The club-hopping cognoscenti have their own language—slang that, at one time, only a true nightlife enthusiast would use and/or understand, but that has begun, at least in part, to creep into the everyday vernacular (to wit, the “-ster” variations: scenester, hipster, clubster). Don’t be left sounding like your elderly grandma. Do learn the lingo; then post your own additions below for consideration in future updates.
AMATEUR NIGHT n.: Fridays and Saturdays, when suburbanites saturate city bars; see SNAILS.
ASSESTOELBOWS adj.: When a club is so crowded that a patron has trouble moving six inches forward, backward, left, or right.
BALLER n.: A guy who drops a lot of cash on bottle service.
BEER HAIR n.: A woman’s hairdo the morning after a night out at the bar.
BIG LEAGUE v.: When a doorman turns a celebrity away from a club. As in, “I just big leagued Eddie Murphy because the girl he was with didn’t have an ID.”
CHACHI [cha-chee] n.: A guy who wears more jewelry (or cologne) than women. As in, “The club was full of chachis.”
COUGAR n.: A 40-something woman who frequents bars like Martini Park in search of young male prey. Such young men are often cautioned by friends, “Careful; you’ll get scratches on your back.”
CREASE n.: A hockey term for the blue ice in front of a goalkeeper’s net. In the nightclub world, the crease is the area between the velvet ropes and the nightclub entrance; i.e., the doorman’s territory. Loitering in the crease upsets doormen; don’t do it.
DRINKING ELBOW n.: Similar to tennis elbow; a strain resulting from hoisting too many drinks.
THE DRUNKEST PERSON IN CHICAGO n.: Someone you don’t want to be.
DUNZO [done-zo] adj.: Popularized by the first season of MTV’s Laguna Beach; used to describe a relationship that’s run its course.
EBC n.: Not the East Bank Club. Effen Black Cherry, LGS’s favorite vodka.
GREASING v.: An oldie but a goodie; palming a doorman for expedited entry into a nightclub.
HOMEBOY n.: Used by women in reference to a male gossip object—often a potential suitor. As in, “Homeboy thinks I’m going home with him tonight.”
IOI n.: Short for Indication of Interest; borrowed from Neil Strauss’s book The Game. Often communicated via eye contact across a crowded bar.
JUICE n.: Clout. Cred. “He’s got juice at Manor” means he knows someone who can get him in.
NGI LINE n.: “Doormen often refer to the general-admission line at a club as the NGI line,” says Todd Rubin, owner of Cabaret (15 W. Hubbard St.). “Not Getting In." Try to avoid this line at all times; see GREASING.
O BOMB n.: An update on the Jager bomb, made with orange-flavored Bacardi O. Also called an “oy bomb.”
OBVS [obbvz] adv.: Used in spoken conversation—not just over IM or text message. Short for “obviously.”
PLAYA HATA n.: A woman who doesn’t like players (that is, womanizers). Most frequently directed to women by men, as in, “Don’t be such a playa hata.” This line rarely works.
POACHER n.: One who establishes relationships with doormen and pulls (or poaches) customers from the line outside a club and walks them to the front for a fee. Part of that fee is then kicked back to the doorman. “Poachers are common in markets with large lines and large clubs, such as Las Vegas, NYC, and Chicago,” says Cabaret’s Todd Rubin.
PUMA n.: A cougar-in-training; 20- and 30-something women on the prowl.
QUARTER KEEPER n.: A cheap patron who doesn’t tip bartenders well. As in, “That guy’s a quarter keeper; watch out.”
REG n.: A regular, or not-quite-VIP. Frequent usage: “Let’s try to get into the VIP section; I don’t want to hang out with the regs tonight!”
ROLLIN’ v.: No longer a reference to the drug ecstasy. “Who you rollin’ with tonight?” means “Who are you going out with tonight?” or “Who’s in your posse?”
RX n.: It’s not a pharmacy, it’s a bar; short for Relax Lounge (1450 W. Chicago Ave.).
SHIT SHOW n.: The crowd waiting out front or congregated inside a popular club. As in, “Did you see the shit show out front?” Also see ASSESTOELBOWS.
SNAIL n.: A suburbanite, specifically from Schaumburg, Naperville, Aurora, Itasca, or Lombard. “They’re slow as hell in every aspect, from their two-seasons-ago clothes to their driving,” says local nightlife writer Audarshia Townsend.
STOLO n.: The club Stone Lotus.
TALENT n.: Good-looking women (or men) at a party or club. As in, “There was some good talent there last night.”
TEXT SEX n.: Flirting via text message. Frequent usage: “Did you just have text sex?” Also called “textual intercourse.”
TIME FIGHTER n.: A woman or man getting up there in age, as used in the movie Prime.
UG n.: Nothing to do with the expression of disgust “ugh.” UG is short for The Underground, a scenester’s hell or paradise, depending on whom you ask.
WRANGLER n.: A nightclub employee whose sole duty consists of rounding up groups of women to flood the club and party with the VIPS.YUPSTER n.: A product of the gentrification of Bucktown.
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