yes, it's an investment of your time. but this investment will come back to you tenfold. the returns that it will yield are astounding because you, you lucky person, will be introduced to the all powerful manhattan hook up.
how it works: you get a job at aforementioned establishment and you officially enter the the bar/club employee scene. you'll find that everyone seems to know each other. a lot of these people are pretty transient (translation: they're actors, i.e. professional bartenders/servers). they've worked at a million different bars, all their friends work at other bars, etc., etc. before you know it, half your managers have left to open new bars, half the staff has moved to different places and all of a sudden YOU, you lucky duck, seem to know everyone everywhere too.
i'll explain to you how this works in the real world. this was my past week...
Saturday night: (had date with nice but not funny guy, will post about it later). met up with E and she gets a call from a guy she knows, a manager at a mario batali restaurant. he calls to say that emeril and mario were there and that they shut the place down and that everyone there was getting wasted. and that our presence was requested immediately. heck yeah!
Sunday night: dinner at a tribeca restaurant. i was tipped off about a once yearly free pork roast three course dinner they do once a year. so justy and i go for free pork. we show up and i see bill (a guy i used to work with at the soho house). bill can't hook us up food-wise because, well, it's already free. instead, he brings over tons of fat (or is it phat?) wine all through dinner. That same night was the secret hipster party where we got hooked up because we knew a guy who knew the bartenders.
Tuesday night: friends guest bartending at lower east side bar. pay for ZERO drinks all night.
Thursday night: E knows the executive chef at one of the best restaurants in manhattan. this place is an institution. we ate a ridiculous five-course meal (that could have been six but we had to skip the cheese course before dessert...we just couldn't handle it all). we were drinking amazing wine again AND tattinger rose after dessert. they also bring out a plate of chocolates and other teeny pastries after all is said and done. our bill? a whopping $0. BUT we did leave an $90 tip so it cost us a mere $45 each.
which brings me to a very important subject: tipping. folks, when you come out here and start getting hooked up, for the love of all things holy, TIP WELL! you're making out like a bandit by not getting charged for anything, you're going to have to cough up a decent tip. if it's food, give at LEAST 25% of what the bill would have been (the bill would have been $275 for E and i, if you can't afford to tip on that amount, don't take advantage of the hook up). if it's alcohol, throw $20-$40 down on the bar before you go. even if you don't know the bartender at a place, all is not lost for you! if you tip him/her well, they will remember that. i have a dozen or so bartenders that buy drinks for me regularly for that reason. and almost all of them are married, taken or gay so don't start thinking that they're just trying to get my boobs in bed.
Friday night: some restaurant people are having a "meeting" at a hard-to-get-into club and so we're going because we know they'll have bottles on the table and we won't have to pay.
but don't be jealous. i had to put in a solid year and then some at the hell-hole that is the soho house in order to reap these post-employment benefits. listen and learn kids. listen and learn and you too could be on the receiving end of the manhattan hook up!