Not long after Dennis DeGori opened Miami’s now iconic 24-hour
When E11even opened two years ago it was difficult to define. Some called it a nightclub. Some called it a strip club. “It’s not a strip club,” DeGori clarifies. “It’s so much more than that. We have great food but we’re not a restaurant. We have big DJs come through but we’re not just a nightclub.” He describes how E11even combines elements of Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics with a nightclub, and, yes, adult-oriented theatrics. The result is reminiscent of many of Miami and Las Vegas’s most famous venues. It’s piecemeal derivative but overall original.
“I didn’t want to be like anything else at all,” DeGori says. "When I created E11even, I set out to create an iconic brand in an industry which I thought, on both ends, was going in the wrong direction.” DeGori’s 30-plus years in entertainment
Despite Miami’s reputation as a competitive and fastidious entertainment market, DeGori never doubted that E11even would be a success. He wasn’t sure how much of a hit it’d be, however. “I saw it in my mind's eye,” he says. “I believed in it. But then standing in the middle of the party pit before the hydraulic stage was there, there was just this huge hole. I just looked at the structure, looked around, and I had no doubt it would all work. I didn’t know to what extent, but I knew we'd created something special."
When doors opened in early February 2014, E11even was ill-prepared for its own existence. Crowds rushed the venue in the weeks leading up to Ultra and WMW. "We opened really quickly,” DeGori says, “and we got absolutely slammed. The biggest challenge was catching our breath. We were not prepared for the sheer number of people who came through the door."
DeGori and his crew have caught a couple breaths since then. Now, on a given busy shift, he says he might employ some 15 managers, 20 security personnel, 50 servers, 25 bartenders, and a legion of performers. The biggest names in entertainment make a point to stop by. Drake headlined the venue’s New Year’s Eve 2016 party. “He wanted everything to be organic,” DeGori says. “He was just an amazing professional... I don’t think you’ll ever see a performance like the one he put on at E11even."
Drake’s desire for organic development mirrored DeGori’s own. But, on the eve of E11even's jam-packed two-year anniversary weekend — which will put Graham Funke, Dash Berlin, Stafford Brothers, and DJ Brooke Evers behind the booth — one thing the owner won’t do is make E11even something it isn’t. Like a liberal parent letting his kid grow into an individual, DeGori says he wants his venue to establish itself, mature at its own rate, and determine what it wants to be: "I have no restrictions on what E11even can be. As long as it’s authentic and entertaining, we’ll play with it.”
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