Opening Checklists for Nightclubs

So it begins, another night On The Rope. You’ve parked your car, made the long walk to the venue, and clocked-in. Now what? Well, if you work in a relatively organized establishment, you should a have a list of duties or a checklist to follow.

Oh, you don’t?

I guess it is time to have another little paperwork discussion. Remember, while paperwork can be a burden, it can also cover your behind and make you that you do everything you need to, in the correct order. And if you have a list for the end of the night, you should probably have one for the beginning.

So let’s tackle the opening (figuratively, not literally) and see if we can’t organize ourselves just a bit. First off, knowing Who is staffed When is immensely helpful when putting together your opening list. A running count of how many Staffers you have on hand to do work is always key to quick, easy organization. Now that you know who comes in when, let’s get cracking.

Here are some possible items for your Opening Checklist:

  1. Front Door – What does your Door Staff need when they arrive and what will they need as the night progresses? Stanchions, ropes, carpet, clipboards, count clickers? These are for sure items that should be prepped and placed ASAP. Think about what else you and your Staffers use up front and put it on the list. And don’t forget the little things…like water
  2. Front Door Prep – Now that you have your gear, how and when do you set it up? Do you need to re-configure your rope or your entrance? Do some sweeping? Figure out the best time and order for you and your Staff to get the door ready. And check the items off the list as you go.
  3. Interior – The Bar Staff has to prep their bars. You have to prep your Interior. Trashcans? Go-go dancer Platforms? VIP Stanchions? What do you need and where does it go? Have you done a sweep of the restrooms to make sure they are set? Put it on the list
  4. Exterior – Do you have a bar with Patios or exterior VIP Seating? Exterior restrooms or  Porta-Potties? Platforms to watch the crowd? Put it on the list.
  5. Equipment – Does everyone get a radio and flashlight? Who gets ID books? Put it on the list.
  6. Management – Have you met with Management to discuss your VIP schedule/special events/staffing? You should and it should be on the list.

Some people find that lists are redundant. And depending on the size of your venue, you may not need a very extensive list. But I guarantee that if you have a checklist – regardless of venue size or staff responsibilities – nothing will be missed.

Until next time…

Flashlights

Nightlife entertainment venues tend to be dark. Some darker than others, but almost all fall into the “Gee, I can’t see very well in here” category. And, as such, it is necessary for anyone working in these darkened environments to have some means of navigation and illumination. While well-lit walkways and stairwells are great, there is one piece of equipment that will never fail:

FLASHLIGHTS

Yep, the old tried and true flashlight. It has many uses and just as many misuses. So sit back, relax, and let’s discuss proper flashlight use and etiquette.

LIGHTING YOUR WAY – The flashlight’s main purpose is to do just that: help you see where you are going. Unfortunately, many Security Staffers don’t understand that lighting your way does not mean shining your flashlight directly the face of the people standing in front of you. Should you need to get through a crowd of people, a nice loud “Excuse me”, coupled with your flashlight held above your head, slightly in front of you, and pointed STRAIGHT DOWN will suffice.

LIGHTING SOMEONE ELSE’S WAY – Should you need to point someone towards an exit or need to light that stairwell so they don’t fall, shine your flashlight at about knee to waist height. Anything else tends to lead to involuntarily flashing people in the face. And don’t forget to point (with your entire hand, not a finger) the Patron in the proper direction.

DIRECTING TRAFFIC/HIGHLIGHTING OBSTACLES – Should you need to keep people moving, constantly sweep the flashing light in the direction of traffic flow. In this case, a flashlight held at about shoulder height, pointed straight down is the way to go. If you need to point out obstructions or hazards, stand directly next to the obstacle/hazard and shine your light on it. Don’t forget to mention the hazard to people as they approach.

BLAST ‘EM – Situations do occur in which shining a flashlight directly at or onto someone is necessary.

  • Fights/Altercations – Shine your light directly onto whatever the situation may be. If the rest of the Staff have been keeping their flashlights low as in the examples above, the sudden beam of light shining onto an altercation will immediately draw attention to it. Keep your light on the situation as it occurs.
  • Distraction/Blinding – A good blast of light in the face of an unruly or aggressive Patron can buy you a few seconds of time. Some flashlights have strobe effects which are equally disrupting.
  • Pointing out a troublemaker – Sometimes an unruly Patron may get away from your grasp. In this case, instead of running up behind them and throwing a tackle, shine your light on the Patron while trailing them and calling for back up.
TURN IT OFF
In closing, always remember to TURN OFF your flashlight when you aren’t using it. Nothing is as annoying as a flashlight in a Staffer’s back pocket illuminating the world behind them as they walk around, oblivious. Besides, it wastes batteries.
Until next time…

What Does A Bouncer Do?

What does Security actually do? A lot of different things, many of them unseen by the general public. Here’s a little breakdown for you – with liberal doses of humor. If you can’t laugh at life once in a while, what’s the point? A tip of the hat to those who work in the field, some of whose stories I am using in the examples below.

  • Take your fake ID and give it to the police so that you avoid the ticket
  • Tell you to put your high heels back on so you don’t step on the broken glass…or into the puddle of vomit
  • Break up the fight your boyfriend is getting into because, “No one talks to my lady.”
  • Break up the fight your girlfriend is getting into because, “No one looks at my man.”
  • Keep you from climbing over the wall so you don’t slip, fall, and lose your teeth
  • Break up the fight you and your boys started because you, “Roll deep!”
  • Saving you and your boys from the fight you are losing because your opponents “Roll deeper.”
  • Carry you out the door and pour you into a taxi so that you don’t wake up in the drunk tank at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday
  • Ask you to stop dancing and climb down from the bar so that you won’t fall…and people won’t notice that you apparently forgot to wear underwear with your mini-skirt
  • Pull you away from the MMA fighter who you drunkenly informed, “I could probably kick your ass”
  • Take you out of line and put you on a bench so the police officers watching the line won’t arrest you for being drunk in public
  • Inform you prior to entry that your winning team’s sport jersey should probably not be worn to the losing team’s bar
  • Pull the creepy guy off you who insists that he knows you…even though your name is Tina and he says it’s Nancy
  • Patiently listening to you while you drunkenly insist on talking to your “…good friend Dave, the manager”, even though his name is Steve and he has no idea who you are
  • Try not to laugh too loud when you cut in line and say you, “…are going to spend mad cash up in here”…and it’s $2 drink night
  • Allow you to vomit on us so that you don’t vomit on the police officer
  • Deny you entry for over-intoxication now, so that we don’t have to carry you back out the door in five minutes
  • Kick you out of the bar for “motorboating” the cocktail waitress…whose boyfriend happens to be the Head of Security.
  • Take the beer from your hand before you walk out to the sidewalk with it and into the waiting arms of Law Enforcement
  • Nod and smile when you drunkenly inform us that our mothers are “women of loose morals”, and then guide you into the waiting arms of Law Enforcement
  • Thank you for telling us that our club is the “worst place ever” and let you know that the biker bar next door would appreciate a person of your candor

Believe it or not, the guys working the door and inside the club are there for your safety and security. They want you to have a good time, preferably one that doesn’t involve ejection of bodily fluids, physical violence, or verbal threat. Give ’em a break, huh?

Until next time…