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Bottle Service is for Douchebags and Suckers

April 02, 2010 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Local News  | 10 Comments

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Over the years, South Beach has become less about big clubs where you can go and have fun and more about the VIP experience. I’m not sure why, as the quality of the clubs has gone severely downhill while the turnover has gone up. But bottle service and VIP seems to be the way Beach clubs want to go now. And, much as I love to rip on the douchebags, wannabes, and weekend all-stars who get bottles, I had actually not ever gotten one myself. So, in the interest of having a basis for my rants, a few weeks ago I did.

EVEN WHEN YOU SPEND MONEY, MIAMI SERVICE STILL ABYSMAL

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A friend of mine had some family in from out of town who wanted to see a real, South Beach club. Not surprisingly, these family members were girls. So between me, him, his girls and a couple of other friends, we opted to split a bottle of champagne and a bottle of vodka at a club that will remain unnamed. The promoter we worked with was actually very nice and helpful, but unfortunately once she got us through the door we were forced to deal with actual club staff. Which was the typical Miami blend of rudeness and incompetence, with a dash of lethargy.

After shelling out $385, which broke down to a seemingly reasonable $55 a piece, we were firmly told to “hurry up and stand over here.” And then forced to wait as our last friend was lectured by security that he had been told to “come along” and would have to wait behind the rope. Fortunately, the promoter informed security he had paid for a table, and was grudgingly let in.

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Now one would think that after dropping close to $400, the staff would be friendly. But then one would be forgetting one was in South beach. But how about at least getting your $250 bottle of so-so vodka to you in under half an hour? HA! We sat for a solid 45 minutes before a bottle came out. The mixers came out fast, as did the big tub of ice. So I sat drinking straight orange juice until about 1.

IF YOU CAN GET DRUNK OFF 2 WEAK DRINKS, THIS MIGHT MAKE SENSE

The bottles came out, and after we each poured our first drink and had a glass of champagne (which killed that bottle) it became readily apparent that the vodka was not going to last until 2. Hell, as it was it barely lasted until 1:40. The three guys in the group each ended up drinking two drinks, and they weren’t that strong. Two of the girls also had 2 drinks, and two only got one. As the vodka ran out at the stroke of 1:42 one of the girls from Not Miami asked me;

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“So they’re going to bring out another one, right? I mean, for $400, that better not be it.”

I liked the girl, so I didn’t want to laugh at her. So I just gave her a half smile and shook my head. She was appalled. I just looked at her and said;

“Welcome to South Beach.” She then promptly found some piece of Euro/South American trash in pants that were too tight to buy her a beer.

THE MOST EXPENSIVE BY-THE-HOUR MOTEL IN THE WORLD

At about 2:15, we were not so nicely informed by the staff that if we wanted to stay, we’d have to purchase another bottle at $250. All that money, and we don’t even get the use of the goddam table all night?! What a DEAL!

Since the dance floor was minimal (in earlier incarnations of this club it was huge, but in VIP land all that space is now tables) and the drinks expensive, we collectively said “F—- this place,” and left.

ECONOMICS 101 DOES NOT APPLY IN SOUTH BEACH

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Some people try and justify getting bottles by going in large groups, saying it is economical that way. But we ended up paying about $18 a drink for weak vodka crans and some Ed Hardy champagne (no joke). Do it with less people, you may actually catch a buzz getting a bottle, but you also end up dropping $125 a person. Any way you look at bottle service, it is a losing proposition for you, the consumer.  Do clubs really think we’re that stupid? That we’ll just keep dropping cash because we’re already in there listening to your D-list DJ? It’s a recession, morons. At the very least if you’re going to charge us an arm and a leg, let us get our money’s worth.

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If you’re coming to South Beach and want to do the big clubs, here’s my advice: Brink some flasks, fill them with vodka, pay the cover and order sodas all night. Because that, friends, is the only way you’re getting a buzz in the Beach without breaking the bank.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

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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10 Comments on

"Bottle Service is for Douchebags and Suckers"

pod says:

Why didn’t you name names? It’s not like you guys do business with the clubs. Name and shame. It’s how we roll on my site.

Posted on 04/02/2010 at 7:38 PM

Steve says:

Bottle service is actually a very good deal.  It is the club that you didn’t like.  You paid $55 per head and DID’T have to pay cover which would have been $30 or so.  So for $25 you had how many drinks each? You didn’t have to wait on line, you had a couch to chill on for half the evening.  This is a lot better than paying cover, buying a few drinks and not having a place to sit.

Posted on 04/03/2010 at 8:05 AM

Stephen says:

Well Steve, that’s still an erroneous assessment of the situation. Matt mentioned a promoter, which if you really knew one would have gotten him (and especially his gaggle of girls) in for free. The only stipulation being, arrive early.

It’s not even that hard to find promoters who will get you in without girls, the stipulation still being in that you come early. Hell I have three on facebook who send me free invites to all the clubs on South Beach every week.

Posted on 04/03/2010 at 11:25 AM

Stephen says:

I also wanted to say, why are you going to a club on south beach to find a place to sit?

Posted on 04/03/2010 at 11:27 AM

Sunmom says:

Like others were saying, if you subtract $20 for the cover, then that’s about $35 for 3 drinks at a hot club in Miami and you can chill with your group. But I would have been pissed about waiting 45 minutes for the vodka to arrive. Outrageous. If you drank the drinks slowly, would they have booted you out? 

Excellent article to warn tourists of the pitfalls of bottle service. And Ed Hardy champagne-awful! Was it any good?

Posted on 04/05/2010 at 12:13 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

The champagne actually wasn’t bad. And, no, had we nursed the drinks I think we’d have been ok to stay there as long as we still had the bottle. Kinda like a restaurant if you eat slowly.

But that being said, I think I go out to drink more than dance or look cool or whatever, so something like this is probably wasted on me.

POD - I didn’t name names because this isn’t an indictment of a single club so much as it is the practice of bottle service. So if I name a club, a reader might say “Well, it sucked at Club X, but I’ll try it at Club Y and see if it’s better.” No, the idea isn’t to cost a club business, but to maybe spark a debate and get clubs back to how they were 5-8 years ago. I.e. big, large dance floors and more focused on fun than exlcusivity.

Posted on 04/05/2010 at 1:33 PM

zilla says:

Yeah, bottle service pricing is ridiculous, and I also hate it that it seems that much of the club is taken up by VIP areas and the dancefloor has shrunk.  If you’re trying to have a buzz and enter a club though, you definitely will not get one drinking solely in the club.  You’re better off pregaming in your hotel room off your own liquor, or going to some of the bars in the area that serve reasonably priced drinks (and I know for a fact there are a couple good ones across the street from Mansion).  Or, invest in some flasks as Matt suggested.  Problem with the flask is that you run the risk of having it discovered if you aren’t covert when pouring it into whatever mixer you ordered at the bar.

That’s extremely lame of them to make you buy more bottles.  I’ll keep this in mind if I’m ever rolling with idiot friends who insist we do VIP/Bottle service.  I’ll make sure they know that once the bottle is done we’ll likely be asked to give up our table… so instead of that, we’ll take it nice and slow.

Hopefully no one reading this thinks that they will be able to buy cheap beer in the club all night.  Nope.  A bottle of Bud Light will probably run you $8.  That’s the cheapest you get, it’s all uphill from there.  Remember that these prices usually include 18% gratuity though.

Posted on 04/05/2010 at 1:57 PM

rk says:

Look’s like P.T.Barnum was right all along….

Posted on 04/12/2010 at 5:25 PM

Justin says:

I totally agree with you these people that get bottle service are idoits. They tried to do this in the South Beach Gay clubs once they saw all the straight folks falling for it.  Thank god the gay drunks said “$450 for a bottle of vodka I can pay $25 for at walgreens? Yea, Right”

Posted on 04/24/2010 at 10:28 AM

DarkSock says:

I peed in a horse once.

Posted on 08/12/2010 at 11:53 AM

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