Building a Better Nightclub

Can the developers of a new superbar keep the dance floor packed?

"Our job is not only to entertain people, but to service customers," said Sokoloff. For example, when a customer purchases a bottle, the wait staff will use a Palm Pilot to automatically transmit the order to the basement; there's a kiosk that can shuttle bottles from the basement to any of the three floors. "The bus boy and the bar back don't have to go any further than that to get anything you need," said Sokoloff. "It'll cut that 30- to 40-minute time down to five minutes, six minutes."

But even great service won't guarantee patrons will continue to show up once the novelty of partying in a new place wears off. For now, the strategy is to offer a bit of everything: music, food, bay views, multimedia shows, even concerts. Celebrities might even host theme nights, Sokoloff said, and the club is trying to attract corporate events.

All these elements will be necessary to survive in a neighborhood that, with the exception of Space, has yet to take off. "There will be production every weekend, freak shows -- whatever it takes to entertain people, to make people feel like they got their money's worth," said Sokoloff. "If this street is going to survive and we're all going to do well, we have to do something different."

Nocturnal's general manager Bob Jones
Jonathan Postal
Nocturnal's general manager Bob Jones

Nocturnal is scheduled to open for an invitation-only "soft opening" on Friday, March 19. The following week it will host a series of parties during the annual Winter Music Conference, including Circus Miami 05, headlined by platinum-certified big-beat producer Fat Boy Slim and house music icon Frankie Knuckles. After conference, the management team will shutter its doors for a few weeks to assess progress. The official grand opening party is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of April 21.

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