Chances are if you are taking a trip to Vegas you’re going to want to go to a nightclub at some point. Surely you can go out to dinner, play a little blackjack, have a few drinks, stroll over to whatever club happens to be close by, pay cover and have some fun right? Errrr… not that easy.
Clubbing in Vegas is unlike anywhere else in the world. On any random Saturday night Calvin Harris, Tiesto, The Chainsmokers and 50 Cent might all be performing at different clubs. Performers who you normally would only get to see in an arena setting, are now performing at a club with only a few hundred people. While that might sound amazing, it also means that gaining entrance is a little more complicated than buying a ticket on ticketmaster and showing up whenever you want.
Luckily for you I’m going to break down the various ways to get in, and you give you tips on how to save money, minimize wait time and maximize fun!
Note: All the good clubs in Vegas work pretty much the same way I describe below. Each club will usually have one or two other ways to enter based on if you’re staying at the attached hotel, have status at their casino, etc… I cover those options on my individual nightclub guides, so check those out as it might be your best choice for a particular nightclub.
Option 1: Bottle Service
Pros: Fast. Comfortable. No lines. Easy to get in dudes. More flexibility on arrival time. Contact at the club for special requests/any issues.
Cons: Expensive. Committed to one location (though club hopping isn’t really possible in Vegas). Still have to show up relatively early if you want a good location.
By a long distance the easiest way to get into a nightclub in Vegas is by booking a table and getting bottle service. Especially if your group is primarily or all male.
Most people are familiar with the concept but just in case you aren’t; basically your group makes a reservation at the nightclub for a table and agrees to a minimum spend for the night. Minimums vary depending on the club, who’s performing and how well located your table is.
Usually tables booked at nightclubs are done through a host who works at the club. When your group arrives you contact him and he’ll come meet you. Once you meet your host it takes a few minutes to verify your group size, go through security, get your credit card authorized and then he walks you to the table. That’s it! Compared to other options this is by far the most pleasant experience.
For a complete breakdown of bottle service in Las Vegas check out my guide: here.
Option 2: General Admission
Pros: Cheaper or possibly free entrance. Less commitment to one place if you want to leave.
Cons: Long waits. Often treated like second class citizens by club staff. Difficult for groups of guys. Have to arrive early or potentially won’t get in. No one to help you in case of any issues.
If you choose not to go the bottle service route, your other option is to do general admission. This just means you enter the club with no reserved seating.
There are a few different entrance options that fall under general admission. Some ways are better than others and a little planning goes a long way. The male/female ratio of your group will be the main determining factor as to which option is best for you. The popularity of the club/performer should also impact your choice.
Worst choice: Show up with no tickets, no table and no contacts.
You will wait in line for a long time and pay a high cover charge (friend paid $200 cover for XS nightswim!!). If you show up midnight or later you might wait in line for hours and not get in at all. As with most things in life, and especially in Vegas, the exception to this rule is groups of incredibly good looking girls.
Better choices: Buy tickets or get on a host’s guestlist.
Guestlist: If you can do it, getting on a guestlist is a great option for general admission. This means you contact a host/promoter who puts your name on a list, which helps you get in. This usually only works when your group has a 1:1 or better guy/girl ratio. Girls in the group will usually get in free and guys will pay a reduced price. For holidays and at the tier 1 clubs on weekends guys probably won’t be able to guestlist and everyone will have to pay something, but should still be cheaper than tickets.
For guestlisting the host will usually tell you to arrive early (11pm or before) to avoid having to wait too long. There will be a dedicated line just for people on the guestlist. Don’t try to show up at 1am when The Chainsmokers are headlining and expect to walk right in.
*Important: make sure you contact a senior host or promotor that is directly affiliated with the club and not one of those random guys that approaches you on the strip! Too many times people show up and their name isn’t on any list because they were in contact with some guy who has no connection to the club. Now they’re grouped in with the no ticket/no contact crowd which is not where you want to be in life. If you need a good contact for any club in town feel free to message me.
Tickets: If your group is heavily skewed male, or you don’t want to bother having to contact anyone, you should buy tickets online for the event you want to attend. Less popular nights even at the best clubs can be as cheap as $20 and go as high as $125 for big names and holidays. Prices will rise closer to the date of the event so buy them as early as you can.
The tickets line tends to move faster than the guestlist line and you are guaranteed entry if you show up at a reasonable time. Make sure to print out your ticket and bring the ID/credit card that matches the purchase. Arriving at or before 11pm is always a good idea and will shorten the time you spend in line.
Other tips for getting in:
- Show up early! I know no one wants to be the first in an empty club waiting for hours but often you can gamble, meet people or explore the club to waste some time. Better to be an extra hour early inside than spend 3 hours outside when the headliner is performing. You’ll also have best selection of tables if you’re getting bottle service.
- Do not try to pick any arguments or fights with the security guards or hosts working the door. Vegas isn’t a fair place. Money is pretty much the only language that matters here, so just because you were there first or are on a list doesn’t mean shit. It will only work out poorly for you.
- If you want to try and tip someone to cut a line, skip cover, or any other reason, be prepared for sticker shock. $20 isn’t getting you anything. Even $50 per person often won’t move the needle. Try the security guys first as they are way underpaid compared to the hosts and see what he can do for you. Be polite, patient and direct about what you’re looking for. It’s Vegas, no need to be overly discreet.
- Being well dressed always helps. If you’re spending 25K on a dance floor table feel free to wear a robe. Otherwise wear some nice shoes and clothes that fit.
- If you find yourself in line or a less than ideal situation try and make the best of it. For guys it’s often easier to talk to and meet girls outside than inside 😉
Contact me if you have questions, need contacts or any other help planning your trip!