Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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Nightlife:

Five years in, what’s the secret to LAX nightclub’s success at Luxor?

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Pure Management Group

Ludacris at LAX.

The Luxor’s LAX nightclub marks its fifth anniversary tonight, and in the fierce, crowded competition of Las Vegas’ nightlife market, that’s plenty of reason to celebrate.

The club will throw a birthday bash hosted by the ladies of MGM Grand’s Crazy Horse Paris, who will be performing a never-before-seen routine in honor of the occasion. A surprise guest performance is also planned to round out the evening.

“No matter what the rest of Vegas is doing, we still try to maintain a reputation of doing an edgy party,” said VIP Host Paulo Loyola, who has worked at the club since it opened in 2007. “That’s part of why we’ve lasted.”

In the burgeoning nightclub scene of the mid- to late 2000s, LAX opened as part of Luxor’s larger rebranding effort toward a sleeker, sexier image. With the club’s original Los Angeles namesake drawing top Hollywood clientele, bringing it to Vegas seemed like a perfect fit to help reassert Luxor’s place on the Strip. And it was — the opening of the 26,000-square-foot club was hosted by Britney Spears, and LAX quickly gained notoriety as a celebrity hotspot that drew the likes of Jude Law and the Kardashians.

Today, LAX has long outlasted its L.A. counterpart, which closed shortly after the Luxor opening, and has also outlived numerous other clubs that cropped up at the same time at properties undergoing similar rebrandings.

“We might adjust to what’s popular on the scene, be it DJs or house music, but we always try to have our own trend and feel,” Loyola said. “People come here for a more relaxed experience. You know you’re gonna get taken care of.”

LAX’s longevity hasn’t come without a fight. Originally owned by Pure Management Group, the club struggled against the lagging economy and the popularity of new mega-clubs like Tryst and XS. Along with Pure at Caesars Palace, LAX was also the subject of IRS raids and investigations into unreported cash tips.

However, after being purchased by Angel Management Group in 2010, the club enjoyed a revitalization that included refreshed decor and a house music night, as well as breathing room from the scandal.

Though today celebrities can be found frequenting any one of Las Vegas’ high-profile clubs, LAX remains a reliable destination to spot stars, in part due to the relative intimacy of the 1,500 person-capacity venue and its attentive servers. And with vast, crowded dance floors and snaking lines par for the course at LAX’s competitors north on the Strip, Loyola said the promise of a fuss-free evening is alluring to any clubgoer, celebrity or otherwise.

“I think LAX is more welcoming than other clubs. I think it’s stayed popular because coming here isn’t a hassle,” Loyola said. “You don’t have to wait too long or feel awkward in line. At LAX, my goal is that no one ever feels like they’re the new kid on the block.”

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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