Bottle Services: Are they worth it?


The NYC clubs started the exclusive “bottle services” many years ago, offering private tables/rooms with exorbitantly priced bottles of hard liquor (vodka or champagne usually). This trend changed the scope of “club life” from velvet ropes and concern about “getting in” to private nights and mini-parties. That trend has seeped it’s way into Hoboken at a few places (Teak, Lounge11, Lana, to name a couple).

Here’s an interesting article from a month ago, wishing this “regular” club scene would come back.

“Nightlife and indulgence into cabaret and libation has been a pillar of human interaction since the dawn of time, and if the United States is the Roman Empire, of course, New York City is Rome. From the days of Studio 54 and the emergence of dance halls and disco techs, New York has been holding it down in creating what is ‘in’ and acceptable in the party scene.

In the early 1990’s, clubs like Spy Club and O Bar, started a new trend that more recently has added lengths of exclusivity to the already tight doors and beautiful crowds of many trendy clubs and lounges. It’s called bottle service and many New Yorkers think it has killed their city.


It started in VIP rooms as an amenity for certain patrons but then higher- end clubs caught on and kept it as a way to keep out the customers that could not afford a three-hundred dollar (plus) bottle of vodka and to quadruple their nightly overturn.

Read the rest of this observational article after the Jump.

These days, clubs have gone from large spaces filled with multiple dance floors, decks, DJ’s and a secluded VIP room to small spaces filled only with tables, marquees and booths created for “reservations;” code word for spending thousands of dollars on two to three bottles of alcohol and some mixers. Some clubs even charge a base of a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars to secure a table and then an extra three to five hundred dollars a bottle, with a minimum of two to three! That can run up to two thousand dollars a night for bottles that would never cost more than a hundred dollars a pop at a liquor store. Spending a week’s paycheck on liquid is a status symbol that means confidence and class is not what gets you into nightclubs anymore…its more like any poser with a credit card has free reign over the biggest city’s social scene.

John “JE” Englebert, Owner of Myst, Retox, and new spot Suzie Wong’s says “Smaller exclusive venues have made there run and are long over due…It’s time to bring NYC back to the masses.”

Englebert famously threw a Halloween party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles this year and is considered a nightlife lord in New York; he optimistically says “I see club life in New York City going back to the bigger mega style in the next couple of years.”

A few of his clubs are nestled in an area safely called clubs central as 27th to 29th streets and tenth and eleventh avenues are lined with some of the hottest all star digs in New York: all a hop, skip and a jump away from each other; clubs such as Stereo, Marquee, Cain, Pink Elephant and the living legend Bungalow 8 manage to bring in star-studded crowds and world class events continually night after night.

Today’s most raved about clubs in New York may be expensive and more tightly roped than most private establishments in London, but they are inventive. The Meatpacking District’s shining star is called Tenjune. Three years ago, Little West 12th and Gansevoort Streets were crowded but not as packed as since this gem came to town. It has seen the likes of every A-list celebrity that takes a visit to the Big Apple. The intimate atmosphere is worth the hassle to get in (unless your friends are throwing down the big bucks as you will get preferential treatment) because once you are in, you magically become part of the jetsetter crowd that parties all night. Downtown on Chrystie Street, a new club is stirring quite a buzz as its bringing Burlesque back in a big way. Finding its home in an old opera house, The Box holds two shows a night consisting of unique and highly entertaining acts, music and an insanely badass MC. From a fire-breather to an exotic contortionist, the entertaining show takes a night on the town back fifty years when stage shows ruled nightlife.

It’s refreshing to see different ambiances arise in a city full of identical spaces with similar design. Going out should be valuable time spent with friends but these days in New York it’s more of an adventure and a test of character at every turn. Even smaller bars in Greenwich Village are adding velvet ropes and bottle service leaving those who just turned 21 wondering what all the fuss was about. Many patrons are even discouraged trying to enjoy a night out at a hot lounge or club without a table because dancing room has decreased if available at all anymore and the bar is surely not the center of attention. Tables are truly a status symbol these days but the game does not end there…the frequency one is seen purchasing tables at the hotspots and the ease with which one enters an establishment is the third commitment a hotshot New Yorker takes on next to love and a career. Partying has never been more of a way of life since the 1970’s, as each hotel, private party, and every other venue available is banking on admission based on table reservations. But, with any hope Englebert is right and we will see the reemergence of dancing and socializing again in clubs of any decorum or size. One scene that has always managed to thrive and always will, are the live music venues that span all the five boroughs and have lived on since the dawn of New York. And just like that, so will clubbing and lounging but it will be better when people are not so fearful of it anymore, even tough New Yorkers.

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24 Comments on "Bottle Services: Are they worth it?"

8 years 2 months ago

i always have bottle service at home

8 years 2 months ago

Bottle service seems to be losing steam with the down economy.

Great article on bottle service:

8 years 9 months ago

Are they worth it? Ask this guy whose story was in today’s NY Post. 😯

“Call it a bottle-service beatdown.

An evening out at the trendy Times Square nightclub Arena ended for a recent NYU grad when bar staff overcharged him $1,000, beat him, frog-marched him to an ATM and had him arrested for not buying enough liquor, according to court papers.

Gregory Barnard, 22, is now suing the club for $2 million over his bruising. He filed the suit last week in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Arena charges up to $350 for a bottle of vodka. What Barnard did not know was that the club has a three-bottle minimum.

Barnard’s party in June petered out after one bottle, so when he called for the check, the waitress told him that he would have to pay $700 over his tab for two bottles he never drank.

He refused.

Barnard handed over his bank card, but after running it several times, the waitress claimed it was denied, he said.

A bouncer threw him to the floor and held him down while two other bouncers punched and kicked him, he said.

They then picked Barnard up and walked him two blocks to an ATM for more money, but the bank had frozen his card because the waitress had already charged $1,400 on it, swiping the card at least nine times, he said.

He said the bouncers dragged him back to the bar, where he waited until police arrived and arrested him for theft of services.

The charges were dismissed.”

8 years 10 months ago

a cocktail in the uk is a joke, no free pour, all measured, you need triples to compete, stick with the beer and lager

8 years 10 months ago

Especially since you can get a cocktail that is really a double in the US with top shelf booze for $6-8 if you just avoid the really trendy places. In the UK you would pay $12-20 and you would get far less alcohol in it.