Woman In Charge
When Dana Dwyer isn’t summering in St. Tropez or checking out the club scene in London, she can be found in Miami—where she calls home—and where she’s about to launch an exclusive nightlife project.
Like many industrious people, Dana Dwyer started bartending in college to make some extra cash. Then, after graduation she decided to embrace what she enjoyed—people, music and hospitality—to work her way up the ladder in the nightlife world. Dwyer became a bar manager, beverage director and went on to be general manager of one of the hottest venues in town—all while being one of the few women in the industry. Now she’s set to open a new venture, ORA, that will focus on a more intimate late-night experience.
Here she reveals how the Miami scene has changed and what exciting things we can expect from her new establishment.
How has the night life in Miami changed over the last 8 years?
There have been dramatic changes over the last eight years. The DJ explosion made a major impact on all nightlife in Miami and everywhere else across the globe. People used to go out to socialize, to talk to each other and have a good time, and maybe pick up a girl or guy. The nightlife scene now is driven by big named DJ’s and social media. We’ve lost touch of socializing with our own people. I think the big warehouse club days are over. We will see smaller more intimate venues popping up with people spending money on their own shared experience rather than just for the DJ.
Can you tell us about your new project?
I really can’t reveal too much yet, but it will be game changing for Miami nightlife, and just when it’s most needed. We have named it ORA, derived from the Latin word for “beach”. We have the best location on South Beach and are building the best team in Miami—in Miami, that’s what really counts. Your venue might look beautiful and have great music and DJ’s but if you don’t have the right people to fill it, and the right people to execute it, then you are not giving Miami locals and tourists the best nightlife experience they can possibly have.
Is it hard being a woman in this business or does it give you an advantage because you stand out from the crowd?
It can go both ways. Women have a way of talking to people that puts people at ease. Though I do have my days when I meet someone that tries to walk all over me because I am a woman. I quickly put them in their place and let them know I don’t mess around. Mostly I do feel respected as a woman in my position.
Can you describe your dream day (and night!) in Miami?
I love to so some yoga in the morning. Then some shopping at Bal Harbor. Something about how they preserved the old charm makes me happy. I love that the security guards still drive golf carts in their little red hats, and of course who wouldn’t love the luxury shopping. My favorite store at the moment is Saint Laurent. After that, for the best finale of the night? Well that’s what we are creating. Just wait Miami!