1996 was a significant year, both at home and abroad, for a whole myriad of reasons. It was the year the cult classic film Trainspotting was released in Irish cinemas. It was the last time Wexford won an All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final. It was also the year Tupac Shakur was lost to the world in a drive-by shooting. However, as one star was lost to the world, another was born. This star was – you’ve guessed it – the one and only, Copper Face Jacks Nightclub!
Coppers is more than a mere nightclub. It is an institution, a place of worship. Some may deem this statement to be sacrilegious, yet its opening was in fact preceded by a mass and blessing ceremony in the very depths of the basement. For many, it is a beacon of light in the darkness of the current world climate. It is a place that loyal customers flock to, some even on a weekly basis, to escape from the toils of the outside world and get well and truly hammered. Coppers claims to be the most popular nightclub in Dublin – it had its own musical this summer – attracting students, tourists, and celebrities alike, and is all too aware of its reliance on this plethora of loyal customers. This awareness, and dare I say gratitude, is epitomised in the growing phenomenon that is the elusive Coppers gold card.
For those who are unaware, the Coppers gold card grants the possessor and one guest unlimited free entry into the establishment seven days a week, 365 days a year. It entitles the holder to skip the snaking queue, a particular blessing on those busy weekend nights.
There is a significant amount of myth and inconsistency surrounding how one may procure a Coppers gold card. This article is here to officially shed some light on the subject and provide some proven tips and tricks straight from the mouths of the lucky souls already in possession of the nightclub equivalent of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. I searched around for every person in my acquaintance and beyond, in possession of a gold card in order to find out the proven routes they have explored on their journeys to success.
1.Work your connections
For the vast majority of people, Coppers’ gold cards were acquired through inside connections. Is your cousin’s uncle’s dog a Garda inspector? Was your father perchance college roommates with Micheál Martin? Then this could be your in. Governmental connections have proven to be particularly effective in terms of acquiring a gold card. Seeing as the owner, Cathal Byrne, is a former Garda, this isn’t all too surprising. Essentially though, anyone with a bit of prestige or local fame is in with a good chance of wiggling their way into getting one! This city is small enough that most of us have some sort of random B-lister, pseudo-celebrity friend – whether it be the up and coming DJ/musician, the influencer, or even the professional sesh friend who seemingly knows every bouncer in town. Use your friends and use them wisely. It may sound harsh but winter is coming. It’s like Game of Thrones out there. But with much higher stakes.
It’s important to keep in mind the sheer volume of people trying their luck at getting a gold card. If your connections fail you then it’s worth thinking outside of the box. Ultimately, what are the gold cards to Coppers if not an immensely effective promotional campaign? In recent years, some creative chancers have taken to social media to garner attention, tweeting Coppers on Twitter or screenshotting direct messages on Facebook. This has been tried and tested though, so you’re going to need to find a new twist, the time-weary “If I get so-and-so many likes…” attempt isn’t going to cut it. One successful chancer was granted a gold card by getting a tattoo of the Coppers symbol on her foot. It is important to note though that she wasn’t able to actually claim the card because she was under 21 years of age. Perhaps an important element to keep in mind; you need to be at least 21 years old to be eligible for a gold card
3.Play the long game
Quite a few people obtained their gold cards the old-fashioned way – by simply being loyal. They visited Coppers at least once a week, every week, for more than a year in some very persistent cases. Consistency is obviously key here but it’s also important that you make yourself known. Get chatting with the bouncers and bartenders to the point of first-name-basis if you can. Worm your way into the fold. Then, when the time is right, ask for one. Simple as that. You probably won’t get one the first time around. Even so, after a few tries, it has been proven to do the trick. What definitely won’t work, however, is drunkenly shouting incoherently at the bouncer across the railing at three am that you’re “their loyal customer” or that you “deserve one because you’re there every week”. We’ve all seen this play out and it never ends in anything other than a defeated walk to get a cheesy chip as a deflated consolation prize.
4.Sharing is caring
If all of the above tips simply aren’t working for you then it may be time to team up. One of the first people I contacted before writing this article was a group of friends who are known for all having Coppers gold cards. However, when grilled as to the exact way they all went about obtaining their cards, they admitted that they actually only had three cards shared among them. From what I gathered, there’s a bit of slipping cards out to be reused by different pairs on the same night but that’s neither here nor there. It might not be totally playing within the rules of the gold card agreement but desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures. In summation, if you’re not able to get your own gold card, round up some friends who have one!