The Coppers formula
Copper Face Jacks, on Harcourt Street, is a cheesy nightclub, somewhere between school disco and local rural nightclub, in the middle of the capital
On the floor: dancing and queuing at Copper Face Jacks night club on Harcourt Street, in Dublin, this week. Photograph: Aidan Crawley 30/01/2014.....FeaturesPeoplepictured in Copper Face Jacks night club in Harcourt Street, Dublin.Photograph: Aidan Crawley
On the floor: dancing and queuing at Copper Face Jacks night club on Harcourt Street, in Dublin, this week. Photograph: Aidan Crawley 31/01/2014....FeaturesA member of Copper Face Jacks security staff picutred the night club in Harcourt Street, Dublin.Photograph: Aidan Crawley
On the floor: dancing and queuing at Copper Face Jacks night club on Harcourt Street, in Dublin, this week. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
‘You’re all f***ing faggots!” One young man’s night is ending early as he simultaneously tries to fix his shoe, stop himself falling on the footpath, and shout homophobic abuse at the bouncers of Copper Face Jacks.
It’s shortly after midnight on Wednesday, heading into Thursday morning, and just another weeknight evening on Harcourt Street in Dublin.
By 1.30am another young man outside the club is screaming at the bouncers. “Scumbags! You’re a bunch of f***ing scumbags!” It escalates as far as him trying to hit two of the bouncers, as three of them follow him down the street. His helpless friend tries to intervene, saying “Leave it. Stop.”
The bouncers walk off for a second time, and he turns on his friend, pushing him across the path violently, saying: “Why won’t you stand up for me?”
He returns to the entrance of Copper Face Jacks to shout again, but by now gardaí have arrived. Confronted with two reasonable officers, he calms slightly, detailing his complaint about not being allowed in. “That’s irrelevant,” one of the gardaí almost sighs. Their stoic approach works.
Violence isn’t really an issue inside the club. On the dance floor, before 1am, girls are dancing and falling over, dancing and falling over. In fact, people fall over so frequently, from a combination of booze and heels, that there appears to be one bouncer whose sole job it is to help them up.
Last year the High Court dismissed two separate claims from two women about dance-floor falls in the club. Tonight, strategically placed large rectangular buckets and an endless supply of mops are in a prominent place by the dance floor. So much mopping happens throughout the night that you’d probably give some of the staff a decent shot at curling in the Winter Olympics.
On Monday, there was a crush outside Copper Face Jacks, and seven people were injured. One young woman’s condition was initially described as “critical”, although she is now recovering. Videos of the incident circulated online, showing the dramatic effect of 1,500 people descending on a club.
It was an over-18s night, something the nightclub has said it doesn’t normally run as it prefers an over-21 crowd. The night was promoted as “Messy Monday”, which gives some indication of its intention. The Garda is investigating the incident, as well as reviewing queueing procedures outside nightclubs in general.
“Coppers” is a phenomenon. By the end of January 2013, the club had accumulated profits of €54.7 million, and made pre-tax profits of €6.8 million that year. Its famously profitable cloakroom brought in €217,146 alone in 2011. Door receipts that year totalled €2.9 million. Employment costs are about €4 million, including the salaries of the directors, Cathal Jackson and his wife, Paula, which amount to €1 million.
If Coppers were a tech startup, Ministers would be falling over each other for photo-op handshakes, and Jackson (for whom we left several messages that weren’t returned) would be speaking at the Web Summit.
But Coppers is a cheesy nightclub, somewhere between school disco and local rural nightclub, in the centre of the capital city.