Sydney's nightlife scene is set for a monumental shake up starting this autumn. The Star, formerly known as Star City casino, will be launching what will no doubt be marketed as Sydney's first "proper nightclub". The club will go by the name of Marquee Sydney (also known as Marquee – The Star). The brand may sound familiar to some Sydneysiders, but to those who frequent the United States, the name "Marquee" signifies the best that nightlife has to offer in both Las Vegas and New York City.
Las Vegas has been setting the standard for nightlife across the world for a generation. They don't call it "the city that never sleeps" for nothing. This very fact hasn't remained unnoticed by The Star. In its push to be the one and only entertainment destination for nightlife in the city, it has joined forces with the best in the business, the acclaimed nightclub operator Tao Group. The group is responsible for some of the most popular "mega-clubs" in Las Vegas including Tao at the Venetian, LAVO at the Palazzo, and of course Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan. A clear indication that The Star is determined to bring a taste of Las Vegas right to the doorstep of Sydney Harbour.
Marquee Sydney is said to have an "American feel", being described as a hybrid between Marquee in Las Vegas and New York. However, the Tao Group has gone out of their way to incorporate a Sydney vibe to the venture. The nightclub will occupy the entire top tier of The Star's harbour side entrance on Pirrama Road, taking advantage of the one and only Sydney Harbour skyline.
Marquee Sydney definitely looks like it will be Sydney's very first "mega club", as they are known in Las Vegas. The club will have a capacity of up to 1200 people. The location boasts close to 20,000 square feet of floor space with aesthetics familiar to its Las Vegas counterpart, featuring three unique spaces within the one venue. The three spaces will include the Marquee Main Room, Boom Box Room and the Library, more than catering for everyone's taste in music and atmosphere.
Marquee Sydney's projection stage in the Main Room
The highlight of the Main Room will be its 30-foot LED projection stage and accompanying DJ booth, supplying more than enough audio and visual stimulation for its two dance floors. The Library will offer an escape for those who are more into a lounging experience. Guests will be made to feel at home on those cold winter clubbing nights with the Library's working fireplace. Revellers at the Boom Box Room will be able to enjoy state-of-the-art sounds on the accompanying outdoor patio. And let's not forget to mention the chill-out area complete with Sydney skyline views and a unisex "bathroom lounge". For a visual of what the three rooms will be like at Marquee Sydney, take a look at the virtual tour of Marquee Las Vegas.
Main Room in Las Vegas, which is what Sydney's design will be based on
Gossip also suggests that Marquee Sydney will even have its own retail store and separate VIP entrance at street level. Be sure to expect distinctive and elaborate interiors if the Tao Group's American hotspots are anything to go by, often featuring "live" artwork.
Boom Box Room in Las Vegas, which is what Sydney's design will be based on
The Tao Group has been looking to expand its entertainment and club empire, taking advantage of all its momentum from the United States. Only last year Marquee Las Vegas came in at number one for "Mega-Club of the Year" at the Nightclub & Bar Awards. The rank is based on revenue, which was reported to be around $70 to $80 million in 2011. This saw Marquee overtake its local competitors, including Las Vegas institutions like Pure at Caesars Palace and XS at Encore, which at one point had the reputation of being one of the best nightclubs in the world.
The Library in Las Vegas, which is what Sydney's design will be based on
Numbers of this magnitude have seen Marquee secure a star-studded list of exclusive residents to perform under its banner. Its current residents include trance master Armin van Buuren, Avicii, Benny Benassi, Dash Berlin, Ferry Corsten, Kaskade, Dirty South, Erick Morillo, Chuckie, ATB and party rocker Redfoo from LMFAO.
It all kicks off in late March, with the VIP opening night on Friday March 30th followed by the official launch on Saturday March 31st. The opening night headliner will be none other than DJ sensation Afrojack. The Dutch DJ knows a thing or two about partying it up "Vegas style". After experiencing Afrojack and Calvin Harris in Las Vegas during Labour Day long weekend celebrations myself last year, only one assumption can be made about Marquee Sydney's opening night. It is going to be one exceptional occasion.
However, Afrojack won't be alone. A "party rocker" will also be in the house. Redfoo from LMFAO has also been recently named to accompany Afrojack for the opening nights entertainment. Now that's two of last years Stereosonic headliners in one night. Rumoured guests to be attending the opening night's festivities include Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson, Abbie Cornish, Nick Lachey and Kellan Lutz. Unbelievably it doesn't stop there. To add to the sensational line up, Marquee Sydney has just announced the one and only Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas will be headlining the official launch on Saturday March 31st.
The announcements seem to already be having an affect over Sydney's nightlife culture, with Ivy hosting a night with headliners the Freestylers also on Saturday March 31st. Underwhelming considering the goings on at The Star. Ivy will hope to do better with international DJ Roger Sanchez on Anzac Day.
The bells and whistles around Marquee's arrival are all part of The Star's recent $870 million redevelopment and expansion. The Star now offers more than 20 restaurants, a multitude of unique bars, entertainment venues and cafés, a new five star boutique hotel named The Darling, a 16 room spa, a collection of luxury retail stores and upscale gaming areas. In short a one-of-a-kind entertainment destination.
Marquee Sydney is something the city has definitely needed, and I imagine Sydneysiders will quickly get accustomed to it. This initial offering indicates a serious contender in Sydney's diverse nightlife landscape. The future certainly looks bright for the venture and if Marquee's stable of DJ's and immense entertainment roster are anything to go by, then Sydney's social scene is set for some great times.
Marquee The Star applying the finishing touches, courtesy of Marquee Sydney
The question is will Sydney's surrounding nightclubs be able to keep up after such an amazing start from Marquee? It just goes to show that it pays to have New York and Las Vegas connections. However, on the other side of the coin, will Marquee Sydney be able to keep up the flow of international acts on a weekly basis? It is one thing having a never-ending list of musical headliners on your books and another trying to convince them to fly across the world to entertain Sydneysiders for one night. Consistency will be vital and the competition can only be good for revellers in search of night time entertainment.
Marquee Sydney will be aiming to emulate the scenes seen in Las Vegas at Marquee Nightclub & Day Club at the Cosmopolitan during its first birthday celebrations in 2011.