The Art & Science of Clubland, Part 2

Lesson: There's no business like show business

But most of that is Hotel Management 101. Give us something specific you're doing different from the competition.

"When I first came to the Beach, I saw that everybody had these huge bouncers out front. Anytime I see a big guy going" -- he crosses his arms and icily juts out his jaw -- "it freaks me out. That's not the first image I want you to see."

Sure enough crobar's front-door security consists of two fellows who may be a bit on the beefy side, but in their untucked button-down shirts and khakis, they are hardly intimidating. In fact standing inconspicuously off to the side, only their Secret Service-style earpieces hint they're anything more than two schlubs hanging out. There is a hulking figure with massive forearms at the ready, but he remains inside the club's dimly lit entryway, out of sight.

Good clean fun at Back Door Bamby: Promoters Mykel Stevens and partner Carmel Ophir (below) only play at being ultraexclusive
Steve Satterwhite
Good clean fun at Back Door Bamby: Promoters Mykel Stevens and partner Carmel Ophir (below) only play at being ultraexclusive
Carmel Ophir
Steve Satterwhite
Carmel Ophir

As for the future, Smith is well aware of the fickleness that characterizes this business. "A year in club life is measured in dog years," he quips. Reinvention is crucial. He has a fifteen-year lease on crobar's current site, but he acknowledges this: "If I'm still here in two years, the name on this place won't be crobar, and the building will look completely different."

What about fun? Wouldn't it be nice to just take some time off, enjoy the fruits of your labor? You're not getting any younger, you know.

"Oh, I'm having a great time!" he exclaims, and then abruptly shifts tone: "Being in this business has kept me from having a wife and kids." He trails off for a moment but brightens as a leer forms on his face. "Look," he says, "if I was only interested in having fun, I'd become a DJ. Those guys get laid a lot more than club owners."

Read last week's The Art and Science of Clubland, Part 1.

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