Food & Drink

From XS to Surrender: The Thrillist Guide to Vegas's Best Nightclubs

Published On 05/20/2014 Published On 05/20/2014
Danny Mahoney

We've already told you 12 things you didn't know about MGM mega-club Hakkasan, but with PURE shutting down for renovations and LAVO turning into a full-time lounge, we figured it's time to tell you everything you need to know about the rest of Las Vegas's best nightclubs: check out our list for all the best places to blow your money on bottle service, foolish tips, and drinks for girls who... and we hate to be the ones to tell you this... already let the guys at the next table buy 'em some, too.

Danny Mahoney

XS $$$
Where is it? Wynn Encore
What you can expect: XS is one of the most expensive nightclubs ever built: there's plenty of gold everywhere you look, a crowded dance floor, and an outdoor pool area that offers some breathing room and bottle service under the stars.
Who will you see? Some of the top DJs in the world, including Avicii, Zedd, Skrillex, and Deadmau5 – who was brought back after his stint at Hakkasan last year that seemed to end right after it began. 
Bonus perk: The casino’s other nightclub, Surrender, is right around the corner if you need a change of venue on the fly.
When to go: Sunday Night Swim. It’s your chance to get wet… when you fall in the pool by accident.
What’s missing? Some extra space -- the dance floor always feels crowded.

Al Powers

Hakkasan $$$$
Where is it? The MGM Grand
What you can expect: Stairs. Lots and lots of stairs connect the venue’s five floors, which include a huge dance floor, spacious bar areas, and, if you need some downtime, the Ling Ling Lounge, which is perfect for grabbing a seat and escaping the dance party for a little while.
Who will you see? The biggest DJs in the world who aren’t signed to XS. That includes Tiesto, Calvin Harris, Afrojack, and if you come on the right night, Questlove spinning in the aforementioned Ling Ling Lounge.
Bonus perk: The adjacent Hakkasan restaurant offers the best Cantonese food you’ll find in the state of Nevada. After dinner, you may be able to make your way into the nightclub without dealing with the long lines outside.
When to go: Thursday. It’s the only non-weekend day it’s open.
What’s missing? An outdoor area. Even this massive space can get a little claustrophobic after a while.

Martin Tessler

1OAK $$
Where is it? The Mirage
What you can expect: A nightclub that almost feels like a movie theater with a main rectangular room that slopes downwards and surrounds the dance floor.
Who will you see? The Kardashians seem to like this place. Kim hosted the New Year’s Eve bash here with her baby daddy Kanye West.
When to go: Flashback Fridays for old-school acts like Naughty by Nature (hey!...ho!).
What’s missing? A few more rooms to explore.

Al Powers, Powers Imagery

Marquee $$$
Where is it? The Cosmopolitan
What you can expect: Lots of space, a lot of different rooms (including a “Library” in case you want to read up on some Grisham), and an outdoor area by the pool. This place has it covered.
When to go: Marquee battles it out with XS to draw the locals on Monday nights. Go even if you’re from out of town. It will be one of the busiest spots you can find that night -- with some of the hottest girls.
What’s missing? A better way to get in: even when you’ve got a hookup, it still takes a while to get through the door, up the escalator, and into the venue.

The Light Group

Light $$$
Where is it? Mandalay Bay
What you can expect: Light doesn't just want to be a nightclub, it wants to give you a show. That’s why it partnered up with Cirque du Soleil… and why you’ll see acrobats dangling from the ceiling. And a monster LED screen behind the DJ.
Who will you see? Among the regular crew of DJs is Baauer – the guy responsible for the Harlem Shake. Check him out so you can party like it’s 2013 all over again.
When to go: Light is only about a year old – and still draws long lines on the weekend. Going on Wednesday, the one weekday it’s open, is your best bet.
What’s missing? Despite its name, Light is actually kinda dark and a little gloomy if you’re not on the dance floor – which the entire place is built around -- so it feels more like an EDM concert than an actual club.

Caesars Entertainment

Chateau $$$
Where is it? Paris
What you can expect: When you’re done with the dance floor, bar areas, and fancy chandeliers, head on over to that elevator at the end of the club. It will take you to an outdoor patio with plenty of fresh air and a nice, midlevel view of the Strip.
Who will you see? For some reason, this place seems to attract bachelorette parties more than any other nightclub. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you.
Bonus perk: The Sugar Factory is just steps away and open 24/7. It’s perfect for breakfast or a Blow Pop Martini. The choice is yours.
What’s missing? While the outdoor patio is great, the inside is a little plain by comparison.

Brenton Ho, Powers Imagery

TAO $$$
Where is it? The Venetian
What you can expect: Lots of different rooms playing lots of different music, plus sushi, dumplings, and other Asian eats in the restaurant downstairs.  
Who will you see? Snoop Dogg – who recently launched the Snoopadelic Cabaret; his own hip-hop version of a 1920s-style speakeasy.
Bonus perk: Girls dancing on tables, girls dancing inside glass boxes, girls in bathtubs covered by flower petals. You get the idea.
When to go: “Worship Thursdays”… where locals get in for free at the popular industry night party.
What’s missing? A bigger balcony. Unless the pool area is open, the only spot with an outdoor view is a small, thin patio next to the main dance floor. It gets packed quickly.

MGM Resorts International

Hyde Bellagio $$$
Where is it? The Bellagio, natch.
What you can expect: A lounge with a nightclub atmosphere, all sorts of bottle service packages… and a perfect view of the Bellagio fountains from inside the resort.
Who will you see? Paris Hilton likes to DJ now… and gets paid bank for it.
Bonus perk: You might get splashed by the fountain a little bit, which may or may not actually be a bonus.
What’s missing? The place packs in so many VIP tables that there's hardly room for the dance floor, the bars areas, and places where you can just stand around while holding your drink up to your chest and hoping a girl starts a conversation with you.

Erik Kabik

Surrender $$$
Where is it? Wynn Encore
What you can expect: Lots of dancing and a DJ indoors, plus tons of room to hang out outdoors by the pool. 
Who will you see? Headliners include Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, last year's hottest rapper/whatever the heck Ryan Lewis is.
Bonus perk: There’s gambling by the pool, so you can win some of that money you just spent on Champagne back.
When to go: Wednesday is locals night and draws a pretty hard-partying crowd.
What’s missing? More indoor space. But stop whining and just enjoy all the fun out by the pool.


Tryst $$$
Where is it? The Wynn
What you can expect: A nightclub with a more subtle, intimate atmosphere as well as an outdoor deck and pool area.
Bonus perk: A waterfall out by the pool.
When to go: Thursdays. It’s your chance for some breathing room. Most of the party kids will be packing up Tao for locals night down the street. 
What’s missing? Space. It may resemble XS and Surrender with the indoor dance floor and outdoor pool thing, but it’s a lot smaller.

Beacher’s Madhouse

Beacher’s Madhouse $$$
Where is it? The MGM Grand
What you can expect: Celebrity impersonators scattered throughout the crowd and a low-brow variety show on stage that includes midget wrestling and heavy-metal balancing acts.
Who will you see? Miley Cyrus helped open the place… and tends to come back now and then to get her party on.
Bonus perk: Little people hanging from the ceiling who fly across the room to deliver bottle service.
When to go: It’s a good weekend alternative to the long lines just down the hallway at Hakkasan.
What’s missing? Some of the VIP areas have long living room couches which are comfy for watching the stage… but not so good if you want to actually talk with the people in your group.

MGM Resorts International

Haze $$$
Where is it? The Aria
What you can expect: A dark dance floor, go-go dancers, and acrobatic performers. 
Who will you see? Floyd Mayweather Jr may show up. But you’re more likely to see a bunch of guys standing around, taking up valuable real estate on the dance floor.
Bonus perk: If you need a change of scenery, you’re an escalator ride away from a bunch of bars and restaurants.
When to go: Thursday.
What’s missing? An easier way to get from one side of the nightclub to the other without having to plow through everyone on the dance floor.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. XS Nightclub 3121 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Palm trees, pools and parties await you in a gold-plated, mirrored interior at Winn’s premiere nightclub XS. With table service both indoors and outdoors to serve the 100 VIP tables spread throughout, you can expect lines at one of Vegas’s most indulgent and most beloved nightclubs to be snake far beyond the door. When you’re ready to escape the dance floor (and its EDM soundtrack), try your hand at one of the poolside blackjack tables outdoors. But don’t spend it all -- you’ll need a hefty chunk of change to close out that bar tab.

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2. Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

If you like world-famous DJs (Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris), eating exquisite Cantonese food, and imbibing specialty cocktails, odds are you'll love Hakkasan Las Vegas. You can sip on a wide variety of mezcals alongside Japanese whiskies, and the cocktails themselves are often works of art, including the longtime favorite Smoky Negroni, which blends Ransom Old Tom gin, vermouth, and Campari with Grand Marnier infused with smoke. Thirteen flights are also available that showcase whiskey, rum, and other high-end spirits.

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3. 1 OAK 3400 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Short for “one of a kind,” nightclub 1 OAK brings a unique combination of art, fashion, and celebrity to The Mirage. Although its moniker is slightly misleading (there are also locations in LA and NYC), 1 OAK offers an incomparable nightlife experience, from surprise performances by up-and-coming musical talent to celebrity appearances. Beats span hip-hop, Top 40, and house jams, but what 1 OAK lacks in discriminating music tastes, it makes up for in a strict dress code. Attire is necessarily “upscale chic,” and you’re warned that all entrance is at the discretion of the bouncer. Best of luck to you and yours.

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4. Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub 3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

No Vegas club handles the day-to-night transition quite like Marquee. The premiere spot at The Cosmopolitan is notorious for its dayclub, an exclusive adult oasis you’ll likely recognize for its crystal blue swimming pool with bikini-decked bodies packed like sardines. After guests have successfully dehydrated themselves in the daylight hours (thanks to both sun and cocktails), they can celebrate round two at Marquee’s nightclub, where international house music DJs have year-round residencies. If EDM isn’t your thing, snag a seat in The Library, an elite drinking lounge complete with leather armchairs and pool tables.

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5. Light Nightclub 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119 (Strip)

Inspired by Cirque Du Soleil, Light offers a similarly creative and experimental take on Strip entertainment: smoke and mirrors, people hanging from ropes, and DJ sets from Skrillex are just the beginning at this laboratory of Vegas nightlife. A massive floor-to-ceiling LED screen behind the DJ booth stimulates your senses, and a mix of EDM and hip-hop gets you moving on the dance floor. When it comes to performers, house favorites range from Disclosure, Morgan Page, and Baauer (the guy responsible for the "Harlem Shake") to rap and R&B acts like Tyga and Nas.

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6. Chateau Nightclub 3655 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

A nightlife triple-threat, Chateau gives you the option to dance the night away in its club, take the party outdoors to its second-story terrace, or head to its Versailles-style, open-air rooftop gardens nestled under the Paris Casino's replica of the Eiffel Tower. Who can refuse panoramic views of the Strip from a VIP cabana? On the dance floor, you'll be getting down to Top 40 hits that keep Chateau's frequent bachelorette parties happy. Oh, and Shaq has played a DJ set here. More than once. Yes, Shaq, as in Shaquille O'Neal.

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7. TAO Nightclub 3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Located in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, this Asian bistro meets nightlife hotspot is a staple on the Strip, offering -- perhaps unexpectedly -- excellent Chinese, Japanese, and Thai small plates in its extravagant restaurant downstairs (and we mean "extravagant" -- bathtubs full of rose petals line the entranceway and a giant Buddha statue supervises your dinner) and a rotating lineup of DJs in its multi-room nightclub upstairs. You'll feel like a celebrity (and possibly bump into some) as you bounce from one swanky room to the next, getting down to top-40 hits and, on certain nights, special acts that have included Snoop Dogg.

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8. Hyde Bellagio 3600 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

A legendary Vegas nightclub, Hyde Bellagio is on the cozier side at 10,000sqft, so unless you have a table, things are going to be intimate on the dance floor, where you can get down to a solid mix of top-40 hits, EDM, and hip-hop. The open-air view of the famous Bellagio fountains makes up for the smaller space, and regular costume parties with themed outfits and champagne showers step up the club's game, too. You can expect DJs ranging from Lil Jon to Brody Jenner, as well as multiple bottle-service packages. Come earlier in the night and it'll feel more like a lounge than a club, if that's the scene you're craving.

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9. Surrender 3121 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

You'll want to dress to impress at this lavish after-hours club at the Wynn Resort, where you can hit the 5,000sqft dance floor for guest appearances from DJs like Diplo and Will.I.Am. It usually gets pretty packed in front of the DJ booth, so if you're looking for some air, head to the spacious pool area behind it, which has become the real draw at Surrender anyway. There's plenty of room underneath the tall palm trees there (and at the extra bar areas and gaming tables) to get as far away from the pounding music as you like and kick back with friends and cocktails.

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10. Tryst Night Club 3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

This Wynn nightclub with a subtle, intimate atmosphere as well as an outdoor deck and pool area boasts a waterfall by the pool with a little bit of breathing room compared to other Vegas latenight staples.

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11. Beacher's Madhouse 3799 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Celebrity impersonators are scattered throughout the crowd at this MGM Grand night spot, which rocks a variety show on stage that includes wrestling and heavy metal balancing acts, and even acrobats who deliver bottle service.

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12. Haze 3730 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Pass through a series of rusted steel walls before crossing a bridge over a moat into Vegas' coolest superclub, which wreaks havoc on your senses via a 20-foot wall of flickering lights & interactive projection screens, hanging puppetry-inspired props, and of course bumping house tunes.



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