Vegas is one of the most concentrated, celeb-infested pieces of land in the world. At any one time, it seems there’s at least one Kardashian hosting a birthday party at TAO (how many birthdays can one family celebrate?). But on any given night you can see various Real Housewives, movie casts, celebrity DJs and honest-to-goodness Hollywood stars. (Depending how much publicity they need, I’ll know in advance or soon after they’ve arrived, when my inbox gets bombarded with pictures of them “enjoying a private dinner.”) You won’t see the major stars just wandering the casino floor, though. For instance, the night before George Clooney’s infamous dinner with Steve Wynn, he was at the exclusive, ultra-private Paiza Club in the Venetian; when Robert DeNiro helped open Nobu Hotel, he was sequestered in a hotel room and in a private back room of the restaurant, only emerging for very brief appearances. Still, there’s plenty of gawking to be done, so if you want to do it, here are the places that will bump up your chances of basking in the same light as celebs.
Andrea’s at Encore
The year-old venue at Encore Las Vegas was named “Andrea’s” by Steve Wynn in a pretty tribute to his wife. At the helm of the cream-, cognac- and gold-hued room—dripping with Venetian glass teardrops—is Chef Joseph Elevado, who returns to Vegas from L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. DJ Steve Angello (of Swedish House Mafia fame) directs the music for the restaurant, whose vast, eight-page menu of Asian cuisine plays to a social, sharing crowd. The big booths around the periphery are nice, private spots, and Lady Gaga, Kate Upton, Stacy Keibler and many more celebs have been spotted here before going into Surrender nightclub, which has its own entrance from Andrea’s. There’s lots of specialty sushi (Wagyu beef and lobster) on the menu, plus Dungeness-crab fried rice, duck confit lo mein, and dozens of other elevated Asian share plates.
Bellagio's beloved but aging Fontana Bar was transformed into Sam Nazarian’s hot new Hyde Bellagio a couple of years ago. Today, the sleek, Philippe Starck-designed space, with a much-expanded terrace, is a subdued lounge until 10 p.m., but shifts into a thumping insider scene for Vegas and L.A. influencers thereafter. It’s been a good celeb hangout since its launch: J. Lo dropped a single here, Michael Phelps played DJ, and celebrity DJ Tiesto recently launched his own set, to which the famous fountains are synchronized. You’ll likely see stars at one of the 40 VIP tables.
Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan
Brought to Las Vegas by the creators of perennially popular Tao, Marquee—with its three distinct rooms and attached day club (for outdoor gaming in good weather)— is one of the best nightclub bets on the Strip. The dark rooms, with faux-croc flooring, are surrounded by spacious leather booths— reserve one with bottle service to take a break from the madding crowds. Deep inside you'll find Marquee’s best room, The Library, complete with fireplace, book-lined walls, a vintage billiard table and cocktail waitresses dressed as librarians. Since it opened, everyone has partied here from 50 Cent, Rihanna, Kanye West, John Mayer and Alex Rodriguez to Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Channing Tatum. It’s a consistently good bet.
The 80,000-square-foot, five-story megaclub in MGM Grand has become the place to party—but if any celebs are here, they’re most likely hidden away in one of the oversized VIP booths. At its 2013 opening alone were Jennifer Lopez, Vanessa Hudgens, Pharrell Williams, Calvin Harris, Tiesto, Cheryl Burke and Paris Hilton, who danced the night away in the DJ booth. Stars like LeAnn Rimes have been spotted dining in the restaurant, and Jessica Alba celebrated her birthday there. With the number of people Hakkasan packs in every night—many of them hoping to get doused with Champagne and cake by resident DJ Steve Aoki—you’ll have to do some looking about to see the stars, but they’re here.
This club at Encore claims to be the priciest nightclub ever conceived, with its gold-plated chandeliers and gold-embossed crocodile VIP booths honoring the wonderful, well, excess that is Las Vegas. During the day, it opens up to a massive pool area for hotel guests, who can order bottle service in its plush cabanas, and its “night swim” summer party with table games is one of the hottest tickets in town. In case you’ve forgotten, this was the site of Prince Harry’s boozy “race” with Olympian Ryan Lochte. But Beyoncé has had after-parties here, shutting down an entire section for parties that included Usher, and single nights have offered such sightings as Hugh Jackman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Shaquille O’Neal, Nicky Hilton, David Katzenberg and Jerry Bruckheimer.