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Vegas nightlife institution dreams of Big D | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Vegas nightlife institution dreams of Big D | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Fans mingle during a watch party at Drai’s Nightclub on the Strip in Las Vegas on Day 1 of the NFL draft Thursday, April 28, 2022. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto

There was a time in Las Vegas’s nightlife history when Drai’s Restaurant was the lone star on the Strip. Today, the family is expanding its empire to the Lone Star State.

Victor Drai and his son, Dustin, are developing Drai’s Dallas, opening in the last three months of 2024 (or Q4, in hospitality jargon).

The 15,000-square-foot venue will present cabaret-tinged entertainment with French-inspired dining. This is to be an exclusive restaurant, lounge and private membership club in the middle of the city’s arts district.

Drai’s Dallas might not quite be a boot-scootin’-boogie scene, but it does fit he family mold. Dustin is a very Las Vegas personality, but also an SMU alum.

“I graduated from SMU and I always had a love for the city of Dallas,” Dustin Drai said in a phone chat this month. “I always felt a personal connection to that city, that it would be great to do something there.”

It took about eight years for the younger Drai to home in on his former home. He ran through several concepts in his mind, “I knew it would somehow be a trade or something else,” Drai said. The club exec eventually teamed with Dallas-based GAP Concepts, which created the chic, regional hotspots Ly-La, PostScript HTX and XOXO Dining Room.

Victor Drai’s image and legacy looms over the project. Drai’s Dallas is the first post-pandemic expansion. It’s Dustin’s first expansion he has headed up, from the start. It’s also the first Drai’s club ever outside of Las Vegas.

Victor remains the father of all things Drai’s. But Dustin is the parent of the Dallas club.

“Having my dad as a partner and a mentor and having him be a part of my vision is an amazing feeling,” Dustin said. “He’s helping me with the direction for where I see the company over the next 10-15 years. He’s always pushing me, saying, ‘Yeah, let’s try, let’s try,’ but he’s not going to do the work for me. So this project has been a lot of work, on myself, making the right decisions in the right way.”

Drai’s at Cromwell is still a pace-setting Las Vegas destination. The Drai’s Restaurant supper-club model, hatched a quarter-century ago, now seems a model for like nightspots across the city.

“This is the trend in the in the hospitality, entertainment and restaurant world, and we are trying to figure out how we can duplicate what we have in Vegas,” Dustin said. “But Vegas will always be our baby. It will always be the original.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

This content was originally published here.