Hunters Nightclub has been a staple for many years in the LGBT community in Palm Springs, California, and South Florida’s community was very excited to welcome Hunters as they opened another location right on Wilton Drive at the end of 2013. The nightclub was embraced immediately by the community in Wilton Manors, and it’s been a whirlwind, but they have now finished one successful year in business. So it’s time to celebrate!
Hunters will be having their first anniversary party this coming Thursday, January 22, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres are being specially catered to the event and butlers will be serving them to each guest as they arrive. In addition to food and drinks, music will be supplied by DJ Richie Rich, and a dance party will follow the party shortly after 9 p.m.
I talked to general manager and co-owner of Hunters, Patrick Volkert, for this exclusive Hotspots interview. He tells us the secret to the bar’s success, their current renovations, and their happiest moments from the past year in business.
How does it feel to celebrate one year in business in South Florida?
It’s been a long process but it feels very good.
What do you attribute your success to?
There are quite a few things. Great customer service is our main goal, and you can’t have great customer service without the staff. I truly believe our staff is the backbone of Hunters and definitely what makes it great. We make sure the customers are happy always, and we know they’re happy through the product we put out, through our interactions with them…great service is always our priority.
What kinds of compliments have you received from your clientele?
There have been so many, especially over the holidays and on New Year’s. Since we took over on December 23 last year, this is our second New Year’s Eve, and from that time last year to this past New Year’s Eve, we tripled in attendance. We sat by the door and greeted people as they came in, and they kept telling us that they loved our customer service and that we really made a positive impact on Wilton Drive. We heard those compliments from people who were brand new and from people who have been with us since the beginning. It was very nice to hear.
I heard you all are starting renovations. What renovations are happening right now?
We just started renovations three weeks ago, so people may have noticed it during the New Year’s Eve Studio 54 party. We still have some more things to do; it will take about three to six months to finish, and we’re not closing down at all, so we’re doing things piece by piece.
We’re redoing everything, from the floors to the walls, the ceilings, the bars and the bar fronts. We’re repainting walls, taking down the film from the windows and hanging new lights. There will also be a newly redesigned DJ booth and new bathrooms in the upstairs.
What’s different about the Fort Lauderdale location compared to Palm Springs?
A lot of it is very similar. In fact, we share a lot of customers back and forth. The bar layouts are almost completely identical. Their main bar is bigger than their dance floor, and our dance floor is bigger, but apart from that, it’s very much the same. People who come in and visit from California really like that.
What were your favorite moments that happened at Hunters in 2014?
Pride and Halloween were my favorites. The two days of Pride were a lot of fun for me. With Halloween, we were one of the benefactors for The Pride Center, and we had four bars out on Wilton Drive in addition to the ones inside. There was so much going on, and it was a very good night. But every day has been an adventure for us, really.
What kinds of parties and events can we expect to see this year?
You can see more of Fur Friday for sure; that event has definitely been well-received. We haven’t had any real big event like our anniversary that’s coming up, but I know we are planning on having one big themed party every month this year, so that’s something to look forward to.
For anyone who hasn’t been out to Hunters yet, what would you say to them to ensure they check it out?
The customers would definitely say that you’ll have a great time here, and I said it before, but it’s really our customer service that’s one of the best things, coupled with the product we have to offer, and our staff is to thank for the great service.
Hunters is located at 2232 Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors. For more information, call (954) 630-3556 or visit huntersnightclubs.com.