Our expert: David Chung, owner of the DC nightclubs Capitale, Chinese Disco, Mason Inn, and the soon-to-open St. Yves.
Network before your night out. “Washington is a promoter-driven town. Look at the Facebook pages or websites of the clubs you want to go to and you’ll see that on any given night they’ll have a party being hosted by a production company. Those companies basically bring in the crowd and the entertainment. Connect with [the general partners] through social media and e-mail—they’ll often help you reserve tables and get you in.”
The advice you know but don’t want to hear. “Our business is a glamour business. The prettier the women are in a club, the more guys want to come. If you come with a group of hot women and the women in your group outnumber the men, you have a better chance of being spotted by the doorman.”
Early birds get the perks. “Clubs want to get people in the door early, because the hardest thing to do in this business is to get an early base crowd.”
Connect with the connected. “If you’re doing the club scene for a special occasion, try staying at a high-end hotel and asking the concierge to connect you with a club. Or eat at a top restaurant and ask the maître d’. Laurent Menoud at Cafe Milano is one of the people who help us a lot. If he’s got good customers asking about clubs, he’ll send me a text and we’ll get them in.”
Don’t tip the doorman just to get in. “If the doorman is just taking the highest bidders, the venue has a problem. He’s supposed to be selective. If the doorman picks you out of a crowd, then you tip him—not the other way around.”
Read more advice, tips, and tricks from Washington natives in our Secrets of the City package.
This article appears in our January 2016 issue of Washingtonian.