Video Vault | Hot times at Jubilation/Shark Club
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) - Almost every major resort on the Strip these days boasts what's called an "Ultra Lounge", where you can dance until dawn and run up the credit card with bottle service. But go back to the late 1970s, and the club scene was just off the Strip. And locals knew where to find the party.
"For five years I hung out there," remembers Jubilation regular Arleen Gibson. "It was the hottest club in Las Vegas, for sure."
The popular nightclub was on Harmon, across from what's now Planet Hollywood.
"Jubilation had a certain class to it, it was a very classy atmosphere," says Arleen.
The club was opened by popular singer and showroom entertainer Paul Anka, and named for one of his 1970s records.
"So they combined the disco format with the dining format, and Paul Anka's Jubilation was born," explains Tony Gibson.
Tony was the manager at Jubilation when Arleen showed up nursing a broken romance.
"Very sharp, handsome looking man, but wasn't I even looking at him," says Arleen. "But he was looking at me. And he likes Latin women, so it worked out perfect. So he sent me a drink over and asked if I'd like to go out to dinner."
"We were just getting ready to make the change over to the Shark Club, and I was there working one evening in the disco," picks up Tony. "She came in, I met her ... and the rest is history, as they say."
Tony and Arleen's marriage continues to this day, but Jubilation closed in 1982 to make way for the Shark Club.
"The first club in town to ever have intelligent lighting, moving truss, it was very unique at the time. Because no other places had it," says John Scaglione about the Shark Club.
Scaglione ran the entertainment, bringing in acts new to Las Vegas.
"Tone Loc, Ice T, Sammy Hagar, Great White, Slaughter, of course," enumerates Scaglione. "Many, many bands that were doing tours."
The Shark Club also hosted wacky radio station stunt nights, stops-out Super Bowl bashes, and was a go-to for TV reporters covering the social scene.
"Now as you can see from inside, the party is still going on here at the Shark Club," reported News 3's Brenda Stanton in 1997, as she emerged from a hopping party atmosphere.
It's also where a popular disco nostalgia group was born.
"Boogie Nights are one of the primary bands," confirms Scaglione. "That's where they started at was the Shark Club."
At the time, the biggest shark in town was the one coaching basketball at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. So many people made a mistaken assumption.
"It was never named after Tarkanian, being known as the Shark and UNLV," clarifies Scaglione. "They came from Austin, and just by coincidence happened to pick that name."
The joint was hoppin', but the real estate it was on just became too valuable.
"Well, the Shark Club had a 10-year lease, and they ran through their 10-year lease," concludes Scaglione.
By the late 1990s, casinos had started tapping into the club scene, which spelled the end of the Shark Club once the lease ran out. Today the property is home to Marriott's Grand Chateau timeshare.