What do people do in nightclubs?
April 29, 2010 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I've never been to a nightclub before. I'm going to one tomorrow, and I'm kinda nervous. Can you give me a rundown of what I should expect?

Somehow, I've made it to the age of 22 without once going to a nightclub. My startup is throwing a party at a local nightclub and I'm obligated to go.

In my head, a nightclub is basically a big dancefloor with really loud techno music. Considering I don't know how to dance, I feel like I'll be completely out of place.

I'd love to know what to expect, as well as any tips on how I can be not awkward (like a magical pill that'll teach me how to dance within 24 hours!). If it matters, the nightclub is Medjool in SF.
posted by zain to Society & Culture (25 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You go, drink, chat with friends and colleagues, and if you're feeling up to it you move to the dance floor at some point. Don't worry! It's really that simple!
posted by ripley_ at 1:49 PM on April 29, 2010

i haven't been to medjool yet, but i'll try to be general
i wouldn't worry about the nondancing thing. most people just stand around and bob to the music. there actually isn't room to really dance.
expect it to get crowded as it gets later, for there to be lots of drunk people, some who may or may not get belligerent or grabby. there are usually places off to the side you can stand and drink and chat with your friends and coworkers, if you really don't want to dance- there are plenty of people in any given club who just go there to drink and people watch.
posted by raw sugar at 1:51 PM on April 29, 2010

No one knows how to dance - Just sort of bop up and down and try to look cool :-) Have a few drinks - dance - it's kind of like working out socially :-)
posted by xammerboy at 1:53 PM on April 29, 2010

There are always places to stand unselfconsciously without dancing, whether that is by the edge of the room, where there might be a shelf or high tables for your drink, the bar, or a lounge seating area.

It will probably be quite hard to have a conversation on the dancefloor, but should be easier by the bar. You might have to queue to get in, and to put your coat in the cloakroom, but as you're a guy, you shouldn't have to queue for the bathroom.

Disclaimer: I'm in the UK and have never been to the US, so there is some chance that clubbing is an entirely different matter there!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:54 PM on April 29, 2010

Don't worry about not being able to dance. While some people will be working the dance floor, nightclubs have lots of places to just stand around and watch. Sip a drink, chat (if it isn't too loud), or just smile and enjoy the hilarious people watching.
posted by gumtree at 1:56 PM on April 29, 2010

I was afraid of dancing for a long time, and just recently started taking the advice here: bob up and down to the beat of the music with a drink in your hand.

One of the worst things you can do is to get nervous and start drinking to compensate so you get totally far-gone and get thrown out (jesus... advice I would give myself 5 years ago.txt). If you are nervous then don't sweat dancing. You're going to know people there, so that gives you a group to talk to, and maybe some of them won't be up on dancing either. If you're feeling uncomfortable then have a few drinks, beg off for the night, and chalk it up as an experience if not a stunning social victory.

Also: open bar? If not then drinks are probably double what you'd pay at whatever your average local bar is.
posted by codacorolla at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Medjool has a rooftop terrace. You could walk around and enjoy the view to get away from the music.

I've been going to nightclubs in the UK and US for more than two decades, and I dance once in a blue moon. I hang out around the edge or at the bar and yak to my friends.
posted by vickyverky at 2:02 PM on April 29, 2010

No one knows how to dance - Just sort of bop up and down and try to look cool :-)

I've agreed with most of the comments above but wanted to add a little thought about the snippet above. Don't try to look cool. Dancing is fun if you let yourself get absorbed in the music and pay little attention to what you are actually doing. If you are trying to look cool you will just make yourself miserable because there are few things less cool than trying to look cool. Have fun dancing or don't dance. Having fun will transmit as looking cool automatically. Trying to look cool will transmit as being trapped in your own body.

Do whatever you are comfortable with. It's just a cocktail party at a house that no one you know has to clean up.
posted by Babblesort at 2:03 PM on April 29, 2010

Also, if you are really freaked, do a couple shots before you head to the club. Obviously, someone else should be driving you if you do this, but I find that this is a foolproof way to:

-Not be nervous
-Enjoy dancing
-Meet people
-Not spend in excess of $10 on drinks
posted by aliceinreality at 2:09 PM on April 29, 2010

I've been to Medjool. It doesn't even have a dance floor. Sometimes there are people swaying their hips on the sky terrace but thats the exception not the rule.

Medjool is mainly a bar on a terrace. Relax, enjoy the view, drink, make smalltalk.
posted by vacapinta at 2:10 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Bring earplugs. If you aren't used to the loud music it may make you uncomfortable.
posted by chairface at 2:15 PM on April 29, 2010

Nightclub != dance club, necessarily.
posted by mikeh at 2:17 PM on April 29, 2010

zain: Here's a shot of another corporate event at Medjool, so folks can see what we're talking about. In fact, Medjool is a common location for company parties because of the nice view.

It gets lumped into the nightclub category because they do usually have a DJ in the corner playing the music. But, think beer garden with a DJ. Really.
posted by vacapinta at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bring a bunch of single dollar bills. Tip the bartender (or cocktail waitress if they have one) a dollar a drink. More if you're feeling flush and want the bartender to think well of you later on in the evening. Maybe not for a coke, but definitely for a beer, to say nothing of mixed drinks.

Not tipping appropriately is a sign of the amateur, the cheapskate, or the ruling class mofo who doesn't sully their patrician hands with things as vulgar as cash. None of those are thought well of by the bartender, though the first can at least be illuminated as to proper behavior.

If it's a hosted bar (i.e. the company is buying the drinks), still tip the bartender/sever.

If you need change, ask for it. Even if it's within reach, don't ever reach into the tip jar on your own and say "I'll just change this." Yes, people have tried this.

If you don't want to drink alcohol, by all means ask your bartender to make you something "virgin" that still looks like a cocktail. We don't judge you by what you drink. We judge you by how much you tip. just keepin' it real

Bring earplugs in case you feel the music flowing and surprise yourself by heading out to the dance floor. Some places subscribe to the "IF IT'S LOUDER THEY'RE HAVING MORE FUN" attitude.

Don't sweat it. Go, hang out, talk to your friends and cow-orkers. If you do drink, make sure to keep hydrated and have a glass of water (at least) for each drink you have. I work these kinds of parties all the time and they're not high-stakes meat markets. You'll be fine.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Medjool is basically a very large rooftop venue with a bar. I have only been there during the day, and the lines for drinks were very long - I would imagine that it would take a lot of work to get really drunk there. Be sure and bring something warm to wear - they have heat lamps, but it is outside in SF at night.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:29 PM on April 29, 2010

Yep, Medjool really isn't a dance club, it's a big bar with lots of people just wandering around trying to look cool. The rooftop bar offers lots of diversion (A great view) if you don't want to feel awkward. Just gaze off into the distance, looking serene and contemplative. Or find yourself a stool at the bar downstairs and just chat up people.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:37 PM on April 29, 2010

Not all of it is outside, but be careful there. It's fantastic and the ambiance and food are wonderful, but the place is with controversy, much because it's kind of like a giant booby trap for clumsy fools like myself and my friends. The rails at the rooftop terrace are weak...my friend actually leaned on one and fell through the gate onto the fire escape platform overhanging the building...and not five minutes later I tripped and fell over the outdoor tent tie-downs that obstruct the walkways to the bathrooms. I personally think that the dining floor and balcony on the second floor (the tables get moved and it's all open) are much safer, warmer, and fun. Besides, the place is so big you can get lost and hide if the club scene doesn't turn out at all to be what you expected. But really, it's easy if you don't expect anything magical to happen (and this coming from someone who would rather fork my eyes than go clubbing). Just be careful.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2010

Ditto, on the Medjool is like a bar/restaurant/nightclub comments. So you'll be fine.

Just be glad your party isn't at Ruby Skye. Then you'd be in trouble:)
posted by grapesaresour at 3:11 PM on April 29, 2010

You don't have to dance. Just chill out in the corner and get crunk!
posted by mollyC at 4:01 PM on April 29, 2010

Everything you carry with you should be things that either (a) fit in your pocket (if you're a guy) / tiny purse (if you're a woman) or (b) you would be happy to leave at the coat check.
posted by y6t5r4e3w2q1 at 4:18 PM on April 29, 2010

IIRC, pointy heels do NOT work on the rooftop terrace. (This advice may or may not apply.)
posted by iamkimiam at 4:42 PM on April 29, 2010

It seems like you're off the hook as far as having to go dancing, but a word of advice if you ever do: DO NOT under any circumstances think about what you might look like to other people. First of all, it's the best way to prevent yourself from having any fun or enjoying the experience at all. Second, absolutely no one cares. Third, trust me, you'll actually dance much better if you aren't inhibited by wondering what everyone else thinks about it.

Go with people you're comfortable with, and just make a fool of yourself. You'll have much more fun, and you might find out that you're a better dancer than you ever imagined.

Also, if you're a girl, just do yourself a favor and wear flats.
posted by hoperaiseshell at 7:39 PM on April 29, 2010

If you don't frequent night clubs, you probably have half decent hearing.

Save your hearing, and your sanity, and TAKE EARPLUGS. Drugstores sell nice foam ones that stay in your ears even through rigorous dancing and, trust me, you still hear all of the music.
posted by jb at 9:17 PM on April 29, 2010

(Sorry, if it isn't clear -- Night Clubs almost always play the music MUCH TOO LOUD for people with functioning hearing -- I've been wearing ear plugs since high school dances.)
posted by jb at 9:18 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone. It went really well. :)
posted by zain at 1:32 PM on May 2, 2010

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