LEX Nightclub part two: Reno used to be a great party town, and at least at LEX, you can close your eyes and imagine it still is
The original article on LEX Nightclub was actually a panning of the entire big Vegas club scene and some people thought it was a bit disingenuous because I never actually set foot inside the club. Well, after an endurable 25-minute wait in the “General Admission” line, I finally entered.
Modern times have truly redefined the concept of “waiting” when you can use it to check Facebook or in my case catch up on rejecting and accepting Tinder profiles. Anyone else notice how many tatted, single mothers live in Reno? Am I ever going inside you ask?
The first thing you notice inside is the first large lounge before the club. I actually like this concept. It’s not as loud here and remarkably there is an area of couches for anyone to use. Most clubs may not appreciate this but women get tired standing around in their high heels. If you ever walk outside a big club in a casino you’ll spot countless of them sitting outside at slot machines just to rest their feet. If you were a smart club owner, you would offer free seating inside. The lounge also affords you the ability to talk to people and in some cases get to know the person you’ve been twerking with before getting their numbers thereby vastly improving your chances of ever seeing or twerking with them again.
When you enter the main room, I’ll just put it this way, you will be blown away. I saw countless photos and videos of this place and none, including my own, will ever do it any justice. The main room of this club is HUGE. There are two levels of VIP tables and couches on each side of the large pool in the middle and the DJ stage in back flanked by two circular bars.
The dance floor is above part of the pool and fortunately, there is a rail protecting you from the pool. My friend told me it feels like Vegas or Miami, especially with the pool, and added a little good humidity in an otherwise dry place. I would have to agree. LEX is better and bigger than any club I’ve been to in northern California and perhaps even Los Angeles. It is better and bigger even, than some of the big clubs in Las Vegas.
Interestingly enough, the gigantic “lamp posts” covering the VIP areas look like table lamps which in turn make you feel tiny. Roman architecture was designed to make the common man feel tiny. The emperor was elevated by a throne and platform, but even then, surrounded by gigantic statues, even he was dwarfed. Turning small things into large things makes you feel like you are in the house of a giant, and consequently, you are humbled and assume a more submissive posture.
I forget that the ceiling in this area was so high they could hang full-scale airplanes from it. You can suffer a bit of agoraphobia by focusing on the detail of the woodwork above, which reminds me of the inside of a circus tent and then the obvious connection, this place IS a circus.
In the middle of the pool, there are four perky pool kittens in bikinis romping around with an inflated duck and beach balls. There’s even a desultory, lanky life guard whose purpose is more to deter you from jumping in as saving your drunk ass once you are thrown in. Mark my word LEX, one of these days, a crowd of folks will jump in, and I can only imagine if a fight breaks out, one combat option is throwing the dude in the pool.
When Mike Higdon visited LEX, he found out several people already fell into the pool. One girl fell in while texting (texting while intoxicated, no doubt) and numerous other people dip their toe in and lose their balance quite often while others whole-heartedly jump into the 10-inch to 3-foot deep pool. The staff constantly cleans up splashed water on the dance floor and around the pool while kicking folks out for being douche nozzles.
Now, we get to the meat and potatoes, the drinks. The prices are spot on, $10 or $12 for cocktails and $5 at least for domestic corporate beer. What is not spot on is the lack of basic bartending training, but then again, find me a dude who goes to a nightclub for good cocktails and I’ll find you a guy who goes to strip clubs for the music, they’re probably the same dude.
I ordered an Old Fashioned at two different bars and neither could make one. One made an unacceptable Manhattan, and when I asked for a replacement, she had to call in a manager who took three minutes to show up, didn’t even taste the drink, and allowed her to pour me bourbon on the rocks instead. When I asked what kinds of bourbons they had, she started off with Crown Royal. By no means am I criticizing her. She was beautiful, attentive, and super friendly. It’s obvious management was not hiring for cocktail expertise and why should they in this lollipop, cocktail candy land of lemon drops, hurricanes and Redbulls. But seriously, buy some simple syrup and start making Old Fashioneds, LEX.
When Mike visited the VIP area, the liquor options were similarly bland. Obviously the point of the VIP table is not to drink classy beverages but if LEX plans to attract an older, more sophisticated crowd — and they do — Sky Vodka and Remy Martin aren’t going to cut it. Create a “specialty drink” list in the VIP area that includes $2,500 (yes, $2,500) craft scotch, bourbon, vodka and tequila.
You will inevitably attract some pretentious asswit, 20-something, Bay Area dot-com doucher who watches Mad Men and will invariably ask for an Old Fashioned or something similarly old. The shelf was replete with corporate liquor, the usual Diageo and Beam, Inc. suspects. No Heaven Hill or Sazerac products in sight. I’ll spare you my soliloquy about corporate booze and food. I beseech people to be conscientious consumers, because what you buy not only has an impact on your health but the entire ecosystem of earthbound sustenance. Be a mindless, drooling, buzzed drunk all you want on the dance floor, but don’t be a mindless, drooling, brand-worshipping consumer.
Finally the music and the restrooms. I’ll make the connection. Both are undersized and overstaffed and I won’t be so obvious to say full of shit. If you get the opportunity to visit Vegas, besides paying $40 or $60 to enter a club and hear their music, you can listen to the best modern EDM club music for free on Pulse 96.7 formerly Jelli 96.7. LEX was playing what you would find at Bubinga, Rise and the Polo Lounge. Okay, not the Polo, I was just being mean.
There’s a reason they pay DJs millions of dollars in Vegas. They’re worth it. LEX has skimped both on the restrooms and DJs but it’s forgivable, because I just paid $15 to get in, and you get what you pay for. There is an attendant in the men’s room at least, whose only job it seems is to hand you paper towels (his selection of cologne well hidden), because apparently, people in nice places can’t pull paper towels out of a dispenser. Their delicate fingers are so tired from counting all their money. The richer you get, it seems, the less capable you are of using your hands when people open your car door, building doors, carry your luggage, your bags, in fact, perhaps the dream of all rich people is to ultimately do without their own hands and have people feed them and wipe their asses too. There are about four stalls and four urinals, which is simply way too small for a club this size. Luckily, you can use the casino restrooms too which are only about 50 yards from the entrance. You really need more urinals, because guys will simply piss on toilet seats and I can’t imagine more than two dudes taking a crap at the same time at a nightclub. One maybe, but he probably just shit himself drunk.
What the hell is up with all the people behind the DJ? Apparently, it takes a village to spin a record. VIPs regularly get taken up to the DJ booth and stare out over the crowd. Most of them pause in amazement at all the glistening buttons and actual spinning records, while the others dance awkwardly hoping no one notices them. Maybe the awkwardness fades after midnight.
Outside the restroom is a glass-enclosed area where two women in bikinis shower and play around. You don’t get to say that very often in life and when you do it’s usually taken out of context, but in this case, it’s not. It’s small touches like this that really make a club and I think life in general. The shower is a legal requirement for any place with a pool so LEX made theirs fun.
But the sheer number of dancing models begs the question: where are all the oily dudes? Other than a few bartenders and security, no Chippendale-looking guys are splashing each other, rubbing oil on themselves or jiggling their marble-filled speedos at the crowd. How do they expect to keep the single girls coming if there’s nothing for them to poke or accidentally-on-purpose rub against?
I truly had an awesome night despite all my negative prognostications about explicit twerking with Hannah Montana-raised, gently tatted, selfie fetishists. There was a whole lot of that going on. In fact, I even attempted conversing with one:
“What do you think of the DJ?” I yelled.
“No, thank you.”
“Um, no, I said what do you think of the DJ?”
“No, thank you.”
“Okay, that’s like an appropriate response for a proposition, which I’m pretty sure I didn’t make.”
“No, thank you.”
“Okay, you’re not even like legitimizing my inquiry with a logical response.” Obviously, she was blacked out, and obviously, she had no idea what the hell I was saying.
At least for now, the place was packed with young women, which you just don’t get in Reno any more. Newcomers to Reno assume we’ve always been lacking in hot, young women but in 2008, I counted 26 of them at Tonic, perhaps I double-counted a couple, but none-the-less 26! You could swing a dead cat around and hit one. You might get thrown out of the club but you’d hit one, nonetheless.
I think word will get around northern California and this place will be packed for quite some time. Even the Vegas students who come up here in September will be impressed. I may even pitch in for a VIP table one of these nights. All I can say is, Reno used to be a great party town, and at least at LEX, you can close your eyes and imagine it still is.
Where: LEX Nightclub in Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 E 2nd St. Reno, NV 89502
Hours: 10 p.m. until close
Price: $15 general admission for locals, $30 for non local
VIP table service requires reservations here and price is dependent on drink service, etc.
Ticketed events can also be purchased here
Guest list is also separate from general admission
Private events are also available on the same link above
Drink prices: $10 – $15 range for bar cocktails; $300 – $1,800 for table service drinks
The pool: Pool parties will start in September before 10 p.m., otherwise it’s for the models to play in at night so don’t jump in after them
Music: Electronic Dance Music with local DJs. There will also be Country-Western nights in the future
Correction, Tuesday, Aug. 5 at 8:50 p.m.: Photos were incorrectly attributed and credits were fixed to reflect photographer Adil Harchaoui.
Ed SJC Park
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