|By Norm Clarke, Las Vegas
Review-JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 29, 2010 --Even before it opened Thursday, the latest entry in Las Vegas' heated pool party competition was putting up knee-buckling numbers.
Take a deep breath, and start with the $70 million price tag to build Encore Beach Club and Surrender nightclub. Consider:
-- Most of the 26 cabanas, which normally start at $1,000, were rented in advance for between $5,000 and $15,000.
-- The eight bungalows, also with a starting price of $1,000, were going for between $20,000 and $30,000, club insiders said.
-- At 60,000 square foot, Steve Wynn's Encore Beach Club is larger than the combined square footage of XS nightclub (40,000), Tryst (10,000) and Blush (4,000) at the Wynn properties and second only in town to the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Keep in mind that XS, co-owned by Wynn and Victor Drai, was easily the No. 1 grossing nightclub in the U.S. last year with a take of $70 million, according to Drai.
When Wynn and managing partner Sean Christie sat down to discuss the new project, "we wanted to make it the best beach club in the world, and we feel like we've done that," Christie said.
"Mr. Wynn said it's one of the most exciting things he's ever built," added Christie.
The luxurious bungalows, he said, "have a French Quarter feel to them," with balconies overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. Each has a private bathroom, shower and Jacuzzi.
Some 2,000 Memorial Day weekend revelers, including Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, showed up Friday for the first full day of operation. Daytime capacity is 2,400 with 2,800 allowed at one time during the night.
If you have ask how much a bottle costs, you probably can't afford it. Bottle service starts at $450. Two thousand bottles of champagne and 4,000 bottles of vodka were ordered for the opening weekend.
You better be packing the ultimate black credit card if you plan to impress. The drink menu includes a 6-liter bottle of Cristal champagne for $50,000.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Sophia Choi, who co-anchored the 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts at KVBC-TV, Channel 3 since fall 2007, was informed Friday that she was being let go. Choi joined KVBC a year after her contract was not renewed at CNN, where she was a news anchor. A station rep confirmed Choi's departure. ...
A four-walled, one-night performance quietly billed as "T.I. & Friends" turned into a bizarre evening with Grammy-winning rapper T.I., fresh out of prison. He remained on a couch on stage for the entire show. A source said T.I. sat with his wife "Tiny" Cottle and watched his "friends" -- Young Dro, Yung L.A., Big Kuntry and Mystikal -- perform at Planet Hollywood Resort. T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, was released from a prison in Forrest City, Ark., in March after serving a year for a 2007 felony weapons charge. ...
Kelly Clinton's Open Mic Night at the Bootlegger Bistro on Monday will feature an all-star cast of local entertainers on hand to celebrate the first anniversary of the weekly show. Her husband, headliner Clint Holmes, will be among those sharing the stage with her. ...
UFC heavyweight champion Shane Carwin hosts a viewing party for UFC 114 starting at 7 p.m. today at Lagasse's Stadium (Palazzo).
Ryan Grant, running back for the Green Bay Packers, dining on the patio at SW Steakhouse (Wynn) on Thursday. ... Dining at Luxor's Tender Steakhouse on Thursday: UFC sluggers Kenny Florian, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones Urijah Faber, Jose Aldo, Joseph Benavidez and Junior Dos Santos. ... "Pawn Stars" sidekicks Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison and Chumlee, hanging out with Grandma Lee after her show at Bonkerz Comedy Club (Palace Station) on Wednesday. They are big fans of Lee, who got her big break last year on "America's Got Talent." ... Yesteryear headliner Steve Rossi, celebrating his 78th birthday Tuesday with a private party at Gaetanos Italian Ristorant in Henderson. Best known for being the straight-man half of the famed Allen and Rossi comedy duo with Marty Allen, Rossi is a lead in a new touring show about burlesque icon Sally Rand. She worked in one of Rossi's five burlesque shows in Las Vegas. So did Mae West, Tempest Storm and Ann Corio. Rossi's headlining at the Rampart Marriott June 25-26.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Sarah Ferguson told 'Inside Edition' she would love to appear on 'Dancing With the Stars.' And she said, if the price is right, Prince Andrew can come along." -- Jay Leno
Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.
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