Your Vegas club survival guide

Nightclubs are everywhere in Vegas. Whether it’s a boutique club, a megaclub or a restaurant-by-day-club-by-night, for those roisterous travelers who venture to this desert oasis in search of an experience that will forever hold a spot in their memories, there is nothing like a Vegas club.

The lucky ones who have come to Vegas and successfully survived a night at the club are fortunate. Nightclubs are known to turn the ill-prepared into thumb-sucking children.

Every weekend, thousands of people flock to Las Vegas to party the night away while losing all inhibitions, having meaningless relationships with complete strangers, dancing on top of bars, getting intimate with public restrooms and not remembering anything when they wake up.

Such a task does not come on a whim for most people. There must be planning and for those who have never experienced a tempestuous weekend in Vegas, that means you must contact your friends, your neighbors, research past experiences in the vast archives of Facebook and watch for breaking news on Twitter.

This guide is intended to circumvent that process and give these brave warriors who come to Vegas a solid game plan on how to conquer the weekend and to maximize pleasure.


“Poor planning is going to mean poor results.” – Cory McCormack, owner of Vanity.

Plan your Vegas club tripYour first thought when planning a trip to Vegas is that there’s no need to actually plan a trip to Vegas. And those who choose this course of action will be forced to wait in long lines, pay too much money and be too inebriated to make it through the best hours of the Vegas night.

“Preparation in advance for the trip is really the lifesaver because so many people get upset for various reasons because they didn’t plan ahead,” said Mike Snedager, celebrity relations for Tao Nightclub.

There are more than 40 nightclubs in Las Vegas, countless bars and an infinite number of restaurants. It is imperative that you narrow those down to the ones you would like to go to and the ones you have to go to.


“I say you can either have the best price or the best party, but you can’t have both.” – Justen Crews, VIP host at Vanity.

All nightclubs charge a cover for guys that can range from $20-$50 on non-holiday weekends and women often get in free or for a reduced charge. And when you see some guy with six ladies in tow bypass the line and not have to pay a cover, odds are he knows someone or is paying a large amount of money.

Even if you’ve never been to Vegas, you probably know someone who knows someone. If not, you can put in a little work and find the connections yourself that will help get you into the club quickly and sometimes without paying.

“The best thing to do is make friends with someone who works at the club, whether you met them on a previous visit or you met them on property during the day,” said Deanna Rilling, nightlife reporter for Las Vegas Weekly magazine. “Usually once you get the number of a VIP host at the club then you’re pretty much set. They’ll help you out with guest lists and things like that.”


PREGAMING: [pre-gey-ming] v. The practice of drinking before going out to the club.

Vegas Nightclub pregamingThere are many ways to partake in pregaming and for some that means going to pool clubs during the day or sharing a 12-pack with your buddies moments before going to the club.

“Pregaming has pros and cons,” Rilling said. “The pro, yeah you can probably save a little bit of money, but the con is if you go out to the club you might start getting sleepy earlier or too drunk too fast. And it’s so not cute to puke in a club. If you puke they’ll kick you out too; whether it’s in the bathroom or not. The attendants will tell and get you kicked out.”


“ Blinking plastic genitalia is always tacky.” -Deanna Rilling, Las Vegas Weekly

Nightclub dress codeAdding to the dilemma of what to wear to the nightclub is the peculiar way the lights of Las Vegas affect women. Otherwise classy women are somehow entranced by the prevalent lighting throughout the city and especially the flashing lights in the clubs and believe they have a license to be trashy. This can especially be seen in bachelorette parties, from pink wigs to embarrassing slogans on color-coordinated shirts and phallic necklaces.

“Once, all these girls came up wearing pink and the main one, the bachelorette, had the blow-up doll and I tried to joke with her. I’m like, ‘Sweetie, it’s all good. You can come in, but actually your guy friend here won’t be able to come in.’ She said, ‘No, he’s just a doll,’” said Leo De Souza, director of host marketing for venues at Aria Resort & Casino, including Haze and Gold Lounge.

Most women have the golden ticket to come into a nightclub no matter what they’re wearing and how little of it is covering them. The biggest warning industry professionals wish to pass on to women is:

“Spandex is a privilege, not a right,” said Ian Farr, director of nightlife for Pure Management Group, which operates several area clubs including Pure and LAX.

Vegas Nightclub Dress code for guys5. GUYS: VEGAS IS NOT THE “JERSEY SHORE”

Popular media has given many misconceptions about what really goes on in nightclubs.

Yes, there are tons of extremely attractive women and yes, people consume plenty of alcohol. But by no means is it OK to fist pump, wear sequined shirts, sunglasses in the club or blow out your hair.

“The whole ‘Jersey Shore’ thing has gone too far, the guys with their hair-dos like that,” said Julie Gray, a cocktail server at Rain Nightclub.

“Guys really wear that out. It’s disgusting and it’s like, are you serious right now? You look like Brandon Walsh from ‘90210.’ That show’s been cancelled.”

The following are the most important lessons for guys when determining what to wear to the club:

“I think we can start with the bedazzled Ed Hardy wear,” Crews said. “You’re just setting yourself up for trouble when you try dressing like that.”

“I think one thing people should know is they should have a nice pair of jeans,” said Robert Gamch, director of customer development at Light Group, which operates clubs like Haze and Jet.

“Because sometimes people show up with 18 holes in their jeans and you can see what kind of underwear they’re wearing, they’re dragging and they’re real baggy.”


“Nobody wants to look at a group of 10 guys. They come to meet girls, they don’t come for a sausage party.” – Ian Farr, Pure.

Having the proper girl-to-guy ratio is a huge problem for a group of guys, who aren’t looking to shell out the change for bottle service. But that doesn’t mean a group of 10 guys won’t get in as Greg Costello, managing partner of Vanity Nightclub puts it, you just have to outsmart the system.

“I would break up, go grab five girls and tell the other five to go grab five girls and go to the other side of the line and act like you don’t know me,” Costello said. “Five girls, five guys not that big of a deal; 10 guys, no girls big deal. Outsmart the doorman or work the system.”


“You come to the club to meet girls most of the time and when you have your real estate it’s easy to invite them to hang out.” – Leo De Souza, Aria.

The conflict of deciding between getting bottle service and buying from the bar is largely seen by men. Women have the good fortune, much of the time, to receive free drinks, while men are forced to pony up $15. But when you break it down, bottle service is the way to go.

“If you’re eight guys you’re going to spend $40 a head to get in and go to the bar,” McCormack said. “Let’s say I have three drinks so let’s call that $45. Now I’m at $85 and I want to buy a girl a drink, so I’m at $100 right there and I’m standing at the bar. So for an extra $20 (a piece) I could have my own table.”

Not only do you get the bottle, but the service comes with a cocktail server (who is usually a model), security and plenty of increased attention.


The Golden Rule is among the first rules of many religions and governments. This is the basis of life and while it is easy to lose your cool because you didn’t get on the guest list and you don’t want to pay for bottle service, don’t take it out on the door guy.

“Be patient and smile at me,” said Dave Roberts, director of customer development for Light Group. “Because when you get these guys that will whistle at you and snap, I go ‘did you lose your dog? Did

you see that dog run through here?’ So stuff like that isn’t going to get you in any faster.”


Vegas Nightclub tipping“It’s not tipping I believe in. It’s over tipping.” – Steve Martin in “My Blue Heaven.”

Tipping the appropriate people gets you preferential treatment and preferential treatment makes you happy.

“If you’re a VIP host and you’ve got one guy you know is giving you money and one guy you don’t know about, you’re going to get the guy who’s been tipping you first,” Costello said. “It’s kind of where you fit in the food chain.”


Las Vegas DJs“The thing is, no DJ wants to be bothered with a request because they know the schedules that they have to do,” said Graham Funke, member of The Captains of Industry and resident DJ at the clubs at the Palms. “So if people make a request at the DJ booth, think of it as an office job and you’re sitting at a desk, but every few minutes someone comes in and bothers you or someone tells you what you should be doing different.”

All graphic illustrations by Chris Morris.