Friends With Benefits: Robert Wilkes at Golden Nugget

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He was a dishwasher, waiter, busser and maître d’. He was a French chef, bartender, seafood chef and sommelier. He has worked in the food and beverage industry around the world including Fiji, Japan, Singapore, New York and the Caribbean. He has helped run some of Las Vegas’ hottest nightclubs on the Strip. Yes, I think it’s safe to say that Robert Wilkes is the Man, when it comes to the industry — and he brought all that experience and talent to Golden Nugget, where he’s the Director of Nightlife.

“Pick me up and take me anywhere and check me out,” Wilkes says when referring to all of the positions he’s held. With nearly three decades in the industry, Wilkes says he follows a mantra: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” he says. “We are professional and do whatever we can for the (customer) within reason. That is the hotel industry.”

As Director of Nightlife, Wilkes oversees all of the property’s bars and lounges, including the Troy Liquor Bar where we conducted the photoshoot and interview. Troy is a nightclub-lounge hybrid where you can dance to live DJs, order bottle service and dress to impress.

“People can come in and relax or party, and we take care of them,” says Wilkes. “We’re not hard selling – you don’t have to wait to get your company bonus or wait for an anniversary to come around here. You won’t be broke after you leave here. … At Troy, our employees build relationships with guests. Here the nightlife is as it should be.”

Reflecting on his career, Wilkes has learned a lot, but he’s also quick to point out that he’s put in a lot of work. “I worked hard,” he says. “I worked my ass off and got paid to work all over the world. If you’re not passionate about your living, you’ve seriously made the wrong decision.”

Libation: Troy Tea

The Troy Liquor Bar offers specialty cocktails such as Troy Tea blended with Jameson Irish Whiskey, DeKuyper Peachtree schnapps, sweet and sour, and Sprite. And Wilkes is right: Unlike many other nightclubs, you don’t have to pay exorbitant sums for bottle service. Prices start around the low $200 and don’t exceed $400 for almost every type of spirit. A great nightly special is a bottle of Absolut Elyx Vodka and a bottle of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne for only $299!

To use: The Troy Liquor Bar offers a huge terrace overlooking the famous Fremont Street Experience.

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