Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Urban Nightclub Chronicles: The Doorman

While everybody is hopefully enjoying a nice Labor Day weekend, I want to talk about something a little more "Urban" and a little less "Politico" if that's ok.  We do that from time to time around here.  Before I begin I have to apologize for being an absentee blogger this past week during one of the most important weeks of Urban Politico history - as you might have heard, we won an's kind of a big deal.  At any rate, as we all make our way out into the nightlife scene this weekend, chances are you might be going through the same experience I just went through so I figured we might as well come together and share our collective stories of woe as we discuss the villain we all love to hate: the Nightclub doorman.  Ah yes, the nightclub doorman.  Perhaps nobody in our day-to-day lives conjures up the imagery of that long lost unpopular kid from high school faster than the nightclub doorman.  You remember that kid right?  It was either that hall monitor who sat behind you in English with the mismatched clothes and the obnoxious attitude or perhaps the star of your high school football team whose NFL career, like most high school jocks, never really quite took off after senior year came to an end.  There are, apparently, many different paths to obtaining the prestige that is known to us mere mortals as the nightclub doorman.  No matter how they got there and no matter what city you live in or what establishment you frequent, every doorman seems to read from the same asshole's guidebook to the universe.   My recent run-in after the jump.

As a resident of the fine town of New York City, I occasionally make my way out into the streets to sample the nightlife of the various clubs, bars and lounges that the City has to offer.  The great thing about New York is that you could quite literally go to a difference spot every night for an entire year straight and still not even see 1 percent of what the City has to offer.  But like most New Yorkers, I tend to frequent some spots more than once.  One such place that I've been to quite a few times is the rooftop lounge at the top of the Dream Hotel known as Ava Lounge.  I mention the name of the place because, as anybody who is familiar with Ava Lounge can tell you, it's an ok place to catch a drink for happy hour and enjoy some rooftop views of the City, but not exactly the type of place that you would select as a destination on a Friday or Saturday night.  The reason why you likely wouldn't place it in the category of weekend destination spots is due to no fault of the Lounge itself - rather it is simply because it is attached to a hotel and hotels accommodate tourists in large numbers over the weekends.  As I'm sure you would agree, the last place you'd like to be in New York City on a Friday night is in the middle of the Cha-Cha slide with the fine men and women of the National Laser Printers Association from Idaho.

Now that we've established a bit of context, let me tell you what happened.  As fate would have it, a group of friends just so happened to be in town during this Labor Day weekend and, you guessed it, they want to go to the aforementioned location.  OK.  Fine.  Wherever you guys want to go.

So we arrive separately (first mistake of the night) and the ladies in our party got there first (second mistake of the night).  The ladies, of course, go in without a hitch, go right to the top of the hotel and are on their second round by the time the rest of us show up out on the street below.  Now the Tom Foolery begins...

I should have known we were going to be in for a night when the doorman made his way down the line to ask everybody if they had "reservations."  Reservations?  For this place?  Get real.  Like I said, I've been to this place quite a few times over the years and, as we have established above, this is not exactly the premier exclusive weekend destination by ANY stretch of the imagination.  But sure, I'll play along.  "Reservations?  No, no reservations.  We're meeting our friends who are already inside and upstairs waiting for us.  By the way, half of them are ladies."

He responds like a robot "gotta have reservations, fellas.  If you don't have reservations it's not going to happen tonight. Don't even waste your time standing in line!"



So as we stand there in line, along with about 20 or so other folks, I'm increasingly becoming annoyed not just because I'm standing in line, but because this doorman is really on some Night at the Roxbury type shit.  Again, I wouldn't normally come here on a weekend but for my friends from out of town and now that I'm here I have to wait in line?  Inconceivable!   Just then, to add insult to injury, the doorman, making a move typical of all doormen who, just 30 seconds ago, told an entire group of people that they can't get into the establishment, proceeds to allow a few random females who just so happened to be walking down the street full and complete access directly into the hotel, skipping the entire congregation of witnesses.  As if to say, "I am the gatekeeper - all roads lead through me. I will do as I please."

Having seen this move before, I play it off as typical display of brinkmanship and focus on text messaging everybody I know inside to come rescue us from this nonsense.   In the interim, the doorman continues his performance, pulling out all the classics: the picking girls out of the line routine; the hook-up-my-buddy maneuver, and the all time favorite "Fellas it's not gonna happen...but if you take care of me I'll take care of you."

I mean he laid it on real thick.  Every 5 minutes he would walk the line and announce "look people, you're not getting in!!!  Don't even waste your time in line.  You're NOT getting in!!!!"   And then, in the same breath, he lifts up the velvet rope and lets a dozen more girls go inside.

Finally, a few of the girls in our group make their way downstairs and I shout quite audibly so that everybody, including the doorman, can hear me "Ladies, will you PLEASE tell this dude that our group is already inside!"  The ladies vouch for the 5 or 6 of us who were held captive behind the velvet rope line and, magically, the same doorman, who had told us only moments ago (ad nauseum) that we were NOT going to get in, comes over and says "oh, they're with you? Well I guess you guys can go up then."  I look him dead in the eye and say "so all of this time we've been trying to tell you that we were with a group of ladies upstairs, you thought we were playing?"  He gives this dumb blank stare and gives the Kanye shrug as if to signal that he didn't know how to respond. Then I follow up with "I mean look, I know people say all kinds of crazy things to get into night clubs, but why the hell would we try to sneak into a hotel full of tourists?!?" The entire line behind us breaks out into laughter.  And with that, we walked past him, on inside, and went on with the rest of our night.  Afterward, as we were leaving, he came up to my buddies and I and actually apologized and asked what our names were, gave us his name, shook my hand, and told us to come see him next time we ever came back. 

No thanks.

So hopefully some lessons can be learned from my Labor Day weekend war story with the infamous doorman. Feel free to comment or share some of your own doorman horror stories.
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