I was once rejected from a club in Paris by a doorman, I was a bit drunk. This is from a club where people walked in looking like they just broke a bottle of beer over their head (this is likely), and were dressed by their serial killer next-door-neighbor, in all-black and ten sizes too small.
Not to judge, my black outfit that night was five sizes too small and I spent a good ten minutes, before presenting myself at the entrance, leaning against a light pole in a half-aware stupor, just ten feet from the front door.
I present this important moment to highlight the fact that I have a little experience myself in doormen. So, on that note, here are some tips:
A club is there to make money Ultimately,
they are a business, and they exist to cover their considerable overhead. They need to make a ton of money to do well, but it is a balance, they want huge crowds but they don’t want the kind of people that would make even Hannibal Lecter think ‘Christ, this place is a bit off-putting’
A club is an image and an entertainment venue
Like any musical artist, venue, or brand, a club has a window of acceptability and flexibility on how far it can sway from its core image. A student bar has a different range than an upper-scale nightclub does, with an image so tightly controlled that even Prince Harry has to stand outside and beg his way through the door.
Like with so many other things in life, you are defined not by who you let in but by who you do not. You as a patron have to fit that mold or improve upon it. A slow night at some establishments will relax their rules of entry, but you still need to present yourself sober and respectful.
If you are a big group,
have more women than men. Do not try to recreate a rap video, or an 80’s hair band rock video with ten strippers on the hood of your rented sports car (but bravo for pulling that off). Think class, and surround yourself with class and polite company, and you will be received graciously most anywhere.
How to dress,
one: Wear dark colors. You blend in with the night, and any drinks had beforehand are best concealed by dark colors. A red face and light shades do not bode well unless you’re Santa Claus.
Few clubs will explicitly say what their dress code is, and in any case, err on the side of formality. Swap your sneakers for moccasins, Derbies, Richelieu or Chelsea boots. Stuff your old t-shirt and put on a nice woven shirt. Dark jeans, chino or other pants will do.
Avoid athletic shorts and a t-shirt even if the club is on the beach.
Talk to the doorman like he is your boss.
Be professional. Don’t ever try to pat him on the shoulder or give him an overwrought handshake, like you’re entering some secret society. He can probably clothesline you like a professional wrestler, so assume he will, and just be polite and say “yes sir”, “no sir” and “have a nice evening sir” regardless of whether you get in or not.
Once inside, continue to act with class and spend generously. Owners and general managers love that, and you want that.
Til next time,