10 Questions To Ask About That VIP Hookup
Having waded through years and years of pretentious South Beach bullshit, I have learned many lessons the hard way. Like never show up at midnight with five dudes and expect to get in. Or never buy a girl a drink who you have not been dancing with for at least an hour. Or never leave your credit card at the bar when you go home for the night. But perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned in my many years is that while a lot of people may tell you they have a “hookup,” the sad fact is that few, if any, actually do.
By “hookup,” I mean anyone that somebody claims to know who can get you past a line in a club, get you in free, get you free drinks or get you VIP access without paying for it. Or any combination of the above.
Typically the alleged “hookup” is some friend of a friend, friend’s cousin, guy you met once drunk at Ted’s or a legitimate “hookup” of someone else this guy knows. Unfortunately, however, many people who think they have “hookups” in South Beach have about as good a chance of getting past the line as that guy from St. Louis wearing khaki shorts in the back. But that does not dissuade anyone from bragging about his hookup to just about everyone he meets.
You may also notice that I am referring to all the people who claim to have hookups as guys. And while women certainly claim to have hookups as well (typically a doorman or bartender they slept with once who, as a way out of giving her his phone number, said something to the effect of ‘”Yeah, if you’re ever at Prive ask for me and I’ll get you in”) they are not nearly so blatant about trying to convince others they are well-connected as men. Guys, not surprisingly, will do it to get girls to come out to clubs with them, because as we all know nothing gets you a date faster than saying “Free drinks and skip the line.” But, like so many things guys say to try and get laid, “the hookup” is typically about 10% truth, 90% bravado. So let’s take a little look today, shall we, at what constitutes actually having a “hookup” in South Beach, and what does not.
BUT I’M FROM THE CITY, YOU HAVE TO LET ME IN!
For some reason, people from the northeast (ok, people from New York) seem to think that if they know one person in nightlife in New York City this immediately grants them VIP access to every club in South Beach. Yes, because apparently even a third-rate promoter in “the city” is a batter hookup than ANYTHING our little corner of the swamp has to offer, right? Yeah, not so much, Guido, not so much. If I had a nickel for every time I stood in line at Crobar and heard some douchebag with a Great Neck accent say something like “Yeah, but I know Mikey up in NYC,” well, I’d have funded a lot of nights at Crobar. So the first sign that someone who claims to have a “hookup” actually has “absolutely nothing” is if they are not even from Miami. Maybe during Winter Music Conference this might work once or twice, but the rest of the year, it’s absolute crap.
Ladies especially, if you run into some guy in your hotel lobby or just on the street who is trying to impress you by saying that he’s VIP at some club in New York you’ve never heard of and can hook you up anywhere on the beach, be a little skeptical.
Moron guys who claim to have “hookups” are by no means limited to out-of-towners. If that were the case a guide like this wouldn’t even be necessary. No, lucky for you Miami is chock full of people who like to make false impressions on naïve tourists, and many of them, as well, believe they have some sort of mythical “hookup,” when they get out to the beach. The most common I’ve seen is that legendary player in South Beach nightlife known simply as, “My Boy.”
If you listen to your average guy from the mainland (see West of Biscayne Bay) “My Boy” runs the door at pretty much every club in the Beach. He is also a bartender who has no qualms about giving away free drinks to everyone in your party. “My Boy” is also a promoter who can get you to the front of the line, waive your cover, and get you free VIP access. “My Boy” even owns a club or 6 in South Beach, and it always happy to let in a third-degree acquaintance and his fifteen friends visiting from New Jersey.
“My Boy,” of course, never has a name. Nor does he have any specific relation to the person claiming to have “The Hookup.” And, in my experience, “My Boy,” despite holding such a multitude of jobs, never works. Because, inevitably, when you show up at the jam-packed door to whatever nightspot he’s allegedly at that night, your friend with “the hookup” will always trudge back to your group after a brief conversation with the doorman and say “Yeah, looks like My Boy’s not working tonight. Guess we gotta wait in line.” Either that, or call it a night and go to Ted’s.
A LIST IS RARELY WORTH THE PAPER IT’S WRITTEN ON
Another popular way to have “the hookup” is to be on somebody’s “list.” For those unfamiliar, various promoters have guest lists at clubs that you can call, email or text message your way onto to supposedly skip the line and not pay a cover. Some promoters are able to facilitate this, but a good deal are not. So if someone says, “Yeah, let’s hit up Mynt tonight. I’m on Jose Perez’s list,” you may be faring no better than the people who didn’t bother to email Jose to make sure they could get in. Because while Jose (I have picked a generic name here, and if there actually is a promoter named Jose Perez, my apologies) may have handed in a piece of paper with some names on it to the folks working the door, if they don’t like the look of you (aka you have too many guys) they will simply ignore your cries of “I’m on Jose Perez’s list” and move on to let in the folks they like better.
As I said, some promoters have legit lists, but it is really hit or miss. Having an email address of a guy who can put your name on a piece of paper does not constitute a “hookup.” It constitutes an “address book entry.” Because even if the door does acknowledge you, and they do open the rope to let you in, you may still end up shelling out the $25 to get in. Again, this is not a hookup.
Another of my favorites is the guy who thinks because he regularly tips a bartender at a club well, that somehow he is going to get free drinks all night. Listen, I’ve bartended in the beach for good amounts of time, and even my best friends had to pay for some drinks. Well-tipping regulars? They might get a free shot here and there, and maybe a free drink once in a while, but it was far from open bar for them. So when someone tells you “Yeah, once we get in I got a hookup at the bar. We’re drinking free all night!” that “hookup” will sound impressive until he comes back with the first round of shots and says “Hey, $40 for four lemon drops. Pretty good deal huh?” Unless that bartender is his roommate or something, expect a hefty bar tab when you walk out the door.
NOTHING IN THIS BEACH IS FREE
My final, and probably most obvious non-“hookup” are the “passes” flyers and bracelets people on the street in South Beach love to walk up and give to people. So say you’re here on your first night in town from Kenosha, and for some reason some guy with a handful of bright pink bracelets has decided that, despite the sagging economy and transient nature of most nightspots in Miami, YOU deserved to bypass the line and get in free! All with this magical pink bracelet, similar to the one’s you’ve seen the celebrities wearing in clubs in those pictures in US Magazine. Yes, you! Despite the Bermuda shorts and souvenir “CSI: Miami” T shirts you have on, you are somehow cool enough to be exempted from all the bullshit everyone else looking to go out on a Monday is going to have to deal with.
Not so much, Bob.
Sadly, most bracelets, and even the passes you get on the street, are little more than advertisements. Sometimes the passes will get your cover waived (although more often than not you’ll get $5 knocked off the inflated tourist rate) but you will still be waiting in line. And as far as VIP goes, well, that bracelet plus a minimum of two bottles at $300 each will whisk you right in.
SO WHO’S GOT IT?
Ok, so I’ve sat here and spent a good deal of time telling you who DOESN’T have hookups in South Beach. “So, smart ass,” you say, “if so many people are so full of shit, who actually does have ‘the hookup’ in South Beach?” Well, sadly, that question is a lot harder to answer than the first. Because the mythical “hookup,” much like pornography, is hard to define. But I know it when I see it.
If you are staying at one of the nicer hotels, your concierge definitely has some sort of “hookup.” After all, that’s basically his job. That being said he may be able to get you passes to a club, on a legitimate list, and maybe even a free drink or two, but past that he is fairly limited. He can probably get you table reservations at these clubs too, but you’re still going to have to pay. But rest assured, if you’re concierge tells you you’re on a list, chances are you’re on a list. The nice clubs like to keep good relationships with the nice hotels, and bullshitting a concierge about a guest list is a bad way of doing that.
If you know anyone who has been in the Miami service industry, and more specifically the South Beach service industry, for a long time, chances are he or she actually does have a hookup. Because those who work in that sector are so used to people lying about having “the hookup,” they typically won’t do it themselves.
Also, South Beach is a pretty small town. Like if you live out there for a year you start to recognize a lot of people. Now imagine if you work and live in a small town (you may, where you’re coming from). You start to know everybody. Heck, eventually you’ve probably worked with everybody. And probably hooked them up on occasion as well. So, in the reciprocal world that is the service industry, typically the people you’ve hooked up will hook you up.
So say you have a friend who’s been a bartender in South Beach for five years, and he says “Yeah, I used to work with this guy James who’s now bartending over at Opium,’ well, you can rest assured he’s probably telling the truth. Same with knowing door guys. Same with getting VIP bracelets. If your friend says he or she knows or worked with someone, you’re good.
IF HE WAS THE BEST MAN AT YOUR WEDDING, HE MIGHT BE ABLE TO KNOCK TEN BUCKS OFF YOUR COVER
As I said before, you can also find legitimate promoters who have legitimate lists and can legitimately get you in. If you know one of these people, they are probably legit. Similarly, if the person you know is a FRIEND or RELATIVE of said promoter, as in they have the person in their cell phone, you are probably ok as well. Note: Being a friend does not mean casual email contact or Facebook or MySpace friends. I mean like “Yeah, we had lunch last week then got some beers and he was at my birthday party,” friends. Because in South Beach, that term can be used VERY loosely.
Along the same lines, if the person claiming to have “the hookup” is a legitimate friend of someone in a position of relative power (I say this because most doormen have power for about 10 hours a week) then that is probably also a legitimate hookup. But be careful: Sometimes someone may have a good friend who works at a club, but you get there only to find out he is the guy who goes around with a stand-up dustpan picking up broken Bud Light bottles. Typically that guy won’t come to the door and wave you past the line.
WHAT TO ASK YOURSELF
So, to summarize, if someone, especially a guy, tells you he has the hookup, chances are he is full of shit. Before you drop whatever plans you had and join this total stranger for a night of supposed VIP treatment, stop and ask yourself a few questions.
If you can answer “yes” to all of the applicable questions to your night out, you may, in fact, have a legitimate “hookup.” But still be wary. Never assume anything is going to be any easier than it otherwise would be unless you know all of the parties involved. Otherwise you may end up like so many ignorant-looking tourists, standing outside a club yelling, “Yeah, but I know Ricky. Really, I know him! I’m on his list! Wait, wait, waaaaaaaaaiiiiit.”
And that, friends, is just a sad place to be.
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"10 Questions To Ask About That VIP Hookup"