The Ultimate Guide to Bottle Service in Moscow Nightclubs
You glance at your watch again. Around 10 minutes have passed and the barman still hasn’t taken your order. He probably hasn’t even recognized your presence.
“Am I ever going to get served here?” you mutter just so loud that he doesn’t actually hear you.
And to top it off, now he’s flirting to that blonde with the outrageously big cleavage.
“Damn nightclubs, I shouldn’t even be here…”
Don't tell me that's never happened to you.
Because it has happened to me more than once, especially with Moscow’s lackluster customer service. But there is a solution to this and similar problems:
But I'm not gonna leave you hanging just like this. I wrote an entire guide on the basics of how bottle servce is done in Moscow.
In this guide you'll find out:
- What exactly bottle service means
- How getting a table works in Moscow
- How much you will have to pay for getting a table
- The 5 advantages to getting bottle service
- Who you can get it from
Those of you who are not familiar with getting bottle service should read this guide carefully. I’m going to drop a ton of great information about how and why bottle service will make you feel like a VIP superstar in your favorite nightclub.
For those of you who are poppin bottles at tables regularly: you will also find out how bottle service works in Moscow and know the tiny but important differences compared to home.
By the end of this guide you’ll not only know everything there is to know about it but I’ll also give you exact guidance on how and where to start planning your night out right away.
What is bottle service?
I’ll use bottle service and getting a table as synonyms because they really do mean the same thing.
In Moscow getting a table means putting down a certain minimum spend to reserve it for the night. That money can be consumed in any way you please, be it drinks, bottles, food, shisha or whatever the venue has on offer.
When you have a table, you don't need to go anywhere to get served but the drinks come to you. Unfortunately in Moscow you usually don't get a designated waiter for the night but several people will be serving you.
This does not work in your favor.
Because, just like almost always in Russia, customer service is pretty poor and nowhere near as good as in the US or even Europe. In practice that means you won't have a single person responsible for you. Instead you'll have to motion over anyone whose attention you can get to order your drinks.
But there's good news too.
Read this guide and you'll learn about a way how you can improve the service you're getting. I'll tell you a little secret how you can make the staff pay more attention to you during the night in the next section.
How does bottle service work in Moscow
Now Moscow bottle service is not all that different from any other major city. However, there are three main differences that you should know of before deciding to get a table.
Difference #1: Tables in the clubs are not always completely separated from the crowd
In most nightclubs tables are physically separated from the dance floor and the "normal" guests. But for Moscow that is not always the case. Most clubs work as a hybrid of nightclub and restaurant, so tables are often just slightly removed from the dance floor. Depending on the club and the table, you still might be very close to everyone else. But fear not, people do not just randomly walk up to you and join your table, so you'll still have privacy.
Difference #2: Moscow clubs work with a minimum spend (deposit) paid in cash
This varies from club to club and from city to city but in Moscow it works like this: if you want a table, you pay beforehand the deposit in cash (or sometimes by card) and the table is going to be yours for the night. If you go over your limit, you will have to pay for whatever you consumed on top. But if you don’t, you will still be able to spend the entire night at your table. The money is paid up front to the club in cash, or if the club is somewhat flexible, by card. That does not include the customary 10% tip at the end of the night.
Now most times the service will not warrant a 10% tip and often it will be so poor that you should actually be the one getting 10% for putting up with it.
Here’s a little trick that I found to work more often than not (but not always):
Figure out at the beginning of the night which waiter or waitress seems the most capable and the most socially calibrated (and speaks decent English if necessary). Motion him or her to your table and strike up a bit of small talk and get their name. No need for life stories, just a bit of friendly chat and make sure you leave enough of an impression so they actually remember you. Now here’s the key part:
Tip them some of the money before they actually start serving you.
Let them understand that if their service will be on point, you will be tipping generously at the end of the night as well. Make sure they remember you and that you will be counting on them to not have to wait forever for your orders. If the person has a modicum of common sense, and often they do but not always, they will understand what is required of them.
How much should that tip be?
I usually go with 2-3% of the table deposit but never less than 500 Rubles, better 1000. Understand that you will still tip the full 10% at the end of the night but that little extra juice at the beginning of the night will definitely be worth it, believe me. You should also not hesitate to let them know if they are slacking half-way through the night. Obviously do this in a friendly and non-obnoxious way.
Difference #3: You do not have a designated bottle girl for your table
That brings me right to my third point: whereas especially in the US you would have someone personally responsible for your table the entire time you are there, in Moscow you’ll get served (or not) by whomever you can get to pay attention to you. Hence the tipping in the beginning, you want to make the person feel invested in your table and give them a sense of responsibility for you. Even if he or she does not serve you personally all the time, you still want them to be taking care of you via their colleagues.
How much is bottle service in Moscow
Here’s the good part: getting a table per se does not cost you anything. You simply contact your person of trust to arrange a table for you for the night, pay up and you’re good to go. The only exception to this rule is Siberia, where only getting a table will set you back 130,000 Rubles with only a bottle of champagne coming with that. Not a great deal.
You are probably more interested in the actual minimums you have to spend. Those vary based on demand and the club you want to get a table in. Check out the club review section for more detailed info on the particular clubs. As a rule of thumb, you table deposits range from 20,000 Rubles to 150,000 Rubles depending on the club and how many persons you will have at your table. A good ballpark number for a decent table in an above average club for 6-8 people will be 40,000 - 50,000 Rubles (= 100-130$ per person).
As far as costs for bottles are concerned, you can expect to pay about 8,000 - 10,000 Rubles (around 150$) for a bottle of Grey Goose in the same type of club. Again, depending on the type of club you can get it cheaper or much more expensive.
The 6 advantages to getting bottle service in a Moscow night club
By now you are probably thinking:
“This is all well and good but why the heck should I even get a table? I’m doing just fine without one!”
And you’re right, in theory you can of course keep partying without getting a table. But then you would have to:
I talk about the ADVANTAGES of getting a table in more detail HERE . You can also read stories by people who actually got tables and are “converted” now.
Where can you get bottle service in a Moscow night club
There’s three reasonable ways to get a table in a Moscow night club. Let’s run through the pro’s and con’s of all of them.
Possibility #1: Getting a table directly from the club
This is on paper the most straightforward way. Google the place, phone them up and get set for the night. Sound easy, right?
Possibility #2: Getting a table from a promoter
You or someone you know might know someone that can get you a table in the club you want. What you can expect:
Possibility #3: Getting a table from Moscownightguide
Of course there is always the option of using your trusted guide to Moscow nightlife to book your table for the night:
If you are interested in getting a table in a Moscow nightclub then click here.