Think about the last time you watched the epic Fountains at Bellagio. You may have scanned the restaurants lining the iconic man-made lake and wondered what it would be like to take in this quintessential Vegas experience from the other side. Maybe you’ve already done that.
Certainly one of the best viewing points is from a currently closed space at the center of the lake, originally the home of the Fontana Lounge, an upscale spot for drinks and live music. In 2011, it transformed into Hyde Bellagio, a lounge and nightclub that added wild, confetti-drenched parties alongside those terrific views.
MGM Resorts International has created a new kind of venue for this space that might borrow entertainment elements from its former occupants, but will definitely be something different for Bellagio. Late last month the company announced the Mayfair Supper Club is set to open there over New Year’s Eve weekend.
“It’s not going to be anything like Hyde or Fontana. First and foremost, it’s a restaurant that has live entertainment,” says Sean Christie, MGM Resorts’ president of events and nightlife. “It’s the idea that you can get a great meal and great drinks but you don’t have to leave if you don’t want to, and maybe you don’t feel like going to a nightclub tonight. We’re trying to provide that option and create this arc of entertainment that follows the tempo of the evening.”
Bellagio has always maintained one of the Strip’s most celebrated restaurant collections so the Mayfair’s menu has service needs to meet that standard while standing out, according to Christie and Dominique Bertolone, MGM Resorts’ vice president of food and beverage operations.
“This is a restaurant that will pay homage to all the American classics,” Bertolone says. “Think about prime rib and seafood towers. And we want to bring a theatrical version of that with the service, so we’ll have captains and dishes prepared tableside so it becomes a point of discussion for patrons.”
Bellagio built a new, full kitchen into the venue and the Mayfair’s design — by New York-based Martin Brudnizki Studios, which also helped create Bavette’s Steakhouse and Primrose at Park MGM — will create spaces for those whimsical service presentations.
The Hyde nightclub, which closed in July, was operated by the SBE Entertainment Group. The arrival of the Mayfair follows the recent trend of MGM Resorts maintaining operations of new nightlife venues at its Strip properties, such as On the Record and Mama Rabbit at Park MGM. Bigger Vegas casino clubs have traditionally been operated by separate companies, such as Hakkasan at MGM Grand (Hakkasan Group) or Marquee at the Cosmopolitan (Tao Group).
But the Mayfair isn’t a nightclub, or at least, not until it wants to be. The programming will come from a collaboration with bicoastal company No Ceilings Entertainment and will include a more ambient experience during dining hours transitioning into a more high-energy environment later in the evening. Music will play a large role and live performance is a definite, but entertainment is generally still in the planning stages.
“It’s like a ballet. There is careful consideration and choreography going into all the different components to make sure they all work together,” Christie says. “The actual entertainment is a work in progress. It will definitely be more of a live entertainment space than a DJ space … but a DJ could be playing hip-hop or playing Frank Sinatra. Maybe it’s a beautiful jazz band singing standards and enhancing your evening as you’re overlooking the Bellagio fountains at 7:30, and maybe at 11:30 it’s Bruno Mars songs with that type of energy as the restaurant becomes more active.”
The Mayfair will also make better use of Bellagio’s supreme attraction.
“There will be more opportunity to be closer to the fountains and be part of the fountains,” Christie says. “Not only is it one of the most special backdrops and the backdrop to this show we’re creating, but people just want to be close and witness it, especially if they can have great food and drink with it. You’re going to get closer to it and it will be more present than ever.”