Beacher’s Madhouse (MGM Grand): Too much of a Madhouse By Christopher G. Axelrod March 9, 2014 at 9:47 am Since their public opening at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino early last January I had been reading and hearing a variety of reviews about Jeff Beacher’s Madhouse so I finally decided to purchase my general admission ticket online and experience this unique entertainment option. They have years of a successful run under the identical theme and branding at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood and is frequented by many celebs. Many of these celebs supported the much heralded Las Vegas opening. The venue’s impressive website covers every gamut of this near indescribable entertainment venue; a celebrated and unique new option to the highly competitive Las Vegas entertainment scene. Online transactions were easy and questions are addressed including their club dress code. Jeff Beacher’s Madhouse is ideally located in the main floor of the MGM Grand with easy visibility and access. The attractive entrance is very well designed in a classic theatrical motif. Upon my early arrival to await the opening of the front box office will call I was told by a roving usher to return at 10:30 p.m. when the doors were open and stand in line. I returned as directed with printed purchase verification and my ID in hand but the two box office windows never opened. There were very few patrons in my line. It felt strange for such a new and celebrated venue. I then noticed the discrete side door in constant use spewing themed show girls and ushers into the MGM casino floor main aisles and intersections heavily soliciting MGM patrons while holding stacks of VIP comp vouchers that are cleverly designed to look like actual $75.00 VIP tickets. I never knew one could squeeze that much fine print onto a single ticket. They gave them to anyone of legal age without reserve and directed them to a designated prestigious VIP line and a guest list line. I remained in the paid admissions line. Next came some random retro characters like Elmo and Cookie Monster to stand in front of the theater and bait the curious into a line. It soon became a Madhouse as scores of male ushers whisked the VIP promos into the club while the few who actually prepaid remained seemingly unnoticed in line. Anyone who appeared to look good on camera and potentially buy a bottle was an obvious entry priority. I felt like a total sucker for purchasing my advance ticket online but after all were swiftly admitted I was allowed to enter and go to an inside desk for an ID check and ticket validation. The entire chaotic process felt like a hustle and not kind to the prepaid let alone the reputation of the MGM Grand. Once greeted by scores of random characters you arrive in the modestly large theater. It is a lofty investment sporting very elegant classic appointments in red velvet, polished brass and hardwoods. The seating groupings were clearly (and tightly) set for bottle service and heavily guarded by scores of floor wait staff, security and management. The aisles are narrow. I walked the entire establishment and found no names on the tables to indicate prior reservations. I attempted to sit at the very edge of an unclaimed sofa and within mere seconds was politely asked to move along. I later noted that many areas remained empty most of the evening. I also witnessed others being ask to not sit and two older couples stormed out in anger. One even showed their MGM Players Club card to no avail. This is not enhancing to MGM loyalty. With such an enormous floor staff many were obviously placed on post to guard and serve only their designated VIP sections. The entire venue was set for VIP targets. Security bouncers were mere seconds away. I was never offered a drink and had to walk across the room to the main bar. I held my empty glass for nearly an hour and was never asked if I wanted another or took away the empty glass. Heaven forbid I dare leave the empty on a guarded VIP table! The DJ and music satiate the room while every conceivable form of humanity performs in a random manner. The stage show was fun and certainly an array of diverse talents. It was entertaining and a Madhouse as appropriately billed. The bottle service was a little person harnessed to a ceiling crane who flew overhead with bottle in hand while the wait staff paraded with handheld LED lighting. A cute and original idea. I felt awkward as the DJ kept referring to the little delivery angel as a midget. Ordering a bottle was a high priority and factored into the entertainment. I imagine that the extreme bottle arrival celebration gave the bottle price added value. Founder Jeff Beacher was clad in tux and red vest as depicted in all marketing images and worked the floor greeting VIP’s with drink in hand. The endless random events and surrounding diverse humanity are a near circus marvel. The screens flanking the stage displayed ten years worth of celeb party images mostly from Hollywood. Cast members then passed through the crowd holding assorted video cameras to capture and project real time excited patrons. The entire initiative was an obvious push to get customers to align with potential celeb status. Bait them in, sell them a bottle delivered with flair and make them feel aligned with celebrity. Not a bad business model but it gets old quickly. The patron outflow was noteworthy and nobody was in line for late week night entry. Jeff Beacher’s Madhouse is well thought out but lacks savvy. Between his layers of staffing and entertainment I fear to fathom the sheer size and cost of their payroll. When I exited I counted nine men in suits working an empty door with Jeff Beacher himself seated at the desk. The characters were still working the MGM aisles for any late takers for VIP comps coupons. The entire experience does not feel conducive to repeat customers. What more can be done when you are already on sensory overload? I give them credit for shaking the most out of any potential for survival. Just don’t make it an obvious Madhouse.