Here's the typical cycle: The nightclub in a Las Vegas Strip casino closes. It's remodeled and opens again as a different club, or maybe the same club with a few extra flourishes, or maybe as a different type of venue altogether—restaurant, sports bar, showroom, esports arena. It also becomes the subject of debate among local observers (many of whom never go to clubs) arguing whether this is the new direction of Vegas nightlife or just an experiment that doesn't belong.
Contrary to such scuttlebutt, the big Vegas nightclub experience isn't going away. But there's always room for something different in nightlife, a category that traditionally centers on music, drinking, dancing and socializing but today includes dining, venue-hopping and recording photos and videos on your phone.
The Mayfair Supper Club, which opened New Year's Eve in the former Hyde club space at Bellagio, aims to provide all of those activities but one—the venue-hopping. You don't have to leave Mayfair to see a show or hit the club after dinner and drinks, because the show is already happening and the rowdy revelry is right around the corner.
Rather than creating a new twist on the restaurant-to-nightclub hybrid, Mayfair goes old-school with lots of live entertainment. Once the New Year's smoke cleared, I checked in at 8 p.m. on January 3, explored a luxurious lounge, then took my table in the corner with a prime view of the stage and the Bellagio's fountains exploding through huge windows in the background. The new place feels very Vegas, like the swankiest restaurant in an era I've only seen in archived casino photos.
Two ladies hovered above, hanging in rings suspended from the ceiling until it was time to float down and perform. Sensational singers Judy and Dean (LaShonda Reese and Steve Judkins) rolled through jazzy standards and time-warped modern hits like CeeLo Green's "Crazy," while musical director JF Thibeault (late of Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity and the similarly styled Postmodern Jukebox Hideaway at the Mirage) led his band and paced a squadron of sexy dancers. The vibe is rich in every way possible.
There are subtle layers of production to the entertainment at Mayfair. Quick breaks are strategically built in so you can resume your conversation or dive into your Caesar salad, and certain magical moments align the performance with the choreographed fountains outside. As the evening progresses, the energy builds. It never becomes clubby the way you're thinking, but the volume and attitude slowly rise, the sounds change and those talented dancers aren't the only ones moving to the music.
After one night, it's easy to see this place is special, and though it might seem expensive as a dining destination, it has obvious appeal for locals as a single site for a great night out. If it's not determining the direction of Vegas nightlife for the future, Mayfair's arrival certainly signals that casinos are more than ready to experiment and take (calculated) risks. A traditional nightclub isn't the best fit for every property on the Strip. It's all about finding the right way to party.
MAYFAIR SUPPER CLUB Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-midnight; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m.-3 a.m. Bellagio, 702-693-8876.