"Her job was born out of the culture of bottle service. The concept of paying for a whole bottle of alcohol and sitting at a table originated in Europe and grew a tail in the States in the early nineties, at New York clubs Life and Chaos. But it didn’t stick until 2001, when bottle service became the new way of gaining entry into a world that had previously not been for sale. You no longer had to be an Andy Warhol descendant to party at a place like Bungalow 8; you could be Joe Banker or Joe Banker’s son with his father’s credit card. And the staffers changed, too. Cocktail waitresses evolved from out-of-work actresses into Penthouse Pet–level creatures who sparred with their co-workers for client gratuities by expanding their breadth of service. Their take-home pay skyrocketed from $300 a night to $3,000 banner shifts."
More at New York magazine.