Nightlife has a language all its own, and not everyone is privy to the many subtleties between, say, a VIP host, a casino host, a security host and a door host. As a public service, we’ve prepared this nightlife lexicon so you’ll be ready when you encounter your first drink whore or witness a spincident. Grab a cocktail napkin and take notes—there may be a test.
Any excuse: Quite literally, any excuse to throw a party. Birthday? Throw a party. Mole removed? Throw a party. Christmas? Dick in a box.
Bachelor: A soon-to-be-married male who plans on absolutely “tearing up” Las Vegas with his five best friends from college. While not entirely foolproof, their ingenious plan of attack is to have everyone wear matching blue- and white-striped collared shirts, get drunk off Budweisers and Long Islands and hit on poor defenseless women up and down the Strip until the sun rises and they pile back into the hotel room they share. Gosh, Vegas will never be the same.
Bachelorette: A soon-to-be-married female who, while she may conduct herself in a totally professional manner in the outside world, feels it entirely necessary to use this as an opportunity to submit to her so-called friends’ entreaties to don blinking plastic penises and make a complete jackassette of herself in public. Why? Because she can.
Bar: (a) The centerpiece of everything; (b) a system of determining what one will be drinking on a given evening. Sponsored bar: The sponsor decides which liquors, wines, beers, etc. are free. Usually one particular product or brand. Hosted bar: Everything that the host in question decides (up to and often including premium, usually) is free. Open bar: Everything (except for super- and ultrapremium liquors, usually) is free. No-host bar or cash bar: Nothing is free.
Bottle service: Though none of the actual contents of the bottle has changed, through the miracle of nightlife, a $35 one-liter bottle of Grey Goose is magically transformed into $375 worth of privilege, real estate, status and sex appeal (gratuity not included).
Buzzed: When you don’t want to admit that you’re drunk, but you damn well aren’t good to drive; the midpoint between sobriety and complete obliteration. (See also: faded, getting there and feeling good.)
Celebrity: These days, everyone. Local celebrity: Everyone else.
Cocktail waitress: The one you want to take home, but never, ever will.
Crawl: To hit multiple venues in quick succession; i.e. a bar crawl, pub crawl or club crawl.
Crunk: Like drunk but waaaaay cooler. See also: Lil Jon, Yeyah!, Crunk Juice.
Dance floor: The place where even the worst of dancers feel like they are starring in a music video once they’ve got a couple of drinks in them.
Decks: A disc jockey’s turntables. See also: rig, ones and twos, wheels of steel, helm.
DJ: Obscure to some, legendary to others, the DJ holds in his or her talented (we hope) hands the ultimate control over the mood of any nightclub. He will go home with the cocktail waitress; you won’t.
Drink whore: A person whose sole purpose for the evening is to obtain free drinks from you at the bar or, even more sinisterly, to work their way into your VIP table just long enough to pour themselves and their 10 friends a drink from your bottle and disappear.
Drunk: The point in time when people begin asking, “You a’ight?”; when it seems like a fantastic idea to pull out your phone and text your ex; when you get the distinct feeling that the bartender is giving you the evil eye when you attempt to order your 10th Jack and Coke. “I was so drunk I looked blurry to others!”
Fashion showcase: Classed-up term for a fashion show.
Fauxdentity: An assumed name, occupation and back story created to woo strangers into bed for one-night stands under the auspices of the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” law of sexual gravitational pull. See also: bachelor, bachelorette.
Geriatric: Age is just a number, and no number is too old to keep you from passing into a nightclub. But when you get to the point in your life when even the drink whore is looking at you in disbelief, you’re geriatric.
Go-go dancer: In 8-inch fuzzy platform boots, this entertainer is responsible for setting the tone of the dance floor and for proving to the world that it is entirely okay to dance around to 50 Cent clad in a glitter-covered bikini.
Gratuity: In almost all cases, how interactions with staff members such as cocktail servers, bartenders and VIP hosts should conclude.
The grenade: Often seen in a group of fairly good-looking females, the grenade is the not-so-pretty one of the pack that an unlucky member of a group of guys is elected to pounce on—or in this instance, hit on—so the rest of the team has a chance of scoring some action.
Guest: Anyone not employed in a nightclub on a nightly basis; the most overused word in nightlife marketing. Guest host: A guest of any kind contracted for one night to lend their image to a party; celebrity hosts may also sing, models may get sloppy drunk and make out with their girlfriends; in both instances, having a cell phone handy is recommended. Guest DJ: Either a nonresident DJ or a resident DJ contracted to spin monthly who is said to be a guest anyway in the hopes that we have forgotten that he or she was here four weeks ago. Invited guests: Famous people who will most likely not be coming to an event.
Host: The guardian, the sentry and one of the three that make up the Holy Trinity of nightclub personnel—host, bartender and DJ. VIP host: Usually an independent contractor signed on to work exclusively with one nightclub to bring in a certain amount of bottle sales, a guest list and ladies. Can include the titles of junior, senior and lead hosts as well as VIP services directors and managers. Independent host: A VIP host who does not work for one particular nightclub; often found outside clubs, walking in parties or drinking in their client’s booth, hitting on their client’s girl. Casino host: Employed by a casino to attend to the needs of a gambler; often requiring VIP booths and entrances into nightclubs for a gamer. Door host: Checks ID, mans the velvet ropes; often bearer of the guest list. Security host: Usually huge in stature, black-suited and wearing an earpiece; looking for troublemakers, drunks and cat-fights. Bouncer: Old English term for a combo of security host and door host. Still found in small bars, pubs and the city of Boston.
Izod Squad: The polo shirt-wearing VIP, security and door hosts at pool parties such as Rehab.
Line: Larger clubs will very often employ a general-admission line, a guest-list line and a VIP table-reservation line. Locals and industry personalities invariably ignore all three, proceeding right to the front to be either admitted instantly or directed back into one of the aforementioned lines. See also: ego.
Line pass: The ability to skip a line and proceed directly into the belly of the beast ... after paying cover; not to be confused with a comp, which is a free line pass.
The list: The guest list of comps, line passes and VIP table reservations. “I’m on the list. Don’t you know who I am?!”
Liquor: The three (at minimum) categories of booze are well, call and premium. Well: The default pour hidden behind the bar. Call: The good stuff just behind the bartender that you must ask for or call by name. Premium: Also called top-shelf for its often being located higher up in a bar display; the better stuff. Super-premium: Costs more than premium. Quality is rarely taken into consideration here so much as image. Ultra-premium: The zenith of liquor snobbery and therefore “the best.”
Local: A card-carrying (driver’s license) Las Vegas resident.
Making it rain: The act of throwing your money into the air in an effort to prove to the world that you are accomplished enough in your life that you can afford to. It is considered low-class to actually retrieve the fundage rained—plus one risks severe personal injury.
Midwesterner: The one in the club who most often goes from being incredibly reserved to bumping and grinding on the dance floor after having a measly two drinks. The oft-slurred excuse: “Hey, whathappenzinVegasstayzinVegas, baaaaaaby!”
Nightclub photographer: The one who makes his or her way through crowds of drunken revelers in order to meet their picture quota for the night—usually for a website-based company—so that the rest of us can wake up to a small glimpse of how stupid we were the night before. See also: blackmail, proof, divorce.
Opening: The commencement of business, usually initiated in stages; antonym: grand closing. Soft opening: Also called play days or friends ’n’ family days, this is an invite-only dry run for staff to perfect service. Media opening: A boozy pre-opening party where media is invited en masse; usually held from 7-9 p.m., far earlier than any nightclub would normally be open and therefore known to result in glowing reviews that say nothing of the vibe or clientele of the real nightclub. Grand opening: The real deal, when the club allegedly opens to the public; usually so closely guarded an event the public can’t get in, just lots and lots of celebs. The public might get to go the second night.
Photog: Shortened industry jargon for photographer; lets the people around you know that you are the shit. Period.
Premier: A masculine adjective indicating the best-ranked, the top-notch; in fact, better than everyone else’s version of the exact same promotion or idea simply because they say so; often employed in fliers and press releases. “Yet another example of Las Vegas’ white-hot status as the nation’s premier nightlife destination.” (Often used incorrectly by promoters, premiere with an E means “first,” or “debut.”)
Promoter: One whose sole purpose in life is to tell us where we should be partying in the coming days. A promoter works long hours, isn’t afraid to talk to anyone and is responsible for passing out more UV-coated fliers than anyone this side of the Rockies.
Real estate: A VIP booth or table; what you are really paying for when you buy bottle service. Also, standing room at the bar. “I’ll buy the first round if you’ll look around for some real estate.”
Scenester: One who lives and dies by the nightlife circuit; in a week, present at the clubs more often than absent. Known to hit upward of three parties in one night, have a liver of steel and know everything about everyone in a room.
S.I.N. Night: Service Industry Night; Old English for Industry Night. Historically, casino IDs meant free entry into a club. Today, most industry nights accept local ID, operating under the assumption that if you are a local you must work in the industry somehow.
Spincident: (a) When the DJ has recklessly slammed two conflicting songs into one another; see also: train wreck; (b) when a DJ plays the entirely wrong song for a particular moment or crowd, like Lionel Richie’s “Still” in the main room of Jet on a Saturday night.
Surprise guest performer: Club speak for “We’re still working out the contract details but the promoters needed to get the flier to the printer.”
Team Dude: Three or more males with matching hairstyles, cocky attitudes, collared shirts and a serious plan of attack for getting laid. See also: bachelor.
Tippery: Not quite a tip, but not quite a bribe.
Velvet rope: The not-so-imaginary line that ultimately separates you from the action.
VIP: Overused term evoking the illusion of being more important than the next guy. VIP for some is simply not having to wait in line; for others, nothing less than 20 bottles of Cristal to dump on the hoards of eager women hanging on their shoulder will suffice.
VIP admission/pass: Deceptive use of a once-powerful word; often used on promotional fliers and VIP passes to entice tourists to either wait in line and enjoy free or discounted entry or grant the bearer a swift entry ... straight to the cash register.
Wannabe baller: The asshole wearing sunglasses inside a dark nightclub, attempting to get action by making it rain ... with $20 in singles.
Wingman, wingwoman: One’s partner in crime; one who runs interference. See also: the grenade.