Q&A with The Royal’s Daniel RiegerOctober 15, 2013 By: Angela Bonnici
Not to be confused with Lorde’s “gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin’ in the bathroom,” the Greenwich Village hot spot, The Royal, is a lot classier than that. The man behind the throne, Daniel Rieger, who founded Clientique Marketing Group and VenueTap, shares his experiences with Nightclub & Bar on how he’s helped The Royal reach regal status as a partner of the club.
Nightclub & Bar (NCB): What inspired you to open The Royal?
Daniel Rieger: I was inspired to open up The Royal because at the time there wasn't a venue I found comfortable to watch games and hang out with friends. I opened The Royal with large groups in mind, several viewing points of our 40+ screens and accessibility.
NCB: How did your background/experience prepare you for this endeavor?
Rieger: My background is mainly in marketing and promotions. With a partner we created Clientique Marketing Group in 2007 which grew to be a prominent nightlife agency within New York City. Venutap was later established to match-make people and events with venues and celebrations. The company oversees the growth of multiple brands and works closely with several hospitality groups. I am constantly improving my businesses and adapting to the ever changing city. I'm enjoying operating The Royal as I am able to continue to work with people and groups from my past while building something new with those now involved with our venue.
NCB: What have been some of the biggest challenges in managing The Royal with the endless competition the NYC nightclub and bar industry throws your way?
Rieger: The biggest challenge regarding competition is that people in New York typically want the ‘shiny new thing’. So as new places open, whether they are great or not, it always eats a little bit at your business. Our goal is to maintain regulars and locals with a consistent atmosphere while enticing new guests with something along the lines of ‘shiny.’
NCB: Can you describe the ambiance and vibe at The Royal and what audience you attract/want to attract?
Rieger: The Royal brings the ultimate viewing experience to Manhattan’s Union Square, marrying traditional sports bar elements with a quality menu and the sophistication of a late night lounge. The ambiance that comes through is definitely that of a sports lounge with a refined atmosphere leading to a nice, mature crowd. We can accommodate the corporate crowd, the downtown crowd and the sports fan. We like to consider our venue as a place where you can feel comfortable yet let loose.
NCB: What makes The Royal unique from other similar venues?
Rieger: What really makes us unique is our viewing experience. With over 43 TVs in the venue, our customers can see multiple screens from every seat. Large leather banquettes can be found towards the rear of the space providing maximum comfort for guests while viewing sporting events on the LED televisions.
NCB: Can you describe the motivation behind the cocktail menu?
Rieger: Our cocktail menu is meant to be fun, simple and sophisticated twists on classic drinks.
NCB: What’s in store for this fall/winter and for the future of Royal?
Rieger: Looking to the future --- some amazing NFL watch parties, March Madness, college football, and surprise guests and performers! We always try to keep things interesting with surprise appearances and performances. For example, Talib Kweli surprised our Sunday Night Football crowd recently with performing his hit "Get By." That is also a quality that keeps us unique - you can pop in any time and expect a different element of surprise whether it’s a themed night, surprise performance, or celeb appearance. Since we have such a high rate of repeat, loyal customers, I try to make every day a little different -- shake it up. We will also be spicing things up on the food side by adding some amazing winter dishes. Stay tuned.
About Daniel Rieger
Daniel Rieger graduated from The George Washington University in 2005 and received a Master’s Degree in Finance from New York University in 2007. Daniel’s career began working at Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, a boutique real estate investment bank, where Daniel sourced new deals and analyzed financial terms for potential clients. While at Ackman-Ziff, Daniel worked part time to help develop a marketing plan for a struggling restaurant.
It was there that Daniel met Mike Russell and together they would go on to create the Clientique Marketing Group (2007). In just over 3 years, Clientique grew into one of New York’s premier nightlife agencies, with a strong focus on reservation management, staffing, and brand marketing.
Together with Mike, they created VenueTap and have overseen the growth of multiple brands under their management by having a strong team that specializes in front of house management for hospitality properties. Daniel oversaw the operations and finances for Clientique and continues to do so for VenueTap to date. VenueTap has been hired by some of the industries largest hospitality companies, including: The Morgans Hotel Group, The One Group, and China Grill Management.
Daniel Rieger along with the rest of his team opened The Royal, an upscale sports restaurant and lounge in January!