This is The Gatekeepers, in which Eater roams the city meeting the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some of the hottest and hardest-to-get tables in Miami.
Sergio Silberheer is the man behind the ropes at the one year old Bamboo Nightclub. He's been in the biz for over a decade, managing the doors at places like Bed, Living Room, Privé, Mansion and LIV. Here he gives us the scoop on what it takes to get into the coveted Bamboo:
It's midnight on a Saturday night. What's the wait to get in?
The wait varies depending on the night and who the special host is. Typically, it is about 20-25 minutes in terms of general admission. VIP table reservations, however, get right in.
What about earlier in the night?
We open at 11:30 p.m. The earlier it is, the faster the wait. Bamboo closes at 5 a.m. every night. The club typically peaks at 1AM. You can tell the locals from the tourists simply by arrival time. If they are outside lined up before 11PM you know they aren't from here. Miamians don't start their nights until 12AM, fact!
Is there anything one can do to make the wait shorter? How about if you're slipped some cash?
If clients desire to buy a table, it will make their wait shorter if we have one available. In terms of accepting cash , we do not tolerate that type of behavior. We keep a tight door policy to maintain a classy and elite edge to our venue. Our gatekeepers are professionals. Looking great is always an advantage, style is key and looking better than the rest of the people on line definitely increases your chances of getting in and shorter wait time.
What pisses you off the most when people are trying to get in?
Arrogance. People that are rude or drunk that approach the door with an attitude will most likely wait longer. When people are pushing too much, taking it to the level that they think they are celebrities, when in reality they are not—that draws the line for me. "Everyone is someone in this town".
How many tables are available on a given night?
Depends on the night and the artist. Typically Bamboo has 33 VIP tables, which you can expect to be sold out 2-3 hours before the start of an event.
Who are some of your favorite Celebrity club-goers?
Snoop Dog, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fat Joe, Scott Disick, Flo Rida, DIDDY and LeBron James.
How do you deal with VIPs when there are no tables left or the club is at capacity?
In a nice way, I try to entertain people and calm them down to be patient for a few minutes until someone comes out. The goal is trying to make and keep them happy. There is usually a solution for every problem.
What's the most outrageous offer from someone that you've had?
I've never had an OUTRAGEOUS offer, but people try a couple hundred dollars sometimes.
Any requests you couldn't accommodate?
Not really. We always find a solution. We always keep customer service and client satisfaction at a top priority. Plus, our venue is 27,000 square feet, we have a lot to work with.
What's been your favorite night at Bamboo?
When Snoop Dog performed, the energy was out of this world. He knows how to keep a club ambiance at its best. I've never seen such a performance in all my years of experience.
How does the gatekeeper life in the Magic City fare?
You become somewhat of a "celebrity" too because everyone wants to know you. It's not so much because they want to be your friend—it's more of what they can get from knowing you.
When you're not at BAMBOO, where are you enjoying yourself?
Honestly I see so many people 5 days a week so I enjoy myself at home.
What's your most important gatekeeper tool?
Realizing what the group of people in front of me can bring to the club and in return helping them have a good time and a great night. You have to have patience, like people and be able to handle stress. It can get pretty crazy when we have a A-List celebrity guest appearance. Also, we have a solid security team protecting our door and on crowd control at all times. I am grateful we have an amazing team here at BAMBOO Miami Beach.
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[Photo Courtesy of Bamboo Miami Beach]