Dream and Hustle

Republic Lounge Killing Show Nightclubs Have to Transition to Membership Only

Sunday, February 5, 2023

In Atlanta, the news is reporting that the co-owner of the Republic Lounge, Michael Gidewon was shot and killed outside his own nightclub. According to reports, a club patron was overly drunk and was escorted off the premise. He returned with a firearm and started shooting, killing the co-owner.

Michael Gidewon is the brother of Alex Gidewon who runs AG Entertainment and nightclub venues and events throughout the country. I have been to AG Entertainment events in the past with celebrities and top-quality sistas and had a good time, and a good experience. I believe he expanded out to Los Angeles as well as other cities but I only know about L.A. because I have been to a few AG Entertainment sets out there as well.

This type of murder activity is not a new story, in fact, it appears to be a pattern – throw someone out of a nightclub, then they come back shooting. Then no one knows the shooter and there is confusion and some of them are not even captured. Then we got women being assaulted in the clubs, people driving home drunk and DWI killing an innocent person as a result and we also got fights, beefs, rivals and folks getting targeted in the parking lot or followed home. The nightclub business model is extremely dangerous and should not exist in its current form.

Nightclub owners, in my opinion, especially Black and Latino club owners make the mistake of letting anybody in their clubs in the 21st century. Not only is this a horrible idea waiting for a tragedy; this non-membership club model does not support the factual economics that membership-only is more profitable in the mobile-first digital age.  If non-members cannot get into Sam’s Club or Costco, then why the hell Black/Latino nightclubs got strangers running up in their club getting drunk, and shooting it up and no one knows who the hell that customer was?

America is a violent country – everybody got guns. That’s why I shake my head at clowns being on the Internet talking about “using hands” when cats out here use guns for thrill killing. We live in a gun-first society – folks shoot you in the back, they will shoot you if you put your paws up, teens will shoot you for not buying a water bottle off them for $1, folks will shoot you for disrespecting their car – you don’t move carefree and cavalier in a gun-first society, especially as a Black/Latino when no one going to tell the cops what really happened to you. Keep your head on a swivel and don’t go around saying dumb stuff like you “throw hands” when folks throw lead in these streets.

Everybody has to be known and vetted when you are doing business in the 21st century. Let’s look at the obvious vulnerabilities of the Republic Lounge.

First, how did the alleged shooter get so drunk? Did he arrive at the nightclub/lounge drunk? Or was he kept being served by the bar/wait staff will no regard to the number of drinks served? In any case, no bar patron should have been over-served with liquor and can be held liable if that patron gets into a car and kills or injure someone leaving the club. This scenario of throwing this guy out of the club for being drunk is a red flag of how Republic Lounge was being managed because the protocol should not have been to throw out a drunk that will get mad while intoxicated.

Second, why doesn’t anybody know who this shooter is? Do you have a picture of the person when they entered the club? Why aren’t there any cameras – there is no legit reason why a nightclub doesn’t have cameras unless the club wants privacy for illicit activities. Did the patron use a credit card? Did the patron license was seen and recorded the name?

Third, how was he allowed to return? Did the security throw him out and manhandled him like those Memphis cops because that’s how most Black club security act – just like those Scorpion unit Black cops in Memphis, let’s not play stupid. What is the protocol knowing there were already several cases in Atlanta? The Cosmopolitan Premier Lounge in October 2022, security escorted someone out who came back and shot, killing one of the security guards. Last February 2022, a security guard at the Encore Hookah bar escorted a man from the bar and the man came back and start shooting killing the security guard.

There are more incidents of the same escort/get shot pattern in 2022 alone, had an Atlanta city council hearing, the girlfriend of the Encore Hookah Bar security guard spoke out on this matter and Republic Lounge carried out the same activity escorting someone drunk and the co-owner was killed as a result.

The solution was obvious and plain as day – have a membership-only model. There is zero reasons except being ignorant why anyone would run a premier nightclub without membership and RSVP only. In reality, the membership model is the most profitable and lucrative model for a nightclub. The only reason why someone is opposed to a membership model is they are moving dirty money through the club and the club is just a front.

Let’s discuss what are the benefits of a membership-only nightclub and why it is the only viable model in the 21st century.

In the digital economy, membership is the biggest asset. Once you have members; you can engage using digital and physical channels to create relationships and loyalty. Reservations create demand and pre-paid revenue. In Dubai, the Aura Skypool requires getting a reservation six months in advance due to the demand for that spot. When I went there, nothing but fine African and East European, and Arab women were all in the spot, no low-quality, and all of them were money and thick. The place has time slots to reserve and once our time was up, a whole new line of people with reservations was already lined up so the place was filled all the time.

Black/Latino nightclubs may be thinking that they want to maintain the privacy of their customers – oh, you mean the customers that shoot and kill your security staff, runoff and you don’t know who the hell they were? No, what that nightclub is doing is not vetting their customers for quality and focused instead of quantity and doing it as a primitive 20th-century level. We are in a digital age and the science is proven to be more complex in a mobile-first digital economy.

One thing these nightclubs have to consider is a full-time digital team – most digital nomads can perform this task overseas. I personally know a Japanese Blasian chick that manages Black American/UK/France/Nigeria nightclubs flyers, email lists, newsletters, SMS, and promotions from Tokyo. This digital team manages the social media sites, the email newsletter, and the SMS text to engage members to make reservations. They can also handle the reservation back end to remind customers and provide support to questions via email or chat.

Remember what I said about Dubai - I brought this up for a reason – I’m over here in Atlanta reserving a cabana for the Aura Skypool lounge way up in the Middle East and getting communication on my RSVP and visit. Nightclubs want to engage in clienteling – have them pick their seats, show them the menu, let them know what events are going on at the club and outside of Atlanta and former customers are always in the loop to recommend the spot for others or reserve in the future.

Once you get a membership, then you get a whole new demographic of digital citizens, including digital global citizens who can reserve a space to be among an exclusive group of folks and are willing to pay $100 to $300 for the reservation. Now you have high-clientele, not broke folks getting drunk and got a cheaply available gun waiting to use on someone when they feel things are not going their way. This is what we see in Dubai and other places like the NFT clubs where they sell NFT access as membership to restaurants and clubs.

This is what a nightclub is missing when they don’t have membership-only. They miss the ability to match their liquor preference to their known members. Now the club just importing random bottles that may carry a low-pour rate and that money could have been spent on the more targeted inventory of bottles that have a good pour rate. In your marketing, you can target the bottles and have them reserve the top-shelf stuff on their visit. I can go on but overall, the Republic Lounge just let anybody in who got drunk and started shooting and a heavy price was paid. No nightclub should be the next.

At the minimum, there are driver license scanner machines on Amazon where a nightclub can scan the barcode on the back and get the information on who is entering the nightclub for their own records. Quit the privacy-rationale nonsense because if these folks can give Mark Zuckerberg all their personal data, personal movement, and check-ins, nightclubs can definitely start collecting the basic information so they can know their customer or KYC to create a safer environment for everyone.

One more thing before I go, the dude who was at the club getting too drunk. The solution is to give them a space in the nightclub to detox because, in reality, it is the nightclub's fault for over-serving them and putting that person in a situation to be drunk. The second option is they have to take a cab home or a driver from the nightclub takes them home. These are terms and conditions that should be signed by members. The entry fee from all members should include a cost for this risk in case someone needs a ride home.

Kicking someone out of a club is some Memphis cop macho jacked-up nonsense where someone trying to test someone else manhood. Don’t be confrontational like that, treat everybody with respect and resolve the situation with dignity. You saw Carlito’s Way with Al Pacino and what happened after he kicked that one dude out of the club and how that ended for him. Just remember how many security guards got killed in Atlanta in 2022 escorting someone from a club and realize there has to be a different way to treat patrons. 


Ed Dunn

From Chicago West Side to Worldwide