What’s It Like Being Miami’s Nightlife Queen? We Asked Irish Sarah.

Here's how Sarah Lucey, the daughter of an Irish butcher, ascended to the top of the party scene

October 7, 2022 7:08 am
Interior of LIV, a club in Miami, Florida, where Sarah Lucey (better known as Irish Sarah) is director of talent
Sarah Lucey, better known as Irish Sarah, is director of talent at LIV (pictured) and STORY.

In a city famous for its nightlife, Sarah Lucey is a bubbly, behind-the-scenes coordinator who keeps the party going. Lucey’s nickname, Irish Sarah, is a nod to her home country, and as the director of talent at two of Miami’s hottest nightclubs, STORY and LIV, she’s the point of contact for stars like Drake and Calvin Harris when they perform in front of sold-out crowds. Her Instagram includes up-close-and-personal pics with A-listers from around the world: Ronaldinho, Rod Stewart, Conor McGregor, Shaquille O’Neal, the list goes on.

While Lucey’s job is larger than life, the Cork, Ireland native is pretty grounded, spending her days off at home doing laundry or catching up on her favorite television shows. She is deliberate about making space for downtime because her job means being on at all hours, from late-night dinners to press interviews and all-night club performances.

We caught up with Lucey to hear what she loves about living in Miami, the hardest part about working in a demanding industry and her favorite musical acts.

InsideHook: Your nickname “Irish Sarah” comes from your being born and raised in Ireland. Do you get homesick at all? Do you bring parts of Ireland with you to Miami?

Sarah Lucey: Ireland is a very spiritual, special island. I return there daily — mentally — to gather humbleness, gratitude and overall groundedness. My family are butchers, and we are extremely normal, hard-working and full of humor. They FaceTime me constantly so I don’t lose my accent or forget how to debone a leg of ham!  

What’s your favorite thing about living in Miami? 

I’ve been in Miami for 11 years and never got bored or lonely. So many of my pals travel through Miami to get to Vegas or other gigs in the States. It’s a fabulous melting pot of nationalities. Miami really is like the crossroads for DJs.

What’s the hardest part of your job? Most rewarding? 

The hardest part of my job is the unknown and having to be prepared for everything, whether that’s wrangling a celebrity with 20-30 guests or making the impossible possible. The most rewarding part is seeing any event, activation or party come together and the success that comes with it. 

Any advice for people who want to succeed in the hospitality industry

Relationships, hobbies and pals all need to be put on the sideline at the beginning. You need to live, breathe and eat this business. You need to always “be on.” Also, there are always eyes on you. Watch the booze and watch the social media content. Think like your boss would think. Study them and see how they move and why. Don’t mix business and pleasure for a while. Success takes time, and respect is earned. It will come, but you have to constantly be wanting this job. Your whole focus at the start is to be taken seriously.

While I’ve read that you rarely have any “typical” days, do you have any daily routines that keep you grounded?

I need to have silence for at least two hours that day. I crave alone time. I pray a lot. I exercise — which I loathe — but the hospitality biz is so intense it’s crucial to have balance and make sure your mental health is balanced. I also avoid booze during the week or any spots where I need to engage with people. I also crave nature. Funny enough, some DJs say the same thing — balance is important. 

Favorite place for an after-hours snack? 

Humans? After work? That’s a hard no. I go straight home to watch The Sopranos or Peaky Blinders and switch off. I love my balance and it’s vital to what I do. 

Where do you like to relax on days off? 

On days off, I stay home to clean, cook and do laundry. I get very excited about changing the bed sheets! It’s wild, isn’t it? I get invited to these A-list parties, yachts and jets, but home really is where the heart is.

What do most people assume about working for a nightclub that they usually get wrong?

People think that you’re pre-gaming and drinking and partying for hours before. I, and often the superstar DJ too, set our alarm, wake from a deep sleep at 1 a.m and walk into a sold-out show half asleep. But we are pros. It doesn’t matter what is going on that day — if your cat died or you’re fighting with your boyfriend — no one cares. You have to turn on your game face and get at it.

Who has been one of your favorite musical acts to book?

Definitely FISHER. He’s an Australian DJ with the same humor as the Irish. The man is wild, and I laugh so hard with him — even if my cat did die that day!

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