Arly Sellers is a 10-year veteran of the service industry and personally performed bottle and champagne service at nearly every one of Chicago's hottest and most extravagant nightclubs, sometimes receiving $10,000 tips from whales. She moved on to bottle hosting (to bring in whales) and then managing. Her champagne popping days are over, she's at The Boarding House and Drumbar now, but that doesn't stop her from sharing whale stories of her rock n' roll past.
"Bottle service took Chicago nightclubs by storm, and it was all about excess. My job was not only to find these potential whales, but foster a relationship where they could show off their Black Amex. This man, I'll call him Mr. X, would come in and start his night by having all of the servers walk out with a parade of magnums, jeroboams of Dom Perignon Rose or Aces of Spades."
"Mr. X would taunt the other whales at different tables, and they would go back and forth out-buying each other on who could spend the most on champagne. In the nightclub industry we call them champagne wars. Mr. X would order so many bottles that him and his guests would legitimately spray $1100 bottles of Aces of Spades and Dom (Perrignon.) The night would end after sometimes spending close to $20,000, on a weeknight. He did this stuff for close to two years until he became bored with Chicago and moved to Miami."
"Here's a story about a very well-known whale in Chicago, there wasn't anyone in the industry that wasn't familiar with his obscene spending habits...he would spend his nights buying 15 liter magnums of Veuve Clicquot and not drinking a single drop. The girls would literally flock to his table and party on his tab. On any given night he would spend close to $30,000 on champagne and other bottles. He became very close with our staff and was allotted certain privileges. We would stay open until wee hours of the morning, sometimes until noon. The management team would keep a busboy, a few servers, and even bring in a DJ to privately spin. They realized they were risking their liquor license but couldn't resist a $50,000 after-hours party. Only his favorite servers were able to stay and cash in on his table, and at the time I was pretty excited I was chosen to wait on him. At a certain point the party would die out, and we often would board his private G6 jet and spend the day in Miami or Vegas. I'd be home just in time for another shift and then the fun began all over again."
· All Coverage of Whale Week 2013 [~ECHI~]
Photo: Mel Hill Photography