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How Bottle Service Works
Q:Dear Queen Bee,

How does mandatory bottle service work at a club?

For a 1 bottle per 4 person policy, do you have to order 2 bottles if you are a party of 5? Or 6? (I’m told they start at $250 per bottle)

Will the bartender make cocktails for you out of the bottle contents? Or do you have to drink it straight? Or do you get a pitcher of 2 mixes and make your own? Can each person have a cocktail they want made out of it regardless of the mix? Can you take home the leftovers?

We want to go to bEd while we’re in New York and want to reserve a ‘bed’ after our show Saturday night but we’re not a big drinking crowd. We’d do 2 or 3 bottles of wine or champagne but these do not count as a ‘bottle’ there. I think of our group of 5 there are only two or three of us who would even drink hard liquor.

I’m willing to embrace this new trend, but would like to know how it works for those of us who aren’t going to down a 26-er of vodka every time we want reserve at a club. Are we S.O.L.?

Please advise.
Many thanks,

-- "MC from Calgary"


A:Dearest MC

You do not need to have bottle service to get into a club. You do however need to be on the guest list and you’d be amazed how many people just don’t do the homework of that one phone call before turning up at the door. Normally if you’re a small party (1-2 people) and you don’t feel the need to have a table, this is the way to go. Four glasses of champagne at $20, well you do the math.

If however you want a dedicated space and you are anxious about getting in, then bottle is the way to go. Bottle service varies by club. There is no one set rule, but basically, it works like this. Clubs where there is dancing in NY (in part because of the expense of getting a cabaret license – it’s tres expensive those fire door regulations they make club owners build, trust us) often have a menu where you are more paying for the service than the actual liquor. A bottle of Grey Goose which retails $40 might now suddenly cost you $300.

This includes glasses, the booze on ice and a variety of mixers. Typically cranberry juice, orange juice, seltzer and tonic (or whatever you specify you’d like) and limes, lemons etc. (You can get a refill.) You also get a dedicated waiter or waitress. You can (or your server will) make you whatever bizarre creation you’d like till you run out. Note that sometimes there is mandatory tip. (This is because people souse that bottle or two and forget their poor server, who in some clubs, is braving the crowds in a corset!)

Sadly you do not get to take home the leftovers - this is not because they’re stingy, this is because they have a serving license not a license to sell you the booze to go. Some clubs, such as Frederick’s on 58th St, will store your undrunk liquor for you. Obviously this is worth it if you buy the very expensive stuff. But not so much for an ounce of Absolut!

Bottle service can be worth doing if you are a group – people get stuck on the amount and don’t do the math. At $15-20 a mixed drink, it only takes a few before your tab is close to what it would be for a bottle. This is also the way to go for a group of guys, as the other service this comes with is ease of entrance at the door along with a guaranteed area – you’d be amazed at how many girls you can meet by inviting them for a cocktail at your table – great ice-breaker and not as smarmy as trying to buy a gal a drink at the bar. As a gal myself, if say, your sky-high cork Louboutins are killing your dogs, a table is also a plus. Gives you a place to regroup. And for friends to find you. Hear that guys?

Because you’re a reader – and we just LOVE the rooftop at B.E.D. – they’re going to take care of you (given your special circumstances) – don’t everyone email me at once – MC got to me first!!!

The QB

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