The Best Night $500,000 Can Buy:
Inside the World’s Biggest Nightclub

GQ’s Devin Friedman spends a week at Marquee in Las Vegas and reports on the era of the mega-club:

This was maybe the sixth or seventh night I’d been to Marquee. On other nights I would show up before the club opened, so I could observe the hidden machinery and ascertain how the people who run the place go about manufacturing the communal fun-gasm that made Marquee the highest-grossing nightclub in Las Vegas and very likely the universe. But tonight I was with a bachelor party, and in honor of the occasion we’d decided to avail ourselves of a table reservation. A table reservation requires guests to spend between $1,000 and $10,000, depending on the night, and among its perks is access to a special line. The table line is the line you’re supposed to see from other lines and think: Why am I not in that line? Or: Why didn’t my boyfriend get me into that line?

A trim woman wearing smart business attire and a clear Secret Service earpiece greeted me as if she had been waiting all night to see me. She had a tiny envelope with my name on it, and into this tiny envelope she deposited my driver’s license and credit card. She then passed the envelope to a man in a dark suit, a VIP host, who shook my hand with similar warmth. All the suited functionaries at Marquee that night treated me as if I were an important business partner in a business where important business partners may or may not be bought prostitutes.

An elevator car with glass walls, lit like a lounge, was waiting. The desperate sounds of human beings begging doormen and imploring homeys to hurry up because I’m waiting for you at the entrance, son, were silenced by the shush of the closing doors. A woman in a white short-sleeve shirt, whom you might call an elevator host, pressed a button on the control panel and then began a speech prepared to last precisely the duration of one elevator ride to the fourth floor.

“Hello, gentlemen,” she said. “My name is Laura. When you step out of the elevators, you will find our Boom Box bar, down the stairs. Upstairs is the Library, our exclusive lounge. And just outside, you’ll find our main level. There is a bar straight ahead, and to our right the dance floor, where your table is. Benny Benassi will be DJ’ing tonight. We have 60,000 square feet of nightclub. Our outdoor space is open. Roam the club. Find some ladies. Bring them back to your table.” The elevator jostled us gently as it stopped. “Welcome to Marquee, gentlemen. Your party starts…now.”

[Photographs by Lauren Greenfield]

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08/29/12 · 3:38 am

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