Famed Darlinghurst venue, Club 77, is in the process of securing its own security master licence. Director Dane Gorrel, a hospitality veteran, told The Shout why 77 was bringing security in-house. 

“At the end of the day, we’re just not happy with how our security, or security in general, has operated in the past,” Gorrel says. 

“We’re working with a third party provider of security, they [agency door staff] answer to their security company, they don’t really answer to us. 

“We want to build our own team that works for us directly, and that we can invest our time and money into, to train and develop the security staff more into safety officers than security,” he continues. 

In this regard, Gorrel is touching on some of the ideas raised by British bar operator Joe Schofield in his recent Maybe Masterclass. Joe also highlighted the potential of making door staff into more than just security, but safety personnel and members of the hospitality team. 

And perhaps this is all the more important at Club 77, a queer friendly venue with a strict anti-harassment policy in place. 

“We don’t really have any troubles at 77, we want to be able to train these people [incoming security staff] to have the same values, the same morals, as us, and work in conjunction with us to provide a safer and more inclusive space every time we open,” Gorrel says. 

“We want to work with people that have the same understanding and that are willing to work with the framework we’ve developed at 77, which is identifiable in our safety and harassment policy that was launched last year.”

Moreover, Gorrel simply felt that security currently on offer in Sydney was not really up to scratch. 

“We have had a lot of issues with security in the past – we feel that they either come to us and they’re not trained properly, or they don’t have the same moral values as us, or they don’t have the same business goals as us. 

“At the end of the day, I think there’s been a problem with security in venues in Sydney for quite some time… I do know from speaking to other promoters and venue owners and patrons that there are issues with security throughout Sydney – unfortunately it’s just the way it is.

“Don’t get me wrong – there’s been times when we build up with regular guards, but that does tend to change and fluctuate quite a lot. We’re looking for long term employees or long security staff that can work with us and build a future with us, just as we’re building a long-term, sustainable business.”

The shift to in-house security at Club 77 partly takes overseas inspiration, as Dane outlines. 

“It’s from our research of what’s happening around the world, mainly in Europe – how clubs are operating their policies and procedures, and how things are working. That’s what we’ve adopted here. 

“Again, it seems to me that they [European door staff] are more safety officers than security personnel. What does that mean? They’re there to provide a safe environment and a safe space for everyone that comes through those doors. 

“We’re not looking for big security guards. We’re looking for people that first and foremost put the customer experience first. 

“Have the right morals, the right background, in a sense, to deal with sensitive topics and sensitive issues – people who are willing to accept diversity, inclusion, all of that sort of stuff. That’s what we see happening overseas.”

As for the actual procedure of acquiring the security master licence, which the venue has almost completed, Gorrel says it was reasonably straightforward. 

“It’s been a little bit time-consuming and there’s been a little bit of back and forth, but it’s been a simple enough process,” the 77 Director comments. 

As to whether he expects other venues to follow suit, Gorrel says it will depend on the venue, and the operator, at hand. 

“I just don’t know if people are willing to take on the added risk,” Gorrel says. 

“If this comes off, I’ll be the master security licence-holder personally, but I’ll also be the licensee. That is a big amount of responsibility placed on one person to be honest. But that’s what we feel is going to be best for our business. 

“We’re just trying to be on the front foot with that stuff and provide a space for everyone who comes through those doors.”

This story was originally published on Bars & Clubs, click here to subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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