GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

November 7, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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NIGHTS > THE NEXT STAGE Krave finds a new home at TW Theater & Nightclub. C O C K TA I L O F T H E W E E K DESSERT IN A GLASS Vintner's Pumpkin Martini is a great holiday libation GAY UTOPIA A reclaimed Krave uses the former location of a pioneering club; another LGBT party uses its name If the name Krave prompts you to roll your eyes, you could hardly be faulted. What was once a respectable and popular gay nightlife institution in the mid2000s fell victim to alleged mismanagement and tax fraud in the hands of its previous owner, Kelly Murphy. When state officials closed its supersized incarnation at Neonopolis in August, most locals responded by telling Murphy and his beleaguered club to sashay away. However, Krave's founder, Sia Amiri, aims to reverse the damage brought on by his ex-partner, to whom he had sold his remaining interest in 2012. Since the closure of the Downtown operation, Amiri repurchased the Krave name, digital entities and guest databases; hired former employees from both the club's early days and its summer Downtown experiment (including his DJ sons Lightknife and Morningstar); and relocated the operation back to the Strip, at the former Club Utopia. Seen from the Gold Diggers balcony overlooking the Fremont Street Experience: a half-dozen or so tourists drunkenly belting out "We Are the Champions" in their best faux-Freddie Mercury. That—not the blackjack dealers by The Weekly catches up with the Golden Nugget party spot the bar, not the packed dancefloor and not even the guy in the mirror-covered sport coat—will be the mental snapshot I'm saving from my visit last weekend, thank you very much. ¶ Approaching its sixth year in operation, Gold Diggers remains a charming nightspot with a one-of-a-kind view, an unpretentious vibe and relatively affordable bottle service ($200 gets you a table and a bottle of Grey Goose). ¶ There's a decent-sized dance area inside and an elevated DJ booth behind the bar. Outside—where the Drake song being played by the DJ may occasionally be superseded by an FSE show, hence the Queen moment—there's GOLD DIGGERS a second bar, patio seating and a decidedly less clubby gathering that is, nonetheless, having Wednesdaya blast. ¶ Recently, the venue upgraded its sound and lighting systems, and it even hosted Sunday, doors an official Life Is Beautiful afterparty with Jurassic 5's Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark. The party at 9 p.m. Golden deviated from the usual open-format DJ sets (Top 40, hip-hop, trap and older favorites) and Nugget, 385-7111. demonstrated that five-plus years on, Gold Diggers can still surprise. –Jorge Labrador GOLD DIGGERS RECIPE: 1 ½ oz. Stoli Vanil vodka 1 ½ oz. fresh pumpkin purée (pumpkin, butternut squash, brown sugar, orange juice, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, simple syrup) ½ oz. white crème de cacao graham cracker crumbs k Purée: Quarter the butternut squash and pumpkin and top with brown sugar, orange juice, sage, cinnamon and cloves. k Bake on a baking sheet for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. k Scoop out and add nutmeg, simple syrup and cinnamon to taste. k Rim martini glass with graham cracker crumbs. k Add vodka, crème de cacao and pumpkin purée to a shaker with ice. k Shake and strain into the martini glass. KRAVE PHOTO BY BILL HUGHES, COCKTAIL PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER DEVARGAS CHECKING IN ON ... On November 1, the grand reopening party at the now-christened TW Theater & Nightclub wasn't packed, but at 1 a.m. the dancefloor was, with healthy crowds elsewhere. Amiri was very pleasantly surprised. "I wasn't expecting … a lot of people, like at the old one," he says. "Mostly in my old club they had a lot of tourists, but last night was about 90 percent locals, [which] was a good thing." Krave 3.0 will limit itself to Thursday-Sunday operation, with Saturday afterhours on the balcony patio, so partiers can watch the sky light up from the rising sun—just as they did when the building and party were called Utopia. "A few weeks from now, I know it will be strong," Amiri says. "It worked before, it should work now." Coincidentally, that name now brands a new LGBT party at another nightspot with a high-turnaround history. On October 25, Utopia drew hundreds of locals to the massive House Nightclub, which was formerly Scores, Rick's Cabaret and Jaguars. Utopia doesn't feature strippers—just go-go dancers, performers and DJs—and it has already moved to Saturdays. A month ago, gay clubbers crowded the few dancefloors available to them. Now, there's room for everyone. –Mike Prevatt Now that All Hallow's Eve has passed, the big question remains: What to do with all those pumpkins? Thankfully, Vintner Grill has a decadent solution on its new fall cocktail menu. The Pumpkin Martini ($10) is literally a dessert-to-glass libation—the centerpiece purée recipe originated in the pastry kitchen. The Pumpkin Martini captures autumn in a most delightful way, as nostalgia-evoking baking spices—cinnamon, sage, cloves and nutmeg—are prominent and enchanting. It's the perfect cocktail for upcoming holiday dinners—and for saving those gourds from the post-Halloween junkyard. –Sabrina Chapman 26 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM NOVEMBER 7–13, 2013 26_Nights_2_20131107.indd 26 11/5/13 4:16 PM

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