fb-pixel

A flood of people coursed into Encore Boston Harbor in Everett when it opened Sunday morning.

But what is it like at a brand new Boston-area casino in the dead of night?

The complex is open all night, all day, every day — the front door doesn’t even have a lock, Encore’s president previously told the Globe.

Some casino-goers seemed content to take advantage of those hours, and some were flocking to Memoire, the Big Night Entertainment Group-run nightclub, to see R3hab, a popular DJ. In fact, a Globe reporter was told that the venue was sold out Sunday night.

Advertisement



Acts later in the week include Steve Aoki, Shaquille O’Neal, and Cheat Codes.

“I was really surprised that DJ Shaq was on their event list,” said Andy Her, 28, of Stoughton.

Meanwhile, the energy on the casino floor was still high even as the night wore on.

“For 10:30 on opening night it’s awesome,” said Lars Keil, 37, of Andover. “It’s an eclectic group of people that are really excited about losing their money.”

Jennifer Blewett, 34, of Charlestown, said the opening had “far surpassed my expectations,” adding that she loved her dinner at Rare Steakhouse: “It put a lot of the Boston steakhouses to shame. It was phenomenal.”

At midnight, under the lights of five red chandeliers, the central bar on the casino floor was still flooded with customers in outfits ranging from basketball jerseys and tank tops to collared shirts and tight black dresses.

Seats were filled at blackjack and baccarat tables with $100 minimums. Observers even stood behind the players, either eager to take an opening spot or simply watching the game at hand.

Angel Li, a blackjack dealer, was scheduled to work from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. on Encore’s opening night and said she has a pretty popular table near the entrance of the high-stakes floor.

Advertisement



“Sometimes when they lose, they yell and stuff,” Li, who hails from China, said. “All the people have lost tonight. Sometimes they win [and] don’t leave — they still lose.”

But Diane G. Sawyer felt pretty lucky while gambling on opening night.

“I just won $8,000 over here,” Sawyer, 65, said, though she lamented that $8,000 after taxes isn’t a lot. “I bring a couple of thousand dollars with me. The last time I went, I went to Foxwood and won $68,000 there. I had my backyard done over with the money that I won — I make good use of it.”

She said she visits casinos about once or twice a year and arrived alone around midnight, bringing “a couple thousand” to the casino with her. She played the slots.

“I don’t like losing. I don’t come to have fun — [I] come to win,” she said.

Anthony Wong, who had a table for the sold-out show at Memoire, said he’s seen R3hab a few times and thought the DJ did a good job at Encore.

“I’ve been to a bunch of casinos, and I’ve been to clubs too, so this was kind of the best of both worlds here,” Wong, 22, said.

The layout of the club’s dance floor could be slightly different, he added, but said he felt the casino lived up to the hype.

Though the club was packed for Encore’s opening, the gambling machines on the high-stakes floor were less popular. Only a handful of people sat in the brightly lit game room by 3 a.m.

Advertisement



The bar closed at 4 a.m. and so did many pocketbooks. The crowds thinned out, and most people walking around had coffee in their hands, though a few were just arriving at the casino.

Back on the main casino floor, Antonio Amado, 29, had fallen asleep on the cushioned chair of a video poker machine while waiting for a friend to finish playing. Security woke him up but not before a few people took pictures of him mid-nap.

“Its my first time in a casino, so I didn’t play,” Amado, who drove to Encore with a friend from Randolph, said. “I got something to eat and tried to go to the club, but it was all sold out. I walked around everywhere to see the place, but I’m getting tired and want to go home.”

He arrived at around 10 p.m. hoping to try the burger bar, but was too late and settled for Dunkin’ instead. He said with a chuckle that he was glad he didn’t have to work Monday.

Others weren’t so lucky.

“We have work tomorrow but we had to be here on the opening night,” Darrell Bolden, 22, of Cambridge, said of a late-night visit to the casino with Don Jayy, 21, also of Cambridge. “We’ll think about work when that alarm hits.”

Stay tuned for more updates on the Encore Boston Harbor’s first night.

Advertisement