Park MGM wasn’t expected to become the nightlife stronghold that it is. But MGM Resorts fortified the updated restaurant and entertainment offerings at the renovated resort with innovative afterhours programming and experiences at the NoMad Bar, Juniper Cocktail Lounge and On the Record Speakeasy & Club, the latter a collaboration with Houston Hospitality.
On the Record has been a particularly refreshing success thanks to its versatility. It’s an intimate alternative to the Strip’s popular megaclubs, the de facto Park Theater concert afterparty and an ideal bounce-between with hip restaurant neighbor Best Friend by chef Roy Choi. And MGM capitalized on the synergy between the two LA-born concepts by putting another one right between them—vibrant mezcal and tequila bar Mama Rabbit.
The 4,400-square-foot space celebrated its grand opening last month during Mexican Independence Day weekend, inviting curious visitors to explore its double-sided bar, a striking mural by Okuda San Miguel, gaming and live entertainment in the back room and a nimble menu of cocktails and light bites. It’s a surprising new take on the Las Vegas lounge, splashed with Oaxacan soul and style from partner Bricia Lopez of the acclaimed LA restaurant Guelaguetza.
“Vegas moves really, really fast,” she says. “I’ve never worked in any sort of corporate environment like this—only in the family business—so I’m learning so much from every person on the [MGM] team. I’m great friends with Roy Choi and his team … but in LA to build a restaurant takes two years. Vegas is Vegas. It’s fast, and it’s amazing.”
Mama Rabbit and On the Record are the initial results of a new approach for MGM Resorts, which has reaffirmed its presence in the nightlife scene by operating its own new venues instead of bringing in a nightclub partner such as Hakkasan Group. Now that Park MGM has been completed, the Strip will see more of these innovations at Bellagio.
“They’re all very different experiences,” says Sean Christie, MGM Resorts’ president of events and nightlife. “On the Record is a club with several different environments served in a unique way that does not rely on typical nightclub talent, even though you get that energy. Mama Rabbit was the next step, inching toward something we’re going to do at Bellagio with live music. It’s not a restaurant but there is food along with the robust cocktail program led by Bricia.”
The Mayfair Supper Club is that next step, set to open around New Year’s Eve weekend at the fountains-fronting former site of Hyde Bellagio. It will be a restaurant first, Christie says, with a carefully curated and constantly changing entertainment lineup created in collaboration with bicoastal company No Ceilings Entertainment.
Beyond its cuisine, the Mayfair is designed to be a live entertainment venue you won’t want to leave after dinner. It could be clubby. There could be a bit of a show. There will be music. The energy will ramp up as the evening moves along, ideally paralleling that of its guests.
“You have to come up with concepts for the environment you’re in, and it was apparent Hyde in some way, shape or form wanted to be something else. We wanted to flex our resources to come up with something new,” Christie says. “The other thing was this has to have the tone and tenor of the clientele of Bellagio, which is more sophisticated and well-heeled, but also appealing to younger folks in the sense that it has to have a certain adrenaline to it later in the evening.”