While Las Vegas’ casino doors are now unlocked after an almost three-month COVID-hiatus, noticeably absent from the entertainment offerings are dayclubs and nightclubs, which are not allowed to open during Nevada’s current phase 2 of its “Roadmap to Recovery.” According to Governor Steve Sisolak, strip clubs, brothels, and nightclubs—under which party pools are classified—must remain closed. Resort/hotel pools, on the other hand, are allowed to operate with social distancing and reduced capacity.
This means 2020 is the first summer season since 2008 without Wet Republic Ultra Pool at MGM Grand, arguably the city’s hottest, wettest, and most exciting daytime event.
The triple-digit-degree home of the “Babes in Blue,” aka Hakkasan Honeys—Wet Republic’s Insta-famous bottle servers—and a day camp for world’s highest-paid DJs such as Tiësto, Zedd, Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki—it’s not really summer until the cork pops and the Champagne sprays at this annual favorite.
But it looks like 2020 could be the summer of “no love” for Las Vegas’ original “ultra pool.”
The forecast was still sunny on March 6, dubbed “Wet Republic Day,” as casino executives, alongside the county commissioner, received a proclamation from the city, while unveiling a multi-million-dollar revamp of the 54,500 square foot space branded “Something New and Something Blue.” The architectural and audio-visual design revitalization, led by famed hospitality designers Rockwell Group, enhanced the club’s layout—comprised of two main pools, a perimeter of 10 deluxe cabanas and 12 VIP bungalows and a 2,500-square-foot open-air lounge—with additional plunge pools, a redesigned and expanded artist performance area, elevated cabanas and bungalows, furniture upgrades, and new immersive technology.
Less than two weeks later on March 13, MGM Resorts announced all nightclub and dayclub operations had been temporarily suspended after a Wet Republic employee was suspected to have contracted COVID-19. WetRepublic.com switched off its events calendar, notifying guests that operations had been “suspended until further notice,” with “all tickets and pre-paid table reservations until June 30” refunded automatically.
Now three months later, the new custom DJ booth remains empty, the L-Acoustics Kara and ARCS II speakers are silent, and the 4,000-square-foot AudioTek LED display and 13-foot interactive cube that cantilevers above the performer stands content-less. The parking lot and drop-off zone for Wet Republic, on the northeast side of MGM Grand, which shares real estate with the also shuttered Topgolf, remains barricaded and closed.
So what are Wet Republic’s Babes in Blue up to during their “not so welcome” summer vacation—besides collecting unemployment like 39 million other American’s as a result of COVID-19?
Top bottle poppers Ash Vu and Abbi Cooperman, who moonlight as an event planner and photographer respectively, have been glamping in the great outdoors, doing yoga in their backyards and having lots and lots of birthday parties “the AshBash”—flawlessly camera ready in every post surrounded by their equally gorgeous friends—clad in sports bras and leggings they describe as equally as tight as their friendships.
Wet Republic’s unofficial mascot, DJ Steve Aoki, who made his debut at the pool party back in 2013, is spending his summer doing virtual DJ sets, encouraging a Zumba challenge to his new music #DaleCintura and hosting a virtual prom on his YouTube channel with Chip Ahoy and Sour Patch Kids.
According to the Wet Republic website however, everyone might be getting back to their day jobs soon. “Events after June 30 will be refunded if and when they are affected,” meaning there might be a glimmer of hope that summer programming could happen in some capacity as July rolls in. Wet Republic’s parent company Hakkasan Group, operates Hakkasan Restaurant and Nightclub at MGM Grand, Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and Jewel Nightclub and Liquid Pool at Aria, all of which are closed.
Party pools have become a pot of gold for Las Vegas’ resorts with tables selling for five-figures on holiday weekends and general admission prices soaring into the trip digits—so despite this pandemic obstacle, coming back isn’t a matter of how but when.
Down the boulevard, stripping its club stigma, Wynn opened Encore Beach Pool (formerly Encore Beach Club) with no live music, adequate social distance, and a quick name modification.
The question that begs to be answered is when Wet Republic does open again, can we expect the Babes in Blue to be wearing cerulean masks to match those famous bikinis?
That sight would be another unforgettable moment in Las Vegas daylife that we wouldn’t want to miss.