Over the weekend, I went to Gronk Beach, Rob Gronkowski's Super Bowl pre-party in Las Vegas.
Gronk's annual event has become a staple of the Super Bowl party scene.
The wild pool party featured a lot of shirtless dancing from Gronkowski's brother Chris.
It was around hour four of Gronk Beach that my boyfriend turned to me and asked, "Is this Chippendales?"
We were mere feet from the stage at Rob Gronkowski's annual Super Bowl party, where his shirtless brother Chris was dancing and flexing his muscles as the crowd cheered him on.
The scene couldn't have been more fitting — this was Las Vegas, after all.
Gronk Beach has become one of the biggest Super Bowl pre-parties.
Gronkowski launched the first edition of Gronk Beach in Miami in 2020 and brought it back last year for a party in Scottsdale, Arizona, ahead of the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
Gronk Beach is among a slate of Super Bowl parties produced by Medium Rare, which also hosted Shaquille O'Neal and Guy Fieri's events in Sin City.
The one-day event featured a lineup of performances, including a surprise Flo Rida set.
Dante, DJ Irie, and Afrojack also performed during the five-hour event.
The entire Gronkowski family was in attendance.
Keegan-Michael Key, Joey Fatone, and former "Bachelor" contestants Dale Moss and Hannah Godwin were among the celebrities in attendance.
General admission tickets started at $75, while VIP tables began at $7,500.
One guest I spoke to told me that prices were different for men and women (standard for the big Las Vegas clubs) and that her ticket cost $75 while her husband paid $125.
The ticket prices were cheaper than Gronk Beach 2023, which started at $199 — but this year, they didn't come with unlimited drinks.
After I was given my lei, a Gronk Beach staple, I made my way through Encore Beach Club.
Encore Beach Club has been one of the most popular Las Vegas day clubs since it opened in 2010. I was extremely dedicated to the Vegas party scene in my 20s since it's only a four-hour drive from LA, so walking through the pool area of "EBC" — as we've always called it — was weirdly nostalgic for me.
But this was no regular Sin City pool party. Day-club season in Las Vegas doesn't usually kick off until mid-March due to the weather, and temperatures at Gronk Beach 2024 were in the low 50s. Most guests were casually dressed in jeans and their preferred team jersey (both of which are banned during a typical EBC pool party).
There were a few groups who brought out their sparkly Vegas best, but most people opted for comfort. Even Gronk stayed in his sweatshirt.
The club's pools were empty throughout the day, despite being heated.
The only time I saw someone enter one of the pools was when a man in jeans ran in, ankle-deep, to catch a flying football.
But the casino pit at the bar was packed.
EBC's craps and blackjack tables were brimming with energy as people yelped with joy over their wins throughout the day.
I made my way to the main bar, where I was greeted with a giant shirtless painting of Gronk.
As my boyfriend Peter grabbed us drinks ($45 without tip for a rum and coke and vodka soda), I chatted with a San Francisco 49ers fan named Nikki, who was in town for her second Super Bowl.
"We went to LA thinking it was a bucket list sort of thing, and then they announced 2024 was going to be in Vegas, and we went, 'Well, we have to go,'" Nikki told me, revealing she bought her Super Bowl ticket in May for $10,000.
"I just got lucky that my team made it this year," she added.
Nikki said her experience in Las Vegas had been "way better" than the Los Angeles Super Bowl in 2022.
"Here, it's been nice because everything's so close," she told me, adding that Gronk Beach was the only pre-party she and her husband decided to attend because none of the other events "really spoke to us."
As has been the case throughout the NFL football season, the conversation turned to Taylor Swift — and Nikki said she's glad the singer is bringing "dads and teenage daughters together."
"I love that she's found herself an all-American golden retriever boyfriend rather than the moody artists she was with," Nikki added with a laugh, noting that all her girlfriends were hoping she'd see Swift in Vegas that weekend.
Then we headed to the dance floor to catch Flo Rida's surprise set.
The crowd must have been packed with millennials because the singalong energy was extremely strong as Flo Rida tore through his biggest mid-2010 hits while fake bills rained down on us.
"I feel 16 again," I told Peter as everyone screamed, "Boots with the fur," as Flo Rida sang "Low."
The dance floor was surrounded by bottle-service tables.
While the center of the dance floor was gated off for VIP tables, you could still get surprisingly close to the stage with a GA ticket, and there was plenty of room for everyone.
It was a much better deal than Shaq's Fun House the night before, where a $150 ticket only got you outdoor entry (in 40-degree weather, no less) while the VIPs partied inside at XS nightclub.
Bottles were also delivered via miniature trucks.
EBC employees flanked the trucks as bottle-service girls danced on top in outfits that matched the theme of whatever vehicle they were in (which included a fire truck and cop car).
Gronk Beach 2024 featured a diverse mix of clubbers, football fanatics, and Swifties, of course.
A pair of friends from Oregon told me they were just in Vegas for the parties, with the girl revealing she didn't even know who Gronkowski was before buying a ticket to his pool party.
I then spoke to two guys from San Antonio after one of them asked to pet my faux fur coat — a frequent request that day — who had come to Vegas with their high-roller friend "Bobby from Texas."
"He lost $160,000 at the craps table last night," they told me, revealing they were at a $12,000 table at the pool party.
I later met Bobby, who told me he was going to his 17th Super Bowl that weekend but wouldn't disclose how much his ticket cost.
"We're just here to unwind and have a good time," he added.
Bobby had also come to Vegas for the Formula 1 Grand Prix and told me the city was far better organized for the Super Bowl. He said Gronk Beach was also "way better" than his experience at Shaq's Fun House.
Also having the time of her life was Stephanie from Virginia, who told me that Gronk Beach and Flo Rida was "the best party ever!"
Stephanie was another big Swiftie, and she said she was happy the singer would be cheering on Travis Kelce at the Super Bowl.
"I love it!" she yelled.
As Flo Rida finished up, the impromptu Chris Gronkowski show began.
The crowd roared as Chris danced while Rob signed jerseys that people brought to the stage, which was packed with stars, including Flava Flav and Seahawks legend Richard Sherman.
Gronkowski and Sherman also took a moment to recreate the famous Malcolm Butler interception from their Super Bowl 2015 game, much to the delight of my die-hard Patriots fan boyfriend.
Once Chris put his shirt back on, other family members came to the stage.
Rob's dad and brother Gordie (who refers to himself as "the first and tallest" of the Gronkowski brothers on Instagram) had a dance-off before Rob showed off his own moves to the crowd.
After a "Sweet Caroline" singalong, Afrojack came on to wrap up the party.
The Gronkowski family was still going strong onstage as we headed back into the packed Encore hotel after hours of chatting with drunk strangers and dancing in heels.
Gronk Beach had definitely been one of the wildest (and funniest) Super Bowl parties of the weekend.
Read the original article on Business Insider