Thursday, October 28, 2010
This Is What Needs To Happen
Angels & Kings is located in River North.
You wouldn't believe the complaints I get from minorities about the discrimination they face when going out to Chicago's downtown nightclubs.
It is not uncommon, most say, from what happened to the Chicago Bears players who were denied entry to Angels & Kings on Monday.
One African-American clubgoer, who also happens to be a nightlife promoter, said: "I have personally seen and experienced firsthand how venues like Y Bar, Crescendo and FUNK openly discriminate against blacks. If those guys didn't play in the NFL, nobody would have ever known about this incident and the promoters would still be there. Here's a test...how many of these venues do you think allow 'black' promoters to produce events at their venues?"
Which leads to another question that has been burning in my mind for quite awhile. Where are the upscale minority-owned nightlife venues in the downtown area?!
I have heard from some black promoters that it is difficult to impossible for potential black club owners to obtain a liquor license. And for those who have gotten them in the past (the now shuttered Crocodile Lounge, DeJoie's, Shark Bar come immediately to mind), they had to open as a restaurant first.
Just like everyone else, black folks want to "party downtown" in venues that play music they can relate to and dance to. And for the most part, mainstream clubs play urban, hip-hop music, so that's why they want to go.
If there were more downtown clubs and bars owned by minorities, black patrons would be the first in line to get in. And if, and when, this occurs, this is what needs to happen if those venues want to stay on top:
1) If you're going to be a restaurant/nightclub hybrid, stay true to the game. The menu should be tight, reasonably priced and the waitstaff should be as professional as possible. There should also be a distinct division between the restaurant and nightclub because some patrons will come to eat while others come to dance.
2) No loitering outside. Don't give the neighbors or police an excuse to shut you down. This is typically when the problems start when people don't know when to go home, get disorderly outside and lean around on cars.
3) Enforce a dress code. See my rant here.
4) Hire doorstaff who treat your customers with the respect they deserve.
5) Develop a theme for your venue and stick to it. And if you hire outside nightlife promoters, make sure they reflect that theme and bring in a crowd that's appropriate.
6) Hire bartenders who know what the *&^%$#@#$% they are doing.