We’ve all been there: 11pm, drinking-up time in the pub and no one wants to go home. Not such a problem in the summer, but come December, when the West End is positively overflowing with party crowds, options are always going to be limited – particularly with a group. You could, of course, try joining the queue at a club, but chances are it has now started raining and who’s to say you’ll make it past the stern face with the clipboard once you get to the front?
All-male groups would certainly be pushing their luck, while just about any corporate crowd is likely to struggle with the fashion police. The ‘official’ dress code of most nightspots may simply state ‘no trainers’ but, let’s face it, a young Justin Timberlake lookalike is more likely to leap past the red rope in his Nikes than your fusty, pinstriped director is in any kind of footwear. Indeed, business suits are almost always a no-no – even more so when they come in clusters – and we’ve seen entire groups turned away on the back of one person not sporting quite the ‘right look’.
So what are your options if you do want to carry on drinking post-pub with a crowd? Well, they’re not as limited as you might think. Even the hippest bars and clubs are now savvy to the value of corporate cash – all you need to know is how to approach them. And we, of course, are going to tell you how it’s done...
OPTION 1: BUY BOOZE BY THE BOTTLE
Isn’t it funny how money talks? Offering to pay up front will open all sorts of doors, particularly in bars and nightclubs. If your straightforward request for a table reservation is denied, try asking whether they’d do you one topped with buckets of vodka or Champagne.
OPTION 2: GET THE VIP TREATMENT
Most clubs have a VIP area away from the main bars and dance floor. Now these work in two ways: either, as originally intended, by keeping the riff-raff out; or alternatively by locking them in. So what if your accounts department isn’t exactly slick? Once they’re tucked away in here, everyone else will think they’re celebrities.
OPTION 3: MAKE IT YOURS FOR THE NIGHT
The most straightforward way to ensure easy access to a bar or club is, of course, to hire the place out for the evening. Now, this may not be feasible on a Friday night but you’d be surprised how many deals can be had earlier in the week. Use your best business skills to book space on a Monday and you may even get it at cost.
OPTION 4: HAVE YOUR PEOPLE TALK TO THEIRS
Kate Moss, P Diddy and Madonna wouldn’t dream of calling a club themselves so why should you? They may give these establishments column inches but your cash is what keeps them afloat, so don’t be afraid to make a fuss of yourselves. There are now several agents that broker deals between clubs and corporates – try Late Night London.
OPTION 5: HOP ON THE PARTY BUS
Sure, it’s tacky – a bit 90s, even. But we’re yet to meet anyone who’s gone on The Party Bus and hasn’t had a great time. Even your finance director will be smiling, for this is without doubt the cheapest option. Just £29.95 buys you entrance to four big-name clubs in a single evening, with fast-track VIP entry and transport between them all sorted.