How to Talk Your Way Into the Club
The experts share their tried and true strategies for getting beyond the velvet rope.
Welcome to THUMP Guide to Clubbing, a new video series starring some of our favorite DJs and producers. Every week, our team of experts will guide you through the ins and outs of the clubbing experience, from skipping lines to chatting up bartenders.
This week, club music warriors LSDXOXO, Fools Gold co-founder Nick Catchdubs, jersey club queen UNIIQU3, New York party-starter Tygapaw, rising Philadelphia DJ Gun$ Garcia, and seasoned dance music veteran Nick Hook weigh in on the best way to talk your way into a club. From considering the age-old philosophical question, "To cut the line, or not to cut the line," to becoming BFFs with the bouncer, these words of wisdom from the pros will have you living the velvet rope VIP life in no time.
Skipping the Line
On this blue planet we call home, are we humans all equals who evolve as a species by adhering to the rules of the social contract? Or are we mere animals, who must seize what is ours in order to survive—and leave the weak ones behind?
This quandary might sound familiar if you've ever walked up to the club, seen a line snaking around the corner and on for eternity, and considered not playing by the rules like everybody else.
The best line cutter is a ninja: the person you don't even realize is cutting the line. UNIIQU3 finds friends in line and poof, suddenly she's half way up. LSDXOXO schmoozes his way to the front, looking for that imaginary friend until, what do you know, he's reached the golden gates. If you're going to cut the line, the key, according to Nick Catchdubs, is subtlety—no shoving, no noise. Just finesse.
You risk catching shade if you cut the line, but as LSDXOXO says, "if they're asking you why you just cut them, you probably did it the wrong way."
Of course, there's a big difference between cutting a line and just skipping it. The best way to skip the line is clearly to be on the list, but not every club-goer can be so lucky. And if you're not on the list, or if the line for the list is still too damn long, the experts all agree that the key to skipping the line entirely is confidence.
"The best way to skip the line is to pretend like you don't belong in line at all, " said Gun$ Garcia. "Be the boss ass bitch that you are," remarked Tygapaw on her strategy for skipping the line. "Carry yourself with confidence. Make sure the outfit is on lock. That nobody can tell you nothing. And sashay your way up to the front."
So, are all club-goers just ruthless line-cutters?
"For the most part it's morally wrong," preached UNIIQU3 when we asked her the best strategy for line-cutting. "As humans on this earth we are told to wait our turn."
But hey, it's Friday night, and nobody has time for that.
Getting Past the Bouncer
So you've gotten past the line-waiting hordes. Now it's time to talk to the final boss, the only person whose opinion actually matters: the bouncer.
If you're not on that list, there are a few things you can do that range from friendly to straight up shady. The first option: hit up your plug. Don't be shy asking someone you know on the inside to come get you in. Just make sure your plug is someone you actually know, or else it "comes off a little leechy," notes LSDXOXO.
If the plug is not coming through, your next option is to name drop, name drop, name drop! Whether or not it's true that your promoter/manager/dj friend was going to get you in, if a bouncer makes a connection with a name that you mention, that can be the key. Tygapaw likes to raise the stakes. She'll invent a stranded friend or a lost phone situation, where she HAS to get in.
"Just act in a way where it's an emergency," said Tygapaw. And there's always the "I'm working the event" move, a personal favorite of Gun$ Garcia.
And if you're really desperate, and you manage a peek at that list, taking someone else's name is always a last resort. But as UNIIQU3 points out, that's "mad sheisty."
But c'mon, all of these tricks are unnecessary if you unlock the real key to the club: befriending the bouncer. Bouncers usually work at more than one club around town so a smile, hug, or even a gracious bow-out if you're denied could come in handy in the future. "A nice handshake and a look in the eye goes a long way," said Nick Hook.
"Make nice with the bouncers," added UNIIQU3, and "you always be straight."
Thanking Your Plug
So you've made it, you're in! And if you have someone to thank for the night of partying other than your own sly self, make sure to spread the love. First of all: don't blow your cover and lose all your points by thanking your plug improperly. Reciprocating is all about keeping it cool. "Don't fuck up the dap," said Nick Catchdubs. "Don't go in for the dap when they're goin' in for the slap."
Oh god, just thinking about that palm to knuckle awkwardness is cringe-worthy.
Sometimes, though, you've gotta go above and beyond a dap or a slap. LSDXOXO likes to get his plug a drink, and UNIIQU3 opts for a celebratory shared blunt or maybe even an uber ride home. But Tygapaw knows that your connect might be flush with drink tickets, so a free beverage isn't really going to cut it. The only solution? Social media love. Publicly announce that you feel #blessed by the goodness and generosity of your plug, and award them with an abundance of shoutouts for giving you the best night ever.
And once you're in, make sure all the finagling, strategizing, and befriending was worth it; have yourself a damn good time.
Watch the second episode of the THUMP Guide To Clubbing below.