When designing a nightclub consider in its most basic functions, what the club is there for; having a good time, meeting people and being entertained. There are many reasons however in my opinion (and I welcome comment or other reasoned opinions) the main one is meeting people and being entertained. Food and beverage is part of the service and facilitates the entertainment and meeting people but the basics are entertainment and socialization.
A nightclub offers activities such as dancing and while the guys often don’t see this as a major attraction it is a generally an accepted way of getting an introduction to the opposite sex. Women will go out dancing with their own sex but unless the club is catering for the gay community don’t count on men doing so. In the majority of times they go there to find women. Bearing this in mind when planning a nightclub, entertainment and the activity of meeting people the dance floor should be central to the planning.
Illustrated here is a basic guide to planning a simple nightclub that illustrates the principles that I believe are fundamental to an efficient operation. This exercise isn’t about creating a theme (although that’s often a really fun part) but ensuring that all the elements of the club are there and the areas flow. We will cover location and demographics elsewhere.
The Main Areas
Be it a DJ or full wall video, band, karaoke, solo entertainer or theater. This is going to be the area where everyone wants to get a view to watch and listen. The stage will need wings and service areas to function with versatility and efficiency. Don’t make it hard for the performer. The owner wants them at their best when hes paying for them, and the better the facilities the more likely the club will attract quality.
The Dance Floor
It can’t be crowded, it has to be right where the action is especially if it’s a band or solo entertainer. Particular attention has to be made to what the floor is made of including anti slip and the elasticity of the floor. Ideally it should be in view of all seating areas.
WCs for both sexes and respite areas for ladies. They have to be easily accessible from all the public areas and safe. Make these luxurious with plenty of space and facilities. Everyone hates having to queue and be cramped when trying to touch up make up. By creating a make up area or somewhere a conversation can be had is just another simple facility that costs little and adds sublime benefits.
This has to be easily accessible to all at all times. The last thing you want in a nightclub is to have to queue for service, and have the bar hidden from view. This is where the owner makes his money. It has to be fantastic and a point of entertainment and pleasure to get service at. With the bar design though needs to go into the amount of space that is available , if there is waitress and self-service direct from the bar, if cocktails are to be available and the range of drinks available.
In a nightclub it only needs to be reasonably simple unless the owner wants dual purpose and to use the venue as a restaurant when the club part is closed. Generally you are not going to be catering for a very broad specialist menu but as part of any hospitality outlet food must be available to patrons throughout the evening even if only bar meals. Discussing these ideas and requirements with owner is critical. Food not only helps with sobriety but it has a reasonably good margin if prepared and cooked with simplicity and skill. It is becoming more and more a requirement of the hospitality licencing too. Just listen to the Ramsey’s and Oliver’s of this world and they will tell you good quality food that is simple to prepare and quick to cook is easy with a decent chef and well planned menu idea. The patrons will thank the owner for it.
The bar and the kitchen both require continual cleaning and restocking. This needs careful thought and planning as the more efficient it is the less staff required and the more profit that the owner will require. Yes its not to be mean minded about employment but especially well designed bars are fast and efficient and require few staff. In fact too many and they will trip over each other. The service areas have to be able to get rid of the food waste, get the plates and crockery in for cleaning and reuse. The same with the bar. A back fed chiller is going to make it easier to keep fresh product cool with less time required to stock a front fed chiller when in a busy bar. The glassware has to be collected cleaned and set up with ease of access for the bar staff.