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Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 11:57 a.m.
2014 Nightclub & Bar Opening/Richard Corey
“Bar Rescue” reality TV star Jon Taffer officially opened the 29th Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show today. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and comedian-actor Adam Carolla joined Jon for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Adam, who is here promoting his Mangria line of ready-to-drink cocktails, also delivered the keynote speech titled “Perseverance and Personality Shape Long-Term Success.”
The red carpet parade of stars was set to include actress-singer Christina Milian here promoting her Platinum E Hookah; “Shahs of Sunset” reality TV star Reza Farahan; new 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque star Holly Madison; cast members from “Jersey Boys,” “Rock of Ages,” Jabbawockeez, Chippendales, “Counting Cars” and “Absinthe’s” Angel Porrino; and former Mayor Oscar Goodman.
Also: NBA Hall of Famer Ralph Sampson for Hot Salsa Interactive; former NBA player Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams; members and founders of the International Bikini Model Search; Miss Las Vegas U.S. 2014 Lisa Song Sutton; “Captain Morgan”; musician Roger Clyne promoting his Mexican Moonshine Tequila; and BMX stars and TV personalities Ricardo Laguna and T.J. Lavin.
The three-day trade show serves nearly 40,000 nightlife operators, managers and industry enthusiasts from around the world responsible for some $20 billion in annual beverage sales at more than 200,000 establishments. The main exhibit hall is packed with more than 600 booths, everything from craft brewers to emerging brands to manufacturers of nightlife and bar products.
Additionally, there are 70 moneymaking seminars, four in-depth workshops and three keynote speeches. The inaugural United States Bartenders Guild “Shake It Up” cocktail competition is this afternoon. A panel of America’s leading mixologists will judge the up-and-coming bartenders.
“We have become the most trusted and largest annual event for highlighting nightlife innovation. This year’s theme is ‘New Potential, New Profits, New Thinking,” Jon added. My interview with Jon ahead of the convention was posted Feb. 25.
Three-time Grammy Award winner Ludacris hosted the welcome party Monday night at the Bud Light Hotel transformed from the Hard Rock Hotel to serve as party central for delegates.
The party whirl continues tonight. First on the main convention stage is the International Bikini Model Search. Then at Hakkasan in MGM Grand, resident DJ Calvin Harris hosts a party to celebrate its recent recognition by Nightlife and Bar Media Group as Nightclub of the Year — less than a year since its April 2013 opening.
Jon commented: “Hakkasan continues to turn heads in its remarkable inaugural year. What better place to host one of the year’s greatest parties than a venue that continues to redefine conventional wisdom.” Jon hosts his own “Bar Rescue” Happy Hour at Tryst in the Wynn.
On Wednesday, the highlight will be the one-hour presentation at noon of the Nightclub & Bar Top 100 Awards, many of which in a separate category were won by our Las Vegas nightlife venues. Afterward, Jon will sign copies of his bestselling book “Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions” based on his 30 years of experience in the industry.
The closing Top 100 Platinum Party is at XS in Encore with a performance by DJ David Guetta, who revealed this morning that a French court approved the divorce from his wife of 25 years.
Delegates have been bowled over with the incredible display of beverages, but I found two new drinks worth checking out on the convention floor: the debut of the eight flavors of Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine at the Shine Shack with mixologist Shane McKnight and the new Anheuser-Busch line of Johnny Appleseed Hard Apple Cider arriving on nationwide shelves April 7.
There’s also incredible technology. Israel developed a Power Breezer for agricultural purposes, and the U.S. military purchased the units two years ago for keeping troops and civilians comfortable and functioning outdoors in 10 countries.
Now with record heat being forecast for the Southwest this summer by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Breezer will be supplied to restaurants and bars for their outdoor seating areas and patios to prevent revenue loss from empty seats.
“They have a dual purpose of keeping customers and staff cool, but at the same time warding away pesky flying insects,” said sales VP Joe Fairleigh. He says 120,000 restaurants and bars across the country have outdoor environments that need to be cooled. The Breezer, an all-American-made product by a veterans’ workforce, also works at home and can reduce outdoor temperatures by as much as 27 degrees.
Please check back for our continuing coverage of the Nightlife & Bar Convention.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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