Angel Shot at Boogie

Bartender Matt Kersey pours a drink at The Boogie in downtown Springfield. All three clubs, Boogie, Bubbles and Zan, offer a special drink called the “Angel Shot” women can order if they are feeling unsafe.

While people go out to clubs for a good time, sometimes clubs are a setting for the opposite.

The staff of downtown Springfield clubs, Zan and Boogie/Bubbles, recognized the potential dangers in a club setting and implemented an “Angel Shot” code word policy designed to offer clubgoers a discreet way to escape uncomfortable or unsafe situations. The joint clubs publicly introduced the policy on their Twitter page this month.

“We were kind of taking the pulse of everything that’s happening in the world, and this is our way of addressing a situation before it even happens so that we’re prepared,” General Manager Jonathan Strazzinski said.

Clubgoers can order an Angel Shot from the bartender, signaling they are in need of help. Ordering an Angel Shot neat means the bartender will arrange a security guard to watch and alleviate the situation. An Angel Shot with ice means the bartender will arrange security to escort the person to their car or wait with them. The most severe situations warrant an Angel Shot with lime which signals the bartender to call the police.

One of the head bartenders of Zan and Boogie/Bubbles, Matt Kersey, discovered the “Angel Shot” policy on social media years ago and recently approached Strazzinski with the idea to practice it in both locations.

“It was a long time ago,” Kersey said. “I saw it and didn’t really think about it much at the time, but because of what’s going on in the world right now, I thought even though we do it without thinking, it was good for people to know that it’s there and they were able to protect themselves in a safe, discreet way.”

Strazzinski said he makes security a top priority at both of his clubs. He stations security guards at every entrance and throughout the clubs, but he said he wanted to use a more proactive approach rather than a reactive one. 

“We’re always, always trying to get better,” Strazzinski said. “We’re always trying to reevaluate old policies, change them, see if we can do better, do differently.”

In order to maintain a safe environment, Zan and Boogie/Bubbles require employees to undergo situational training in case they encounter a clubgoer who needs help. 

Strazzinski said employees review the security policies every night before opening, and almost every bartender starts off as security before being promoted to the bar. Kersey requires bartenders and barbacks to undergo weekly training.

“Every week we’re going over serving, our “Angel Shot” policy, going over shots and drink training, so we do weekly training so everyone is still up to par every week when we’re rocking and rolling,” Kersey said.

Kersey said the combined 13 years of experience working clubs between him and Strazzinski gives them “keen senses” for detecting harassment in their clubs. Both locations enforce a zero-tolerance policy for harassment.

“It’s supposed to be a break from the stress of life,” Strazzinski said. “Whether that’s school or work or whatever it is. You’re supposed to be able to come in here, have fun, and forget about all that. This was just more to make sure that that happens.”

Senior human resources management major Halle Craven said she respects Zan and Boogie/Bubbles for implementing this policy and hopes other clubs and businesses downtown follow in their footsteps.

“I thought it was a really cool initiative and much needed in our environment,” Craven said. “Being a female college student, the last thing you want to worry about when you’re out with your friends is being harassed or taken advantage of.” 

No one has had to use the Angel Shot policy yet, and Strazzinski hopes no one ever has to. He said he just wants people to feel safer knowing there is a proactive security policy in place.