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PIRANHA/8 1/2

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Just Off The Strip

4633 Paradise Rd.

Las Vegas, NV 89169

702-791-0100

website

Nightly 10pm-Close

Gay/Lesbian

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A fun and kinda swanky nightclub (Piranha) and ultralounge (8 1/2) for the gay and lesbian community.

Where is it?

Just off The Strip in the so-called "Fruit Loop" on Paradise Road not too far from The Hard Rock Hotel.

What kind of crowd does it draw?

Although you'll usually find more tourists than locals, there are a often a decent amount of real Las Vegans here. Although the club draws all different types, it definitely trends toward guys in their 20s and 30s.

What are the prices like?

The cover charge on weekends is a steep $20 but once you get inside the drinks are fairly reasonable.

When is the best time to go?

When the Piranha nightclub is also open so you can go back and forth between the two bars.

Why should I go here?

Two clubs for the price of one.

What else do I need to know?

There are several other gay bars within walking distance if this one isn't doing it for you.

What's the bottom line?

A really nice place with both high energy and laid back spaces to fit any mood.

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FULL REVIEW

First of all, the piranhas are gone. It involved the city and animal laws and concern over the well-being of either the fish or the people who were near the man-eating beasts. There are non-threatening fishies in the big aquariums now but that hasn't diminished the club's appeal even as competition increases all over town.

The complex serves as two very distinct experiences in one streamlined package. 8 1/2 is the cheekily named ultralounge portion, which includes a full bar, lots of comfy booths and chairs, TV screens, a fireplace, and a stage for entertainment (often of the go-go boy variety). It's dark and cozy the way a good ultralounge should be. There's also a big outdoor patio with more lounging opportunity and another nifty fireplace. It's a nice place to catch a quick breath of fresh air but may not be the best place to hang for long periods, partly because of the weather (often too hot or too cold) but mostly because of the planes landing at nearby McCarran airport, so low over the building that it appears that you could reach up and touch them. Loud, too. Really loud.

The other part of the facility is Piranha, the high-energy dance club. You access it through 8 1/2 down a hallway lined with the aforementioned aquariums. The two-story space features a sizeable dance floor (not so big that you'll feel like an idiot if there aren't many people out there but big enough for you and several dozen of your closest friends). Upstairs is seating and another bar that overlooks the dance floor. This was redone in 2013 so now it is all open instead of the VIP skybox concept that it used to have. Much nicer.

The crowd is a mix of tourist and local that can title in either direction from night to night. Sometimes you'll find a lot of regulars hanging out and usually shunning the tourists and sometimes you'll find more tourists on the prowl. It also skews younger, so 40-somethings need to have a good sense of self and/or an active gym membership to not feel out of place.

Cover prices can be high - $20 on weekends - but that's about average for the large gay dance clubs in Vegas like Krave, Share, and Drink and Drag. Go before midnight and/or check in via text or social media and you can usually get in for free.

The bars' location in the midst of what is known as "The Fruit Loop" (don't blame me, I didn't name it) means that if you aren't feeling it here you can make your way to several other gay bar options in just a few steps. Those options put together with the dual options within this club make it a great choice for a gay night on the town.

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