Monday 23 September 2019

Meet Sarah Lucey - the nightclub queen from Cork who might just have the coolest job in the world

Sarah Lucey. Picture: Instagram
Sarah Lucey. Picture: Instagram
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Even the coolest sounding jobs are rarely as good as they sound, except in the case of Sarah Lucey.

The 32-year-old from Mallow has been living in Miami for seven years, working as Director of Talent at Liv and Story nightclubs, two of the hottest nightlife destinations in an already blazing city. Story is as iconic a venue you'll find outside Las Vegas or New York: it was an old Hollywood hotspot where Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack would party alongside Elvis and Marilyn Monroe; nowadays the A-list legacy lives on with Beyonce, Jay-Z and Justin Bieber among the visitors.

Tables can run from $10,000 a night and that's just for the basic package, but Sarah says you're not just paying for a nice table to sit at but celebrity access.

"There’s a lot of celebrities you'll probably see and you'll be listening to people like Calvin Harris or David Guetta," she told The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTE Radio One.

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"I think people come to Miami, they save all year. My customers wouldn't be coming in extra week, these guys come in, they spend 100k and then they’re saving all year. That’s really vulgar now!

"I grew up where celebrity is different for each person. In my house, growing up, my celebrity would be Roy Keane, I'd probably go weak at the knees if I saw Roy Keane or Martin O'Neill."

Lucey's lifestyle in The Magic City is leaps and bounds away from her upbringing in Cork where her father works as a butcher, but she says the lessons he instilled in her as a child have stood to her since.

"I think business was always in my blood. We always had greyhounds and my father would take me to the track after school. I just love business. I did commerce at UCC, then I went to Smurfit," she says.

It was this drive to pursue sales that encouraged her to book a one-way ticket to Miami after a working with her cousin Conor Buckley in VIP Dublin nightclub Krystle.

"I got a taste for selling something," she explained. "I researched where to go, it was Miami, Vegas or Ibiza - Ibiza was seasonal, so I booked a one way ticket to Miaim. I had no contacts. I was so hungry and driven, I hounded the bosses of these clubs and I put everything into it. I cut back on drinking, i’d say my prayers every night, it was what i wanted to do.

"People will say, what’s Kanye and Kim or Beyonce like. I get on with them well and I will handle them from start to finish because we talk about what’s real. We talk about being humbled. I wouldn’t push it [religion] on people, but to have faith and know where you came from,  it pays my bills, I bought a farmhouse in Cork and that’s where I plan to live. This is just to make money and go home."

She went on to praise the innately Irish quality of intuition and following her instincts, saying: "The Irish have that in abundance. I've come across so many professionals - smart, educated buinesspeople who just lack emotional intelligence. We’re good emotionally and spriaually. We really connect with people and we’re very warm."

As for her day-to-day work, it involves late nights (she wraps up at 5am) and 'minding' superstar guests from start to finish and she takes particular pride in respecting their privacy.

"Let’s say it's Calvin Harris or Swedish House Mafia, we book them the back end, I'll be negotiating for what I want. If we don’t get much notice and there’s a celebrty in town who wants to get a bit to eat at one of our restaurants, I’ll make sure they’re at ease, that there’s security and there's no press around them. Other clubs would expose them but we need longevity so we need them to trust us," she said.

She might love her life in Miami, but Cork will always be home to Sarah and she's eyeing up a move to that farmhouse in the next few years.

"There's no plan, i just love business. Anything that’s open to selling, I'm there and ready," she told the host, adding that sales is all the same technique at the end of the day, regardless of the product.

"I think it’s all in how you sell it and your temperament. My dad gave me a huge chance in life, I remember when i was young at the dog track and a man came ip to my dad and said, 'I want it buy the dog'. He turned around and said Sarah call the price.

"It was just the value of selling, it’s the same with a leg of lamb or a table to Jay-Z. Selling is selling, it’s in your blood."

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