Fall / Winter 2014

King of Clubs

By Grace Bascos

Nightlife impresario Victor Drai keeps the party going.

Photographs by Erik Kabik

Photograph by Erik Kabik

Before the big-name DJs ever stepped behind the decks in the clubs of Las Vegas, there was Drai’s. For nearly two decades, the opulent after-hours club located in the dark depths of what was once Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, thumped away with house music— before EDM (“electronic dance music” for those in the know) was even coined a term. Victor Drai is the nightlife guru who’s been here the whole time. His presence is so constant that when Bill’s closed, Drai’s simply picked up and moved across the street..

The Moroccan-born 20-year veteran of the Vegas club scene was a movie producer in a former life (Weekend at Bernie’s, The Woman in Red), before he began catering to the insomniacs of Las Vegas. So he’s witnessed how the club scene has evolved, both in Europe, where it’s been going strong for over two decades, and in Las Vegas, where it’s emerged as a mainstream form of entertainment just within the past few years.

When electronic music became big in Las Vegas, Drai was part of the initial push, opening two mega clubs—XS and Tryst—that set the trend for the atmosphere and high-end service that today is synonymous with Las Vegas.

“People come to Vegas to party,” he says. “That’s the change—music is part of it. Who knows what it’s going to be two or ten years from now. The music might be different, but the nightclubs will stay and people will still party. The party doesn’t change much; it’s just the evolution of the nightclub.”

Like the scene, Drai adapts as well. He’s planning to open two new concepts in a boutique Las Vegas hotel soon: a rooftop beach club, as well as a 65,000-square-foot nightclub. The space that currently houses Drai’s at Bally’s Las Vegas will transform into another concept—one he’s keeping under wraps for now.

But no matter which of his venues you frequent Victor Drai will still be there, making sure there’s a party happening for those who want to find it.

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