Light (Cirque du Soleil)
At a Glance
What is it?
A mega-club originally co-created by Cirque du Soleil but their involvement ended in 2015.
Where is it?
At Mandalay Bay on the South Strip.
What kind of crowd does it draw?
An interesting mix of your typical club goers (young, pretty) and a more grown up audience.
What are the prices like?
As expensive as you would expect it to be.
When is the best time to go?
Early on weekend nights if you want shorter lines but late if you want the full Cirque effect and big-name DJs.
Why should I go here?
Because the place isn’t as hectic as some of the other big clubs.
What else do I need to know?
Several famous DJs have residencies here including Skrillex.
What’s the bottom line?
With Cirque out, I’ll need to go back to see what this club is like.
No matter the luxury trappings, most Las Vegas nightclubs have a similar kind of anything-goes, hedonistic atmosphere where all that really matters is how strong the drinks are and how loud the music is. This is primarily done to lure the young, party-til-dawn set who think nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars to have a night out on the town.
Light, the high-energy nightclub at Mandalay Bay opened in 2013, certainly has it’s share of that crowd but something here felt different; a little more grown-up, a little more sophisticated, and a lot more sexy.
Credit went mostly to this being the brainchild of longtime nightclub management company the Light Group (Bank, 1 OAK, and several others) and Cirque du Soleil (Mystére, O, KÀ, and several others). The union of these two subject-matter-experts took the best of what a nightclub can be and combined it with the kind of cutting-edge atmosphere and visuals that turned it into something more than just a dance floor and a bar.
Notice all of this is in past tense. The Light Group got bought by Hakkasan and then both that company and Cirque du Soleil dropped their involvement with Light in October of 2015. What that means for the future of the club is undetermined but a new management company, Play, has come in and promises to keep the party going.
The point of this is that while I really enjoyed the original Light I’m not sure what the new one is going to be like yet. Take everything you read from here on out with a big grain of sand.
The space is really little more than a three-story black box theater, with a dance floor surrounded on three sides by multiple levels of bottle-service VIP seating, everyone else standing, and bar space. There is no decor to speak of which allows the focus to be easily shifted depending on where they want it to be. A lot of the time that’s on the massive floor-to-ceiling video projection wall that spans almost the entire football-field length of the club. It shows moody visuals in random flashes that are almost hypnotic and often tied to the special effects happening around the space. For instance, a video of a woman exhaling smoke is timed to the dry ice jets that flood the room with fog.
Big name DJs man the booth after midnight on many nights including exclusive stands from Skrillex, Zedd, Bass Jackers, and Carl Kennedy to name a few. They and the house DJs that play before and after the main-stage sets keep the party going with a non-stop mix of EDM, house, hip-hop, and pop. It was interesting, I thought, that the sound level was loud but not at that ear-drum bleeding level it is in most clubs. I was actually able to have a conversation that didn’t involve me having to pretend like I heard what the other person said. This added to the sophisticated vibe of the club.
Don’t get me wrong – there were still plenty of young, pretty party-people in attendance including one VIP booth of about a dozen twenty-somethings who had what I estimated to be about $4,000 worth of booze, much of which they had already consumed by the time I saw them. And while I was definitely an outlier in terms of age, I didn’t feel uncomfortable like I usually do in these types of youth-focused clubs.
And the one thing it definitely has in common with most of the other nightclubs in town is the cost. Figure anywhere from $20-$50 to get in and then drinks (including domestic beers) from $10-$25 apiece.
I’ll have an updated review of the club soon.