Underage clubbing is the pinnacle of British nightlife

Nothing beats the thrill of mugging off a bouncer


When you’re 16 or 17 ,and rapidly growing tired of shitty house parties where the host’s parents linger upstairs, sneaking into a club underage seems a far better way to spend a Saturday night.  From borrowing/finding/stealing somebodies ID to the anxious wait to be approved or rejected by a fucking huge bouncer. Finally getting in and the bar staff telling you that you “look like your shoes should still light up”, the thrill of clubbing is lost once it’s legal. Now you really have to fuck up to be turned down.

Clubbing underage was, and always will be, an art form.

Sourcing an ID

For some unimaginable reason, older relatives never really supported the idea of lending their drivers license to 16-year-old me. As if they weren’t happy to go to a police station the next day and claim they have no idea who I am or why I pretended to be them. This led to my only form of ID being a driver’s license, found in a public toilet in Brentwood several years before. It’s since been passed down a succession of people who looked vaguely similar at my school.

My friends tried a variety of methods. Some photocopied their passports and stuck “95” over their year of birth in order to appear two years older. My friends who were twins would both claim to be their older brother, one using his passport and the other his driver’s license, with no questions ever asked.

Whilst sourcing an ID is undoubtedly a great deal of effort, especially if a bouncer snaps it in half (RIP – more on that later), the work which has to be put in before the big night makes clubbing underage that bit more special.

Far too young to be in here

I was far too young to be in here

Predrinks and the preparation they require

We never really had a problem getting served for predrinks because the owner of our local corner shop, had been serving us with no questions asked since we were 14. Despite this, it is still an integral part of the underage club night – if you can’t get served in a shop then what chance do you have getting past a bouncer? So many thoughts run through your mind: what alcohol should you buy to seem older? Does anybody actually like the taste of beer? Should you call the shopkeeper ‘boss’ to try and seem endearing yet slightly older than you are?

If you’ve gone to the right place then your ID should have passed with flying colours. bonus points if you managed it in a big store like Tesco or Sainsbury. You’ll arrive at pres to be greeted by an awkward atmosphere, with a few of your mates standing in the corner, testing each other on “their” birthdays, addresses and middle names. Everybody else will carefully monitor the amount they drink to make sure they don’t cause a scene and get in shit with the bouncers before they have even realised you’re not old enough.

After a couple of hours the taxi will arrive. Everybody stumbles in, knowing that the success of the night depends on their ability to deceive when they exit the vehicle.

Nervous badasses pre-drinking underage

Nervous badasses pre-drinking underage

Standing in the queue, awaiting your fate

This is where the thrill really starts. Your heart flipping over itself, stuck between the excitement of potentially getting into somewhere you shouldn’t be and the potential embarrassment of the bouncer realising you’ve never shaved your face. As the inescapable yellow glow of the doormen grows larger, there will be the sudden realisation that there’s no turning back. You’re about to break the law, and it’s about to feel fucking amazing.

Until now, the preparation for getting into a club has been relatively straight-forward, yet here is where everything changes. If you’re lucky, he’ll scan over your ID and look at the picture, occasionally stopping to glance up and see if you’ve cracked yet. He asks you your date of birth and how old that would make you, and somehow doesn’t call you out on it – you’ve made it in.

Unfortunately, it may not go like this. You may have forgotten the star-sign or postcode of your new identity, and been shown to the exit by the bouncer, probably accompanied by a lingering “fuck off”. But this is by no means the end of your night. A quick flick of a different ID over the smoking area wall and making sure you go to a different bouncer should hopefully revive your night, and if it doesn’t, then you’re going to have many boring Saturday nights coming up.

I only ever had one bad experience. I got too confident and forgot to memorise the information on my ID beforehand, leading to me panicking when questioned. However, this bouncer was a different level of prick. He snapped my ID in half to make sure I couldn’t return.

Jokes on him, I taped it back together and he let me back into that same club so many more times.

The infamous ID, sellotape and all

The infamous ID, sellotape and all

Once you’re actually in

You’ll feel slightly out of place at first. The combination of being far too sober and surrounded by people who were years above you at school makes you question whether all of the effort you went too for tonight was worth it. The fact is, the best part of an underage night out is knowing that you shouldn’t be there, and the emotions which flow from this.

At the bar you’ll nervously order a vodka-coke (or something similarly basic), hoping to blend in and properly get involved in the vibes. The music will be the same as the iTunes of library of that one kid with an affinity for stealing the AUX chord at house parties, and there certainly won’t be any parents to chuck you out at midnight.

Clubbing underage is not better because of what actually happens in the club. The night out is so much more enjoyable thanks to the effort which goes into getting your ID and not getting it snapped in half. Besides, if you never go clubbing underage, how do you know what to do when you finally are old enough?