joined DJ Vice in the booth. … At Tao Asian Bistro in The Venetian on Monday: the pop rock band R5, dining with family and friends. … Jerry Lewis, dining with wife SanDee, daughter Danielle and a friend at Casa di Amore on Monday night.

The punch line

“In Florida, a 98-year-old man shot a hole-in-one. The 98-year-old was shocked, mostly because he had no idea he was playing golf.” — Conan O’Brien

— Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. On Twitter: @Norm_Clarke

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