© @ClubPhotos_ / Twitter

Clubbing is a lifeline. The industrial walls of your go-to club witnessed your first blackout. The first time you connected with yourself on the dance floor. That tormenting heartbreak you never thought you’d get over, but God bless the group of friends who believe there isn’t a thing tequila can’t heal. Your clubbing life saw you at your best, but also when you hit rock bottom – Hannah Montana would dub it The Best of Both Worlds

You matured in front of the DJ. You found out B52 shots aren’t your thing at the same bar you discovered how the equation “you + gin” makes a foolproof love story. 

Remember when you were initiated in the booze-and-coke-fuelled mist that monopolized your juvenile years? Back when the world was your sweaty, druggy oyster, and you were raring to tip it open just to pour cheap vodka inside. 

It feels like yesterday, but the sad truth is that in no time, you wake up next to a sophisticated grown-up whose worst fear translates into rampant inflation. As much as you wish this scenario to be another strange and boozy hookup, we have to shatter your hopes. 

But we will congratulate you for reaching the adult game level, where the gruesome back pain is an unbeatable boss and drunken kebabs are the icing on the cake. 

Since we’re only getting older, we sketched out the stages of a life lived while clubbing – this is who you were, who you are, and who you’ll become. 

Twenty

The narrative:

You’re probably a university student who has no clue how taxes work but is a pro at finding the cheapest wine with the highest alcohol percentage in under five minutes. Young, fresh-faced, and ready to party on a weekday, you haven’t got anything else to do besides living and loving life. 

A ‘You can retake a 9 AM lecture, but you can’t relive a party’ acid-themed art hangs on the wall facing your bed – and you are damn proud of it. 

Experimenting with whatever nightlife has to offer is the only thing you want to do. Be everywhere. Feel everything. Drink anything – even that morbidly disgusting whiskey featuring orange juice combo. All of those while telling yourself it can’t get better than this. Well, it really can’t – and it won’t. 

© @ClubPhotos_ / Twitter

Prep time:

You are at the age where you’d look ravishing even if your #OOTN is a potato sack. Paradoxically, at the beginning of the roaring 20s, you take the most time to get ready for a night out. 

If you spend less than three hours prepping, it means that a) you’re some type of God, b) there is something wrong with the clock, or c) you give zero fucks about how you look. Your clubbing life revolves around your glittery top, tie-dye Vans, and the constant anxiety of smudging the eyeliner you spent half an hour on.

Drinking habits:

Your drinking choices are based on what will get you the drunkest for the least amount of money. Tokyo Iced Tea, anyone? Mixing supermarket own-brand vodka with whiskey isn’t where the hungover’s roots are – it’s how you downed one-too-many beer cans. 

Oh, and we can’t forget about our beloved Jägerbombs – the sugary alcoholic cough syrup sent from above. 

How the night unfolds:

One mission, two words – get smashed. The water bottle filled with vodka cranberry is a leitmotif of your journey to the club. You couldn’t finish it during the pre-drinking session, and throwing it away it’s not an option. The biggest drama that can happen tonight is witnessing how your last drop of alcohol goes to waste. 

Your itinerary involves two pre-planned clubs, but somehow you end up at the third club, nauseous as hell and with no battery left to find your friends’ whereabouts. By 2 AM you got sick two times and your face got numb from too many Jägerbombs.

There is nothing left to do besides taking the night bus home, flopping on the bed, and praying your head won’t be banging the next morning. 

Your average social media post: 

Of course, the universal mirror selfie from the student dorm pops on your feed every weekend. We shouldn’t mention the quadrillion drunk Instagram stories because you shamefully deleted them after waking up. Whatever, nobody cares about that #YOLO, #LivingForTheWeekend. 

Twenty-five

The narrative:

Oh, the feebleness of your mid-20s. University days are now sepia history. Reality hits hard – you are an employed grown-up who schedules his own GP appointments and gets excited about dishwasher sales. Your main personality trait is being in bed by 2 AM because weekends are damn precious when you’re a 9 to 5 capitalism slave.

Maybe you’re over the drunk, sweaty, and messy teenage era, but your clubbing life is characterized by the regretful blur of overpriced vodka-cranberries.

© Mariya Tarakhnenko / Unsplash

Besides the euphoria of being an independent adult who pays his own bills, everything else is terrifying. Student loan repayment, oil prices, the outrageous amount of wedding invitations you receive from university friends while your life partner is a cat – you name it.

At least enough time has passed for you to master the drinking game. Your skills might not be marvelous, but they are good enough to steer clear of vomiting on the Uber driver’s lap. 

Prep time:

Hopefully, by this time, you have outgrown your fashion consumerism victim era. Your wardrobe might be brimming with racks of clothes, but they are all staple pieces – and we can all hope that skate t-shirts are not included in the package. 

Since you’re grown-up now and (supposedly) know what you want, you only need an hour to get ready. It’s either that or the thought of spending three hours of your precious weekend making you sick. 

Drinking habits:

Attention, we have some heart-wrenching news – loading up on drinks before hitting the club it’s not a thing anymore. You’ve officially reached the age where you need to book your coffee meeting with friends at least two weeks before. Imagine messaging your pals about your pre-drinking session 24 hours before going out.

Spoiler, everybody will say no because it’s too short notice or whatever adults call it these days.

Thanks to your younger self – who tried the shittiest alcohol combinations – the go-to drink achievement is unlocked. The ritual of gawking at the menu has shifted to being a formality. Out of Negroni, raspberry G&T and prosecco, you know what drink will hit your tastebuds next. 

Wine is never an option. You got sick of it throughout the week because nothing screams “I’ve survived another day” more than a post-work glass of red Merlot. You’ve been converted to a healthy lifestyle, hoping your anxiety attacks will fizzle up – so you cut alcohol consumption to twice per week. Sigh. Yeah, your drinking tolerance went to absolute shit. 

How the night unfolds:

After joylessly working your way through the week, your sole purpose is to forget about the pathetic puddle of regret, nostalgia, and debt you’re in. If it’s payday, you will get drunk enough to forget about the bills that need financial attention ASAP – and spend your money accordingly.

If the thought of opening your banking app makes you shudder, you’ll hunt for happy hours like your life depends on it. In all truth, it somehow does – at 25, getting half-priced cocktails feels like winning the lottery. 

Maybe it’s confidence, carelessness, or the luxury of experience, but you know how the clubbing game works now. You’ve discovered the good old H2O, so sometimes a glass of water will sneak next to your boozy drink. Jumping the bar queue is your main hobby. Honestly, you’d rather live in the desert for one week than wait 15 minutes to get a drink. 

By 2 AM, you face-plant onto your bed – but only after taking your make-up off, changing into your PJs, and brushing your teeth. If you feel a little rebellious, you might even floss. Another weekend of fruitlessly searching for the highs of the younger self ends. Curtain call. 

Your average social media post: 

As a social media borderline professional, you are as picky with your selfies as you are with your romantic interests. This means only one thing – you stare at them long enough to find something wrong.

At the end of a hungover Sunday, fuelled by wine and Netflix series, you finally decide to make an addition to your social feeds. You might not love it, but you want to convince yourself that the party animal is still there… somewhere. 

Thirty

The narrative:

When your parents were 30, you were probably five. Think about it like that. You might feel too old for the game, but at least your life fears finally vanished. 

© @ClubPhotos_ / Twitter

Not because you got over them like the responsible adult you are, but because you have one too many responsibilities that require your full and undivided attention.

You know, babies, mortgage, a senior work position calling for overtime four times per week, and all of that. 

The 30s milestone, also dubbed the prime of your life, is the golden period where you finally find the balance between lusty clubbing sessions and wine nights on the sofa.

You are not queueing outside the club every weekend because you’ve discovered the power of classy dinners featuring jazz, blue cheese, and Rhenish wines. 

Prep time:

Compared to your younger years, getting ready at 30 doesn’t translate into superficial stuff like picking an outfit. Now you are more of a practical person – arranging babysitters and booking taxis are your imperative duties. 

The pesky pressure surrounding party prep is significantly less existent. You take 30 minutes tops to gear up for a clubbing night because you completely despise everything that is both complex and unnecessary. 

Drinking habits:

We might not be sure about your drink of choice, but we can bet that it is damn expensive. Right now, clubs are that annoying ex still popping in your suggested events, so you shun them in favor of your new life partner – a nice bar where drink prices paint the grimace of a mimed orgasm on your face. 

In other words, it’s the type of venue you swore a decade ago you won’t ever set foot in. But hey, times and change and drinking preferences follow. Anyway, that bunch of rich kids standing next to you at the bar will probably giggle when you tell the barman how tequila shots make you barf. 

How the night unfolds:

“This is way too crowded” and “This used to be more fun” are the two sentences encapsulating your mood. When you’re 30 and finally ready to get out of your shell for a clubbing night, it is a big deal. If you are wondering why you are yawning between DJ sets, your party stamina is somewhere below sea level. Nothing will bring it back – besides a clubbing boot camp. 

Still trying to snort the remaining ashes of youth, your night is all about nursing bottles of expensive pubs in one of the club corners. It might sound dodgy, but you want to avoid that effing loud music at all costs.

Whoever screams “I can’t hear you” while clubbing is nothing else but a young rookie who wants to destroy his vocal cords and cause hearing damage to his ears. 

If somehow you manage to make it to 2 AM, people will be better off not talking to you for at least three working days. You feel drained out of energy and that last Tanqueray bottle wasn’t a good idea. 

Your average social media post: 

So you’re telling us you are not an influencer and still post your night out on social media? Good joke. 

Forty

The narrative:

You’ve come a long way, Old Sport. Experiences have been experienced. Badges have been awarded. Respect has been earned. By the age of 40, you’ve seen and done some wild stuff. Your bucket list should be all ticked off by now, because your clubbing life won’t be sprinkled with fire escape staircase blowjobs and unscheduled blackouts anymore. 

Cards Against Humanity over a glass of wine is the salt and pepper of your social life. You might have the money to splurge on a night out the way you wished for so badly in your younger years, but there is no time and energy. Good thing is that now you have enough zeros in your account to throw parties at resorts.

Prep time:

This outfit I wore at work a few days ago works, right? Alexa, call an Uber. 

Drinking habits:

© @ClubPhotos_ / Twitter

Anything and everything that is either sophisticated or strong. Or both.

Whiskey on the rocks and Cosmopolitan are two staple items you can never go wrong with. You’ve finally discovered Martini’s appeal – the same drink you ordered two decades ago to feel fancy but realised it had a morbidly disgusting taste.

When it comes to drinking habits, you’re loyal. So loyal that if the club runs out of your go-to drink, you’d rather go home than cheat.

Not because you fear the I-got-hit-by-a-truck type of hungover, but because you found the boozy drink that makes your clubbing experience complete.

There is no going back after that kind of revelation. 

How the night unfolds:

People will be judgmental and say that at the age of 40, your place is anywhere but the club. It seems like Leonardo DiCaprio totally missed the memo because he is 47, still raging and rocking the nightclub scene. It doesn’t matter how fat your wallet is, Leo DiCaprio’s status is not for sale.

But the closest thing money can buy is a VIP table, so you go for that instead. 

Life is such a weird cycle, isn’t it? Now you are in the VIP booth, surrounded by bottles of booze. Your younger self would be so damn proud right now. 

When you are 40 and not on cocaine 24/7, the clubbing spectrum looks like an NYE party. The climax of the party is reached by midnight. As it slowly fades, you take your coat and kindly ask Siri to call you a taxi. 

Your average social media post: 

Honestly, put that phone down.