Nightclub Hall of Fame President Ryan Dahlstrom

Michael Sartain talks with the Godfather of Nightlife Victor Drai and President Ryan Dahlstrom the President of the Nightclub Hall of Fame

In the interview Victor Drai discusses his youth, his inspirations growing up and the origins of Drai’s After Hours and Drai’s Beach Club & Nightclub. He also talks about the hard work it takes to be successful in the nightlife industry.

Victor Drai Recaps His Nightlife Career with Ryan Dahlstrom of Nightclub Hall Of Fame

Victor Drai Recaps His Nightlife Career with Ryan Dahlstrom of Nightclub Hall Of Fame

published: 08 Jul 2014

www.VivaVegas.TV Nightlife legend, Victor Drai, sits down with Sancho Van Ryan and Ryan Dahlstrom from Nightclub Hall of Fame to talk about the origin of Drai’s After Hours and Drai’s Nightclub. Victor Drai just recently opened up Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub at the new Cromwell in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Drai honored for opening 3 Vegas clubs in 30 days

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Entertainment mogul Victor Drai is set to join the Nightclub Hall of Fame this week after launching three different clubs in Las Vegas in 30 days.

A ceremony set for Tuesday will honor Drai for opening the rooftop Drai’s Beach Club and Nightclub and early-morning venue Drai’s After Hours at The Cromwell in May. He also opened the gay nightclub Liaison inside Bally’s casino in June.

Drai is already well-known for launching the upscale Tryst and XS clubs at the Wynn casino.

The Nightclub Hall of Fame was founded by bar experts Ryan Dahlstrom and Preston Rideout and honors innovators in the nightlife industry throughout the year.

Copyright © 2017, The San Diego Union-Tribune


LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Weekly has partnered with Nightclub Hall of Fame to celebrate the nightlife and bar industry’s leading men and women. The two will host a series of unforgettable induction ceremonies, paying tribute to the true trailblazers that conceptualize and execute the city’s top party scenes.

Founded by industry veterans and bar experts Ryan Dahlstrom and Preston Rideout, the Nightclub Hall of Fame honors lifetime achievements and is the one of industry’s most sought-after accolades. The program will begin by honoring inductees Victor Drai (Tuesday, July 8), founder and owner of his namesake Drai’s Beach Club • Nightclub at The Cromwell Las Vegas, and Jesse Waits (Monday, July 21), managing partner at XS nightclub at Encore and Tryst nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas. Additional ceremonies will be announced soon.

“As Las Vegas’ go-to source for all things daylife, nightlife, entertainment and dining, Las Vegas Weekly is a natural fit to assist with our event programming,” said Dahlstrom. “These award inductees are the definitive influencers and innovators in the burgeoning nightclub and bar industry, so they deserve a proper recognition put on by the best.”

Upcoming Events:

  • Tuesday, July 8 – Drai, a nightlife and entertainment entrepreneur as well as successful restaurateur, has been committed to Las Vegas’ scene for years with his distinctive style, innovation and unique vision. The nightclub mogul recently opened his 65,000 square foot nightlife/daylife rooftop multi-sensory experience, Drai’s Beach Club • Nightclub; launched Liaison, the first gay nightclub inside a casino on the Strip; and re-launched his famed After Hours venue. His induction ceremony will take place during Drai’s Beach Club • Nightclub’s weekly Yacht Club event. Tickets and table reservations can be arranged by visiting
  • Monday, July 21 – Nightlife impresario Waits is known for using his savvy and impeccable vision to successfully manage Las Vegas’ multi-award-winning, powerhouse venues XS and Tryst. Under his leadership, XS has been named the top-grossing nightclub more often than any other venue in the country, and he has been nationally recognized as a pioneer in developing the EDM movement within the city. Referred to as “Las Vegas’ dance music mecca” by MTV News and dubbed “the Yankees of nightlife” by Rolling Stone, XS will play host to Waits’ celebratory induction. Tickets and table reservations can be arranged by visiting

For more information on Las Vegas Weekly’s and Nightclub Hall of Fame’s partnership, patrons can check out the Thursday, July 3 issue of the publication, which features an exclusive interview with Dahlstrom about the exciting, new venture.

Additional information and updates can be found at and

About Las Vegas Weekly:
Las Vegas Weekly is the authoritative newspaper of arts and culture for Las Vegas residents, and is updated throughout the week with extensive, up-to-date listings and directories of restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment and more. Las Vegas Weekly is free and available each Thursday at newsstands, bookstores and select racks throughout Las Vegas and online at

About Nightclub Hall of Fame:
Founded by nightclub industry veterans and bar experts Ryan Dahlstrom and Preston Rideout, the Nightclub Hall of Fame is the most-anticipated and highly-sought-after accolade in nightlife. It recognizes the most outstanding members of the nightlife industry, comprised of nightclub experts and impresarios, whose influence are redefining the art of nightlife. Dahlstrom, Rideout and Sancho Van Ryan recognize and celebrate outstanding nightlife achievements through annual Nightclub Hall of Fame inductions, award ceremonies, speaking engagements and global events.



For More Information:
Laura Bucklin / Lindsey Rathjen, Kirvin Doak Communications: 702.737.3100  /

Victor Drai to be inducted into Nightclub Hall of Fame next Tuesday



Victor Drai and Giada De Laurentiis attend Drai’s Beach Club and Nightclub opening night Friday, May 23, 2014, atop the Cromwell in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | 4:02 p.m.

Nightlife czar Victor Drai will be inducted into the Nightclub Hall of Fame next Tuesday at his new Drai’s Beach and Nightclub atop the Cromwell and honored for opening three venues in the past 30 days. It’s one of the highest honors in nightlife.

Said Victor: “Since opening the original After Hours (Drai’s After Hours at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, now the Cromwell), as well as launching Tryst (at Wynn Las Vegas) and XS (at Encore Las Vegas), my goal has always been to create the most beautiful and sophisticated venues imaginable.

“I believe that a great club is more than just the DJ. It is about the design, the experience, the service and creating something new and unique.

“With the opening of Drai’s Beach Club and Nightclub, I have been able to take all my work and passion and create a rooftop club that was once unimaginable and just three weeks later bring back After Hours to its original space and create the city’s first gay nightclub, Liaison, in a casino on the Strip.

“It’s an honor to receive this award and the recognition from the Nightclub Hall of Fame.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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Ryan Dahlstrom Nightclub Hall of Fame


Getting their due: Ryan Dahlstrom is one of the creators of the Nightclub Hall of Fame.
Eric Ita

If it exists, it seemingly has a hall of fame. The Mascot Hall of Fame inducts sports-team characters in Philadelphia every year. Here in Las Vegas, we have halls for golf, pinball and burlesque, among others. Somebody came up with one for, of all things, insurance, and don’t ask about the other that honors roadkill.

So it should stand to reason that nightlife would have one as well. But up until recently, there wasn’t an official hall of fame to honor the national nightclub and bar scene, which generates an estimated $20 billion annually—an accomplishment not lost on Ryan Dahlstrom, a longtime club operator/manager and consultant. The then-director of nightlife for Nightclub & Bar Media (which produces the annual Nightclub & Bar Show) sought to acknowledge not the venues themselves, but the industry’s success stories and ladder-climbers, especially those thriving in Las Vegas’ lucrative scene.

“I think they’re under-recognized,” he says. “Some are worried about their brand and don’t promote themselves … but these guys have changed our lives and others’ lives so much, they deserve the respect and to be celebrated.”

Dahlstrom nabbed and sat on an unregistered URL early on; eventually reached out to operations/marketing specialist (and Krave colleague) Preston Rideout, who had been formerly associated with several Angel Management Group locations; and left his day job with Nightclub & Bar. In October, Dahlstrom and Rideout—in the roles of president and vice president, respectively—officially announced the Nightclub Hall of Fame.

A first round of sorts included 12 honorees from three different categories—national, Las Vegas and DJs—all chosen by Dahlstrom, Rideout and a board of directors. The list included heavyweights such as Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg of Tao Group, SKAM Artist Management founder Sujit Kundu and Lil Jon (the lone artist/DJ honoree, though more are expected in the future).

Victor Drai

Victor Drai

This summer, the inductions begin in earnest. On July 8, Nightclub Hall of Fame will throw its first big induction party for another honoree, Victor Drai, at his new Beach Club and Nightclub atop the Cromwell. And on July 21, Jesse Waits of Wynn Nightlife gets fêted at the venue he co-founded—America’s highest-grossing nightclub—XS. Both events coincide with each club’s industry night.

With the induction parties comes the need for someone to produce them, which is why Dahlstrom and Rideout hired Sancho Van Ryan of event-planning group Future M3dia and Viva Vegas TV, a luxury/nightlife media provider. Dahlstrom wanted a socialite and networker who knew how to throw a party befitting a hall of famer. He also wanted someone who shared his interest in getting the nightlife industry more involved with ongoing philanthropy—and as it happened, Van Ryan had been a full-time Christian missionary before turning 23.

“I’ll be the face of the company on the ground and in the trenches,” says Van Ryan. “I’m talking to DJs and marketing people every week, keeping up with new music and graphics, and building relationships.”

For Drai’s big night, Van Ryan’s plans begin with a private dinner at Giada for the big shots, then publicity opportunities that end with a procession into the nightclub/dayclub and video presentation, followed by a brief acknowledgment at the DJ booth. “It’ll be relatively quick,” says Dahlstrom. “Last thing we wanna do is interrupt club flow.”

All of this might seem pretty self-congratulatory to those on the outside looking in. But the back-patting and awards have largely been insular up until now. This year, Las Vegas nightlife stands to gross over a billion dollars, with around $500 million coming from the seasonal daylife industry alone. Those numbers have not only shifted the dynamics of local tourism and economics, but catapulted Las Vegas far beyond any other city’s nightlife scene. A national platform hailing those responsible for that dramatic ascent doesn’t sound unreasonable. Besides—there are only so many who truly deserve the honor.

“Preston and I go back and forth on how many [inductions] to do a year,” says Dahlstrom. “I’m not sure we’ll have another Jesse Waits or Jason Strauss. Is there even room in this town?”

Induction of Victor Drai July 8, doors at 10 p.m., $30 men, $20 women, industry locals free. Drai’s Nightclub, 702-777-3800.

Ryan Dahlstrom Wall Street Journal

Key Figure in 1MDB Probe Is Arrested

Original Article Here

The Wall Street Journal.  | Bradley Hope 

Abu Dhabi authorities have arrested Khadem Al Qubaisi, who authorities say is a key figure in an alleged multibillion-dollar fraud related to a Malaysian sovereign-wealth fund, according to people familiar with the matter.

The arrest last week was made in relation to an Abu Dhabi investigation into fraud and corruption, which includes Mr. Qubaisi’s alleged role in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd., known as 1MDB, affair, the people said. No charges have been filed against him.

Mr. Qubaisi was previously restricted from leaving the United Arab Emirates and had his assets in the country frozen, The Wall Street Journal reported in April.

A lawyer for Mr. Qubaisi declined to comment.

U.S. investigators are currently broadening their probe into Mr. Qubaisi’s dealings and funds they suspect he took control of through the alleged fraud, according to people familiar with the probe. The Justice Department filed civil lawsuits last month seeking to freeze about $100 million of real estate in the U.S. that he allegedly bought with money embezzled from 1MDB, a fund set up in 2009 to boost Malaysia’s economy.

In following what the Justice Department says is a $470 million money trail that stretches from Malaysia to Abu Dhabi to the British Virgin Islands, investigators now are looking for any connections to a company that vaulted to the top of the Las Vegas nightclub scene with two $100 million venues, the people said.

Investigators also are trying to determine if Mr. Qubaisi used funds originating from 1MDB to help finance the world’s fifth-biggest yacht, according to people familiar with the probe.

The July action by the Justice Department to seize more than $1 billion worth of assets allegedly purchased with money stolen from the fund is the government’s largest-ever attempted asset seizure for an international corruption case. Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said at the time that the inquiry was ongoing and that “the Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale.”

The 1MDB fund has denied wrongdoing and said it would cooperate with any lawful investigation.

Mr. Qubaisi hasn’t commented on the allegations.

The company that runs the Las Vegas nightclubs is called Hakkasan Ltd., which is based in London and controlled by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister of U.A.E. and member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. Investigators sent a subpoena to Neil Moffitt, the company’s chief executive, earlier this year, the people familiar with the probe said.

There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against Hakkasan or its employees, the people said. The U.S. investigation is focused on Mr. Qubaisi’s actions, many of them taking place in offshore jurisdictions, the people said.

Mr. Qubaisi, 45 years old, was chairman of Hakkasan and a member of its board of directors. He resigned from the company on May 9, and a new board of directors, including former U.S. Sen. Norman Coleman, was named. He was removed last year from his job at the International Petroleum Investment Company, Abu Dhabi’s $80 billion sovereign-wealth fund.

Mr. Qubaisi received some $470 million of money siphoned from 1MDB, according to the U.S. government complaint. Prosecutors identified several properties he allegedly purchased with that money, including a $51 million penthouse in New York’s Walker Tower and two mansions in Los Angeles worth a combined $46 million.

© David Becker/WireImage

The remainder of those funds, more than $300 million, haven’t yet been accounted for.

Brandon Roos, Hakkasan’s vice president of legal affairs, said in a letter to the Journal that the company had conducted its own “internal review of funding documentation and we remain fully confident that Hakkasan received capital from a legitimate fund in the Middle East” that isn’t connected to entities involved in the 1MDB affair. He said that the Justice Department had confirmed Hakkasan is “not the subject or target of their 1MDB investigation.”

In a separate letter provided by a lawyer for Hakkasan to the Journal, the lawyer said Hakkasan’s absence from the government’s civil suits was “clear evidence that Hakkasan, in the judgment of the Department of Justice, has not been the beneficiary of or a conduit for the laundering of monies illicitly obtained by Mr. Qubaisi and his confederates.”

Founded as a high-end Cantonese restaurant in London in 2001, Hakkasan expanded into nightclubs and now has venues in the Middle East, India, China and the U.S. Sheikh Mansour’s investment company in Abu Dhabi, Tasameem Real Estate LLC, bought it in 2008 and Mr. Qubaisi soon after became Hakkasan’s chairman. Mr. Qubaisi also was previously a director of Tasameem.

Starting in 2013, the company began to expand in Las Vegas, especially in nightclubs. It gained attention for signing up blockbuster DJs, including Calvin Harris and Tiësto, on exclusive contracts rising to several hundred thousand dollars a night.

“They made a huge splash,” said Ryan Dahlstrom, President and Founder of the Nightclub Hall of Fame that honors nightlife innovators. “They bought out all the big DJs and came at the industry with hundreds of millions of dollars…They cornered the market.”

Hakkasan spent some $107 million building the Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, which is outfitted with a giant, moving chandelier covered in lights that flash in sequence. Some have compared it to a UFO hovering over the dance floor. It opened in 2015.

The U.S. government’s inquiries are related to financing the company received during or after 2012, when part of the alleged 1MDB fraud involving Mr. Qubaisi took place, according to people familiar with the probe. Hakkasan disclosed hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholder loans from 2012 to 2016, according to public financial filings by the company in the U.K.

Much of these loans were reduced by Hakkasan’s issuance of a “non-share equity instrument” to an undisclosed third party, according to its latest filings covering up to June 30, 2015. No other details were given. Tasameem, Hakkasan’s controlling shareholder, is a diversified investment company that has received funds from a number of sources, according to people familiar with its finances.

U.S. investigators are also probing the financing of a mega yacht controlled by Sheikh Mansour called the Topaz, which at 482 feet is the world’s fifth largest, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Representatives of Sheikh Mansour didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Write to Bradley Hope at