How Singapore’s Zouk is taking over the Las Vegas party scene

A render of Zouk Las Vegas, which opens in September 2021. (Photo: courtesy Resorts World Las Vegas)

By Chong Seow Wei

July 05, 2021

Singapore’s Zouk Group is venturing beyond Asia and into the United States for the first time, with a multi-million dollar plan that will redefine the Las Vegas entertainment and lifestyle scene

Six years ago, Singapore revelers reacted with a mixture of emotions when news broke that Genting Hong Kong, a subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, had acquired the country’s most iconic nightclub, Zouk, for an undisclosed amount. Many longtime Zouk fans were skeptical whether this was the right move for the club, which has become an institution for generations of Singaporeans since it opened in 1991.

While Zouk’s future looked uncertain for clubbers, it has never been clearer for Genting’s side. For Lim Keong Hui, the son of Genting Group Chairman Lim Kok Thay, and Zouk’s new CEO Andrew Li, the future was expanding, both in terms of the lifestyle concepts Zouk could offer and presence all over the world.

“The Zouk brand has such an emotional connection to Singapore, which is why we paid attention to how we cultivate it from day one,” Li says. “But we also understand that it has to be a [sustainable] business, so Hui and I tapped into our experiences with nightlife around the world to elevate some of Zouk’s experiences. ”

Related: Tatler Singapore Partners Panerai For Adrenaline-pumping Zouk Spin Session

Photo: Courtesy of Zouk Group
Zouk nightclub in Singapore. (Photo: courtesy of the Zouk Group)

And enlarging it did. In 2019, Zouk opened its second nightclub in Malaysia, a 34,000 square foot space in the mountains at Resorts World Genting. Its first club in Malaysia, located in the city of Kuala Lumpur, opened in 2004 while the brand was still run by its founder, Lincoln Cheng.

In 2020, the temporary closure of nightclubs in Singapore due to the Covid-19 outbreak saw Li and his team react quickly with a pivotal plan. This led to the club opening up its spaces for other purposes, such as spin classes, a restaurant, and a pop-up cinema.

Related: Zouk CEO Andrew Li Wants People To Have Fun In The Cloud

This will be the most important year to date for the Zouk Group. In September, he brought his experiences to the United States for the first time with the launch of his newest and largest nightclub in Las Vegas.

Measuring 26,060 square feet, the nightclub can accommodate up to 2,160 revelers, compared to 1,500 at its location in Singapore. It has two party venues – the Zouk Main Room and the more hip-hop-focused Empire – as well as the Capital Bar, which has an unusual circular design and is connected to all venues.

There will also be a state-of-the-art ‘mothership’ ceiling centerpiece, seen in various forms at all of Zouk’s nightclubs, which can move from room to room and change the backdrop. background of the place thanks to light effects.

Other club technology features include a digital guest list and interactive 3D reservation cards, which will allow guests to see the exact table they are reserving.

Andrew Li, CEO of Zouk Group.  Photo: Courtesy of Zouk Group
Andrew Li, CEO of Zouk Group. (Photo: courtesy of the Zouk Group)

Along with the nightclub, Zouk is also launching other entertainment and lifestyle concepts. This includes Ayu Dayclub, a tropical themed beach club that will open on July 4 with a performance by Miley Cyrus; Famous Foods Street Eats, a multi-restaurant concept serving Southeast Asian street food that opened last week; Redtail social game bar; and the contemporary Asian restaurant Fuhu.

In two of these restaurants, there will be food that has a personal connection with Li and Lim, who are longtime friends. In Fuhu, those dishes are the aromatic crispy duck and Boston lobster noodles, which Li said he and Lim often ate when they were studying at a boarding school in London. “These two dishes always give us a strong sense of nostalgia when we grew up eating them, especially when we ran out of home,” says Li, whose family is from Hong Kong. At Redtail, it’s the spaghetti bolognese, which is another favorite of Li and his idea of ​​“the ultimate comfort food”.

Photo: Courtesy of Zouk Group
Zouk’s beach club concept Ayu Dayclub was inspired by tropical beach clubs in Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali. Photo: Courtesy of Zouk Group
Photo: Courtesy of Zouk Group
A rendering of Zouk Las Vegas’ contemporary Asian restaurant, Fuhu. The restaurant concept was first launched at Resorts World Genting in 2019. Photo: Courtesy of Zouk Group

According to Zouk, his Vegas concepts cost more than $ 70 million to build. They are part of Genting Group’s US $ 4.3 billion development of Resorts World Las Vegas, which is the first major launch the neon-lit Vegas Strip has seen in over a decade.

As of Thursday, the integrated resort began welcoming guests to its hotels and most dining establishments as part of its first phase of opening. It includes 3,500 hotel rooms managed by three brands, including Hilton and Conrad, as well as a 5,000-seat theater where Celine Dion and Katy Perry will perform later this year.

Its casino would also be the first in the world to be completely cashless, with plans to eventually allow customers to be able to pay in cryptocurrency.

According to Li, the timing of opening a new nightclub – and an integrated resort of this magnitude – in Vegas has never been better. “Looking at the past weekends, there’s been a lot of revenge spending in Vegas, where it’s all open and you don’t have to wear a mask anywhere anymore,” he says. “Plus, almost 50% of the American population has been vaccinated, so there are a lot of people now ready to go out and party, and Vegas is known for that. “

Indeed, the city has received a lot of attention lately; last year, it saw the launch of the US $ 1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium, which serves as the home base for the Las Vegas Raiders football team. And earlier this year, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s The Boring Company unveiled the twin tunnels it had built under the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) to transport people around the massive Teslas site. Called LVCC Loop, it will later be connected to a larger Vegas Loop system which is still under development and will have stations located in the stadium, airport and the Strip.

“There’s been a lot of stuff happening in Vegas lately that feels like it’s reinventing itself,” Li says. “I think the opening of Resort Worlds Las Vegas is almost like the reopening of Las Vegas. The excitement surrounding its launch has been crazy because everyone knows it will be something special.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement