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Clubbing Etiquette

Written by admin, Friday, August 5th, 2011 in Q&As

I’m a guy with pretty much no experience in the clubbing or rave scenes, but they sound fun.

Do you think you could write a guide on club etiquette? How to dress, what to expect, how to approach people you want to dance with, etc…

Sure! I’m probably going to write something much longer/more detailed, but let me get the big points out in this answer.


One of the most important things (both for getting into a club and surviving one) is dressing right. Most guys get this wrong, so if you get this right, your life will be exponentially easier.

Focus on (1) classy, (2) sturdy, and (3) appropriate clothes.

“Classy” here means appropriate and reasonable, meaning button-down shirts, pants other than jeans (unless you have some really killer-appropriate dark jeans), decent dressy/classy shoes, and the like. Under no circumstances should you ever wear just a t-shirt, sandals, shorts, or the like — not only will you probably not get in (bouncers hate that crap), but you’ll look like a tool. Polo shirts are sometimes appropriate, but be careful — the more you look like a drunk Georgetown student wearing Polo Ralph Lauren, the less likely classier places will let you in.

“Sturdy” here is obvious: wear someting that can take abuse. This generally means clothing you feel like you could roll around on the floor in — avoid suits and similar outfits. Invariably, most of the stuff you wear will have alcohol spilled on it at some point, so make damn sure its washable as well. Also, whatever shoes you wear, make damn sure they have a decent sole — you never know when you’ll be walking on broken glass.

“Appropriate” here means that you should dress to the club. Classier city clubs tend to prefer dress clothing, even suits, insofar as it looks relatively modern and trendy. For such places, a pair of dress pants and a dress shirt should suffice — a tie would be too much and a blazer is usually too much (and too hot) for the venue. Younger dance clubs tend to put up with a wider variety of crap, but don’t push it — stick with a button-down shirt and closed toe dress shoes of some kind. Raves, for obvious reasons, have their own little world of fashion, but still try to dress like you have some sense — most raves are about showing off the girls, not the guys.

Getting In

The first hurdle you’ll have is getting in. Treat the bouncer with respect, show up with at least one girl to one guy (or with only one male friend), and generally behave yourself. Tipping the bouncer is an option, albeit sometimes a bad one. Worst case scenario, find a group of girls in line and make quick friends, pay the cover charge quickly, and make your way in without any sort of undue effort.


Bars at clubs are invariably packed with people, so be patient and polite, and have your money ready. Never open a credit card tab — make the bartender close it each time (it’s time-consuming and annoying, but trust me). Have your money in hand and ready, but never wave it around like a douche: keep it visible, but don’t flaunt it. Tip $1 per drink, at minimum — it guarantees good service.

I can’t emphasize this enough: don’t get drunk. Doing so is lame and appears childish. If you have low tolerance, order a soda or something every other drink, and limit your intake. If you’re around a bunch of pushy drunks, do what I call the “beer trick” — drink a beer down almost to the bottom, and hold the beer at the very bottom. Sip on it — or fake it — every so often. This will allow you to keep a drink in-hand without having to worry about replacing it.


The rules for picking up women are relaxed at a club, but don’t go overboard.

First off, don’t worry about pickup lines or other contrived crap. Be blatant and be bold. Start talking to random people, and don’t act like you have to invent a reason to do so. A “wingman” is helpful in some contexts, but those who rely on them too heavily are weaklings.

For obvious reasons, don’t go bumping or grinding into women on the dance floor. Approach them where they can see you, smile, and dance — if they don’t seem into you, go away. Treat women on the dance floor like you would an easily spooked horse — keep your initial movements deliberate and where they can see them.


Learn to identify when a fight will break out and get the hell out. No matter how strong you are, you won’t get out well. Think about it like an RPG: you could certainly take out one or two enemies no problem, but mobs are an entirely different story, and you want no part of that. Remember, most clubs have the cops on speed dial, and most cops are usually two steps away — you don’t ever want to deal with that kind of crap.

Always keep your stuff where you can see it. In a super-crowded and sketchy club, put your wallet in a front pocket instead of a back one, at least temporarily.

If you have trouble with the bitchy friend of a girl you’re talking to, just laugh it off.

Stuff you should never do

Finally, some quick notes of stuff you should never do:

– Never harass the DJ with a request. Be nice to them, just don’t demand stuff. Let them pretend picking songs is hard, it’s how they make money.

– Never take anything offered to you, drug or otherwise. Drinks are okay to accept only if (a) from the bartender or (b) if its been in your sight since it left the bartender’s hands. Roofies aren’t common for men, but other drugs can be.

– Never wear/carry anything too valuable. While it may inhibit your ability to pick up women, even consider foregoing a cell phone.

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