Managing the eclectic House of Blues brand
By Kiko Miyasato
Andrew Economon, general manager of House of Blues and Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay—venues where guests indulge in live music and bohemian surroundings, unlike any other in the city—loves to be a part of something different. “We’re not the $50 million new kid on the block. We’ve been here for 13 years doing things that are cool and very different from everybody else, and we’re going to continue doing that,” he said.
Referring to the Foundation Room: “It’s probably the coolest space in Las Vegas. When people come up here, it’s not Las Vegas, it’s a whole different world,” he said. The penthouselike venue consists of a series of carpeted rooms, with low lighting and the smell of incense, Buddhist statues and funky art, plus an excellent view of the Las Vegas Strip. And House of Blues has hosted some of the biggest names in music in one of the most intimate concert venues in the city. “For the Santana residency we brought the capacity down to 1,230; that’s how intimate it is. Santana says it’s like playing in his living room.”
And it’s Economon who makes the venues go-to spots for locals and tourists, by using a wealth of knowledge gained from his food and beverage background. He is quick to give praise to his employees, too, and said 8 out of 10 people in the company play an instrument. “I know each person who is taking care of our guests; we have amazing people working here.”
The beverage program at Las Vegas’ House of Blues is headed by mixologist Eddie Perales, who created the L.A. Spann for an Interscope Records vice president, and now makes it for Foundation Room guests. The cocktail is mixed with Tres Generaciones añejo tequila, Grand Marnier Cuvée du Cent Cinquantenaire liqueur, muddled basil leaves and half of a Granny Smith apple, lemon and orange juices and a splash of agave nectar. And, as Perales says, “shaken with ice and then shaken with a smile.”