Life of the Party at Exit 33

When nightlife venues at Exit 33 reopened for the first time in nearly two years, few were happier than Shawnna Popluhar, Nightlife Manager.

For Shawnna, who manages the nightlife experience at Exit 33 and the person who runs operations at Tin Rooster, the reopening signified a return to the job she has come to love—a gig she missed terribly when Exit 33 was dark during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Between the energy, the pace and the buzz of people coming to have fun, the whole environment at Exit 33 is something we don’t have a lot of in Upstate New York,” said Shawnna, who grew up in Cazenovia. “When you’re here, you feel like you’re in a different place - it’s more of a big city that you’d expect to have so many nightlife options to choose from.”

An average shift for Shawnna runs from about 6 p.m. until about 4 o’clock in the morning. During that time, she oversees every aspect of the operation, from set-up to entry to music and more.

Shawnna’s history with Exit 33 runs deep: She started at Tin Rooster when the venue opened in 2013.

Her first job at the venue was cashier, and over the course of the seven years that followed she worked as a hostess, server, bartender, and supervisor. Shawnna left to help open Point Place Casino as a supervisor and returned to Tin Rooster as a manager in 2019.

During the shutdown, Shawnna helped out in other ways, running the COVID-19 screening effort across the entire resort.

In this role, she pulled together a staff of employees from other departments, keeping everyone informed on the latest protocols and making sure everyone who walked through the front door was safe.

“The screening job was unlike anything I had ever done,” she said. “Looking back, I’m so thankful I had that experience because it was an incredibly important role at an incredibly important time.”

Outside of work, Shawnna loves working on her home in Oneida, and considers herself a “live music junkie.” The irony, of course, is that she doesn’t love country music. Instead, Shawnna said she’s a huge fan of rock and metal. In particular, she digs the band Shinedown—she’s seen them eight times and counting.

Whatever the playlist, we’re thankful to have Shawnna helping to run our nightlife.


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