Nightclub & Bar Security Operations and Management

July 14, 2016

In nightclub & bar security there are three goals: Protect the people, protect the property, and protect the business. If you’re unsuccessful at protecting those goals, you will be unsuccessful in the nightclub security industry, and unsuccessful in the security industry overall. Protecting the people, property, and business, consists of many aspects: front door security, floor security, and security management.


Before we jump into the basic operations, let’s go over the tools of the trade. Whether it be a formal/informal uniform, depending on the type of establishment you work in, every business should have identifiable uniforms for their security staff. It is important for every staff member to have a flashlight, and the light needs to be easily accessible for you to use. It sounds silly, but effectively using a flashlight in a nightclub/bar can avoid many altercations. Matt Ellison, with Fortress Defense, has a great article on the proper usage of a flashlight. Simply ‘Illuminating your immediate area’ says: “I am here, and I have a tool.” This is the lowest level of force, and is considered the most passive. Always illuminate areas of near people, or unknowns, in order to gather more information about those individuals. Remember, you must shine your light DIRECTLY into the unruly customer’s eyes, and issue a verbal command. This lets them know, I am in charge of the situation, and you will listen to what I have to say. Also, they cannot see you. The individual’s hands will reactively come up to shield their face from the bright beam. This allows you to see what’s in their hands. Over a decade in the industry, and I have carried the same 200 lumen Streamlight tact light. It has saved me from numerous potential altercations. Other great tools to keep on you would be some sort of medical kit. We encounter many issues in the industry, this includes injuries. Guests will cut themselves on glass, or other unexplainable objects. If it hasn’t happened in your bar yet, it will. A simple, quick, and easy to use med kit can aid in slowing down the bleeding until the professional’s arrive.


The front door staff should consist of a ‘muscle and a mouth’. The first person each customer interacts with should be your ‘mouth’, or ID examiner. The mouth is the salesman for what the club has to offer. He/she should have exceptional communication skills, and the ability to draw customers to your venue. The ‘muscle’ would be a larger, visible, secondary front door guy. His main job is to keep eyes on the mouth, directing foot traffic in/out of the entrance, and is also responsible for the cash register, if your venue charges a cover. The front door staff should always prevent a potential problem. If a customer is rude, overly intoxicated, or unruly, it’s simple; do not let them in the business. An unruly guest at the entrance, will be ten times unruly once inside. Always revert back to your goals when questioning yourself about letting a customer in. Are they a threat to themselves/others, the property, or the business?


The floor staff has an equally important position as the front doormen. Their primary role is to facilitate a safe and memorable guest experience for all guests inside, and outside, your venue. Yes, everyone inside should be 21 or older, but we all know adults, mixed with alcohol, turns some of us into children. The floor staff should have the mindset of a customer service representative. The bottom line is, the bar is in the business to make money. The more money the bar makes, the more money