Tips for helping to get into London’s Nighttime Venues

Anyone who’s seen the scene from The Inbetweeners sitcom with the main characters hopelessly trying to get into a Nightclub in London (as well as one of the characters then borrowing ‘shoes’ from a homeless man nearby) is tongue-in-cheek to the harsh reality of how most venues are – long queues, door entry charges, strict dress codes, etc and many of us have had the same before.

Although not many are like that – there are some tips I’ve found to get into venues over the past year or so:-

Find that ‘Sweet Spot’ time to get in

Probably the most difficult one – especially when trying to coordinate meeting up people – they normally might want to go somewhere else first, other friends might then come late, etc, as well no-one likes getting into a place early – there will never be a perfect time to get in somewhere (no doubt whatever plan you had in mind, it won’t ever happen), and if you get there too late you run the risk of it being really busy and fun, but also not getting in.

If you’re too early, most venues (especially Basement Bars/Clubs) look from the outside great – no queues, no pay at the door, minimal entry staff, etc, but when you get in it’s deserted (myself and a friend done that for a gig at The Nest in Dalston a few months ago, not a good look!) If you arrive late you run the risk of long queues, impatience and very likely not getting in.

I’ve found the best bet is to always find someone very near the venue you want to go and meet-up with friends there, as well as looking online and see what the opening times (Start to Finish) and make a calculated guess as to the best time to get in/queue up – my advice is 9-10pm mark, any later and expect to queue!

Have IDs ready in hand

I can’t underscore this enough. Even if you think the venue won’t ask for it, have your ID ready anyway – oh, before you and your friends step outside your front door, always send them a reminder to bring it, and ensure it’s up to date! Countless times I’ve queued up with friends and they forget to bring their ID – ‘I didn’t thought I’d need it!’ most say)

It shows the door staff that you’re ready, waiting to come in and not messing around, meaning you’re a lot more likely to get in swiftly and minimal fuss. THey appreciate it more than you do as it allows them to do their job quicker – messing around in pockets/coats while your trying to look for it, isn’t a great look!

Same goes for entry fees too, get an idea on how much it is to get in, and have it ready to go (or if your friend is covering you, make sure their first!) The quicker you’re ready, the quicker you’re likely to get in


Don’t create friction with Door Staff, no matter what they say to you

You want to get into a venue badly? You’ve been dying to see this DJ at this place for months? Well guess what, you need the Door staff more than they need you. Don’t be rude, cut them looks, be smart – just do what they ask and be polite.

It sounds obvious to most of us, but it’s so surprising how many friends of mine haven’t followed this and ruins the night for everyone else because they thought Door Staff were too agressive and then have a heated arguement, then refused entry. Door Staff/Bouncers have to deal with many people on a night out, and as with anyone, can have a short temper, if provoked, and refuse right of entry!

Where possible, mix your groups/make new friends

Fact – a group of rowdy guys or a bunch of rowdy girls aren’t getting into most places in London. Where possible, invite friends along of different ages/genders to ensure that the venue knows they’re getting a variety of people.

If in a queue, make an effort to befriend others – benefits are two-fold, showing to the Door Staff that you’re friendly/causing no trouble to others, as well helping you and friends to get in together (and sometimes a discount on Entry!)

Make an effort

This goes for Gents and Ladies – at peak times, many venues will make a point of not allowing you entry if you haven’t made an effort with appearence. Rough/dissheveled clothes, trainers, etc won’t be allowed by many late-night bars/clubs, who want to make sure their image is upheld seen that customers are making an effort.

In addition to this, don’t turn up drunk! You might think you’re ok… but you may not look it!

Promoters – use them at your peril!

In my experience I’ve had mixed feelings toward promoters – people paid to get more people into a venue. If they’re someone you/a friend know and can vouch for, then great. With a random promoter, if they’re promising a massively reduced Entry fee to a particular venue, be sure they take you all the way to the venue themselves and you see them talking to the Staff and they accept you… you’ll be suprised how many take your money and run! There are some decent ones out there (most already have a smaller group with them, with a view to get a bigger group to a venue) so it’s a case of using better judgement.

Name-dropping them on the door can also backfire too, so be sure to keep your wits about you if you are approached – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!

Ensure everyone you’re with knows how they’re getting home, beforehand

Probabaly the most important one, is to make sure you all know how you’re getting home safe – before you go out. If one of your group has ‘one too many’ and doesn’t know how they’re getting back, at least everyone in the group knows where they’re living and can help out – sometimes, if things get messy, anyone of your group could be asked this about yourselves and could then all be refused entry back in.

Do this before you go out – not during – as we all can get carried away, lose each other, then causes panic/stress. If on Whatsapp/Messenger groups, there’s no harm in dropping a message to say you’re Home and checking that everyone else is to, so it puts a lot of minds at ease!

No big bags

I’m leaving it on this – if you have a massive gym bag, suitcase, etc maybe the best thing is to go home and drop it there. There is nothing more annoying than someone with a massive bag/coat in the middle of a queue, at the Bar, or on the Dancefloor!


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