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5 Things You May Not Know About Bottle Service

South Beach is All About Bottles, Bro. But it Isn't Necessarily What You Expect.
September 19, 2012 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Nightlife

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Bottle service. It seems to have become the de riguer club activity in South Beach over the past decade.

Buying a bottle is your Fast Pass to the front of the line at most clubs in Miami. Throw down $1000 or more for one bottle of $45 liquor (plus assorted mixers!) and you too can avoid the masses and have your own couch inside the hottest club in the city. And while promoters, doormen, concierges and cab drivers will all tell you this is the way to go if you’re a visitor, there are a few things you should know before trying it:

1) You only get the table for as long as the bottle lasts. Even though you and your buddies may have thrown down a mortgage payment for a couple of 1-liter bottles, once those are gone so is your table. So if you had the gross naiveté to think that money entitled you to a table all night, think again. Prepare to shell out another 1000 for more liquor, or get the boot.

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2) The price at the door is negotiable. If you look like tourists, the doorman will probably quote you a price somewhere between a month’s salary and the price of a used Honda for bottle service. But if it’s a relatively slow night you can always come back with a counter offer. The doorman may likely go to his manager, and either confirm, reject or counter-offer. Don’t try this on a busy night - or ever during March - but just know the bottle minimum is never cast in stone.

3) The “minimums” are hard to enforce. If the club tells you “You need to buy 2 bottles at $1000 each to get in,” you don’t necessarily have to take possession of both of them. And even if you signed a credit card authorization before the first bottle came out, you are only responsible for whatever you take possession of. So if you decide to get up and leave before a second bottle is served, you do not legally have to pay for it. If you live in Miami, you will probably never be allowed back in that club (until it changes owners in 6 months). But if you don’t live here, as long as you don’t mind the headache of disputing the charge you’re legally ok.

4) It does not make economic sense.
You may think, gee, this club charges $25 for an Old Crow and Coke. Buying a $500 bottle MUST be cheaper if we have 5 people and all pay cover. But if you have 5 people, you’ll be lucky if you get 1/5 of the bottle (you probably don’t pour as light as the club’s bartenders). Ordering individual drinks will ultimately be cheaper. As long as you’re not being an even bigger sucker and buying drinks for girls. Which leads me to #5…

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5) It won’t get you laid. Oh, sure, it MIGHT. But so might sitting in the middle of Lincoln Road and hollering at every girl who walks by. Having a ton of liquor at your disposal will do little more than attract girls who come to clubs looking, surprise, for guys with a ton of free liquor at their disposal. Typically these girls will stay for a few minutes of polite conversation before moving on. If conversation is worth that kinda money to you, there are several 1-900 numbers in the back of the New Times which would be a better use of your money.

So yes, bottle service can expedite your Club-going experience here in Miami. It can get you past the line,  make you look cool and get you the momentary attention of the painted-up ladies of South Beach. But it’s not always going to cost as much as they tell you, and it’s not always going to get you what you want. Make your decisions accordingly, but do so armed with the right information.

Related Categories: Miami: Nightlife,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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