12:30 AM – After hearing one of the guys working the line say that we probably wouldn’t get in for another hour to hour and a half (if at all), I decide that it’s going to take a little extra effort to get inside. I dig into my wallet and assemble what I hope will be enough money to pass as a golden ticket. I spend the next 15 minutes trying to locate and get the attention of the all-powerful line manager. I also happen to notice the cost of cover to get into the club and it’s somewhere around the most absurd amount of money you could fathom paying to get into a dance club…doubled. Reason must have jumped out of line with everyone else that had already left because after all I’d been through, it didn’t occur to me that this was completely preposterous; rather, it was just another hurdle that I would have to jump through in this quest for fun.
12:40 AM – Finally make contact with ‘Mike’ who takes a second to hear me plead my case and simultaneously slip him some “encouragement.” He wants to make sure that it’s just me who he’s letting in (for fear, I’m sure, that we’d tip the male to female ratio within the club past its current 4:1 industry standard). I confirm that I’m alone and suddenly the presence of the velvet rope barrier, which I had become quite accustomed to over the last two hours, is lifted from my thighs.
12:45 AM – At last I’m inside the door. All that stands between my friends and me is the patdown/metal detector area, a short elevator ride down to the club and going through a 2nd line to pay cover. I breeze through the security portion of the tour (left my piece at home) and join about 20 other people in the elevator. We start to descend into the club and suddenly the elevator drops about a foot and stops. “That can’t be good,” murmured the host/elevator operator. Sure enough, the doors of the elevator refuse to part and no amount of pleading or button pushing changes their mind. A long minute passes as everyone in the elevator realizes that we really are stuck and this isn’t just a temporary hiccup. With all those bodies in such a tight space, the air begins to get thick and stale rather quickly. Since I was the last one into the car, I’m standing just inside the door and to the immediate right of the host. I can tell that he’s really starting to freak out as the sweat begins to collect on his forehead and he tries every means possible of contacting someone on the outside to aid us in our predicament.
“Don’t worry, man, they’ll get us out of here,” I try to reassure him. He continues to send frantic text messages and radio cries for help. While not in the same mindset, I none-the-less followed suit, Stuck in elevator I texted to my friends inside, since they were expecting me at any moment.
I’ve been stuck in one other elevator in my life and was able to get out by prying the doors open and crawling out. I offered up this possible solution and have another guy help me try to part the doors. Unfortunately, because we are packed so tightly into the elevator our ability to get good leverage is too limited and we can not overcome the very strong doors; heroes we are not, tonight.
1:00 AM – The elevator suddenly lurches and starts moving again, albeit very slowly. Eventually, it comes to rest back where our journey started and the moment the doors open, its contents immediately spill out into the lobby of the club. Refusing to get back in the elevator, the host leads us down a staircase into the bowels of the club. At this time, there is enough commotion and disorder that I’m able to slip onto the tail end of a group with table service and bypass the line for cover. Or so I thought. As we’re starting to walk into the club, another host comes over and wants to confirm the name on the reservation. As she’s doing so, she asks us all to step off to the side. This has the unfortunate side effect of breaking up the group into factions that are too small for me to blend in with.
1:10 AM – The chance of getting into the club without having to sell a kidney begins to look quite bleak and I go in search of a bathtub of ice to wake up in. Find it in the normal cover line. Approaching the register, I decide that my ears must have preemptively lost their hearing for the night, because it sounds like the woman accepting entry fees is asking me for $200. “Excuse me?” I ask, incredulously.
“The price of admission has been increased to $200.” She doesn’t even bat an eyelash.
That is enough to slap me back to reality. There is no way I am paying $200 to get into a nightclub. Still trying to process the last 30 seconds of insanity, I stumble out of line and, thoroughly defeated, head back towards the entrance. On my way, I see the host who kicked us out of the VIP line and try to appeal to her sense of compassion by explaining my situation and that the price has increased significantly in the three and a half hours since I originally stepped into line. Amazingly, she hears my cry for help and walks with me back to the register. “You can let this guy in for [original, absurd cover price].”
1:15 AM – Find my friends and regale them with my version of the evening. They graciously buy me a drink as a small token of sympathy.
1:30 AM – From out of nowhere, one of the random guys that I was standing in line with earlier in the evening comes over and gives me a shot of Patron. “Glad to see you made it inside, man. Here, you deserve this.” Begin to wonder if everyone who’s witnessed my trials and tribulations for the evening thinks I’m some sort of head case and buying me drinks is an exercise in social goodwill.
2:00 AM – A couple of the girls in the group I’m with have worked their way in with another party that has table service for the night. Join up with the expanded group and am immediately offered another free drink. Sit down and relax for a bit.
3:00 AM – Everyone’s getting tired and ready to call it a night. Decide to split a cab with my friends and head back up the strip. As expected, the cab line looks to be about a 20 minute wait. Fortunately, the young lady behind us keeps things interesting by leaving an impressively colorful trail of vomit from the start of the line to the end, as her sister reprimands her throughout the entire ordeal.
3:15 AM – Part ways with everyone and choose to head over to Caesar’s to do some gambling.
3:30 AM – Arrive at the poker room in Caesar’s and sit down on a low limit table. Start chatting to the Asian man to my left who introduces himself as ‘Kenny from
4:30 AM – ‘ESPN’’s friend decides that he wants to play at a slightly higher limit table and encourages ‘ESPN’ to do the same. They say to ‘always follow the money,’ so I immediately go over to the woman running the poker room and ask her to get me on the same table as those guys. Within five minutes, a seat opens up and I prepare to move over to the other table. As I rack up, I look up and notice Cameron Diaz playing poker at an adjacent table.
4:35 AM – Within the first 45 minutes, I’ve nearly tripled my buy-in; I again go in search of the head of the poker room to tip her for helping me get on the same table as the easy money. Continue to play poker for the next three and a half hours until everyone else on the table has busted out with the exception of ‘ESPN’, another guy who actually knew how to play and me. With so few players, we all agree that it’s not worth it to continue playing and the game breaks.
8:00 AM – Leaving the poker room, I stop the manager and ask if he could take care of my breakfast for me (“shouldn’t leave without getting something for free,” afterall). He fills out a comp card for me and I’m all set.
8:15 AM – Have breakfast in one of the nearby cafés, courtesy of the casino.
9:30 AM – Stop by Goli’s room to deliver an inadvertently rude wake-up call, pick up my bag and head off to the airport.
9:45 AM – Find a nice guy from
10:00 AM – Get to airport, through security and arrive at the gate. Notice that earlier flight for
11:45 AM – Touch down in
All-in-all, the trip was a lot of fun and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Things I would do differently next time: Never go during the NBA All-Star Weekend, only bring a toothbrush, and make arrangements in advance for any clubs I plan to attend.