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Long Waits, Luck Can Get You In These Clubs

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. ( MainStreet) -- For anyone who hasn't been in a nightclub since Studio 54 or The Limelight, a visit to any number of new bars or nightclubs popping up from New York to Los Angeles wouldn't look all that different from back in the day -- at least from the outside.

At many of these new clubs, you'll have a long time to contemplate that -- as you wait in line to get in.

After becoming the most exclusive nightclub in Southeast Europe, The Bamboo nightclub is making its way to Miami Beach via Bucharest.

Take Le Baron , widely considered to be one of the world's top nightlife brands. Owner Andre Sariva recently debuted an eagerly awaited New York installment of his original Paris nightclub (there's also an outpost in Tokyo and pop-up locations that trail the elite from Art Basel Miami Beach to Cannes). In late January the proprietor, also the man behind New York's Le Bain atop the Standard Hotel New York, opened the starry Le Baron along Mulberry Street in New York's Chinatown.

A two-year wait sprinkled with endless press and speculation resulted in a mob scene outside the club's opening (with a doorman wearing a full plush bunny suit dealing with the ambitious 2 a.m. insiders). Le Baron attracts a well-off bohemian elite and their scruffy graffiti-artist friends in a nightly ritual reminiscent of a modern-day court of Versailles alit in impromptu performances by rock groups such as MGMT and Dita Von Teese.

Leave it to Chicago's most famous chef, Grant Achatz, to create one of the most novel nightlife concepts in the country as a cocktail cousin of his Next Restaurant. The Aviary puts white-glove service on the quintessential cocktail bar, coupled with an ingenious small-plates menu by Chef Craig Schoettler. A staff of dapper bartenders assembles a menu of molecular-inspired cocktails derived from "produce and herbs carefully sourced and procured fresh daily."

Even with its more grown-up appeal, don't expect The Aviary to be free of lines. Would-be spirits seekers descend on the bar from 6 p.m. to score one of its first-come, first-served tables, and the line wraps around the block on busier nights. A limited number of daily reservations are available via email, but limited same-day notice via cellphone makes it just as easy to do in person. Inside you can book the Kitchen Table for a 10-course cocktail tasting menu and paired edible bites for $165 per person that may even include a summons to The Office (the basement VIP lounge that's strictly invitation only).

In Miami, nightlife is an insider's game, with proprietors and promoters keeping a tight rein over the hottest venues and club nights. This year, however, an invasion is coming from an unlikely place: Romania's most exclusive club brand is taking over the former Paris Theatre in South Beach to create a nightlife spectacle that's part show and part VIP ultra lounge. To understand Bamboo Club Miami one must look at the original Bamboo, in Bucharest -- one of the most exclusive dance clubs in Southeast Europe, evolving to include a private members' destination a la Soho House with summertime pool club, affiliated fitness center and glittery following.