Bottle Service in Nightclubs Explained


Ever wanted to reserve bottle service in nightclubs, but you never really understood how it all works? How come some places charge a bottle per person and other places charge a beverage minimum?  What is included?  What are the extras? Let the Socialist break down poppin bottles in a club.

Beverage Minimums vs. Bottle Per Person

Beverage Minimums
A beverage minimum is the amount that you need to spend on bottles, beers, cocktails, shots, premium mixers, or bottled water. For example if you were quoted a $2000 Beverage minimum, you must spend spend $2000 typically before taxes, service charges, and gratuity. Beverage minimums make sense for venues that specialize in large format champagne. If a customer is buying a $5000 bottle of champagne, the venue isn’t going to limit the patron to a bottle per person minimum.

Bottle per person
This method of quoting is typically reserved for venues that are lower volume. For example, you hear a bottle for every 4 or bottle for every 3 people, 2 bottle minimum. Bottle per person minimum signifies a venue that gives great deals on bottle service. They are willing to take 1 or 2 bottle minimums for tables.

What mixers are included?

Standard Mixers
Standard mixers are anything that you can find on a bar soda gun. If a venue is really nickel and diming you, they will limit you to 3 standard mixers.  Most nightclubs let you go to town on the mixers. Examples would be:

  • Club Soda
  • Tonic Water
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Ginger Ale
  • Sprite/Sierra Mist
  • Cola/Diet Cola

Premium Mixers
Premium mixers are typically anything that is sealed in an individual serve can or bottle. Examples would be:

  • Red Bull (Sugar Free/Regular)
  • Bottled Water
  • Energy Drinks
  • Anti-Hangover Drinks

What are hidden/additional fees?

Sometimes the venue will include sales tax and local taxes in the cost of the bottle. Most of the time, the venue passes these fees to the consumer. State and local taxes vary by state and municipality.

Live Entertainment Tax
Some municipalities charge an entertainment tax. Las Vegas is a perfect example. They charge a 10% Live entertainment tax that is typically passed on to the consumer.

The IRS has ruled that server gratuity must be reported as earned income. This will change the face of auto gratuity indefinitely. Standard auto gratuity that you will see is 18%, 20%, 21%, 22%. Soon you may see suggested gratuities in the gratuity line.

Service Charges
This the dark horse of all charges. What is the service charge? For the most part service charges should range from 2-5%. Every venue will apply their service charges to different things.

  • Executive level Bonuses/Commissions
  • VIP Host Commissions
  • Managerial Commissions

Does the ratio of my group make a difference?

The short answer is YES. This is nightlife. Having girls in the club is asset for any venue. Having girls that are paying is like an early New Year Eve for any venue. If you have a lot of girls, typically that helps with a lower beverage minimum or preferential placement in the club.
So If you have girl friends invite them out!

What affects table location?

  • Girl to Guy Ratio: More Girls is always better
  • Table minimum: Higher the min typically equals a better table
  • Who you know: Do you know the decision makers in the club?
  • Who you tip? Did you take care of the right people in the club?

Things to Notice?

Are they serving 750ml or 1 liters?
Good question to ask your host is if they serve 750ml or 1 liter. Is a magnum of a vodka a better deal? Do the math, sometimes it is not more cost effective to order the magnum because it is only 1.75 Liter. Sometimes 2, 1 liter bottles is a better value than the mag. Watch some extreme couponing on TBS. Smaller sizes are sometimes the better value!

Deal hunters? The late entrance?
Sometime being fashionably late can lead to the best deals. A lot of times the venue does not sell out. Perhaps people cancelled, or people no showed, or maybe a table left early. You can capitalize on those deals with a late arrival. You will need a good venue hookup that has the authority to give you a last minute deal. You can ask for BOGO (buy one, get one), low minimum, or comp bottle on top of your minimum. Connect with someone at the venue and ask for last minute deals. Venues call them bogo ballers, or ballers on a budget. Nothing wrong with a little bargain shopping!