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Las Vegas's Lucrative Nightclubs Pump Up the Spectacle

World-famous DJs and acrobats serving bubbly draw younger crowds to Sin City clubs
The caged disco ball at the Marquee on the Las Vegas Strip
The caged disco ball at the Marquee on the Las Vegas StripPhotograph by Al Powers/Powers Imagery

At the Marquee Nightclub at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a $1,500 bottle of Champagne is topped with a sparkler and delivered by a waitress under a spotlight. Life, a competitor opening down the street in August, will up the ante: Patrons will order by tugging on a rope; an acrobat will descend from the rafters to serve the bubbly.

That club, at the new SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, will be the latest to pull out all the stops. Sin City, home to 7 of the 10 top-grossing bars in the U.S., according to Nightclub & Bar magazine, has become a laboratory for all things innovative in the $20 billion industry. In Las Vegas, revelers are no longer content to nurse drinks and watch dancers in ostrich-feather headdresses doing leg kicks. “They don’t want to see a show,” says Sam Nazarian, chief executive officer of SBE Entertainment, which owns the SLS. “They want to be a part of it.”