Industry Insiders: Jodi Myers, Sin City Bank Teller

Jodi Myers, managing partner of The Bank nightclub at the Bellagio, on where her industry pals hang out in Vegas, her love of local poker legends, and how she climbed up the Sin City nightlife ladder.

Where do you go out? Honestly, I travel for my work, so I’m definitely always going to the new places and checking out the newest things. I went to the opening of Atlantis, and it was crazy! By far, Dubai is the most liberal place in the Middle East where they can go and relax a little bit, a kind of Vegas-by-the-sea.

What are you doing tonight? Tonight I’m going out with old friends in town, and we’ll probably hit up some of the local hot spots — as every place has their “industry night,” starting off at Caramel lounge in the Bellagio, and just hop around to the rest. I’ll go to a rock bar called like Wasted Space and then to Hard Rock and the Rocks Lounge. Maybe New York, New York and then to Nori, which is just a little lounge.

How did you get your start? I started out in Minnesota where I grew up before I went to college where I actually got my start in the nightclub industry; I paid my way through school working the bar in night clubs. Right after 9/11, I graduated from school and went to Vegas — where nobody was hiring. I finally got a job as a cocktail waitress in a club and worked my way up to marketing and was a nightclub host. I opened up Jet nightclub in the Mirage, and from there, I kind of moved higher, trained doing managing and different things. They made a me a partner in the Bank nightclub in the Bellagio, so I saw everything from hiring to everything else that’s involved in opening and running a successful club. Now, because I want to be involved in all of our entities, I’m also the president of customer development.

What made you stay in the game? I’ve always loved the hospitality industry and meeting new people, so for me it was just a natural thing that I got into. I didn’t realize you could make a career out of it until I moved to Vegas. The nightclub scene out here is crazy! I just enjoy what I do. I saw the potential in the industry, so I just kept working hard and trading up.

Do you have any non-industry projects in the works? As far as charity goes, I haven’t been involved in just one cause, but in a number of them. For instance, we’ve done different events — and just did one last Sunday and donated food goods for the holidays to a number of local charities. Every week, I have arts and crafts day, something silly I do … I make pieces of art into clothing. I always think I can do it myself, but I’d say about one in ten of my attempts turn out. But it’s fun and therapeutic … it’s anything from creating clothing from works of art to painting them, and I have a whole room devoted to it.

Who are your industry icons? I would say [poker legend] Bobby Baldwin. He is an amazing story. where he came from to where he is now, and he’s such a giving, amazing person.

Who do you bounce around with? One thing about working in this industry is that I’ve been fortunate enough to meet lots of people. One night I’ll be hanging with celebrities who come to Vegas or who I meet at one of my new hotspots around the world, another night with some powerful executive, the next night I’m with friends. They’re all completely different people every night.

What’s in the future? I plan on growing with the company as I have in the past … the Light group is expanding into the hotel portion of things, and it’s growing fast.

Industry Insiders: Chris Barish, Martini Park Ranger

Martini Park and Marquee co-owner Chris Barish on underage promoting, the power of the water-sipping celeb, bringing club culture to suburbia, and growing up with the Governator.

Point of Origin: I’m from New York. I started throwing parties at my parents’ home when I was young. We’re talking really young, like 15, 16 years old. You know, there used to be fun clubs in New York. They would have an off night, and I would come in and make a deal with whomever the owner was, because either they were failing a bit or they wanted to make a little extra money. I’d promote to the various people I had met in grade school who had then graduated to high school. When you think about it, we were really young, and I can’t believe these clubs would let us do it. It was New York, and it was a different time, different era, different laws, and a different mayor.

Occupations: I started off investing in Moomba because I just knew that it would be a great success. Jeff Gossett (Moomba owner) had become a good friend and asked me to invest. It became my little playground. In the last 18 years nothing has reached that level. It was celebrity heaven. You had to be in in to go. Which was the opposite of what I ended up doing with Light in midtown.

Light opened September of 2000. I remember we opened on a Tuesday night. There were maybe 20 people in the room. I was nervous. Then Thursday night, Charlie Sheen, who had stopped drinking, did me a favor and came in and only drank water. By 5:30 that evening, there was a line wrapping all the way around the block.

We opened Light Vegas a year later in the Bellagio — same name, but a nightclub. We did something that Vegas had not done in a long time. We flew in over 30 movie stars, athletes. We got a business Boeing jet and flew up Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Gordon, and Sting. Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards were there and happy. We got press everywhere [for that]. We then opened up a place called Caramel at the Bellagio and a place called Mist at Treasure Island. When I turned 30, I got a nice offer by the Bellagio to get bought out after only being open two years. By 2005, I started scouting locations around the country (for Martini Park). I felt like there was a need in the marketplace for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and on for an upscale nightlife experience that starts after work and leads into the rest of the night. We’re a hospitality-driven nightlife experience for everyone — for people like me. It’s a playground for grownups. We opened in a [Dallas] suburb called Plano, Texas. Then opened up in Chicago and now we’re about to open in Columbus, Ohio, in late October. We will open three to four next year.

Side Hustle: I love film. I produced a short film [called “Kill the Day”] for a very talented friend. I like to play tennis. I’d like to be a yogi, but I can’t really find the time. I’m a new daddy now so everything changes.

Favorite Hangs: When I’m not traveling, my home away from home is Da Silvano. Besides Silvano, I’ve been a fan of Raoul’s for 20 years. When I did go out before [my wife] Michelle’s pregnancy, I’d go to Soho House, Rose Bar, and Waverly Inn. I know it sounds predictable. My favorite old school bar is Merc Bar. It will never close. John McDonald is the owner and a good friend.

Known Associates: I admire, respect, and am good friends with Mark Packer, the owner of Tao. I think he’s one of the best operators out there. Noah [Tepperberg] and Jason [Strauss] from Marquee are colleagues and great friends of mine. Also, Steve Hanson from B.R. Guest Restaurants. He owns about 17 restaurants in the city. He’s a friend who I can email or text, and I know within an hour he’ll text back. Also, my father (Keith Barish) was in the film business and produced 18 films. When I was 12 years old, I walked down the stairs, and there was Arnold Schwarzenegger. He and Dad did The Running Man together and became partners in Planet Hollywood. He did this great thing for my engagement party. He warned me, “First come the engagement ring, then the wedding ring, then suffe-ring.”

Industry Icons: Steve Hanson is someone I want to emulate. He works day and night. I’m naming friends, but they are also people in the industry. I’ve seen a younger generation do great stuff. For example, I’ve watched Jason Pomerantz from the Thompson Hotel do his hotel expansion and he does a very good job. Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson. I don’t know Sean, but I know Eric really well. Here’s an example of someone who started off in nightclubs, had success in restaurants, and now has the Bowery Hotel and the Maritime Hotel. His taste is unbelievable.

What are you doing tonight? I’m going home early from work and I’m testing out our stroller. My wife and I are taking baby Bea out and seeing if we can get our Yorkie to fit in the undercarriage so she doesn’t feel left out.

Photo by Chelsea Stemple.