Nightclub Etiquette

AC Nightclub Playbook

This page is designed to show you the In's and Out's of the nightclub experience. We will be covering everything from Dress Code to Tipping Etiquette, and the goal is to give you as much information as we can in order to make your night(s) in Atlantic City the most enjoyable and stress-free. The information you learn here is applicable not only in Atlantic City, but in many other party destinations around the country like Las Vegas, Miami, and New York. If you have further questions after reading this guide, you can always contact us and one of our VIP Hosts will get back to you about the particular things you are curious about. Happy partying!

Dress Code

When you go out in Atlantic City, it is important that you dress to impress. The dress code is strictly enforced at most venues and you don't want to left hanging out to dry while your friends breeze past you into the club. For men, you have to toe the line between business casual and trendy chic. For women, the general rule of thumb is that a dress and heels always works. Here are some pointers to help you get off on the right foot:

  • Men: The basics men's dress code for nightclubs eliminates the obvious stuff right off the bat: no hats, no baggy or sloppy jeans, no athletic gear, no sleeveless shirts, no t-shirts, and no athletic sneakers. The general rule of thumb is that you can almost always get away with neat jeans and a button down shirt. When it comes to footwear, a pair of black or brown slip-on dress shoes is the norm. Every club is different, but you can sometimes get away with a pair of dark designer sneakers (think True Religion, Steve Madden, etc.). You can also get away with a t-shirt occasionally when it is pulled off with style (think under a vest or blazer)

  • Women: Wear something simple and sexy and you'll almost never have any problems. The standard night out for a girl involves a tight dress and a pair of heels. There are other combinations that work (i.e. skirt with a cute top, tight black pants with a sexy top, etc.), but it is rare that you see a girl in jeans at a nightclub. Depending on the look you pair it with, it could be pulled off, but it is better to stick with the sure things.

Know The Nightcub Hierarchy:

Whether your goal is to get on a guest list, cut the line, get a nice deal or good table location with bottle service, it is important to know the right people. Here at VIP in Atlantic City, we believe that what you know AND who you know are the keys to getting what you want. While the following points may be a little different depending on the nightclub, they should be true for most:

  • General Manager: Aside from the owner (who many people never see), the General Manager is the lead dog at the nightclub. He may only interface with high rollers and big spenders at the nightclub, but he is usually around the property on the night(s) that the club is open.

  • VIP Services Manager: Every club has a VIP Services manager, who oversees everything from table reservations to guest lists. Normally this person has the pull to give deals on bottle service or free cover.

  • VIP Marketing Host: This position is more common in Las Vegas than Atlantic City, but it is seeing a comeback as Revel opens their doors. These people are tasked with selling tables and packing the club with the "right" clientele. They have limited flexibility to get you special deals, but are a great point of contact if you're a frequent visitor to a nightclub.

  • Promoter: Many nightclubs use outside promoters to fill their clubs. These promoters will typically have a guest list that requires you to sign up in advance or say their name at the door. They do not work directly for the club but can be a valuable asset to get you on a guest list and help reduce the amount of cover that you pay, or how long you have to wait in line.

  • Door Man: Most nightclubs have a guy or girl at the door holding a clipboard. This could be one of the people above, or somebody entirely different. If you haven't had the opportunity to establish a relationship with the folks above, the door man is a good contact. Many times you can attempt the "handshake" with a $50 or $100 to help you bypass the line.

  • Bouncer/Security: These folks are typically there to just check IDs and deal with any commotion that happens outside or inside the nightclub. Generally speaking, they have nothing to do with table reservations and they do not really determine who gets into the club. However, they can be a tremendous asset if you have table service in the club. Tipping a security team member can sometimes get you an escort through the crowd to the bathroom, or it will help to make sure nobody unwanted comes into your section.

  • Bartender: These men and women are there to work for tips. The name of the game for them is to fulfill as many drink orders as possible because it means more tips in their pocket. Many times it seems like they are ignoring you when you go to order a drink, so try making eye contact and having your money ready in your hand (so that they can see it). You'd be surprised how quickly this helps you get served. Tip more than $2 per drink and you'll get your drinks quicker the next time they see you.

  • Waitress: Waitresses in nightclubs mainly apply to table service only. They do not have a lot of leeway when it comes to hooking you up, so you are better off trying to establish the relationship with the hosts or VIP manager listed above. The waitresses make great money because of a large tip pool, so any additional tipping you do will most likely not end up in their pocket.

  • Busboy: These are the guys that are refilling the ice at your table, topping off your mixers, and making sure your table is stocked with clean glasses. If you have the accidental spill of a drink, they will also be by to mop up your mess. These guys hustle for their money and get a smaller cut of the tip pool, so we like to reward these guys before we reward the waitresses with additional tips.

Know Your Cost & Set A Budget:

The biggest issue our clients run into when they are planning a bachelor or bachelorette party is the sticker shock when you see what a weekend in Atlantic City can cost. Almost every party requires hotel rooms and bottle service, which are the two biggest cost-drivers for a party. Unlike Las Vegas, rooms in Atlantic City are almost always over $300 (and sometimes over $400) on weekends between April and September. When you do bottle service at the nightclubs, those bottles usually cost over $425 after tax and gratuity. Here are some things you should know when you are planning your night(s) out:

  • Cover: Most nightclubs in Atlantic City have different cover charges on the different nights that they are open. Every nightclub is open on the weekend nights, but they also have their own night (usually 1 per club) that they are open during the week. These are called their Industry Nights, where most people from other venues in the Service Industry are off from work, which means they can go out that night. Cover for industry nights is usually $15 for guys and $10 for girls. On weekend nights, cover is usually $30 for guys and $15 for girls. Of course, there are other things that can make the fee vary, like if you happen to be a Local, or if you happen to be on a particular guest list.

  • Drinks: Drink prices are pretty much the same all over town. Bottled beers go for anywhere from $6 to $8 while mixed drinks usually start at $10. When you start calling out a particular brand (i.e. Greygoose), you're looking at $14 and up for mixed drinks. Don't forget that you should tip at least $1 on a beer and at least $2 on a mixed drink. This is how the bartenders make their money, and will also help you in the long run when the bartender knows you're tipping decently.

  • Bottle Service: While cheaper than Las Vegas or Miami, bottle service in Atlantic City is still very expensive and causes sticker shock to the people who are new to it. When a bottle of vodka costs $30 in your local liquor store, it's hard to swallow the fact that it's $350 + tax and gratuity in a nightclub. After you've taken care of the tax and tipped your waitress (which is usually auto-calculated in your bill), a bottle of vodka can be $450 or more. The key rule to remember that nightclubs make you order 1 bottle per 4 people. Even if you're 1 person over the limit, you will have to order that next bottle (so 13 people will have to buy 4 bottles). The key to bottle service is that you have your own place to sit, you never have to wait for a drink, and you get the true feeling of being a VIP.

  • Tipping: Cash is king. When you tip well, people remember you and you are more likely to get what you want. Regardless of who you make the relationship with (from the list above), it is important to tip them for their services. If a person constantly gets you on a guest list, which allows you to pay reduced cover and have a shorter line, make sure you take care of them. If your host is able to get you a free bottle ($450+ value) after you buy a couple, make sure you take care of him. There are plenty of things that add value to your experience, and they are also worth a tip if you end up saving money. The typical etiquette on tipping is to fold the bill in the palm of your hand and slip it to them during a handshake.

Upon Arrival at The Club

So the big night is here and you're just arriving at the club. Where should you go and who should you talk to? Every club is different, and almost all of them have their own rules and different variations of a line. Read below and we'll try to get you on the right track:

  • Different Lines for Different Folks: There are several lines at the nightclub. One is for general admission (for people not on any guest list), one is for Guest List (you could be on any number of people's guest lists, but this line is usually separate), and one is for VIP bottle service. It is important to know which group you fit into when you arrive at the club, as you could end up waiting in the wrong line and wasting your precious time.

  • What is the "Guest List" and What Does It Entail: Guest List means that your name is on a sheet of paper held at the door on the night of the party. In order to get on the guest list, you will have had to arrange it with somebody that works at the club (or an outside promoter) earlier that day or even days in advance. Some club web sites allow you to sign up in advance for the night you plan on attending. Being on the Guest List usually entails a shorter linerand reduced cover, although sometimes you can get in for free on the list.

  • What if I Have Bottle Service?: If you already have called and arranged for bottle service, you can go to the VIP line and give them your name. They will pull up your reservation, and your group will be walked in and personally sat at your table. Then, the waitress will come over with the menu and you will tell her what you'd like to order. She will bring you the bill right away, and it will usually include tax and gratuity already so that you don't have to do any math. If you are in a group, make sure that you already have the money collected in advance. This will avoid delays once you get the bill, and it will allow for the night to go more smoothly.

  • What to Do if There's a Long Wait/Line: If you find yourself stuck in a really long line, our tip is to spot somebody important (i.e. guy in a suit, with a clipboard, etc.) and politely ask him if there's anything he can do to get you in sooner. This is where the "handshake" trick comes into play. We recommend at least $50 per 4 people. Attempt to shake his hand while asking if there's anything he can do, and slip him the money. People in the industry can take a hint, and they will either help you out or return the money to you.

Once You're Inside:

Now that you've made it past the velvet ropes and into the club, you need to get yourself settled. If you have table service, there are some things you should know. It is important to maintain a respectable level of behavior even though you're in the nightclub and you typically associate this type of place with rowdy fun. At the end of the day, these nightclub operators run a business and that business needs to remain safe and legal.

  • Behavior: If you do not have bottle service, stay out of the roped off areas. If you do have bottle service, be respectful of the crowd and staff around you. That means no standing on the table, no spraying champagne/alcohol, and no harrassing women. A general rule of thumb is don't do anything you wouldn't do at your own Graduation party.

  • Sitting Down = Pay to Play: Unless you have bottle service, you will not have a place to sit. The reason bottles are so expensive is because you are paying for the real estate, and the ability to sit down in a private area. Just because there is nobody sitting at a table doesn't mean you can sit down and rest. The staff will not like this and you will be asked to move.

  • Tip Your Bartenders: Once again, we must stress how important it is to tip your bartenders. Waiting for drinks can be a pain, but if you tip your bartender well, they will remember you the next time around and either make you a stronger drink, charge you less, or get you your drinks faster. For those of you that are great tippers, sometimes you'll experience all three benefits.

  • Guests in VIP Area: If you have a table, be mindful of the tables around you. These tables are all relatively close to eachother, so don't be rude and invite a lot of outside people into your section. It is normal for a group of guys to pull a few girls in to their table for a drink, but this doesn't mean everybody can hang out in your section for the entire night. If you do this, you may be required by the nightclub to buy more bottles.

Copyright © 2016 - VIP In Atlantic City | Legal

Scroll to Top