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Intrigue, Jewel delivering some extreme club makeover


Hakkasan Group brings Jewel Nightclub to Aria in May.

Updated Friday, April 29, 2016 | 9:40 a.m.

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The opening of Intrigue on April 28, 2016, is revealed on the final industry night of Tryst Nightclub on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, at Wynn Las Vegas. Tryst closed Saturday after a decade to make way for Intrigue.

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The marquee outside Wynn Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, announces the opening of Intrigue on April 28, 2016.

This week, The Kats Report is in one of those rare club moods, splashing on the Hai Karate, pulling on the wingtips and just letting it fly, baby.

I visited Jewel at Aria on Tuesday, which was just a hard-hat tour amid a skyscape of LED lights, but it does represent a club experience. This weekend, my entourage of obedient manservants, hired babes and unemployed third cousins and myself are wheeling through Intrigue at Wynn Las Vegas.

Both of these clubs are embracing the boutique vibe, a counter to such giant clubs as XS at Wynn, Hakkasan at MGM Grand and Omnia at Caesars Palace. Already, Intrigue seems aptly named, as buzz in the community has focused on the nonspecific. Such as, what is happening in this place?

An entertainment program is led by Mark Shunock and his new company, MARshun entertainment (mixing his first and last name for a third even groovier, name). I ran into Shunock at “Mondays Dark” this week, and he’s still not talking publicly about what is planned at Intrigue (but he is happily verbose about the NHL playoffs).

No matter. Expect stylish, round-about performers and such upscale elements as strobes and lasers and some very intriguing performers — such column favorites as burlesque sirens LouLou D’Vil and Kalani Kokonuts and the vocalist Cheryl Daro (who is the wife of Shunock and a fine person in her own right) — are in the mix. Preliminary word, too, is that the white-shaded club will host a series of rotating themed nights, with those performers costumed accordingly. We'll see Rat Back rolled out first, from what I glean.

Formerly the club Tryst, Intrigue is the latest indication that a straight DJ-driven club experience will not do in VegasVille. I am anticipating a use of the space inspired (even if coincidentally) by the post-canto action at the dearly departed “Vegas Nocturne.” At the end of the night, the stage show broke down to a club experience, with horns blaring behind the house music. That was one of the great concepts of “Nocturne,” whose impact is still being felt even two years after it bugged out of the Cosmopolitan.

Similarly, Jewel, which is set to open May 19, is overtaking the comparably cozy Haze space at Aria and creating something of an inviting nightlife experience. For an idea of how large Jewel is, or isn’t, you could fit 3 1/2 Jewels into Omnia or Hakkasan.

The effort by the Jewel operator, which happens to be Hakkasan, and designer the Rockwell Group, is to streamline the existing nightclub technology and party regions offered at the larger clubs. Ringing the upper level of Jewel are five VIP suites, all with distinctive themes — named the Blind Tiger, the Studio, the G.O.A.T., the Prestige and the Gallery. The Studio is retrofitted as a recording studio (though not an operating one); the Gallery is filled with sports memorabilia and artifacts. The dance floor is not big, nor is the performance space, but it does feel as if the place can come alive with not too many bodies in the room.

I have to chuckle at the announced capacity of Jewel: The easy-to-remember 1,923. Number reminds me of another nightspot at an MGM Resorts property …

Anyhow, DJs and celebrity guests will drive the entertainment program at Jewel, with Steve Aoki featured in the club’s promotional video clip and Jamie Foxx listed as “guest host” on opening night along with DJ Irie.

The second night of opening weekend, May 20, an uber-exciting, yet-announced superstar is to appear to create a ripple in the Strip entertainment scene. The Chainsmokers are May 21; Lil Jon closes that spree May 23.

The club does not remind much of Haze, but you know what? It took me several minutes of touring the shell of the new Jewel to even remember what Haze looked like. As it turned, that faded memory means the club was named right. I think this one is, too, but check back May 23 or thereabouts, when 1,923 of us will sort it out for ourselves.

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