How to Get Past the Velvet Rope
Tips to get past that beefy club bouncer at the hottest clubs every time
By Jenny Foughner
Do you want to spend the next three hours waiting in line? Or do you want to get right down to the more important business of buying rounds of champagne for women who are named after foreign sports cars?
Our money’s on the latter, but unfortunately for those of you who don’t roll with an A-list entourage, the hottest spots often come with the longest lines — and the establishments that don’t make you wait aren’t even worth your time.
With just a few tricks, however, you’ll be able to avoid the indignity of the never-ending, unmoving club line.
Dress the Part
You have a new mantra and it is as follows: no T-shirts, no sandals, no chains. To repeat: No T-shirts — not even that “nice” $200 T-shirt.
It doesn’t matter how much a T-shirt costs. It’s still a sleeve-deficient shirt.
No sandals — even if they’re leather, and even if they’re your idea of summer chic. You will not be club-ready if your toenails are exposed to air.
Stick to simple pieces: a blazer or button-down shirt (not worn together, though, unless you want to look like you’re headed back to the office) with nice jeans (as in, dark-washed denim that has no rips or holes) and casual loafers usually do the trick.
Bring Some Ladies
The tale of the bouncer who prefers to let women into the clubs – and who refuses to let groups of men in until the very end of the night – is one as old as time itself, and thus not something you should expect to beat, no matter how good you think you look.
Clubs typically like to maintain a four-to-one ratio of women to men, so come prepared with enough females to make it seem like your entourage won’t flood the dance floor with testosterone.
If you don’t want to roll out with your girlfriends in tow, you can certainly strike up a conversation with women in line. Steer clear of anything that resembles a come-on. If they think you’re just looking to have a great night on the town, then they’re much more likely to adopt you for 10 minutes than if you appear desperate.
Also remember that simply arriving with women won’t get you in for free. It will just increase your chances of getting in before last call.
Get on a Mailing List
The simplest way to beat the line is to get your name on the guest list.
One way to accomplish that seemingly impossible feat is to join email lists that regularly send out party notices; often clubs will have links to these lists on their websites, but you can also go through third-party sites like Thrillist or UrbanDaddy.
When the club wants to promote an event, you’ll receive an email with information on how to RSVP to get your name on the list. These parties usually happen Monday through Thursday, but every once in a while you’ll get a plum spot on a hard-to-access guest list, making you the envy of your far-less-connected friends.
Befriend a Party Promoter
Party and club promotion became a hot profession a few years ago because it’s easy and lucrative, as long as the guest list is always full.
With the advent of the internet, promotion went into social networking mode. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get on a list and receive regular updates about parties and promotional nights that need warm bodies.
Check out who’s handing out business cards the next time you’re out at a hot spot and make friends. It could be your ticket to the party hookup.
Flash Some Cash
As is the case in so many other areas of life, green means go in the club world.
Before you go waving your bank like Jay-Z’s latest protégé, remember that subtlety is the name of the game.
While bouncers will usually accept bribes, no one wants to look like they can be bought by every jerk with a Benjamin.
To grease the gatekeeper like a pro, walk confidently towards him as if you’re old friends and hand over an appropriate sum. Anything less than $20 is insulting, but $20 plus the amount of the cover charge will usually suffice. Of course, the more you offer, the easier it will be for him to say yes.
Be discreet. Handshakes work well for this. Don’t cause a scene if he refuses to play your game. This whole scene, after all, is just a game.