Spotlight on Safety: Ariel Palitz’s Tactical Approach to Nightlife Venue Security

Ariel Palitz served as the inaugural director of the Office of Nightlife at the NYC Mayor's office, a position custom-built for someone with her passion, experience, and understanding of the city's after-hours ecosystem.
Owen Colwell
August 3, 2023

Have you ever wondered who orchestrates the vibrant, lively, and seemingly effortless magic of New York City nightlife? Let's shine the spotlight on Ariel Palitz, a powerhouse who has made significant strides in making the Big Apple's nightlife and hospitality industries safer and more enjoyable.

She served as the inaugural director of the Office of Nightlife at the NYC Mayor's office, a position custom-built for someone with her passion, experience, and understanding of the city's after-hours ecosystem, serving under Mayor de Blasio and Mayor Adams from 2018-2023.

With a background as a club owner herself, Ariel's breadth of knowledge extends beyond theoretical best practices. She has dealt firsthand with the highs and lows of maintaining order in bustling nightlife and hospitality establishments.

Through her former office, Ariel helped establish guidelines that have made the city’s nightlife safer without dampening the fun. In a recent interview, she shared her perspective on the importance of rigorous security measures and heightened awareness for venue owners, promoters, and event hosts. Catch the full interview here:

Why Security Is Paramount

Picture this: You're managing a buzzing party, music pounding, with hundreds or thousands of attendees letting loose. It's thrilling, sure, but it also carries a huge responsibility.

In Ariel's words, "running a club or a party with hundreds of thousands of people is a military operation." This comparison underscores the importance of venue security. Like a military operation, it requires strategic planning, careful execution, and unfaltering vigilance.

The necessity of robust security measures comes down to one simple fact:

"It only takes one person to create chaos in a room of a thousand."

As a venue owner, promoter, or event host, you certainly don't want a single mishap to jeopardize the entire event, damaging your reputation and endangering your patrons.

Implementing rigorous security measures can prevent such scenarios and assure a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.

Tactical Approach to Security

Ariel advocates a unique approach to handling security at venues: creating your own rules in addition to those provided by the security company you hire. As a club owner herself, Ariel implemented 25 additional rules for her security team. This method underscores the importance of taking extra steps to enhance security.

One crucial rule she put forth was: "You can't be on the phone ever." It might seem minor, but attention to such details makes a major difference. A security guard distracted by their phone can overlook crucial cues, compromising venue safety. By enforcing this rule, Ariel ensured her security staff stayed vigilant at all times.

Ariel's approach urges treating operations with the precision of a military campaign. Your security measures should be handled with attention to detail as if you are "on the front lines." This dedication to your staff, operations, and security measures ensures a successful and safe event.

How can you integrate Ariel's advice into your venue's security strategy? Start with these steps:

Adopt an Involved Approach: Don't just hire a security company; develop your own set of rules that complement and personalize the company’s protocol to your venue

Prioritize Focus: Ensure your security staff stays attentive. Implement rules that prevent distractions, such as phone usage during work hours.

Consistent Supervision: Regularly inspect your venue's security operations. Look out for any lapses and rectify them promptly.

Implement a Detail-Oriented Approach: Handle every aspect of your security operations with careful attention, as though you're on the front line.

Event hosting is more than providing a good time; it's also ensuring your patrons' safety. Ariel Palitz's tactical approach to venue security offers a model for creating a safe, enjoyable atmosphere. It's time to treat your staff, operations, and security measures with the attention they deserve. Because, ultimately, your attention to detail will be the difference between a night to remember and one to forget.

Start reevaluating your security strategy today – with Ariel Palitz’s insightful guidance, your venue can become a beacon of safe and enjoyable nightlife.

Now that Ariel has ended her term at the Mayor's Office, she is focusing her attention on helping nightlife and hospitality entrepreneurs navigate the various processes of open and operating safe and viable venues, as well as advising cities around world start their own dedicated offices and programs for supporting the night time economy and culture. You can learn more at

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