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How Elite Nightlife Really Works in NYC

Although this post is dedicated to NYC, the following applies to most of America’s large cities like LA, Miami, Vegas, Chicago, etc.

The High End Club

Typical table setup

To get into an elite nightclub you need to be a beautiful girl, know somebody connected or buy a bottle. Buying a bottle means paying $300 to $600 for a bottle of Goose, some shitty orange juice and a table. Or what’s known as a table, most of the time the “table” is more like a restaurant booth. Why would anyone pay $500 for a bottle of alcohol that costs $60? Is the experience really that divine?

I’ve found most of these clubs to be average at best. The music is almost always the same and the atmosphere is rarely anything to write home about. However, one thing sets apart a high end club from other venues: the promoter.

Promoter = A guy (once in a blue moon a girl) who gets paid to bring out girls to the club. When they show up a promoter will get between $400 to $800 for that night to sit at a table, drink free alcohol and party with a bunch of cute girls who they’ve brought with them. Depending on the club, anywhere from a half to a fifth of all the available tables will be reserved for the promoter.

These high end clubs can sell a bottle for $500 because the guy buying it knows the promoters will bring out lots of cute girls, whereas Jimmy’s Pub down the corner might use a calendar to keep track of how long it’s been since a gorgeous woman walked in. Whether or not a guy has enough game to snag one of the promoter’s girls is another question, but at least there’s the possibility.

Living Currency 

In this model women are essentially currency and some clubs even pay their promoters based on the number of girls that show up. It sounds crude and sexist, but the truth is that nobody forces a woman to go out with a promoter, she has her own interests in mind. The promoter is usually an attractive, high-status guy. Going out with him guarantees a girl that she’ll get into a high end club and drink for free once she’s there. At the truly elite clubs it’s routine for billionaires and celebrities to show up, the social media bragging options are endless. It’s an interesting ecosystem and whether you love it or hate it, it’s only getting more popular.

A Break from Travelling, A Vacation from Blogging

In light of my current lifestyle I’ve decided to take an indefinite break from posting new articles. This blog is devoted to travel and working online, neither of which I’m doing that much of right now. I’m living in New York City, I’ve got a full time job working as a writer and I couldn’t be happier. Every day I look up at the skyscrapers and think how grateful I am to be in my favorite place in the world. Kiev is swell, Miami is beautiful, Berlin is amazing, but there is nowhere in the world like New York. This is why I’m content to stay in one place for a while.

Will I travel again? Without a question. Seeing the rest of Scandinavia is a huge priority and I won’t consider my life complete until I’ve partied in Ibiza. Not to mention South America! But that’s in the future. In the present I’m thrilled to have an amazing job, and I’m reveling in the challenge of making it in New York.

Lessons from Travelling

A. The first thing that sprang to mind is Germans are cool. Whether meeting Germans in Bangkok or London, Kiev or Hanoi, they always struck me as the coolest chaps around. It’s a big part of the reason I’m studying German and why I blew my entire savings account on a month long trip to Berlin in September.

B. You’re capable of overcoming more challenges than you think. If you don’t go with a tour (which I highly recommend not doing), travelling is hard work. You have to buy bus tickets, find your way around, take a taxi, get directions, and function in a place where you don’t know the culture and the people may or may not speak English. However, you learn pretty quick that there’s always a solution to any problem.

C. The world works differently from where you were born and raised. What you consider incredibly strange is remarkably mundane for someone else. In Dubai there are separate compartments on the subway for chicks and dudes. In Hanoi families eat their dinner on the sidewalk while hundreds of people walk by. In Moscow people have an aversion to smiling but it’s OK to smoke on the train.

D. You can’t run away from yourself. As Seneca the Younger put it: “How can you wonder your travels do you no good, when you carry yourself around with you?” Wherever you go, there you are. If I’m in New York and I take a jet to Constantinople, I might feel free for a day or two, but I still check my mental baggage onto the plane with me. The only thing that’s changed is I can’t understand what anyone is saying and I’m out the cost of an overseas ticket. Instead of counting on travel to escape from problems that bother me, I’ve found that it’s better to get them taken care of wherever I already am.

E. People who you meet while travelling tend to continue travelling. For my old college friends, going to NYC for a few days is a big deal. Maybe even Miami for a week, but they rarely do anything “big”. However, I look at my Facebook feed and I see Americans I’ve met overseas and they never seem to be in the same place. Someone is always buying a ticket to somewhere exotic and doing something zany and awesome. This guy is in Australia, that girl is back in Thailand. And so it goes. I’m more likely to meet up with one of these people in Bombay then I am back at home.

F. In spite of the flaws, I like my own country. Americans are culturally retarded, they weigh too much, they’re on the precipice of electing a foul-mouthed liar, and they think that owning a machine gun is as unquestionable a right as breathing. Thankfully many of them don’t ever leave the country, or they might realize that people the world over are laughing at them. It’s frustrating and there is so much I would like to change. And yet America is still my home. I like how friendly people are, I like getting excellent service in a restaurant, I like the amazing pizza, I like having ice in my Coke, and I like the small towns and the big cities and everything in between. Most of all, I like being able to understand the language and know what the fuck is going on. America is flawed, but any country that can produce a place like NYC has got to have some real heart.

G. Finally, I’ve learned that I don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy. For more than a year now I’ve been living out of my two backpacks. And the longer I do it the more likely I am to keep even less stuff. However, I strive to make sure that what I do keep is only the best shit. I buy $100 jeans because they kick ass, and I have a pair of $200 German headphones that have lasted through the worst conditions imaginable. One day I’ll have a house with a living room and own a kid or two, but the lesson remains: the stuff you own ends up owning you.

And Finally

I’ve been writing for six years now. I write because I enjoy it and it’s better than watching TV. In four years I’ll have been writing for a decade. That’s exciting! And a good idea to close with. If I do post anything again before I start travelling, it will probably be stories. I tend to go through a phase once or twice a year where I get a kick out of writing short stories. Then it fades and I forget all about it and life continues. So until it’s time to scratch the story itch, I’ll leave you with a quote from Tim Ferriss, one my role models and a man whose hand I want to shake.

“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do”

The 5 Most Insane Party Clubs in New York City

New York City is known for its nightlife. You can go out on a Monday at midnight and find a party happening somewhere. On summer weekends, it can almost be too crazy. Lines forty people deep for the best bars and clubs. People squeezed in like shoppers on Black Friday. However, the insanity aside, there are some really fantastic clubs to party at in New York. I’ve talked to a lot of people from lots of countries, and most agree that nowhere has more outlandish, more decadent, more insane clubs than New York. Here are five of my favorites.

1. Cielo

I studied French in high school, not Spanish, so it wasn’t till years later that I learned Cielo means Sun in Spanish. That’s a good description of this popular club. For years it was my favorite club in New York. There’s a dance floor where the vibe often approaches hysteria. The music is always good, which is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Many clubs play top 40, which is good in it’s own right. But Cielo is known for always hosting the best DJ’s who play the beats that you won’t hear anywhere else.

The pulsating lights, disco ball, massive subwoofer, and fog machine all combine to create a transcendent atmosphere. Almost everyone joins the party, you’ll be hard-pressed to find wallflowers strangling their drinks. The one drawback of Cielo is that it’s expensive to get in. Cover is usually $20 or $30 at the door. However, there are exceptions. At the moment you can get in free every Wednesday by 11pm, and get two free vodka cocktails to boot. They also occasionally have other free events and sometimes presale tickets go for as little as $10. Check out their website to learn more.

2. Jane

Jane NYCJane. Is. Amazing. Talented DJ, two floors of madness, people dancing on couches and tables. It’s like something out of a Great Gatsby party, and it happens every weekend. Dress nice, carry yourself well, and you’ll get in for free. Come too drunk or donned in sloppy clothes and you’ll be ushered out, only feet from the entrance to this amazing party. If you’re looking to party earlier in the week, Jane is usually good on Thursdays. You can stay until the sky is deep purple, by which point your eardrums will be blown. Worth it. If you get denied at the door, put nicer clothes on, don’t pregame, and show up again the next night.

3. Pianos / No Fun

PianosCielo and Jane are both located in the posh, outrageously expensive Meatpacking neighborhood. Party here and you’re likely to find stockbrokers, marketers, and people with a checking account bigger than my parent’s mortgage. Lots of times that’s a blast, but other times it’s cool to party with people still on the come up. I’ve grouped these two bars into one because they’re right across the street from one another and very similar.

Pianos is fantastic because you can go there any night of the week and have a blast. Monday, Wednesday, Sunday, raining or terrorism, it doesn’t matter. There’s going to be people partying. It’s a staple in the area and it will probably be there when my kids are making their first forays into the New York nightlife scene. The bottom floor is a bar, with a small concert venue room that usually hosts some sort of live act. Upstairs is where the party happens. There’s a decent sized dance floor and a good DJ most nights. It gets hot, it gets crazy, it’s a lot of fun!

No Fun is actually fun, although it’s usually only good on the weekends. Drinks are expensive but they have a great dance floor at the back. It’s also easier to get into than Pianos, which sometimes has a line that’s not worth waiting in.

4. Le Bain

Le Bain PoolLe Bain is the hardest club to get into on this list. Reasons you won’t get in: dressed like a clown (t-shirt, shorts, sneakers), too drunk, the doorman doesn’t like your face, two or three guys with no girls, bad haircut. And so on. However, when you do manage to get up, it’s worth it! Le Bain is a club on top of the Standard hotel. Eighteen or nineteen stories in the air, it offers a fantastic view of the New York skyline. There’s a pool, two bars, a huge outside lounge area, and an atmosphere of success. Unlike Jane, you won’t find people going crazy here. It’s the most laid back of the places listed, but Le Bain makes up for it with it’s fantastic views and chique atmosphere.

5. Slate

Slate is a massive club right in the middle of New York. It’s got an interesting vibe that will suit almost anyone. Downstairs are have ping-pong and pool tables, and a chess set on the floor with pieces the size of medical school textbooks. Upstairs is a large dance floor, more tables, and an elevated bar. On party nights it gets crazy and there’s a great vibe. It’s definitely not as upscale as Jane or Cielo, but it’s a fun place to have some beers and celebrate a birthday. The massive size of the club guarantees that you’ll never run out of things to do. There may be cover at the door, but there are often promotions through this website which allow you to get in free.