I Do Bottle Service for a Las Vegas Nightclub and Can Make Thousands in Tips Each Night — But the Job Is A Lot Grosser Than People Realize
- Carrie Orozco, 28, is a model cocktail waitress at Omnia Nightclub inside Caesars Palace.
- She’s worked three days a week since 2015. She’s seen Celine Dion perform. She’s also faced harassment.
- To land a bottle girl job, she suggests presenting your best self and networking in the industry.
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Carrie Orozco, a 28-year-old waitress from Las Vegas, about her job. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Officially, I’m a model cocktail waitress. That’s what my paperwork says. “Bottle girl” is slang for girls who work in clubs and do bottle service specifically, but both terms describe what I do.
The summer before I got hired I was working as a food server at what used to be Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel but is now Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, and Omnia put out a notice for auditions on social media. I got really excited and immediately started dieting and working out to get myself ready for auditions.
You give them your résumé and wait in line before doing a mini-interview
They take a Polaroid photo of you, front and back, and then you go in front of a panel. You answer questions like your name, if you’ve ever done bottle service before, maybe a fun fact — and your personality just has to shine through. You find out later if you have a callback to do a more formal interview.
You have to be 21 by the time the club opens to get hired, because usually you do a couple months of training. I got the job two weeks after I turned 21, so I hadn’t even officially been to a club yet.
All the clubs in Las Vegas, mine included, are usually open one weekday and then on the weekends. Our big days are Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, and we’re open as a small venue on Thursdays.
I usually work 3 days a week
Orozco and a coworker.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Carrie Orozco
The nightclub opens at 10: 30 p.m., and I start getting ready at home two hours before. I eat dinner before I go and pack a snack, then I change into my dress and high heels and do any touch-ups while I’m there.
When I get to work, I set up my section and go to a pre-shift meeting with my department. There’s been a huge liquor shortage, so we’ve had to change our menu. Discussing menu changes has been a big part of our pre-shift meeting lately. We also find out what guests are coming in for and if there are any important birthdays. Then we break to go to our sections and wait.
I usually have anywhere from two to four tables depending on my section. Our job is to guide them through the night, although we’re supposed to sell to them and encourage them to buy. Ultimately, we want them to have a good time so they want to come back. That’s more important than blowing their budget.
We only do bottle service at the table
Orozco (top row, second from right) and her coworkers dressed in costume.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Carrie Orozco
You wouldn’t order a Long Island iced tea from me. I personally don’t even know how to make one.
If you have a $10,000 minimum, you’re agreeing to spend $10,000 on liquor, and that doesn’t include the tax, the venue fee, or gratuity. When we bring bottles over, we use lights, confetti sparklers, and costumes. All the clubs compete to bring something new to that, because obviously the wholesale value of the liquor is not what the markup is. We’re selling the experience and trying to create nights that people are never going to forget.
We only do presentations with Champagne. Occasionally there are exceptions for very high-end tequila or cognac. On New Year’s Eve, you’re probably going to have to spend at the very least $5,000 to get lights and confetti because we’re going to have tables with $30,000 minimums.
When I started the job, I knew that people were rich, but I didn’t understand how rich rich people are. And how many of them there are. You’re getting the crème de la crème of rich people. Everybody has money. They’re coming to you. We didn’t have to go search for them. When I started, my little 21-year-old self was blown away.
They’re not flinching at how much money they’re spending. No one’s credit card ticks up a fraud alert; their wives aren’t calling them asking them what’s happening. No one cares. That was just crazy to me. I’d never seen anything like it.
We pool tips as a venue to stop any favoritism
Orozco (front row, third from left) and her coworkers.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Carrie Orozco
It’s also because sometimes we have important executives come in and they might not tip, or they might have family members come in and you don’t want to harass your manager’s mom for a hundred dollars — but at the same time, you wouldn’t want someone giving her bad service because they weren’t getting a tip out.
We tip out our bussers and the bartenders, but those two departments also have people that they tip out from the money we give them. Tip-out percentages were decided on day one, and if we have one single gratuity that’s $100,000 or higher — which doesn’t happen often, but it does happen — then we tip out a little higher percentage. When we get a tip that large, the venue doesn’t typically have that much cash to be able to split up, so it usually gets wire-transferred to us and takes a couple of days.
I do technically make an hourly wage, but I couldn’t even tell you what it is.
When a club opens, the IRS will take all the paperwork and average out the sales to come up with what they believe your typical gratuity is per hour. They do all the math and come in and ask us to be tip compliant. My hourly tip-compliance rate is so high that it eats into my actual hourly wage in taxes.
We’re a union property, and there are some perks that come with that. I get a pension, I have health insurance, all of that. There’s someone who has my back.
New Year’s is really our biggest night
Sometimes people surprise us and come in midyear and spend like crazy, but on New Year’s Eve there’s so much money in the room — it just depends who’s there.
New Year’s Eve in 2021 was slow because of COVID-19, and due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases at the end of 2021 we weren’t as busy as I’d anticipated this New Year’s Eve. But we still did well and averaged what we normally do for New Year’s Eve. I’m still grateful considering there were fewer guests than usual.
As with any other waitressing job, sometimes guests are rude
Only, we have the added component of people being drunk, which sometimes makes it just a little bit more difficult. My personal pet peeve is when people are just sloppy. The worst is when people accidentally burn you with their cigarettes, because it just seems so disrespectful to me. If you’re responsible enough to be able to smoke, you should be responsible enough not to burn people.
I think the job is a lot grosser than people realize. There’s throw-up, and glass breaks, and sometimes things like that are just unavoidable. I’ve never personally been thrown up on, but I know plenty of people who have been. When that happens, you’re given the option to go home most of the time. But sometimes, if it’s a really big night, you might just go and change and come back out.
Sexual harassment definitely does happen in the nightclub
Women can be just as bad as men. The boundaries just aren’t there, and sometimes they just don’t understand that it’s your job.
The bottle girls don’t drink at our venue, and sometimes people will really push it on you, or they’ll say something like “I love your dress” and just grab your dress. That’s not something you would do to an employee if you were at Target or the grocery store.
It depends on each person what their personal boundaries are. I don’t mind if someone wants to come up and give me a hug. That’s not really a huge deal to me. But I know some girls who are uncomfortable about handshakes and high fives because in a nightclub we just don’t really know where people’s hands have been.
I get to see some of the best DJs in the world
One time Celine Dion came and sang on New Year’s Eve. We do private events that we call banquets, and a lot of times they have A-list talent come in. I’ve seen Matchbox Twenty and Iggy Azalea play at private events. You’re basically getting a free concert anytime you work.
I really love working with all of the other girls. I think that could be a turnoff for a lot of people, but I love it. They’ve become my best friends. It’s a very playful environment. No one’s ever typically too stressed out, and everyone’s really supportive of each other. There’s a lot of opportunity to network too with very rich people who have been super successful and have a lot of connections.
The reason I started my TikTok is that people always ask me things like ‘What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?’
We’ve had guests who have gotten in a fight, left in their private jet, and then come back all in the same night to spend their minimum. Some guests are so rich that they get really creative with what they want.
In a certain niche market, some people like when we come out with the bottles taped to our hands, or they’ll have us tape the bottles to their hands when they’re buying really large quantities of Champagne so we have to pour it all out right away. Basically, if we need 20 servers to bring out Champagne, we can’t leave until it’s all poured. Obviously, we don’t just do that for anyone.
Sometimes we’ll also have people buy out whole sections, and we can basically build out a stage. A couple years ago we had one guest who brought in a lot of professional sports players, so we put up their team in a ball pit. We had a bouncy area where you could knock people over. We had one of those money machines where you stand inside and you have to catch the money. Their minimum was probably $200,000, but customers like that will always go over. Sometimes we even do a $1 minimum because we know certain customers are going to spend regardless, so we don’t hold them accountable to anything.
If you want to do this, check social media, because venues always post when auditions are, usually in late December and early January
It’s important to present your best self. Everyone thinks that you have to be really small with fake boobs, and that’s not the case. It’s definitely changed a lot, but you do need to be fit.
We still love fake boobs. BBLs are obviously a trend, so it’s not a real thin look anymore, but those girls are fit. They’re very healthy, and they care about their appearance. Their hair is done. Their nails are done. Their makeup’s done. Their tan is done. They’ve probably got their teeth whitened. You want to present the absolute best you can, because it’s very competitive.
Also, don’t get discouraged. I was super lucky to get the first club I ever auditioned for the first year, but I know girls who have had to audition multiple times. It’s always good to just keep auditioning and to also look for opportunities at smaller pools and clubs, because there’s a lot of money there, too. The guests that come to the nightclubs have to stay somewhere.
And just networking within the hotel industry can help. You don’t have to know someone to get hired. I didn’t know anyone, but that’s going to be like any other industry. If you can get your foot in the door with someone, your opportunities are probably going to be a little bit better.
Frederick has been an active trader for over since 1991. After successfully navigating the market for so long, he’s finally bringing his wisdom to the masses.