RHI’s Sociable City InterviewS series compiles insights from thought leaders about the social economy and life at night.
The collection of interviews brings a comprehensive analysis of trends and foresight for the future.
Director of Sales
Retail Development Strategies, LLC
Public Safety Compliance Team, Edmonton Police Services
Senior Executive Director
New York City Office of Nightlife
Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment
Head Corporate Responsibility
Diageo North America
London Nighttime Commission
Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services
kristen sheds light on the creativity of adams morgan
Adams Morgan, a neighborhood in Washington D.C., has long held a reputation for having a mix of restaurants and live music venues. However, when COVID hit and venues began to close, Adams Morgan had to get creative.
Kristen Barden, Executive Director of Adams Morgan Partnership BID, shares a unique approach to featuring live music in public space. Partnering with Songbird Music and Record Café (a live music venue in the neighborhood) and with the help of a friend and his truck, roving musicians played on the back of a truck every Saturday afternoon. The truck would station itself in front of an outdoor dining area, then move on to the next. This served as entertainment for music-deprived patrons and a gig for musicians!
Jocelyn HELPED build a bridge between nightlife and residenCES
Cities don’t always know how to mesh nightlife and residences—let alone, how to have them coexist.
Jocelyn Kane, Senior Consultant of the Responsible Hospitality Institute, and former Executive Director of San Francisco’s Entertainment Commission, helped build a bridge between the two by developing a smoother, more structured permitting process and giving nightlife operators a place at the Entertainment Commission’s table.
Jocelyn stresses that government should not try to fit square pegs into round holes. The nightlife industry is fluid, malleable and ever-changing—this is what makes a creative experience for patrons but presents challenges for permitting agencies, regulators and compliance staff. She does say that if anything, the COVID-era has proven that it's possible for government to be nimble in changes to regulation.
Greggor sheds a light on the loss of lgbt+ bars, clubs & Nightlife venues
A new study on the loss of LGBT+ bars, clubs and nightlife venues sheds light on a national trend: even before the pandemic, we were losing our LGBT+ social spaces. More than a third of gay bars and half of lesbian bars closed between 2007-2019. If you think gentrification and dating apps are the primary causes, think again. The answer is far more complicated.
Greggor Mattson debunks our biggest misconceptions about why the country is losing its LGBT+ nightlife. Find out how the truth was uncovered and why it’s still important to maintain physical spaces for the LGBT+ community to socialize.
sarah Gives gives voice to countless women experiencing exclusion
Stories of black women being excluded from nightlife venues have been circulating for years. Women of color who didn’t fit mainstream beauty standards – for hairstyle, body type, skin tone, etc. – were most often excluded. Yet these aren’t isolated incidents.
Sarah Toutant’s groundbreaking research is giving voice to the countless women who’ve experienced exclusion from nightlife. Find out the most common exclusionary practices by nightlife “gatekeepers,” and how nightlife in the future can be more welcoming and comfortable for women of color.
Dr. reuben may shares an optimistic vision for nightlife
Are nightlife venues inclusive spaces? On the surface, yes.
Dr. May’s research has found that patrons in nightlife settings sometimes reinforce “invisible boundaries” that keep people separated and “social distanced.” In fact, policies like dress codes have been used to exclude entire populations of nightlife patrons.
But there is hope. As social justice issues come to the fore in the country, there is an opportunity for nightlife spaces to be more welcoming and comfortable for people of different backgrounds.
JON shares how customer base patterns can help predict our future
Jon Stover Founder and Managing Partner of Jon Stover & Associates shares insights to data that show that businesses serving residential areas are doing better than businesses that serve tourists and office workers.
The pendulum has begun to shift. Even the slightest change in customer base patterns can help make projections into what we can anticipate post-pandemic. Jon predicts that cities will be more open to permitting sidewalk seating options and businesses will continue to merge public and private spaces.
sergeant LOOKER shares his approach: education 1ST, enforcement 2ND
Sergeant (Sgt) Paul Looker of the Public Safety Compliance Team for Edmonton Police Services gives insight to the roles of the public safety compliance team during COVID-19. While venue inspections have gotten easier due to smaller crowds, Sgt. Looker anticipates the younger crowd will be the first to jump at the chance of socializing once venues fully reopen.
Even as we await the reopening of venues, Sgt. Looker stresses that the public safety compliance team is out educating venues on safety measures (before enforcing any policies).
Lessons from the Man Who Started the Night Mayor Movement
Mirik Milan, Amsterdam's former Night Mayor shares how the night mayor role is a combination of rules and regulations put into one nighttime governance role with the intention of improving nightlife and those who are affected by it.
Though nightlife has come to a temporary halt, Mirik predicts that once the pandemic subsides, nightlife will consist of real-life events with the additional online component being an option, making events more accessible and available for all. Mirik says that the pandemic has taught us that socializing isn't just something we do because its fun, but because its apart of who we are as humans.
Dominique gives insight to a new kind of downtown model: theme parks
Theme parks have made it fun and effortless to understand and follow the rules. Before you even get in, you hear audio that orients you to the rules, along with themed, eye-catching signage. They also have friendly customer service reminding you of the rules vs. acting like the “mask police.” Theme parks have skillfully made it fun to follow the rules without making you feel constrained by the rules.
Downtowns have to develop a similar approach to planning the downtown experience.
Dominique Greco is the Special Projects Manager for Orlando’s Office of the Nighttime Economy a.k.a. the City of Orlando’s Nighttime Economy Manager.
sara berns gives insight to this hot destination for 20-somethings
Sara Berns, former Executive Director of Discover Pacific Beach, shares how Pacific Beach, CA, has adapted to the pandemic.
Like in many cities with a curfew for alcohol service, Visitors to Pacific Beach are socializing earlier in the day. Movie nights (projected on the wall) and trivia have become fun (and safe) ways for customers to feel connected. Businesses have also adapted to the times—swapping out their communal tables for outdoor dining.
Conversely, house parties have become an unexpected outcome of the alcohol service curfews because the 20-something clientele is not used to ending the night so early.
Paul Seres defines nightlife as an incubator for creative visionaries
Nightlife is an incubator for creative visionaries to present the craft they wish to create. Or at least, that’s what it started as.
Paul Seres, Founding Trustee of New York City’s Hospitality Alliance, predicts that 18 months from now, creative concepts will be more important than ever before to bring back customers eager to socialize. There may even be a period like that of the roaring 20’s – “a new level of fierceness.”
brian block Shares How COVID-19 raised awareness about arts & Culture
Brian Block, Austin’s Entertainment Services Manager, shares how the pandemic has raised awareness about the importance of arts, culture, creativity and tourism. He anticipates that establishments can go one of two routes: 1) small venues will receive support from the public sector or 2) live music will be distributed to different parts of town. The big question is whether the music and entertainment sector will re-emerge more sustainable and resilient post-pandemic. The alternative is a world without music.
jEan homza gives insight to the reopening of live music venues
The biggest challenge hospitality venues continue to face amid the pandemic is survival!
Businesses closed, 12 million without jobs, and a reliance on merchandise sales to keep afloat. How will businesses come back post-pandemic?
Bar Manager and Community Liaison for Washington D.C.'s 9:30 Club, Jean Homza, says that there are more things to consider than just the reopening of live music venues themselves: bands and musicians feeling comfortable enough to go on tour; rehiring and training new staff members; and competing live streaming technologies.
lester jones Shares How beverage alcohol consumption was impacted
Lester Jones, Chief Economist for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, brings insight on how COVID-19 has impacted consumption nationwide.
When COVID-19 hit, hospitality venues were shut down. They were able to reopen with new options: cocktails-to-go, beer-to-go, expanded outdoor dining-all things that were rare or non-existent pre-COVID-19.
Lester comments, "The cats are out of the bag." Rather than trying to collect them all and put them back in the bag, we should learn how to move forward with our new alcohol policy landscape.
Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services
RHI Board Member
Kathie Durbin Shares how Proper education and training builds capacity
Kathie Durbin is Acting Director at Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services, Maryland, managing alcohol licensing, policy, education, legislative initiatives and business compliance. Longtime board member of the Responsible Hospitality Institute, Kathie is considered an expert in the field of alcohol regulation, education, and policy.
Kathie focuses on the importance of proper alcoholic beverage training and education to give the industry the necessary tools to build its own policies. While COVID-19 has proved to be an added obstacle, one of the biggest challenges is creating public health guidelines to keep patrons safe while also balancing a venue’s viability.
Danielle robinson shares how You mix culture into your drinks
Danielle Robinson is Head of Corporate Responsibility for Diageo, North America, overseeing charitable donation, philanthropic efforts, employee donations and multicultural programming.
Danielle Robinson shares the various trends that are a result of today’s COVID-19 regulations. Imagine being able to experience another country – right at home! The mixology world is breaking down barriers by sharing unique flavors – a way to share the taste of a new culture through its beverages.
Senior Executive Director
New York City Office of Nightlife
Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment
Ariel Palitz gives insights as a well-versed nightlife professional
Ariel Palitz is the first Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife in New York City. Appointed in 2018, Ariel serves as a dedicated liaison and advocate for nightlife needs. A lifelong New Yorker and nightlife professional, Ariel brings more than two decades of industry and community-building experience.
COVID-19 threw a wrench into these bucket list goals. Palitz discusses how the office continued to amplify the needs of the nightlife industry during the pandemic. As the industry slowly moves out of survival mode, her office is dedicated to helping businesses reopen and re-employ workers and artists.
ROBERT POMPLUN BRINGS FOUR DECADES OF SECURITY training
Robert Pomplun transitioned from teaching to becoming a leading expert in security policy and training in nightclubs and events. His company founded in 1982 provides onsite and online training for service and security staff. He serves as an expert witness on liability lawsuits, testifying about responsible beverage service policy and training.
He focuses on security training to prepare frontline staff on the importance of building relationships with patrons from the moment they enter the door, the first moment of intervention. With COVID, he discusses the added responsibility of intervening when there are conflicts in "social distance" as people begin to socialize again.
ALLISON HARNDEN DEFINES THE NIGHT MANAGER ROLE
Allison Harnden is a pioneer in nighttime management. Following her work in the hospitality industry, she joined RHI in 1995 and served as the San Diego Hospitality Resource Panel (HRP) coordinator, uniting resources from hospitality, safety and development organizations. The HRP became a template for a four city demonstration project in 2001 including San Diego, Tallahassee, Seattle and Philadelphia.
Her work continued with RHI, bringing the team building approach to dozens of North American cities before become the Nighttime Economy Manager for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She currently facilitates a network of US city night managers.
john samuel shares impacts on the disabled community
The disabled community has benefitted in unexpected ways from the COVID-19 pandemic. John Samuel, Co-Founder and CEO of ABLR, describes how the shift from in-person dining to take-out resulted in greater digitalization of menus, accessibility to new cuisines via app, and home delivery services. However, COVID-19 has also created new barriers for the blind and visually impaired community.
John envisions an inclusive future where city planners consider the challenges faced by the disabled community and incorporate ways to make it more accessible and friendly to differently abled communities.
Robert saltz discusses Alcohol and Sociability
Robert Saltz brings decades of experience leading research studies on the effectiveness of environmental approaches to reducing risk and alcohol-related harm, especially in bars, restaurants and other venues serving alcohol. This includes responsible beverage service (RBS) training and policy, dram shop (venue) liability and college campus parties.
His association with an international network of prevention advocates and researchers, especially in his work in social settings and risk on college campuses.
In this interview he shares his perspectives on how alcohol consumptions and attitudes are shifting, and how policy makers will work in a new environment post pandemic.
SHAWN TOWNSEND HIGHLIGHTS BENEFITS OF A "NIGHT MAYOR'
Shawn Townsend was recently appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture in Washington, D.C.
DC was on a winning streak in nightlife achievements prior to the pandemic – from declaring “go go” the city’s official music to releasing an economic study on nightlife. After a team attended RHI’s Sociable City Summit March they launched into action to coordinate meaningful relief for the hospitality industry. From proactive policy to better communication with nightlife businesses, DC agencies have stepped up to the plate to help the city’s severely impacted nighttime economy.
JOHN BODNOVICH SHARES INSIGHTS ON INDUSTRY TRENDS
As chief executive of this non-profit trade association, Bodnovich engages stakeholders from across the United States to address common concerns and issues, influence federal legislation, and represent members through public relations and strategic communication. He continually monitors business, regulatory, and social environments to ensure appropriateness and effectiveness of messaging while enhancing members’ reputations as responsible, vital members of the community.
In this interview he shares how he envisions the future of the hospitality and nightlife industry and what his members are doing to cope with impact from COVID.
rosa ESCAREÑO Showcases chicago's unique alliance process
Rosa EscareÑo brings 20 years of experience leading large scale agency reform, operations management, communications strategy, and public/government engagement. Chicago's Entertainment Venue Team has served as a template for cities throughout the world uniting police, fire, alcohol regulatory, and health departments for compliance and education.
In this interview she shares the evolution of this unique interagency team working in collaboration with hospitality businesses to define fair and efficient guidelines and policy reform to assist dining and entertainment businesses operate during COVID-19.
London Nighttime Commission
philip kolvin REIMAGINES THE FUTURE OF THE SOCIAL ECONOMY
Philip Kolvin has an illustrious career in the UK’s nightlife and broader nightlife ecosystem. He is a barrister representing dining and entertainment venues who helped develop the 24/7 licensing legislation in 2003. He served as chair of the Best-Bar-None venue safety assessment process and was appointed by Mayor Sadiq Khan as the first chair of the London Nighttime Commission and author of London's 24 Hour Vision.
In the interview, Kolvin predicts how our post-pandemic socializing patterns will be forever changed. Daylife (socializing during the day) just might become the new nightlife.
THOUGHT LEADERS GATHER IN SEATTLE FOR SUMMIT
RHI PRESIDENT, JIM PETERS
conducted six interviews at the 2020 Sociable City Summit in Seattle with thought leaders from diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
Each shared their personal history and role in programs and strategies on nighttime management.