When you are getting ready to go out, they are getting ready to head to work. We go behind the scenes in Miami's nightlife.
Joey Firestone, promoter for Empire Events, has been a staple on South Beach for some time. If you head out on the weekend expecting VIP service, you likely either know Firestone, have a contact number for him or know someone who knows him. Discovered when he was a bouncer for a bar in Coconut Grove, Firestone's work starts well before 11 p.m. as he makes between 50 and 80 calls regarding table service and entry into a venue he'll be working at that night. “There are calls waiting for me when I get up with problems from the night before or tables needed for the next day,” he said.
When he arrives at the club, his night begins with paperwork, his cellphones (both of them) are blowing up with calls and texts, and by 4 a.m. he calls it a day. “It's always fun and never boring,” he said. “It keeps you up late at night and you don't get much sleep. But I love it.”What's your role at night?
I am sort of like the mediator. It's hard for a lot of people to get to the door or even the line or get their table. The line is like 100 people deep, so, they'll call me and I will walk them in or help them get in. I want to make sure their tables are good because those are the ones who will keep coming back and spend money.And you have paperwork to deal with?
I try to track the promoters and what they do and everything, so I have copies of an Excel spreadsheet of what each promoter does and I give it to the door guys … so we can see who is the top performer and who is not. If they are not producing, we're not gonna keep them around.Phones are your lifelines since they keep you in touch with the clubs and the customers. What happens if they don't work?
Blackberry I have to have with all these e-mails and text messages … they all come through here. I will leave here and the battery will be nearly dead. Blackberry was down once and my tables were like freaking out. The whole club was like freaking out. It was a little weird.How do you remember everyone's name?
A lot of it is from face recognition from years of seeing them. I am pretty good with names, and I'll remember the first names but not the last names. If you tell me Mike's coming out, I won't know who it is. But if I see them I'll be like, oh yeah, that's Mike.What do people not understand about your job?
It's not as easy as people think. Most people think promotion and they ask, “Oh, what do you do for a real job?” It really is a real job if you take the time to really do it right. You can't just show up at 11 p.m. and get a free bottle and come out and get paid. It's not that easy. It's really hard because you want to make the money for the club and the money for yourself.
Photo by Alex Van Clief