Bottle Fever


Ever wonder who are the Very Important People shelling out hundreds of dollars in an evening for bottle service at the city’s upscale lounges and nightclubs? We did, so we asked Brian Bassett, marketing director for The Park Ultra Lounge and Mix Downtown, for the skinny on the VIP phenomenon.
     “It’s actually a misleading term,” explains Bassett, “because at good venues we want to treat everyone like a VIP. But, basically, it’s just another way of enjoying a venue, getting a little bit of extra service and sitting in your own dedicated area.”
     At $1,000 (plus an obligatory 18 percent tip), The Park’s priciest VIP package buys free admission into the VIP room for you and 30 guests on a Friday or Saturday night; a dedicated waitress; your own comfy sofas to lounge on; and two bottles of top-shelf liquor with your choice of mixers. (Vodka, Red Bull and cranberry juice are the most popular choices at The Park; turns out most VIPs are not terribly adventurous drinkers.) 
     Mix Downtown—where $600 on a Friday or Saturday night pays for reserved seating for 12 to 16 guests, a dedicated server, one bottle of top-shelf liquor and mixers—attracts a 30-something clientele who favor wine, says Bassett. “They’re willing to pay [for bottle service] because they want the space and the privacy.”
     Often a group will split the cost for a celebratory night out, but in some instances a generous friend will pick up the tab, if only for the ego boost. “Probably 90 percent of the time it’s a man paying,” says Bassett. “There’s still the guy who wants to be the man. And for a few hundred dollars, he is the king of the world for a few hours.”
     For Jimmy Perez, a furniture manufacturer who splits his time between Los Angeles and Sacramento, where he’s a regular at The Park and Mix, bottle service is the only way to go. “If I go out, it’s always with a table,” he says. “It’s comfortable and more intimate that way. It’s a way for you and your guests to have your own living room in a club.”
      Never mind that you could enjoy the same provisions in your own living room for about one-tenth the cost. Nightclubs, says Bassett, are all about “suspending the reality of how mundane my life really is, and VIP service is the epitome of that.”