Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 12:49 p.m.
In the late ’80s, Drew Boley worked as a busboy at the infamous nightclub the Bourbon Room. Well, he did in Rock of Ages. Boley, you see, is pure fiction. And until a couple weeks ago, the Bourbon Room was, too. But the Venetian just changed that, transforming La Scena Lounge into a real-life version of the Rock of Ages hangout. It’s life imitating art. Nightlife imitating art.
The whole bar looks like a stage—scaffolding, spotlights, microphones—and you’re on it. You’re the star. Actually, emcee Marvelous Mark is probably the star. He’s the guy wearing a heavy metal wig. The guy climbing up the scaffolding and leading the crowd through a “Mony Mony” scream-off. He’s winning.
Out comes the Bourbon Room waitstaff, dressed in fishnet tops and shiny leggings. They’re dancing to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and then to a Journey song. You can probably guess which. Bourbon Room manager Kristijan Matic sits down with me to discuss the namesake spirit. Bourbon Room pours 60 kinds, including two single-barrels created specifically for the venue by Eagle Rare and Woodford Reserve.
I tell Matic I’ll need to start with mixed drinks. I’m more of a gin guy. Or a rum guy. Or a tequila guy. Anything but bourbon, basically. But when in Rome …
My girlfriend orders a Perfect Date (date-infused Woodford Reserve, sweet vermouth, Peychaud’s Bitters, Angostura Bitters, brandied cherry juice), and I try a Mint Julep From Hell (jalapeño-infused Knob Creek, fresh mint, water, powdered sugar). Then, I’m ready for shots, which are served with a side of maple popcorn and dried bacon.
Marvelous Mark drops by our table for a well-deserved break. He says that he used to be a radio host back in the ’80s, so the Bourbon Room gig is something of a homecoming for him.
“Back then I had real hair and real spandex,” he says. “You didn’t have to wear underwear.”
“I imagine it must be hard to open a bar like this, night after night,” I say.
Mark doesn’t see it that way. “I subscribe to the Bruce Springsteen philosophy: You should perform for five people the same way you’d perform for 5,000. You never know who’s out there.”
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.