This is The Gatekeepers, in which Eater roams the city meeting the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some of the hottest and hardest-to-get tables in Miami.[Photo Credit: Cortney Cates]
Meet Linley Edwards, he's the Director of Nightlife at the Delano's downstairs intimate club FDR. He runs things behind the scenes and in front of the rope, someone you may or may not see if you frequent the place, because he's always running around making sure things run smoothly. Eater talked with Edwards post-Basel madness about what it's like having a place that, due to its small size and popularity, always has people trying to get in.
It's midnight on a Saturday. What's the wait to get in?
Well it depends on what time of year of course. In peak season from January to April, you could wait at least 20 minutes to get inside, sometimes you might not even get in. Summertime is crazy but not as crazy. The wait could be five minutes. If you get in (laughs).
What about earlier or later in the night?
We don't open FDR until around 11-11:30p.m. but some people come in early around 10 or 11 and hang out by the pool at the Delano first for a drink, and head downstairs around 12 or 12:30.
Does that increase your chances of getting in, by being by the pool area before?
No. You can get in the pool area. It doesn't mean you're getting in downstairs. It's a different doorman at each spot. We have to be a little bit more selective because it's a smaller venue, and it's a club, so you want to make sure people are dressed well and look nice. The pool crowd can be different than the club crowd sometimes so those are factors.
Is there anything one can do to make the wait shorter? How about if you're slipped some cash or gifts?
No slipping cash at our doors. It's Miami, so when you go out you have to be dressed well, stylish. Look good, have a good, positive energy. I always tell my guy friends, Miami is not a guy-friendly place so don't show up to a place with 7-8 guys and expect to get in. Anywhere. Show up with some girls, and it'll be easier. All girls, and you'll get in easy. No sneakers or baseball hats, you know, that kind of thing.
What pisses you off the most when people are trying to get in?
I'm not at the door that much but when I do go, it's when people say "Do you know who I am?" Well, if I knew, you wouldn't be standing there, so obviously I don't. That self-entitlement and attitude is annoying. Or people saying "I'm gonna call your boss." Well buddy, I am the boss. You get the celebs or pro athletes waiting in line with a cap on like everyone else. If the doorman says wait a minute, and you stand there and relax, I guarantee you'll have an easy time and he'll likely let you in.
How many seats are available on a given night?
Occupancy is 250 people- between 18 and 24 tables.
Who are some of your favorite celebrity customers?
Madonna, Demi Moore, Paris Hilton (not necessarily my favorite), Puffy, Stacy Keibler, D-Wade and those guys, Talib Kweli, Mos Def.
If the club is at capacity and there aren't any tables available, how do you accommodate a VIP?
My partner and I have an "owners table" so they know that if we're at capacity or certain celebs come in, they'll have to join with another promoter's table or we give them ours. That's never been a problem.
Have there been any outrageous requests you couldn't accommodate?
No, not really. We're a small venue so sometimes people want to pack it in to 600 people and that won't happen, but that's about it.
What are the challenges you face managing a current hot spot place like FDR?
Keeping everybody happy. Making sure the service is run well. So the people you invite want to come back and they tell other people. When it gets busy, making sure it stays clean. Just trying to accommodate everybody. I try to tell people to come early and it's Miami, they don't and they all show up around 1:30[a.m.] trying to get in.
What's your favorite night at FDR?
Monday and Saturday. Monday is industry night so it's their night off and I get to see some industry people and have a good time. Saturday is just a fun night, people go out and are in from out of town. It's a good early spot for people who want to go to bigger clubs after. I like the format on Saturday; it's open format. A little bit of everything.
When you're not working at FDR, where do you go to have a drink?
Foxhole, my boys own it.
What's your best gatekeeper tool?
My cell phone and having a positive attitude, because I've been in this business for a long time and I've learned sometimes you can't fight people and you gotta kill them with kindness.
· All Coverage of FDR [~EMIA~]