Miami Clubs 101: How To Get Past The Red Ropes

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By: Shayne Benowitz

Greater Miami & Miami Beach 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.

Dancers & DJ on the stage at LIV
Enjoy a night at LIV

Buy a Ticket Ahead of Time

LIV and its sister club Story are easily Miami’s two hottest clubs and their door policy is notoriously tough to crack. With a rotating cast of world-class DJs, hip-hop artists and pop stars headlining their parties, the most economical and surefire way to guarantee entry is to buy a ticket ahead of time. Depending on how early you make the purchase and how big the headlining name, you’ll pay anywhere from $150 and up.

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 the beaches of 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.

Performers in white costumes at Story
Don't miss Story's performers

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 SpaceBâoli, 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. To make sure you go right in, reserve your table ahead of time.

Arrive 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. The best parties go late into the night, with headliners starting their sets as late as 2 a.m.

Spotlight in a club
Experience Miami's Nightlife

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. While street wear is having a moment, in most cases you still want to avoid t-shirts, baggy or ripped jeans, sneakers or flip-flops. Bouncers are looking for one thing, and one thing only: fashionable people with plans to spend money.

Don’t Be That Guy

If you do succumb to the line, remember to 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 nice to those around you. 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.

People sitting at Wood Tavern's bar
Hang out with friends at Wood Tavern

For the Laidback Crowd

While Miami is home to serious nightclubs, there are just as many hip, laidback spots where the above rules simply don’t apply. You can come as you are (that is, as dressed up or down as you want to be) and waltz right in without a line, a cover or an attitude. Favorite low-key nightlife spots include the Broken Shaker, Mama Tried, Sweet Liberty, Lostboy and Wood Tavern. The list goes on and on…

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