What I’ve learned running a nightclub for a week.
Hey guys, this is going to be a more chatty article than normal. I don’t know how well it’s going to work, I’m basically just typing as I’d talk to you. I have a feeling its going to be a little more like a text based podcast than anything I’ve written before.
So its currently 04:19 am here in the UK. I’ll let you know the time when I get to the end too.
Why am I running a nightclub?
Well, I mentioned in last week’s podcast that things were a little crazy. Here’s why. My fiancé, Jo and I were expecting a baby, our second. My son Oliver, who is 14 months old is amazing and he’s featured on the podcast a couple of times. He won’t leave my flair bottles alone, he picks them up and throws them on the floor, all the time. I guess he’s just dropping them as he’s seen daddy do a thousand times.
Last Thursday, Jo and I went for a scan hoping to see if we were expecting a little brother or sister for Ollie. We’ve cleared out my old office where the podcast was recorded and later filmed for the first 30 or so episodes ready to decorate for our new arrival.
What we saw was a baby with no heartbeat.
As I’m sure you can imagine, we were both devastated. I was due to be back into work for my last couple of days as the retail manager at the magic shop on Thursday and Friday, but I never made it. Jo was back at the hospital on Friday to begin the process, and was admitted on Sunday, and stayed until Tuesday evening. I’m not going to go into too much detail as:
a) This is a bartending blog, and
b) Jo is a much better writer than I am when it comes to that kind of thing, and you can find her blog over at MommaBoss.co.uk
Running a nightclub is physically hard.
For starters, I feel more fatigued from running a club than I have in the past bartending. I genuinely thought it would be the other way around. I’m arriving a couple of hours before opening and filling the ice wells, setting the bar top, making sure we have back up spirits and all the other stuff that people assume just happens in a club. Things like making sure the toilets are clean, inflating balloons and floating registers for a start.
During the shift, you don’t stand still for more than a couple of minutes. We have a very young and fresh team now at the club, and while they’re very confident with the service, they’ve not come across the problems with post mix and draught beer that are normally easily fixed yet. This weekend we had all the power to the cellar cut out (except the lights which made it take a moment to work out) and while the fix was pretty simple, it was tricky to work out that was what was happening, so it took a little running up and down stairs to diagnose and solve.
Also, change in the tills runs out really quickly and unpredictably. This weekend, simply because everyone had just been paid everyone was paying with 20s, so the smaller notes were used up right away when we opened, even though there were very few people in the bar so far. With an office up a double height spiral staircase, the trips do take it out of you.
Drunk people at the door are simultaneously funny and a pain in the ass.
Happily at the club we have some great door staff who are just as comfortable having fun with the guests as they are removing those who misbehave. We’re lucky that we have almost no trouble in the nightclub as 80s tunes like Madonna and Queen are not the kind of music conducive to fighting. Its all upbeat happy music that keeps the mood light and friendly.
While we have no trouble in the nightclub on a typical week at all, you do get some guests arriving who have already had too much, and having an excellent door team makes life so much easier. These guys are worth their weight in gold. It also helps when the bouncers bring you Haribo sweets to share.
Well trained staff are great value.
Let’s face it, most nightclubs have huge staff turnover. We’re luck enough to have well trained staff even though they’ve not been at the nightclub for that long. They all have their own bar blades, (not the norm in the UK) and the majority of drinks can be mixed without leaving their station. These bartenders all did me proud over the weekend, especially when last Saturday we had two of six staff off sick and still beat our targets. We all worked really hard and made it work that night!
A safe full of change might last a night.
You’ll need more coins than you think.
We get through TONNES of change. With the cover charge changing through the night and our cocktails available all night at a sink price, the cocktails are a driving force that keeps people coming back to the bar.
Have you run a club or bar for a while while the boss is away or do you have a pit for me? I’d love to know tour thoughts.
Its now 05:21, and I’m really tired! I’ll sign off for now but keep your eye open for more!
Oh… And it’s 05:25am now!