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Editors Blog

Nightlife -- A Dangerous Business?

January 19, 2011 By: Donna Hood Crecca

Sometimes bad things happen. In less than an hour, management at Temple Nightclub in San Francisco saw some very bad things happen in and around the venue.

A fourth-year University of California medical student died from injuries suffered during a brawl at the club on the weekend of Jan. 8; another man was also injured in that incident and two other patrons were stabbed with broken bottles outside the club.

Such is the stuff of every bar and club operator’s nightmare, and now Temple – a club that is actually a Finalist for Mega-club of the Year in the Nightclub & Bar Awards -- is caught up in the ongoing press coverage of violence in nightclubs. San Francisco is a hotbed of headlines on the topic, as the Entertainment Commission and Police Department have taken a strong approach to stem the tide of such incidences in the city’s nightlife venues.

What’s different about the recent incident at Temple is that the club itself isn’t being lambasted; in fact, it’s being lauded by the EC and the SFPD. Newly minted Entertainment Commission Director Jocelyn Kane told the San Francisco Examiner that Temple is not a “problem” club, and went on record at an EC meeting to state that adequate security was in place at the time of the incident. I caught up with Kane, and she told me, “Based on what I was told, the club did everything right in my mind. [This incident] is the result of poor patron behavior, which continues to be a problem not just in San Francisco, but all over the country.”

She speaks the truth. Not a day goes by without reports of violence in nightclubs, and the clubs are often held up to blame and subject to liability. Rarely are the patrons lambasted in the media in the same way as the clubs. Granted, some clubs deserve to be tarred and feathered over their shoddy security measures, but I believe the majority of club operators do the right thing. It’s good to see one of those good guys being backed up for once.

Temple’s club management was proactive in enhancing its already well-structured security plan – Kane noted that some of the elements of the ED Director’s Order issued last week actually came from the club’s personnel. Read more about the steps being taken here.

Kudos to Temple, to the EC and SFPD for working together on this, rather than being at odds and making a bad situation worse.

Wondering what can be done about patrons behaving poorly? Well, look for coverage of the topic here over the next few weeks. In the meantime, check out the Responsible Hospitality Institute {rhiweb.org}, which works to bring clubs and bars together with law enforcement, regulators and community groups in order to create safe nightlife areas. That very task means addressing ways to keep patrons safe from what might be the biggest danger of all -- themselves.

 


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