Jesse Waits is an American entrepreneur and nightclub owner based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Early life and beginning of career
Waits grew up Hawaii and Southern California, and moved to Las Vegas in 1996. He began his nightlife career in 1997 at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay, where he created themed event nights like “Thursday Night Fever” and “House of Blues Sundays”. He was then chosen to open and manage the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay.
After working at Light nightclub inside the Bellagio resort, Waits joined Victor Drai as managing partner for Drai’s After Hours in Las Vegas and Drai’s Hollywood at the W Hotel in Los Angeles.
Nightclub development and EDM influence
In 2005 Waits was hired by Steve Wynn to oversee the renovation of La Bete nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas. The nightclub was renamed and rebranded Tryst. Tryst was the main nightclub at the Wynn Las Vegas for ten years, culminating in its selection as "Nightclub of the Year" at the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards.
Following the success of Tryst, Waits helped to create the featured nightclub at Encore Las Vegas, which opened as XS on December 31, 2008. XS was ranked as the number one nightclub on Nightclub & Bar’s Top 100 for five consecutive years through 2015 and was deemed one of the “biggest clubs to have ever existed” by Forbes magazine.
The clubs developed by Waits were called “vital to the Las Vegas economy” by The New Yorker and helped to make Las Vegas a destination for Electronic dance music DJs. Waits was credited by Rolling Stone magazine as one of those giving the “first breaks in Vegas” to artists such as Avicii, Afrojack and Swedish House Mafia.
In 2015, Waits left the Wynn properties to help develop the Alon Las Vegas project, a forthcoming gaming resort located on the Las Vegas Strip.
Honors and accolades
- Inductee in Nightclub Hall of Fame
- Named 2009 Operator of the Year by Nightclub & Bar Magazine
- Named to "The Vegas Dozen" Class of 2013 as a public figure that is "influential, powerful and representative of all facets of the city"