When the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show (NCB) came to the Las Vegas Convention Center last week, the show was celebrating its 26th year in Las Vegas.
Why Las Vegas?
Jon Taffer, President of Nightclub & Bar Media, says, “Why? Because Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. The nightclubs here are simply bigger, better and more sophisticated than anywhere else. This, along with the appeal of Las Vegas as a destination, makes it the perfect place for NCB.”
Technically, NCB, is open to the public (for a price), but its principal audiences are owners and managers of bars, nightclubs, independent and chain restaurants, hotels, resorts and casinos. Educational sessions cover everything from “How to increase profits with new menu items and specials” to “How to open a nightclub on a dime.” DirectTV hosted a Hospitality Sports Marketing Conference to help establishments know how to attract business through live televised sports. A special section of the trade show floor was devoted to the “spirits” of Mexico. Special competitions for mixologists were also part of the show-floor action. Although final 2011 attendance figures were not available for this article, last year’s attendance at NCB was 28,000.
NCB, like many conventions, brings business all over Las Vegas. Featured NCB parties in the evenings this year were held in the Caesars Palace Ballroom, Haze Nightclub at Aria, Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace, The Bank at Bellagio, Lax at Luxor and Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan.
Exhibitors at the March 9-10 trade show target beverage-serving establishments. Products on display included glassware, drink dispensers, audio equipment for DJs, tables, bar stools, memorabilia for the walls, bar games, drink tickets, digital dining software for the wait staff, cocktail trophies, hangover cures, machines to clean up after a night of partying and soft drinks and liquor galore.
Although the Las Vegas Convention Center has a strict “no smoking” rule, NCB is unusual in that liquor is served throughout the trade show. (All attendees must be 21 or over.) The tastings are served in small cups. If one takes in enough samples, of course, the cumulative effect can be dizzying. Lots of attractive local models pour the drinks, and dancing on the tables is allowed.
In some ways, the NCB event reminded me of the Adult Entertainment Expo. Many of the models were wearing brief costumes; the audience seemed VERY happy and in addition to guest celebrity “The Situation”, a real live porn star, Jesse Jayne (she of blonde hair, pouty lips and skimpy tank top), was in attendance promoting a vodka.
Speaking of vodka, did you know a vodka is now made from Florida oranges? The folks from 4 Orange say they are producing the world’s first and only super-premium vodka made from four varieties of Florida oranges.
And Chocolate Milk for Adults (I tried this) features just a bit of vodka mixed with the chocolate milk. Yummy.
The only other tasting I allowed myself was at a booth for Coco Real, a gourmet cream of coconut concentrate that makes a delicious pina collada. The folks at Coco Real also passed along a number of recipes using their product. Doesn’t sweet and sour coconut chicken sound delicious?
All in all, the trade show portion of NCB is one of those really interesting things to do while in Las Vegas. Wear your spike hairdo, tatoos, low-cut “Bling It” custom made bras and you’ll fit right in. Or, just come as you really are, have fun tasting lots of new drinks, talk to the exhibitors…and…go open your own nightclub!