Don't look now, but you're old friend bottle service is back in a big way. The trend of spending $300 or more on a bottle of booze that a club marked up over 1000% just for the pleasure of seeing a cocktail waitress bring it over to your table with a sparkler while a bus boy drops off some plastic glasses and mixers seemed to be another victim of the Great Economic Meltdown of 2008. Suddenly it seemed like all of the investment bankers who populated nightclubs up and vanished into the night, replaced by a legion of thrifty customers who were no longer interested in showing off via their nightclub tabs. But if you've been paying attention, the industry has been trending towards its old ways.
As 2009 rolled around, almost every new nightlife venue trended toward smaller venues that were anti-bottle service in nature, while several of the old guard like Cain and Guest House called it a day. Then came the successful launches of Provocateur and Lavo, two bottle service heavy rooms that have been successful from day one, coupled with high profile anti bottle service venues like Don Hill's failing to catch on. Suddenly it was time to forget about being cool and small, and the rush back into bottle service is on.
Now with the opening of places like GunBar, expect to see more venues think up a new concept (dive bar design with bottle service and tattoos!), do a quick renovation and marketing campaign, and then hope to pack in as many bottle service customers as possible before the buzz wears off. Then they will simply come up with a new gimmick (Precious: a bar made entirely of precious metals) and start the process all over again.
Now this won't effect the majority of people who go to their local bar for drinks or would never go to a bottle service venue in the first place. But it is interesting to see how fast the industry returned to this business model after it seemed like it was gone forever.
· Bottle Service Is Back [NYP]
· Nightlife Coverage [~ENY~]