Waiting to Fly? Expect Delays
When you enjoy going to clubs and lounges, velvet ropes become a fact of life. I've essentially given up trying to suck up to bouncers or figure out why they act as they do. What's more curious to me, though, are people who decide to stay in line even though the huge dudes on the door are too busy paying attention to their friends instead of the Average Joes waiting on the sidewalk. (Right now, I'm thinking of Chloe, where lines grow insanely long on weekends, even when it's obvious they're not moving.)
I know there are situations where you have no choice -- you're meeting people who are already inside, for example -- but too often, the question becomes how much of your time you're willing to invest in order to give a club owner your money. This happens to me quite a bit when I'm visiting clubs undercover, and while I have my reasons for being patient -- making a scene about how long you've been waiting can earn a black mark with most bouncers -- it's still really annoying.
Here's the latest occurance: Sometime after midnight on Saturday, I decided I wanted to go to Fly.
Yeah, I know I was breaking my own cardinal rule -- go early, especially on weekends -- but when I'd called the club a bit earlier to inquire about cover and dress code, the heartiness of the response ("none!") suggested it would be a good idea to swing by for a drink and to scope out the scene. The new airline-themed club that opened in the old Red space earlier this month is run by Chuck Koch, who as DJ Dirty Hands has held down residencies at the underground hip-hop spot Soul Camp, the more opulent Love, and he's also DJed at NBA All-Star Game afterparties in New York. From the photos I've seen, it's a pretty swank spot that has a curved ceiling resembling the fuselage of a passenger jet. Outside, the formerly unmarked facade is now streamlined and sports large video monitors that are supposed to look like airplane windows.
I arrived to find a clump of people standing around a velvet rope surrounding three sides of the doorway; there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for where to stand. When asked about the wait, bouncers said, "Oh, we're at capacity right now," which can mean many things: They really are at fire code capacity; the club is saving seats for people who've reserved tables; the bouncer doesn't like the look of you and hopes you'll go away if he makes you wait long enough, so he can select someone else. Still, it's a pretty fair assumption that most people skipping the rope didn't have table reservations if everyone who got past the bouncers were greeted with hugs (guys) or air kisses (women) and the question, "Who's with you?" or "How many you got?"
There were never massive crowds waiting around outside. People were either ushered quickly into the club by the suited guys behind the velvet ropes or left to cool their heels outside, and many in the latter group gave up after a few minutes of glares from the unresponsive doormen and headed elsewhere.
Meanwhile, we heard some pretty standard club fare blasting out of the stairwell. "Wait (The Whisper Song)," "Beware of the Boys," "Laffy Taffy." Anyone hoping Dirty Hands was striving to recreate the backpacker/b-boy aesthetic of Soul Camp is going to be sorely disappointed.
After 30 or 35 minutes of this -- I really did want to see the airplane fuselage in the main room -- we gave up and went to the nearby Science Club, where we found metal lab stools at the basement bar and ordered drinks. Not what I'd planned, but a good night nonetheless. Next time, I'm getting to Fly two hours before my scheduled flight.
Here are my questions for you: How long would you have waited? What's the longest you've ever stood outside of some new hotspot? What tips you off that you're not going to get in to the club anytime soon and you'd be better off going elsewhere?
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