ADANAI has not even launched yet but we felt the need to put this in writing today.
The topic du jour is New Year’s Eve and the rise of the $100,000 table. Two clubs in Miami’s South Beach – Story and Cameo – have put together packages for you and your closest 50 friends to bring in the New Year. All you need to do is spend what could be used on a down payment to purchase a nice condo in South Beach (here is a nice one at The Flamingo) on a night of revelry, memories (or lack thereof) and one big hangover. Story features global DJ superstar Kaskade and Cameo has mix-tape prodigy FUTURE on the bill.Before we go any further, let’s give each club its proper respect – both are important parts of the South Beach Nightlife scene. Cameo (part of Miami nightclub conglomerate The Opium Group) is the one club that has consistently embraced hip-hop and has done so successfully for years. While the rest of South Beach has been Electronic Dance Music crazed, Cameo has embraced its role as the unofficial home of hip-hop in Miami (other than Sunday nights when Liv kills it).
Story, a newcomer, has provided a much-needed boost to the club scene. It has put what many consider to be the best club real estate in South Beach (the old Privé/Opium Garden/Amnesia space) back in action. It is large enough to host top tier DJ talent like Avicii, Tiesto, Kaskade, and Deadmau5 (their XS-like lineup for Dec. 29 thru Jan. 1) but small enough that you don’t feel like you are at an arena show or an outdoor festival.
At ADANAI we certainly appreciate the idea of bottle service and fully understand the value proposition it offers to those that are willing and able to spend a few thousand dollars in an evening. It is actually quite simple – you are paying for three things: real estate, convenience and prestige. We will more deeply explore the rationale for bottle service at a later date but the best way to think about it is to compare the value of an apartment overlooking Central Park West and the value of the exact same apartment (size, finishes, amenities) in Hoboken (no offense to Hoboken).
The CPW apartment is worth a hell of a lot more due to location and prestige. With bottle service, one is drinking the same booze as the person at the bar but: 1) has enough space to relax and “host” friends; 2) never has to wait for a drink; and 3) gets the attention of the entire club when the new bottles and sparklers (or the champagne fairy) come out.
As previously stated ADANAI has no major issue with the concept of bottle service but this $100,000 thing is ridiculous. Here are the two main issues with it: the math doesn’t work and it is tone deaf to the current economic climate.Let’s tackle the math. Typically, when one reserves a table for bottle service the club will quote you a minimum amount you need to spend for the evening. So long as you spend that amount, you can have that piece of real estate for the entire night. If you choose to spend more, that’s fine but you get exactly what you pay for – more booze. In this situation though, both clubs are selling you a specific number of entry tickets and a set number of bottles. In both cases, the numbers just don’t add up. Here are the packages:
Total value is $41,000 for booze and tickets. The cost is $100,000 plus tax and tip. Unless the party favors include a bag full of Chanel J-5 and Panerai watches, this doesn’t work.
(One has to love the marketing Cameo is using given its demographic; it’s clearly appealing to the hip-hop crowd that loves “Belvy”, “Henny” and popping lots and lots of bottles – notice no magnums included here).
Total value is $40,500 for booze and tickets. In this case the $100,000 includes tax and tip. Once accounting for tax and tip, they are placing a value of about $10,000 for each of the four people to meet FUTURE. We don’t know a ton about FUTURE so we are speculating here but it wouldn’t be surprising if he agreed to attend ADANAI’s launch party for $10,000.
The clubs will argue that the experience and the super-premium real estate are worth the exorbitant tab. The counter is that the experience and real estate are already included in the huge mark-up on the bottles of booze. When you pay $500 for a $37 bottle of Champagne, there is a lot of experience baked into that price. If each of these clubs said you need to consume $100,000 in bottles to reserve a premium VIP table then it would be less absurd. At that point at least you are getting what you are paying for (as well as a likely trip to the ER for alcohol poisoning). The idea that there is a approximately $60,000 mark-up over the already inflated value of the booze and tickets just isn’t right.On the issue of tone deafness, don’t get us wrong, we can appreciate the value of spending money for entertainment. However, we are in rough economic times and this fiscal cliff issue has a lot of people worried. Taxes are about to go up making it more difficult to make ends meet. Do we really need another way for people to foolishly throw money away? Maybe one can say all forms of bottle service are tone deaf to the economic times around us but somehow this one just rubs us the wrong way and seems egregious.
One last point – as of the morning of New Year’s Eve, neither of these packages has sold. Perhaps they were never intended to sell but were put out there as marketing gimmicks to get a lot of press. If that was the case then it was genius as it has worked. That’s why they own the club and we are just writing about it.
Happy New Year!