In The Ropes, Eater Vegas talks to the nightlife heavyweights. These are the guys and gals who help run the show and orchestrate dreams at the nightclubs in Las Vegas.
Robert Chiti [Photo: Chelsea McManus]
Robert Chiti has been in the hospitality game since the days when the now defunct Dragon Nightclub (inside China Grill) at Mandalay Bay was a major strip player. He now serves as the Director of VIP services for Lavo Nightclub at the Palazzo. With the recent return of Lavo Brunch, we caught up with this industry vet to get his take on the raucous day party, people in kilts and everything you'd want to know about Lavo.
How did you get into the business?
I started in hospitality by attending UNLV's Hotel Program, which included studying abroad in Switzerland and then working for the Four Seasons Hotel Group. My first nightlife experience was running The Dragon Nightclub at China Grill in Mandalay Bay for five years. A short time after, I was introduced to Jason Strauss, the owner of Tao Group. Here I am six years later, enjoying what I do!
What's the first thing that shocked you?
The first thing that shocked me was seeing a guest purchase a 30-liter bottle of Ace of Spades. We had to bring it out on a wheelbarrow because it was too heavy for just the cocktail servers to carry out.
And now does anything shock you?
I feel like I have seen everything, but guests always surprise us with creative ways to get into our nightclub.
What is the craziest thing you have seen a guy or group of guys do to get in?
There was once a group of gentleman from Ireland in their native kilts asking to perform on stage for a free bottle.
Did they end up performing?
No, they did not perform, but we did line pass them because it was an original idea.
What about girls?
Sorry, I'm a married man, my wife might read this...
Which of the Tao Group venues is your favorite and why?
Lavo Nightclub is my favorite with its intimate setting and high-energy room. The best attribute is our personalized service that our team offers on a consistent basis to our VIP regulars.
What's the most extravagant experience you can craft?
One of our special international VIPs wanted to throw a big birthday bash for a family member. We had to impress them and make sure all details were covered including having our staff dressed in their favorite color with personalized Lavo attire and specially made balloons of the country colors hanging from the ceiling. We welcomed the group with a curbside check-in outside at valet and escorted them to the front door where our entire team was on standby with ropes wide open, rose petals being thrown on the floor and a warm greeting by our entire cocktail team. As the VIP group entered the main room of the nightclub, their favorite artist—who was flown in just for this night—was there to entertain and sing happy birthday!
How many people really drop $100,000 in a night?
We are very fortunate to have a great clientele that enjoys visiting all of our Tao Group venues, from NYC to Australia to Las Vegas, amazing synergy within the company that supports each other. We always respect clients' privacy.
Does that ever happen at brunch?
The Lavo Brunch party is the hottest event in our company now! We are getting visits from the top nightclub goers from around the world, and they definitely know how to enjoy champagne midafternoon!
Can you explain Lavo Brunch for the uninitiated?
Starting at 2 p.m. every Saturday, we offer an amazing combination of food, champagne and European house music. The comment I hear most from people is that they "can't believe this is happening right now" because it's 4 p.m., but it feels like a 2 a.m. vibe in a nightclub. Expect to see amazing gold painted dancers, crazy confetti showers, and a high energy staff to keep you dancing on your table for the entire afternoon! You might see Wonder Woman or Batwoman come to your table to deliver a Magnum champagne bottle!
What are the door policies like?
It is a relaxed dress code for brunch. No cover charge, but there are bar minimums for guest who would like to eat/drink at the bar. A table reservation is always best.
Do you go out?
Yes, I always enjoy seeing the newest restaurant/lounge/nightclub in town and admire how this city has grown over the years.
What should you always bring to the club?
Style and a good attitude to start. Photo ID is a must!
What distinguishes Lavo Brunch from the other day parties?
Hands down, we have the best food menu to offer during the day! It is an a la carte brunch menu that features pancakes, waffles, French toast, a raw bar, pasta, salads, burgers and more. We also carry more than 15 types of Champagne including large format bottles.