THE KINGS LEAVE THEIR MARQ(UEE) Now that the opening of Marquee Singapore is out of the way, Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss are ready for bigger things


WE STOOD AMID A HIVE OF ACTIVITY. In the distance, someone was yelling out what to do with a humongous disco ball. A few metres to our left stood a dozen workers hoisting rows of lights to dizzying heights. And in front of me were the two men responsibl­e for the three-storey marvel ‒ four if you count the discreet area in the basement called Avenue ‒ that we were all gathered at today.

“You know, 20 years ago, it was Jason Strauss, Patrick Robertson and myself who were literally painting the walls and hanging the lights on an afternoon like today,” Noah Tepperberg (pictured, right) reminisced.

The nightlife maven wasn’t talking about Marquee New York, the first club of the storied brand. He was referring to the Conscience Point nightclub in Southampto­n, Long Island. And while the place is now shuttered, Jason Strauss (pictured, left) is still his ‘partner in crime’, currently sinking into the plush couches on the second floor of Marquee Singapore. And Patrick Robertson? He was the one barking orders about that giant disco ball.

“We were just a bunch of young guys trying to be entreprene­urial and had no clue that we were going to reach this level of success,” said Strauss.

The 45-year-old with the full head of curly hair did not reach just any level. He and Tepperberg have practicall­y shaped the global nightlife industry, first with Marquee New York, then with Vegas and Sydney editions subsequent­ly. Along the way, the duo also opened Tao, Lavo, Avenue and other mega-successful entertainm­ent spots.

Setting Sights on Singapore

It was the success of Marquee in Vegas that laid the foundation of the nightclub’s expansion into Asia. In fact, talks had begun even before Marina Bay Sands (MBS) was built in 2010. “Strauss had been talking to the president of the Sands Corporatio­n when MBS was just plans on paper. He wanted us to open a club here, but we weren’t ready at that time,” Tepperberg shared.

Then, on New Year’s Eve of 2011, while on his way to Sydney to visit his business there, Tepperberg stayed at MBS. He was so impressed with the building that he immediatel­y called Strauss to say that they should have “done it”. That was when the conversati­on about Marquee Singapore reopened in earnest.

It was a project that took seven years to conceptual­ise and materialis­e. While Lavo Singapore opened its doors first, the plan had always been to position Marquee at the centre of a glitzy entertainm­ent and lifestyle collective comprising four properties. Marquee, Lavo and Avenue are already wellknown. Koma, the modern Japanese eatery and sushi bar located beside Marquee, fits in as the puzzle’s final piece.

The Crown Jewel

If there’s one thing that you must know about Tepperberg and Strauss, it’s that they don’t do things by halves. A cursory stroll around Marquee Singapore is all the evidence you need to realise the depth of their meticulous­ness. Sure, there are the flashy features such as the two-storey Ferris wheel with a direct-to-Instagram photo booth, the three-storey double slides, and the enormous 8K-resolution screen that literally stretches from floor to ceiling. But, look closer and you’ll notice the imported marble that wraps around every individual booth on the ground floor, or the carefully engineered sound system that blends into the decor. There’s a reason why these two gents have survived and thrived in the volatile nightlife industry. “In every city you go to, clubs are notoriousl­y difficult to open and get right. For example, in New York, nine out of 10 clubs close within the first three years. It’s not a business that has a high success rate,” Tepperberg pointed out.

“While we don’t have any guarantees that Marquee Singapore will thrive like the rest of our clubs, we have built something that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. This is the greatest and most technologi­cally advanced nightclub in the world and we’re confident that once the word spreads, people will be coming from not just around the region, but the world.”

Bold words indeed, but Tepperberg and Strauss might just be able to pull it off. MBS may have seen the rise and fall of numerous opulent night spots, but none of them had the pull that the Marquee brand does. And for Tepperberg and Strauss, the plan isn’t to be just any nightclub. Rather, they want to be an icon. AM

“Marquee Singapore is the most technologi­cally advanced nightclub in the world”

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