Jen’s Guide to Underage Nightlife in NYC

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As an underage drinker in New York City for going on two years now, I am frequently asked (begged, pleaded) where to find the most lenient (while still fun) places to party. All my friends were baffled by how I went out almost every weekend my freshman year, always got in, and never paid anything but the cab fare.

Yes, I’m a girl. I’ll even go as far as to say I’m a pretty attractive girl, but I’m telling you right now, that is NOT what lets me skip lines, pay no cover, and drink free all night long.

What most people who aren’t a constant part of the NYC nightlife scene don’t understand, is that it’s not as simple as this place will let you in, this place won’t, (with the exception of a few.) Why? Because clubbing in the city is all (and I can’t stress this enough) ALL about who you KNOW, WHERE you go, and WHEN.

I know that for you guys out there, your biggest problem with clubbing is that you are a guy, and “they never let guys inâ€?. Take that mindset and shove it. It’s not going to change, and it’s true, it is harder for an average guy to get in than an average girl. But if you listen to me, you won’t be an average guy; you’ll be a guy that gets in.

Here are some basic rules to follow.

Rule #1: Dress the Part: PLEASE don’t dress like a tool. At least while still waiting to get in, keep your collar un-popped, your shirt mostly buttoned, and please, PLEASE don’t kill the door girl with your cologne. Most clubs don’t have an ultra fancy dress code, but it never hurts to dress a little above the standard. The guys I see and am most likely to talk to at clubs have just a hint of an alluring scent about them, follow all of the standards previously stated, and most of all are dressed neatly. You don’t have to wear a button up shirt and slacks to look sharp.

Rule #2: Don’t be desperate. Any night you go out have at least two back up plans or places in mind. Nothing will have a bouncer kick you out of line faster than the smell of desperation. If (oops, I mean when) a group of people get ushered in past the line, or before you, don’t yell at the bouncer. It’s going to happen. Bouncers are always going to let the people they know and like in first, and people who know the owner or most of the door people, don’t wait at all. (If this happens to be you, there’s no reason for you to be reading this. You’re going to get in no matter what. I barely go in more than jeans and a t-shirt at the places where I know the owner.)

Rule #3: Don’t go with a crowd of guys: You and your wing man? Sure. Your best friend, his wing man, and his buddies? I hope you’re going to a strip joint, because you’re definitely not getting into a club unless you all are special VIP guests of the owner. Two guys are usually fine, though not ideal. Put it this way, if you have as many, (preferably more) girls in your party, the more likely they’ll let you all in. Also a friend of mine told me, (though I’ve never tested it) that bouncers don’t like to let couples in since the girl they’re letting in is clearly off the market, and the guy will only be buying drinks for that one girl.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Clubs let girls in because the more girls that are the club, the more GUYS are going to want to come, spend money there, and dance with the female clientèle. So remember this when you see a group of girls being let in, they’re bringing them in for good PR, because GUYS want them there. I hate to objectify my kind, but when you come as one guy with three girls, it’s like you’ve come baring gifts, and they know you’ll be buying drink for at least one of them, while bringing the others for other guys to spend money on.

Now it’s true, clubs expect guys to spend money. I’d say the average club cover is about $30 for guys, but I’ve almost never paid a cover, and I’m not a guy. You’re probably going to have to spend at least some money at the door. It’s just a fact. But here’s my big finale and final rule to clubbing bliss: Always, always, always know a PROMOTER at the club. Not your friend Shaun who just got this gig and thinks it’s going to be great, go with a promotional group that has either been going to the club for a long time and has some sway, or one where you know that the promoters will lay out the land for you, and tell you how hard of a door it is, how good your ID needs to be, if you need one at all, etc. Not to mention the best part: when you get there they usually give out free drinks at their table all night long.

None of what I’ve told you here is worth anything if you are underage unless you go with a promoter or know people in some very high places. Being on a “listâ€? (which basically is just knowing whose name to drop at the door) will get you reduced cover, and the longer you club with a certain group, the more regulars you’ll meet, the more loyalty they’ll have to you, and magically you’ll get in anywhere they go. It’s as simple as that.

As for clubs and bars that I never have a problem with, here’s my short list:

Nevada Smiths (bar)

DJ Reynolds (bar) a friend recommended it to me saying, and I quote, “they’d serve a 3 year old.â€?

That’s all from me for now, the rest is in your hands, use this information wisely!

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