Eduardo Cordova changed Vegas’ gay nightlife forever when he opened his award-winning lounge, The Garden. Now, he shares what makes Vegas such a special and exciting city.
Entrepreneur Eduardo Cordova arrived in Las Vegas in 2005 after following some of his friends who decided to move to the city. He originally worked in a boutique shop but was quickly enamored by the business of nightlife. “When I moved to Las Vegas and started going out to all the bars, I met tons of nightclub managers and restauranteurs. It all felt so impressive and I was in awe of how it all worked.”
He was so impassioned that he went on to open his own nightlife establishment, The Garden Las Vegas, which has since become one of the city’s most popular LGBTQ lounges. Eduardo saw that, while Vegas was a spectacular city for nightlife, it was missing an upscale venue for LGBTQ patrons. “I saw a void in the gay scene,” Eduardo said, “There just wasn’t an elevated experience, and I really wanted to bring that to the city. I wanted to create a space that was open to people from all walks of life who want different things. At The Garden, we have drag brunches, afternoon cocktails, and then a more traditional lounge and club experience in the evenings where people can stay all night and dance.”
As the name implies, The Garden has a much brighter and more whimsical look than most nightclubs, transporting patrons into a boozy Alice in Wonderland fantasy. Part playful and part opulent, The Garden has been wowing visitors and locals for years, cementing itself as one of Vegas’ top spots.
They serve signature cocktails such as The Cher, which combines Empress gin, fresh lemon, passionfruit, and pineapple juice, before being topped off with orgeat, as well as fun creations like the Watermelon Sugar High shot, which loads up a shot glass with El Jimador Blanco, fresh lime juice, and watermelon puree, completed with a tajin rim.
But Eduardo not only loves Vegas for giving him his start in the nightlife industry, but also because of all the other fun events going on in the city. “I love Las Vegas because it always has something going on,” he said. “There’s always a show, or a concert, or a big celebrity who has a residency here. And on top of that, it’s also a dining and sports mecca. It has something for everyone.”
Throughout the summer, Vegas is hosting tons of fantastic shows perfect for the LGBTQ community. Most notable is RuPaul’s Drag Race: LIVE! at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Stars from the show, including Derrick Barry, Eureka O’Hara, and Kameron Michaels, sing, dance, and compete live on stage. There’s even a gift shop that’s been designed to look just like the Werkroom from the show.
Just off the strip at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, gay actor and magician Michael Carbonaro is hosting his new magic show, Lies on Stage, which has even received the blessing of Vegas’ top magicians, Penn and Teller. Carbonaro has gained fame for his ability to blend humor, charisma, and showmanship into his magic, creating an absolutely mesmerizing experience.
And in true Vegas fashion, there are tons of shows that are known for baring it all. Puppetry of the Penis is a longstanding favorite where two very talented “artists” use their twig and berries to create what they call “penis origami”. Laugh-out-loud funny and slightly shocking, Puppetry of the Penis has been wowing crowds for decades. There’s also a bevy of hunky men stripping and showing off in shows like Magic Mike Live and Thunder From Down Under, as well as the longstanding Chippendales troupe.
But for Eduardo, the best events in Vegas are the fantastic concerts. “For me, one of the top shows right now is Katy Perry’s Play. It’s literally like you’re immersed in the playground of Katy Perry’s world. It’s super cool and is such a fantastic experience. We also have Ben Platt coming to town later this year for a stop on his national tour, which I’m really excited about!”