Miami Clubs 101: How to Get
Past the Red Ropes

By: Jennifer Agress

Miami's club scene and how to get in the door.

Miami is one of the hottest party destinations in the world. And while there are plenty of nightclubs and bars to get your groove on, it’s not always easy to get in the door. Plan ahead and take look at the tips below to figure out how to get your foot in the door…literally.

Make friends with a promoter.

For every person who wants to go out in Miami, there are at least a few promoters who can get you in. Club promoters are regularly covering the club and restaurant scene, combing the streets of Brickell or South Beach, or advertising themselves on Facebook and Instagram to get people on their lists. Women can typically get tables for free, and once you’re on a promoter’s rolodex, rest assured they’ll update you weekly with deals and steals to get you out after hours.

Book a table.

As any bouncer or doorman will tell you, VIP tables always get priority. If you’re at one of the top clubs – like Space, Bâoli, LIV or Story, to name a few – you’ve likely dropped at least $1,000 to get in there, and the doormen respect that. And while getting a table is a direct route inside, if a popular DJ is spinning, they could be few and far between; so to make sure you go right in, reserve your table ahead of time.

Get there early.

If you don’t have a table, and don’t know a promoter or someone with clout in the nightclub world, get there early -- which by Miami standards, is 11 p.m. On big weekends, these clubs tend to get packed, and showing up after midnight will make it significantly harder for you to get past the red ropes.

Dress to impress.

Let’s be honest: going out in Miami’s “see-and-be-seen” scene is all about how you look and what you’re wearing – and nowhere does that apply more than in the city’s hottest nightclubs. Ladies and gentlemen alike, take note of the trends, dress fashionably and look your best.  Don’t wear t-shirts, baggy or ripped jeans, sneakers or flip-flops. Most importantly, clean yourself up. Bouncers are looking for one thing, and one thing only: fashionable people with plans to spend money.

Don’t be that guy (or girl).

If you do succumb to the line, remember: stay classy. Don’t yell at the bouncer or grab him to get his attention. Don’t be drunk and sloppy. Don’t name drop. (The bouncers have heard it all, and unless you’re a Kardashian, they still don’t care.) Be patient, and be nice to those around you. Who knows? If you’re really pleasant and make friends in line with a big group of girls, you might have a better chance of getting in, anyway.

For the laid back crowd.

If you aren’t looking for the kind of club that makes the “Best Of” lists in magazines, there’s a whole crop of off-beat clubs, less geared toward the traditional club scene and more targeted at niches. Mango’s Tropical Café isn’t so much a café as a Latin music nightlife hot spot; it’s a must for a visitor looking to get a kind of kitschy taste of Miami nightlife complete with beaded bikini dancers with feathered headdresses and salsa music blaring. Clubs like Blackbird Ordinary, Cafeina, Purdy Lounge and The Electric Pickle are favorites among the hipster brigade. The dress code is much more lenient at these places with the crowd sporting jeans and casual vibes. And nightly entertainment runs the gamut from open mike to 90’s hip-hop.

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