Marc Jay: I’m sitting in the Aria Hotel and Casino at the City Center in Las Vegas in the new Deuce Lounge with Natasha, the Marketing Executive. She’s going to tell us a little bit more about this place and her role in this beautiful new lounge.
Natasha Meade: Well, it is a high limit gaming lounge, we offer bottles and we also serve a full menu from Union, offering steak, lobster, all that stuff from their menu. We’re open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. and we showcase basketball games and news during the daytime hours and then afterhours it turns more into an “ultra lounge” with a more intimate feel.
Marc Jay: I hear that Wednesday nights are your “industry nights.” Tell us a bit more about what goes on here on Wednesdays and why this night is so popular.
Natasha Meade: On Wednesday we get a lot of locals. We have a bunch of girls and it’s packed with people buying bottles – a great place to go if you want more of a lounge feel and also a great place to go before you make your way out to go out somewhere else, like if you’re going clubbing.
Marc Jay: So let’s talk a little bit about you. I know you’ve been working for Light Group for almost 5 years, now is that correct? What do you do exactly for the Light Group?
Natasha Meade: I started cocktailing when I was 21 and I cocktailed for about four-and-a-half years. I just started working as a marketing executive.
Marc Jay: As a marketing executive for this beautiful place at just 25 years old, I can imagine many people would be envious and jealous of you. How did you become so successful at such a young age? Is it easy being successful so young?
Natasha Meade: I didn’t really get in with many connections, but I guess it’s just how you are as a person and how you can handle the stress and how you’ve tried to built yourself. I’ve always wanted to succeed. I wanted to stop waitressing at 25, so I did that. So, when they offered me this position, it was right at the perfect time. I just want to be great at whatever I do, whether it’s waitressing or what I am doing now.
Marc Jay: Now I know you show UFC fights, basketball events, all sorts of sporting events here. Tell us a bit about what goes on. How does that programming work? Do you show every fight?
Natasha Meade: Almost every fight. We show most UFC fights, the ones that they’ll play on Pay Per View and they are pretty exclusive. At Aria, they don’t really play it at the sports books, so since we are the only place that shows the fights, we get really packed. We do charge a cover at the front and for bottle service it’s a $500 minimum. That’s not for every single sporting event, but many of them, mostly UFC. We also do black jack tournaments and tournament registration events, charity events, all sorts of events.
Marc Jay: On those sorts of nights do you bring more screens into the space, and if so, how many?
Natasha Meade: Yeah. We actually have four screens on all the time. Four more come in for big events and those are the really big, big wide screen TVs.
Marc Jay: As you’ve told me before, you’re a native to Las Vegas. You were born here, you’ve lived here, and now you’ve been here for 25 years. What is it is like growing up here in Vegas? To me, this place would seem like the weirdest place to go to school. It just seems weird to be a school kid walking by all these casinos. Are you used to all of that now, or did it seem weird to you when you were growing up?
Natasha Meade: It didn’t seem weird, it never really phased me and I guess I’m just used to it. I mean, this is home. It’s grown a lot since I was younger, but I started out partying and going out a lot at a young age so I’m pretty used to all of it. I guess everywhere else would feel very different for me.
Marc Jay: Now if someone would come and try to become a marketing executive, I would imagine having a golden book of contacts is very important. How do you collect all of your information? I know you have $10,000 or $20,000 players and bottle customers, but how have you gathered all of that information over the past five or six years?
Natasha Meade: It starts out by trying to be a good cocktail waitress. If you do your job as a cocktail waitress, you’re meeting all that clientele from the get-go. You’re trying to build your relationships, putting your business card information into your contacts and categorizing it. You just build on your top 100 and then it becomes your top 200 and then those are the top people you can build from.
Marc Jay: So when people think about being a waitress they think it’s just delivering drinks, but it’s certainly more than that. When you’re waitressing it’s the starting ground to being an executive because you’re collecting all this information and building your own list. Is that kind of what you did as a waitress as well?
Natasha Meade: To me, it’s a lot more. I don’t know specifically about every venue, but with Light Group specifically, it’s definitely a lot more work. There’s a lot that goes into it. We have to do a lot of work with data, keep relationships, send email blasts, thank you cards – there’s a lot more than people think. It’s not just a great time; you have to do a great, great job, especially for Light Group.
Marc Jay: I noticed that there are some gaming aspects here and I see a number of blackjack tables. Tell us a bit more about the blackjack. What are the minimums and all the hours of operation, as well?
Natasha Meade: There are six tables and they operate at the same times as the rest of the place, from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. The minimums fluctuate but tend to range anywhere from $25 to $300 and it’s always really, really packed.
Marc Jay: The great thing about this place is you can come here and have a single cocktail, maybe a little appetizer and gamble all at the same time. I think that’s very unique to Las Vegas because there aren’t very many places where you can do that.
Natasha Meade: Yeah, or some people will buy a bottle of champagne for some girls while they’re playing, come back, mingle and go back to their game. That’s great. It’s a good pregame spot, even if you are going out to Haze later that night, or for a night cap afterwards, or seal-the-deal drink.
Marc Jay: I know Deuce Lounge is famous for its cocktails, it actually just won some award for it. Tell us what that’s all about.
Natasha Meade: We have a bunch of signature cocktails, that’s another thing that we’re known for. One that just got published in the Seven Nightlife magazine is the Deuce-tini. It’s made with Patron Platinum Silver, grapefruit bitters and elderflower liquor. The elderflower is what makes it really good. There’s actually a flower in it.
Marc Jay: Wow. That sounds very unusual, but very nice. Being a non-drinker, I probably wouldn’t try it, but I’m sure it’s very popular. I notice you also have some incredible food available at this venue. Can you tell me a little bit more about where it comes from?
Natasha Meade: Besides our appetizer list, we have the full menu that comes from Union, which is our other Light Group menu. It’s contemporary American cuisine, anywhere from sashimi, to pasta, to steak – pretty much anything you want. Aside from our Deuce specialty cocktail menu, which features signature drinks like the Deuce-tini, we also have a signature appetizer, my favorite dish, the Union Crispy Signature Duck.
Marc Jay: How is that prepared?
Natasha Meade: Basically it’s shredded duck served with mini pancakes, scallions and cucumbers and then drizzled with hoisin sauce. It’s really good.
Marc Jay: So as a marketing executive, I assume you’re here working during the day. Tell us a little bit about your week. What do you actually do from day to day?
Natasha Meade: Mondays I primarily go to the office and I do a lot of my work there, just planning for upcoming events. Basically I’m in the office in the morning at least two days a week, so aside from being in the office and working the four days a week inside of Deuce, I also have my outreach where I go to our other venues, like Jet, and get contacts. I basically meet and greet. I also outreach on Sundays at Bank and do the same over there. At around 1 a.m., I go into Haze and basically gain bottle service customers.
Marc Jay: We’re going to be wrapping up this interview but I know many people want to come experience this club and find out more information. Can you tell us where to find more information on Deuce Lounge?
Natasha Meade: You can go to Lightgroup.com or you can contact me directly.
Marc Jay: I know many people are going to want to come here and experience the VIP treatment. Whether they can book a table or find out about upcoming events, how can they contact you directly?
Natasha Meade: They can contact me via email at NMeade@dueceloungelv.com.
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