Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what information to believe when it comes to Vegas nightclubs. From websites to forums, people are spewing their experiences left and right. So how do you know if what you’re consuming is incorrect? Or if there’s some real wisdom in what you’re reading?
Well, have no fear; Vegas Primer is here! We’ve assembled our collection of the most common Vegas nightclub misconceptions. And today, we’re busting 25 Vegas nightclub myths once and for all!
1. Only “young” people go to Vegas nightclubs.
I can’t tell you how many people in their 30s and 40s that I hear say, “I’m too old for a club.” First, let me start by telling you that you’re not too old if you’re in this age range.
And second, you’re not too old if you’re outside of this range either. Your age doesn’t matter. If you want to go to a club, Vegas will welcome you with open arms.
Still not convinced? Well then, here are some fun facts that might change your mind.
- Most of the bottle service guests at Vegas nightclubs are in their 30s and 40s. Why? Because they can afford it. People in these age ranges are typically more settled in their careers and have more disposable income than someone in their 20s. (Getting a table in Las Vegas can be pricey. Think anywhere between $700 – $15,000+ for a few hours.)
- Parents frequently bring their 21-year-olds to Vegas nightclubs to celebrate their birthdays.
Now, sure, some clubs (like XS or Omnia) may skew younger because they feature talent that tends to be popular with that age demographic.
But you’ll also find Vegas nightclubs like Apex, Tao, and On The Record that attract a more mature audience. The rest of the clubs fall somewhere between and offer a nice mix of ages without skewing one way or the other.
2. Ghosting your host is an acceptable way to cancel a table reservation.
I get that many people are conflict-avoiders (me included, I’m working on it). But let me calm your fears by stating that your host won’t be upset if you need to cancel. Giving notice of your cancellation is merely a common courtesy that every bottle service guest should follow.
To explain further, when you don’t cancel a bottle service reservation and instead give your host the silent treatment, you’re not only hurting the VIP host, but you’re harming the club.
The Vegas nightclub is holding a table, thinking you’re going to show. If you don’t, then they may miss out on selling the table to someone else, resulting in a loss of thousands of dollars.
Not only that, but you may be blocking a table for other people to enjoy who are ready to purchase bottle service.
Of course, we all know that unforeseen circumstances may prevent a person from canceling. The majority of the time, though, people are capable of letting the club know they won’t be attending.
Additionally, not letting your host know may result in other unintended consequences as well. For one, the host may not want to work with you again, and two, the club might not either if you’re a repeat offender.
Now canceling before 9 pm is ideal as this is when some Vegas nightclubs begin plotting table locations for reservations, but any time before club opening (10:30 pm) is considerate. And if it’s later than that, you should still let your host or the club know.
3. Guys can’t get into clubs for free.
Alright, there’s some degree of truth to this myth. For example, at most Vegas nightclubs, guest list reservations are for women only or guys with at least an even ratio of women to men in their party.
So if you find a club that offers a guest list for guys, there’s typically one thing men will need to be mindful of:
Entry will only be available for a short time.
Most likely, the cut-off time will be 11:00 or 11:30 pm at the latest. And that doesn’t mean you can arrive at the last minute either. You’ll want to get to the front of the line by the cut-off time to make it inside the club without paying a cover charge.
4. Bottle service guests can arrive when they want.
I get that everyone wants to make an entrance at a club and not be the first there. But trust me when I tell you that it’s much more beneficial to arrive at club opening (10:30 pm) than an hour or two later.
Case in point, most Vegas nightclubs operate on a first-come, first-served basis. That means the sooner you arrive, the more likely you are to get a better table location for your minimum.
Now you may have heard that some clubs plot tables in advance (which is true), but it’s not always set in stone. Table plots can change based on who’s arriving (or who has canceled).
And this may come as a surprise – more than one group can get plotted at the same table. Essentially, whoever comes first, wins.
If you arrive too late (like after midnight), there may not be tables left in the section you wanted. Or the club may sell out entirely.
Example: Marquee Nightclub
Take, for instance, my own experience. Before I became a VIP host, I was at Marquee with a group of friends. We had made a reservation in advance and booked a back wall booth for the night. But when we arrived around midnight, we ended up getting sat in the Salon section of the club.
Now, although the Salon room is technically in the main room, you can’t see the DJ from here because it’s tucked in a corner somewhat away from the action. It’s still a decent spot, but entirely different from what we were expecting.
We asked our host if we could switch tables, but we were quickly denied. He explained that Marquee had already sold out all the back wall tables because we took too long getting to the club.
The moral of the story is this:
Vegas nightclubs are in the business of making money, and they reward people that show up on time. Arriving on time (10:30 pm) will give you the best chance of getting the table location you want.
5. VIP guests (table reservations) don’t have to wait in line.
We get that nobody wants to wait in line, but there’s no such thing as a no-wait entry when it comes to Vegas nightclubs.
Sure, bottle service guests have a dedicated line for club entry, and it’s usually “expedited,” but how expedited depends on what time you arrive. Generally speaking, the sooner you get there, the shorter the wait.
Also, getting into a Vegas nightclub is like going through security at an airport.
Everyone has to go through the same process, including an ID check, signing paperwork (yes, really), and a security checkpoint with metal detectors. Pockets, purses, and sometimes even shoe checks are done too. Expect this process to take about 10 minutes once you’re at the front of the VIP line.
Now some clubs may offer a line skip option. Of course, there’s usually a cost for this.
You’re certainly welcome to ask a host at the door when you arrive at the club if there are any skip options available that night. Line skips are especially worth it during the summer months as this is when bottle service lines are at their longest.
But again, skipping will only move you to the front of the table line. You’ll still have to go through the same security, ID, and paperwork process I just described.
If you want to minimize your wait time and not pay for a line skip, then the best option is to arrive as close to the club’s opening as possible.
6. You can skip the security line.
There are only a couple of reasons I can think of why a person would want to skip a security line, and none of them are good. (We’ve even had a few clients ask us to escort them past security. Sorry, but that’s not possible.)
As I touched on above, security at Vegas nightclubs is like TSA at the airports. Everyone must go through the line. And if you’re reading this thinking that you’ll get away with whatever it is that you’re thinking about doing, you might want to reconsider.
Security is exceptionally tight, and I’ve even seen guests get arrested on multiple occasions. That’s not to say that the Vegas clubs aren’t safe as they most certainly are. It’s just that some people are trying to pull off some stuff that they shouldn’t be doing.
7. International guests only need to bring a government-issued ID.
This myth gets people every time. Most clubs’ fine print states that passports are required for entry if you’re not a US citizen.
Now there are a few Vegas nightclubs that will leave it up to the security team to decide if they’ll accept a non-US issued identification card at entry. Sometimes if security is familiar with a particular country’s ID and can tell it’s authentic, they’ll let you inside. Other times, they won’t.
Our stance is that it’s best not to risk it. We recommend that all non-US guests bring both forms of identification (government-issued ID and passport) just in case. And unfortunately, copies of passports aren’t acceptable.
Also, if you happen to forget your passport and get turned away at the door, please keep your cool.
Getting angry won’t help the situation, and the club may decide not to let you into the venue even if you go back and get your passport. Vegas nightclubs have the final say about whether or not they let you in, so it’s best to stay calm.
8. Spending your bottle service minimum on single drinks is totally cool.
Look, we get it; bottles are pricey. And cocktails from the bar are more reasonable. But if you have a table reservation, the nightclubs don’t want you ordering only drinks unless you’ve made at least one or two bottle purchases.
The Vegas nightclubs want to avoid having their cocktail servers running back and forth from the bar with drink deliveries. That’s not what the servers are there for – they’re there to serve the tables. Simply put, bottle service is for bottles.
9. The headliner is on stage the minute the club opens.
Let me start by saying that there will be a DJ at a club when it opens, but it won’t be the headlining act. If the clubs had their main attraction starting at 10:30 pm, people wouldn’t stay nearly as long. And that would mean fewer profits for the Vegas nightclubs.
So when does the talent take to the stage?
It depends on the Vegas nightclub, but 1:00 am is usually when they start their set. You can expect the headlining DJ to perform for about 1 – 1.5 hours.
Performers, though (like Drake and Cardi B), won’t be on stage nearly as long and will instead give a mini-concert for about 20 – 30 minutes.
There will be music all night long, though, as a house DJ performs before and after a club’s headliner.
10. The price quoted for a table is the total amount you’ll pay.
Nope, not even close. The price quoted for bottle service reservations is the minimum spend requirement only. There are also three other fees that all clubs charge, and they’re pretty considerable.
These fees add up to roughly 38% of the spend amount, so you’ll want to add this percentage to any quote you receive.
All Vegas nightclubs charge around this percentage for the venue fee (may also be referred to as a service or admin fee), sales tax, and gratuity. That said, the tip is at your discretion, but the recommended amount is generally 15 – 20%, depending on the club.
For example, if you receive a quote for $2,000, that means you’ll need to spend at least $2,000 when you’re at the club. If you spend precisely $2,000, the total cost is roughly $2,760, including an estimate of 38% for the additional fees.
And if you don’t meet the minimum spend requirement, the remaining balance will be listed as a “table fee” on your bill.
Can you get a discount on these fees? No.
The best way to reduce the amount you pay at a club is to select an option with a lower minimum spend requirement, i.e., a table that’s further from the stage. (I like to think of tables in Vegas nightclubs like housing prices. Location is everything, and the cost reflects that.)
Getting a table that’s further from the action will result in a lower table minimum spend, but the approximate 36% is calculated on a lesser spend amount, yielding even more savings.
To illustrate, if you got a table for a $1500 minimum spend instead of $2000, not only would you save $500 (the difference in the minimums), but the fees would also be reduced by almost $200 ($720 vs. $540). This would result in a total savings of about $680.
11. Vegas nightclubs are always packed.
Alas, the city that never sleeps can be slow AF. Especially during the winter months as there aren’t as many people in town. But just because the clubs aren’t as crowded doesn’t mean that it’s still not a killer time to come here. In particular, it’s a great time to score yourself a deal.
If you want a discount on bottle service, we recommend planning a trip any time between November and February. Some of the best times to save are a week to two weeks before the Christmas holiday, a few days before New Year’s, and around Valentine’s day.
For instance, at the Palazzo champagne brunch right before Christmas this past year, main room tables were going for a $500 minimum spend. (Typically, you need to agree to purchase at least $1000 – $1500 of food and alcohol to get seated in Lavo’s main room.)
Another perk to clubbing during the winter months is that guys may also get free entry on guest lists, particularly in December.
12. There’s seating for everyone at a club.
If you’re a ticket holder or on the guest list, you won’t have any place to sit down. And no, there aren’t any bar stools or extra chairs anywhere.
The only way to sit down is by reserving a table at the club. That’s why bottle service reservations are so incredibly worth it, in our opinion.
All this said, some clubs do have outside areas where you might be able to sit down on a planter box or a ledge. I know it’s not ideal, but it works in desperate times.
And then there are some clubs like XS and EBC Nightswim that have gaming tables. So if you’re up for some gambling, you’re free to stay at the gaming tables (and sit) for as long as you’re playing.
13. You can move tables if you exceed your minimum spend requirement.
Unfortunately, a club will not upgrade you to a better table location if you exceed your table minimum at the nightclub. For this reason, we recommend making a reservation for the amount you know you’re going to spend so that you get the best seating possible.
However, on some nights, if tables become available later on in the night (like if people have left), a club may move your group. This sometimes happens at Marquee when they close down the outside area and move everyone into the main room.
If you arrive at a nightclub early enough, though, and aren’t happy with your table location, there may still be time to upgrade your table.
At Lavo brunch, for example, table changes happen pretty frequently. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay the difference in the minimums if you want to switch.
14. You can get on a guest list at any time.
Perhaps surprisingly, we get a lot of guest list requests after midnight. Unfortunately, it’s almost always too late by then to be added to a list.
Not only do most list reservations close around 8 pm, but clubs stop letting guest list groups into the club around midnight.
If you want to get on a club’s guest list, contact a promoter before 7 pm to allow enough time for the person to check their text messages and respond.
And even if you’re not sure that you want to go to a club, it’s a better idea to get on a list just in case than to wait until you know for sure where your evening is headed.
15. If you’re denied guest list entry, it’s your promoter’s fault.
There are numerous reasons why you might not get into a club even if you’re on a nightclub’s guest list. And shocker! None of them have to do with your promoter.
Here are a few reasons why you might get denied entry. Sometimes too, Vegas nightclubs won’t tell you the exact cause.
- Dress code violations
- Arriving late
- Not having at least an even ratio of women to men in your party (if you’re a guy or group of guys)
- Capacity issues
- Rude behavior
- Invalid identification
- Carrying any illegal items
- Guest list cancellation
16. Table locations are guaranteed.
There’s been a lot of people throwing around the term “guaranteed” lately. And I get it; I’d want to know my table was guaranteed too.
But the truth is that no club in Las Vegas will ever 100% guarantee a table location. Just check out XS’s fine print on their deposit form:
That said, at clubs that take deposits for tables, almost always, you’ll get the table type you want. We’d estimate that there’s maybe a one or two percent chance that it might change.
So I wouldn’t worry too much about your table location changing if you’re paying a deposit. Just be sure to get there on time, and you should be fine.
Now at the clubs that don’t take deposits (what we refer to as “name-only” reservations), you’ll find that percentage to be a little higher. At these clubs, it’s best to think of the location as a “request only.”
Example: Dance Floor Table Pricing
Let’s take an example. Here’s dance floor table pricing from a night in January at one Vegas nightclub.
In this example, the club states that dance floor tables will most likely range from $3000 – $3500+. The range is for the location, so if you booked a table with a $3500 minimum spend, then your table will be a better (more central) location than a $3000 spend.
So let’s say you don’t care what table you get just as long as it’s a dance floor table, so you go with the lowest minimum ($3000).
But when you arrive at the club and check-in for your table, your group gets sat at an upper dance floor table instead. How did that happen? Well, again, table locations are “request only” at some clubs.
And although a nightclub does its best to quote pricing as accurate as possible, anything can happen.
For instance, on this night, in particular, an NFL team came to the club and bought up the dance floor tables.
So what can you do to give yourself the best chance of getting the table location you want?
1) Get to the club early (10:30 pm).
2) Make a table reservation for the amount of money you’re willing to spend. If you’re going to buy at least $4,000 worth of alcohol, make the initial reservation for that amount. In our above example, if you would’ve made the reservation for a $4,000 minimum instead of $3,000, you would have significantly increased your chances of getting a dance floor table.
These are our two best strategies for “locking in” a table location (as much as possible) at Vegas nightclubs that don’t take deposits.
17. Guest list and ticket entry are guaranteed.
A Vegas nightclub guest list can get canceled. For instance, we’ve seen the guest list canceled numerous times on Calvin Harris nights at Omnia. (Same goes for Calvin at Wet Republic.)
Because of this, we don’t make any guest list reservations on a Calvin Harris day or night. Instead, we recommend purchasing tickets online.
We make this recommendation because if you’re on a list and it gets canceled, you’ll have to pay a cover charge at the door. And the price is no joke. The cover could be two to three times higher than if you had purchased your tickets online in advance.
Other times, a guest list may be limited to the first X number of people. This happened last year on a holiday weekend at Encore Beach Club. Only the first 100 ladies received guest list entry. If you arrived after 9:45 am, you didn’t make it in time, and you had to pay $100 for admission.
Now, that’s the guest list, but what about tickets? Well, even if you have a ticket, there still isn’t a guarantee for entry. On all Vegas nightclub tickets, there’s an arrive by time listed. You must arrive by this time for guaranteed entry. If you come later than this, then the risk is that the club will have already reached capacity, and you won’t be allowed inside the venue.
Also, sometimes things happen beyond a club’s control (like lightning at a nighttime pool party). When this happens, management will close the club entirely.
18. You can wear what you want (if you have a table reservation).
Most Vegas nightclubs adhere to a strict dress code. Typically, you’ll find that men wear dress shoes, slacks, and a collared shirt while ladies are in dresses and heels.
Many clubs prohibit certain items in their fine print. For instance, there’s no way you’re getting by security wearing sneakers or work boots like Timberlands at the majority of places. You’ll also want to stay away from sunglasses, shorts, flip-flops, and wife beaters.
But there’s one Vegas nightclub that’s more lenient in what bottle service guests can wear, and that club is Light at Mandalay Bay. This Vegas nightclub is more in tune with today’s fashions and gives the green light to many modern looks.
Case in point, you’re free to wear jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, and work boots. Even torn clothing is okay (and that goes for both men and women). Just check out this photo at Light, and you’ll see some casual looks.
19. Showing up at the club intoxicated is okay.
I get that we’re all here to party, but if you show up drunk, you won’t make it into the club. This goes for everyone, including bottle service reservations. You’re not getting through security.
If you want to drink before going to the club, it’s a good idea to pace yourself early in the night to avoid any issues at the door. Being loud or rude to the staff are typically tell-tale signs for security to turn guests away.
20. Not tipping your cocktail server is acceptable.
Some clubs have an automatic gratuity already added to your bill, so you won’t have to add any amount. When this happens, table service guests have already specified the tip amount at check-in. However, you can always change it later on if you’re not happy with the service.
The recommended server gratuity is typically 20%, but anywhere from 15% to 20% is acceptable. And, of course, you can always add a tip for the server or busser if you’d like.
Other clubs, though, will leave the tip line blank and let you fill in the amount. If this is the case at the club you’re at, please don’t leave this line empty or write a big fat zero. Bottle service guests should at least tip the cocktail server.
21. Tables will have enough seating for everyone in your group.
When you receive a bottle service quote at most Vegas nightclubs, the table options will have a maximum number of guests listed. For instance, here’s sample pricing from XS Nightclub.
3rd Tier Couch – $4,000 (10ppl)
Back Wall – $3,000 (8ppl)
4 Tops – $2,000 (6ppl)
Now you might think that the guest quantity means that there will be enough seating for that many people. So, if you got a back wall table, then eight people will sit comfortably.
This, however, is not the case. The guest quantity is related to the minimum spend only. Essentially, the club is saying that this spend amount is valid for up to X number of guests.
Taking our back wall table example, you can have up to eight guests for a $3,000 minimum spend. (If you have more, the minimum spend will be higher.)
So how many people will sit comfortably at a back wall table? Well, not eight. At least we’ve never been able to squeeze eight people into a back wall booth. (Check out the photo below to see the size of these tables.)
Now to me, this isn’t that big of a deal because I don’t want to sit down the entire night. But to other people, I get that it may matter.
If you want to make sure that you have enough seating for everyone, consider upgrading to the next size table. For instance, the 3rd tier couch will fit a group of eight much more comfortably than a back wall table.
At almost all Vegas nightclubs, you’ll find that tables won’t provide enough seating for the maximum guest quantity listed.
22. As long as you arrive by the guest list cut-off time, you’ll get in.
When you receive a guest list confirmation, there’ll be a time frame listed. For instance, the text might state that a club’s guest list is open from 10:00 pm until midnight for even ratio parties.
Seems easy enough, right? Well, here’s where a lot of people go wrong. They’ll see midnight as the last entry time and think that as long as they arrive at midnight, they’ll get in. Unfortunately, this may not be the case.
You must be at the front of the line by the last entry time to make it inside the venue. So if the guest list line is longer than a few people, you won’t make it inside the club.
We recommend arriving at least one hour before the cut-off time to ensure entry. And, in the summer, don’t risk it. Get to the club as close to club opening as possible.
23. Staying in the same hotel as the club will get you a discount on bottle service.
More often than not, the clubs and hotels are owned by different companies. Because of this, you won’t find discounts on bottle service just because you stay at a particular place.
And even if the hotel’s parent company owns the club (like the Wynn properties), you’ll be hard-pressed to find discounted pricing for bottle service at their venues, either.
Now there may be some perks like getting on the guest list by calling down to your concierge. Or the hotel may offer an expedited ticket option for hotel guests. Discounts on bottle service for staying at a particular hotel, though, aren’t a common occurrence.
The only time we’ve seen a hotel provide a discount is when a person spends a lot of money on gambling. For instance, MGM once gave a gentleman a complimentary table at Hakkasan (which he took full advantage of by ordering over $100,000 worth of bottles).
But those are the one-off exceptions, and we’d say that man must’ve spent some mega amounts gambling because there’s no way a hotel would take a hit like that if they weren’t making bank.
24. There’s a limit to how many people can be on a Vegas Nightclub’s guest list.
Many people think that there are only a certain number of slots available on a club’s guest list, and once those slots are gone, that’s it. Thankfully, that’s not the case. (This might also explain why some people think they need to reach out to promoters months in advance to get on a list.)
But as long as you get on a guest list before it closes that day, you’ll be just fine. Typically, nightclub guest list reservations close around 8:00 pm.
Of course, there is a capacity limit at all clubs, so you’ll want to get to the club early to ensure entry. And remember that Vegas nightclubs have a guest list cut-off time too. It’s usually midnight for even ratio, and 1:00 am for ladies.
25. You must book bottle service reservations months in advance.
I love planners (the people, not the books). I’m one myself. So I appreciate and understand the desire to get a trip on the books well in advance. But, when it comes to Vegas nightclubs, you can’t make a reservation too far out. Why? Because the clubs haven’t determined the pricing yet.
Typically, you can expect bottle service minimums to come out about two to three months ahead of time. So if you’re coming in July, pricing will be out by May. And that’s still PLENTY of time to book. Case in point, most clubs don’t sell out until the night of, so even if you book a few days in advance, you’ll be just fine.
There are some Vegas nightclubs, though, that may increase their pricing as the date approaches. With these clubs, booking when pricing first comes out is ideal.
We have a lot of love for this article as your questions inspired it. Almost daily, we receive emails from clients confused about how the Vegas nightclubs work. In writing this post, we took extra care and time to make sure we covered every misconception we could think of, and we hope we cleared some things up for you!