In my younger days I used to go out clubbing with friends and regularly drop $100 to $200 a night. New York City was crazy expensive and we often got bottle service to ensure that we could get into the hottest clubs in the first place. Each guy almost always had to be paired up with one girl, otherwise you had as good a chance as Obama does of raising taxes in a soft economy than getting in! Bouncers made it a priority to ensure the inside wasn’t a sausage fest.
Spending a couple hundred on a Friday night isn’t frugal. However, this wasn’t a point in my life where saving a fortune was a top priority. Instead, experiencing Manhattan, having fun with friends, and meeting new people were. A dollar spent while young is more enjoyable than when old since you aren’t making much in the first place. It’s inefficient to save money when you’re making less money ironically.
As an old man now, who is certainly not in touch with the latest trends in music and fashion, I realize my younger self could have probably saved several thousand bucks going out a year if I wasn’t so carefree. I worked hard and I felt I deserved to party hard. The phrase, “one life to live” seemed to pop up a lot! But, a $300 bottle of Moet that costs $50 bucks at Costco might be a little too much!
TOP 10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY AND HAVE A GOOD TIME GOING CLUBBING
1) Don’t eat a lot. One of the biggest mistakes is eating a heavy dinner before going out drinking. If I go out for a big Korean barbecue, my drink tolerance goes up from around 6 beers to infinity beers! With a ton of food in your stomach, you have to drink much more to get the same buzz. At the same time, with a full belly, you might not be able to drink as much. It depends on how buzzed you want to feel. You can always pretend you are more drunk than you are as the below video sings, “Sober girls around me they be acting like they’re drunk.”
2) Pre-party. It’s always best to pre-party an hour before going out. You get to buy your own grocery-bought alcohol for 80% less and drink all you want in the comfort of your own home. You don’t want to get sloppy drunk before you go, otherwise you’ll become dysfunctional as you stumble over people on the dance floor. Hence, I suggest drinking about one-third to one-half of your tolerance level and then head out.
3) Get to know people. Relationships are everything at clubs. The more club personnel you know the better. The first time you meet a bouncer, you should chat him up and ask him his name and tell him yours. Don’t treat him as a guard. Treat him as a person who has interests just like every other person. You need to make that connection no matter how intimidating things are. The same goes with the bartenders. Get to know the bartenders as they have almost as much power as the bouncer. Often times, they will either let you in for free or just wave you right in during long lines.
4) Tip regularly. Counter-intuitive huh? Tipping a bartender without knowing his or her name is a waste of money. They won’t remember you as soon as they take your money. Again, you need to get to know the bartender’s name, learn something about them, share one interesting thing about you at least so they can remember, and then tip. At this point, you don’t have to tip well (20% or more), but certainly tip at least 15%. They’ll feel more grateful receiving a tip from a friend.
5) Bring eye candy. Let’s face it, fly girls get into clubs easier than hairy dudes. A bouncer would be crazy not to let four beautiful women enter, despite a long line since a club known for beautiful women will attract more money-spending men. If you’re with one of those ladies, you’re in. In fact, what you and your buddies can do is chat up the most beautiful looking women outside in the first place, offer to buy them a drink if they let you match up with them. Most of the time they will say yes.
6) Go early. Clubs generally develop their long lines starting at 11pm. Go at 10pm so you don’t have to stand in line and you may even avoid the cover charge. In fact, do many things when the majority of people don’t and you will likely save a lot of time and money i.e. going to lunch at 11am instead of noon, leave work at 4pm or 7pm because you came in at 7am or 10am and so forth.
7) Bottle service. Bottle service is when you book a table and order a minimum. That minimum is generally around $500 in the clubs we frequented. Each $30 bottle of vodka will run $150 or so, and lets not even talk about the Moet and Crystal. This is just the price of being able to get in and get a seat. Back then, it felt like a lot, but now, it’s a no-brainer if you don’t want to wait for half an hour in the cold and maybe not get in because the club is full, or the bouncer just doesn’t like you. Besides, splitting $500 dollars five or more ways becomes much more manageable. Having a table is a big boon to attracting other people to come join you – it’s almost like attracting bees to honey. There’s space to sit, alcohol to drink, and sometimes a misplaced belief that you are somebody important. Better than standing around all night trying to make a move!
8) Become a regular. It goes without saying that the more the club sees you come around, the more familiar they will be with you, and the more likely you will be able to get in, get good service, and have a good time. I suggest focusing on the same club every week or every other week for two months. If you aren’t completely anti-social, you’ll make some friends. Once you’ve established the relationships, then you can diversify your clubbing experience.
9) Offer great reviews. A club is a business with a short shelf life due to high overhead costs, moving trends, and massive competition. At the end of the day, the owners just want to make money and let everybody have a great time. You want to let them know that you can be their biggest advocate. Tell them that you plan to, or have written a great review about them on Yelp or any other online rating agency. If you so happen to be in media or journalism, you can definitely score points as well. Finally, if you are a blogger, you can also offer them a free shout out. Clubs love shout-outs and now you know why I started this site!
10) Find a girlfriend or boyfriend. A big part of the cost of clubbing is alcohol. Some get plastered as it feels good and gives people the confidence to talk to the other sex. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend already, you don’t need that boost of liquid courage, hence you won’t drink as much! Besides, over time, your girlfriend will just want to keep you at home to snuggle while watching The Notebook or Vampire Diaries or something, then you’ll be really saving some monay!
Clubbing is incredibly fun with the right friends. Too bad it now costs a funky leg and a wiggle to have a good time. Hopefully, with the above 10 tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the alcohol and musically-infused nightlife a little easier!
Readers, for those who like to go clubbing, any other tips you have to saving money? I’m sure some of you will talk about how clubbing is a waste of money and you can have fun doing other stuff. Yeah, yeah, we know. But, this is our topic at hand.
Photo credit: Rodney Rogers, Flckr Creative Commons, Drink it up!