News & Politics

Party Crash! Dirk Van Stockum’s Tips for Getting Behind the Velvet Rope

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice. Sometimes you’re just not on the list. But that doesn’t mean that party or club opening is out of reach.

Owner of the newly opened Park at Fourteenth, Dirk van Stockum has put out the red carpet at clubs in New York, Las Vegas, and DC. With the holiday season under way, packed with cocktail receptions and parties, he shares some behind-the-velvet-rope tales and tips for party crashing.

• Know what’s worth crashing.

“The ones you can’t buy yourself into are the most crashable,” says van Stockum. “It’s just rude to try and get into an event for free if the whole point is to raise money for a charity. But if it’s about being on the list, not money, it’s worth crashing.”

• Do your homework.

“Know what the event is about and who the principals are. It’s all available on the Internet. Come armed with that kind of ammunition.”

• Look the part.

“If you look like you belong, then no one is going to challenge you,” says van Stockum, who points out that doing your homework means knowing the attire. “Treat everyone with familiarity. It helps you look like you belong.”

• Drop a name.

“Use a name, but know who you’re talking to. One of the funniest crashing attempts I saw was this guy who was arguing with me at the front door. He kept saying, ‘Just tell Dirk I’m here.’ He didn’t realize I was Dirk.”

• Associate yourself with something important.

“Being with the media or entertainment industry helps. People don’t want to make a mistake. God forbid if a doorman doesn’t let in the right person.” But be careful; van Stockum says one regular crasher printed up business cards that said he was a reporter for different magazines. The problem was, he misspelled Condé Nast.

This article first appeared in the December 2007 issue of Washingtonian Magazine.