By Nick Manteris · 0 Comments · Leave a Comment
On Thursday nights I’ve been going to see new-release movies at the Rave Theater in Town Square and, for the past couple months, whenever I’ve been leaving there seems to be a lot going on at the Nu Sanctuary Lounge. I usually walk past thinking something like, “What is the deal with that place?” …but I’ve never actually made any attempt to find out. There are usually lots of people outside with hookahs, a decent amount of people inside on the dance floor and music loud enough to be heard around the corner. Sometimes that music doesn’t sound too bad and, since the crowds always seem to be having a good time, I finally decided to check the place out. (Besides, I’m not usually one to pass up an opportunity to dance. Like, ever.)
Aside from offering hookahs and specialty drinks, Nu Sanctuary is a fine dining establishment with an executive chef (Brian Howard) that is – according to Robin Leach – among the best in the city. And before I go too much further, I should reiterate that this is a mini-review: I only sampled the water, the dance floor and the vibe. At one point, a waitress passed me with a flatbread pizza-thing that smelled absolutely delicious, but – as my previous meal was cola and way, way too much popcorn – any sort of hot food might have been aromatically appealing to me at that moment.
The design of Nu Sanctuary is interesting…there’s a big tree “growing” out of the bar in the middle of the place and they’ve engineered a root system composed of lights that works its way through the floor and even up some of the walls. The effect of the lighting works better than the actual tree – which creates a strange dead-zone near the bar – but their origins are presumably intertwined and their mutual existence seems interdependent. And conscious or not, I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie Avatar played a part in the design. In other lighting news, the strobe light near the DJ booth is so powerful that I think it’s really a disguised ultraviolet strobe designed to kill bacteria in the general vicinity of the dance floor.
The DJ played a mix of hip-hop and dance-y/trance-y stuff. The styles and tempos bounced around quite a bit, but hip-hop was the main ingredient. (I have to say: hip-hop is not my first choice for ass-shakin’ …for the record.) This is a typical trait of Las Vegas DJs though: in an effort to appeal to large, diverse groups of people, they are frequently all over the place musically, playing five to ten songs every five minutes – not the ideal environment for dancing. Additionally, sudden and massive tempo shifts – of sometimes more than 20 bpm – are also unfavorable for a dancing experience and less-than-desirable overall. (Of course, these are my individual dance-related opinions. You could be one of those people that, when you recognize a song, screams and throws their hands up, runs to the dance floor to dance enthusiastically for twenty seconds and then lose interest, only to repeat this sequence on the next familiar song.) It never matters much to me if the song is recognizable when I’m dancing – I just want to hear music that makes me want to move. Oh, and speaking of moves…the crowd here seemed perfectly okay with the idea of strangers invading their personal space in order to dance all up on top of them. Personally, I’m not comfortable with invading the personal space of others because I don’t want people to do it to me. That never seems to stop it from happening though. (At least I can take comfort in the fact that they were most likely disinfected from the strobe light before I was touched...without desire or consent, I might add.) On a somewhat-related note, and I’m not sure how to say this without being disrespectful, but when they played the “sexy bitch” song I actually saw a sexy bitch. And all I could think was, “Damn, girl.” (If she had invaded my personal space, I would have been forced to excuse her transgression, but she was the only one in the lounge that I would have granted a pass on this particular evening morning.)
If you haven’t already figured it out on your own, I should probably also mention that I seem to be on the outside edge of the target demographic for Nu Sanctuary Lounge. In addition to the music and clientele disparities, hookah seems like a trendy way to orchestrate a social ritual around an undesirable drug…and tobacco is not really my thing. It would make more sense if people were getting high, but then, alas, it would still not be my thing…it would just make more sense. That doesn’t mean I would completely avoid hookah in either case – I happen to enjoy the drug-related social rituals more than many of the drugs. Hookah is just not something I would seek out and it wouldn’t influence me to frequent any establishment. (If someone opens up an opium den, though, I’m totally interested in trying out that experience: keep me posted. Hmm, I seem to be digressing.)
Anyway, smoking out of water pipes appears to be an integral component of Nu Sanctuary and that particular activity doesn’t really interest me too much. Their nightlife component isn’t exactly what I would order if I were given the chance, but I had fun and I wouldn’t have any problems returning…and maybe next time I’ll have a few drinks. The final part of their equation is the fine dining and I’m especially curious now to taste what they have to offer. I will probably go back for the food before I return to get my groove on. We’ll just have to see how it goes.
Reviewed Friday, June 18, 2010