Question: Tips and secrets, eh? Care to share? I always am cool/make small talk with bouncers/doormen but my friends seem to think if you look like your on a mission and walk past after showing your ID you don't have to pay cover/can get into VIP areas ect. They often play the, "Do you know who I am?!" card. Seems to work more then it doesn't.
"Do you know who I am?" or any form of it will surely not work. The 2 most common answers "No, and I don't care," and "No, and that should tell you something." Every time someone has used that line, it has never worked. Name dropping does not work either. If you know somebody, or somebody knows you, the best way to handle it is to wait until the doorman has a free minute, and speak to him on the side. Tell him that you know so and so, or so and so asked you to come down, and when he gets a chance if he could have them come out. Most times they'll either just let you in, or radio the guy and you'll be taken care of. Just like a cop, they are an authority figure and you are at their mercy. You need to show that you respect their authority and appreciate what they do and that they have power over you. In this situation, they feel respected and it puts them in a position to make the right choice of being nice to you. If you holler at them and try it in front of other patrons, they have to establish their authority and show you who's boss (kind of like, "I'm not gonna let this guy tell me what to do").
If you don't have an "in", you need to act the part. Actions speak way louder than words, and you need to act like you've been there before. If you want to get into VIP, just walk briskly, say hi to the doorman in stride and walk through. Once you're in, they can't exactly abandon their post to chase you down, and won't figure its an issue. Bouncers are pretty damn lazy. If you make small talk or try to befriend the bouncers, keep it short and move on. They hate having someone hang around next to them like they're "helping out" and its really annoying while you're trying to do your job. Try mentioning that you work in another bar, and ask if they give bar courtesy. If the guy doesn't know what it is, tell them that when he and his coworkers come to your club, they get the VIP treatment and free cover, in exchange for the same courtesy at their place. Most times they'll say yes. Just hope they don't know anyone at that place (if they do, say you just started there). There were a couple guys that would come up to me, introduce themselves, and kiss my ass for a quick second before leaving. Then they'd swing by an hour later, call me by my name, and hand me a red bull or a bottle of water and say thanks. Those guys got taken care of every time they came in after.
Question: As a bouncer myself, ive seen wasted girls behave in pretty terrible ways. What are some of the worst things youve seen them do? And have you noticed any trends of bad behaviour?
Others? They all are incredibly filthy creatures, and you of course know that the ladies room should have a sign over it that reads "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here." I've seen wasted girls fight, spit, throw drinks, piss and shit anywhere & everywhere, fuck, steal tips, steal drinks, etc. One time a drunk chick offered to blow me just to skip the line (not to get in, or get free cover, just to get to the front).
As far as behavior trends go, its scary. Girls are degenerates when they go out. They all lie (terribly at that), use fake IDs, try to sneak mass quantities of booze inside, and generally just act like assholes. But the scary part is their complete lack of responsibility and concern for their own safety when they go out. They go to the club get shitfaced and pass out, most times in the bathroom or in some dark remote corner of the place, and just assume everything will be OK. Do they think the drunk-bitch fairy just comes and poof makes them appear at home, safe and sound? They're relying on the kindness of strangers and the responsibility of their friends to ensure they make it home and don't wind up dead, in jail, or raped. If I'm at a bar and I start feeling like I'm going down (which happens quite a bit), I make sure I get my ass out of there. Stay safe.
I'd be sexist if it weren't the truth. Granted, there are lots of responsible girls that don't behave like this - they go out in groups, have some dancing/drinks, and go right home. Most people call them cockteases. I've got no problem with a lady that likes to party, but most of these chicks literally pound shots until they literally drop and blackout, and in a hostile environment. It's like riding the subway in NYC and just laying down on the floor and taking a nap for a few hours, hoping that you wake up in your bed with no repercussions.
Question: Seems like a great way to network. What's the most money you've ever seen someone spend? Any celeb stories?
One guy dropped about $2 grand a night 4 nights/week for an entire year. He was a freshman.
Pac Man Jones once spit on my foot and said "Do you know who the fuck I'm am cuhh?!" That was about 2 weeks after he paralyzed a bouncer in Vegas. I just simply told him he couldnt come in. This was like 2 weeks after he was involved in that whole strip club shooting in vegas. I knew who he was as soon as he approached, and there was no way in hell I was letting him and his entourage in.
I also saw Evan Royster (Rb for the redskins now, I believe?) get knocked stone cold unconscious by a kid no bigger than my left leg. They weren't even fighting. Kid just walked up, rocked him, and left. I still laugh about that one... He had just wrapped up his breakout season at PSU. He's actually a really nice guy, and didn't do anything at all. I guess the other dude was a Michigan fan.
Question: What are the average qualifications the bouncers have at your club? What is your major in school? Any advice/general rules/tips for people going to clubs?
-I wanted someone that could handle themselves and was good with people, friendly. Anyone that played team sports was a plus, because they know how to work together. Wrestling experience was highly valued, because 90% of all fights go to the ground, and the various holds are useful when escorting people out and restraining people. They also needed to have a 2.5 GPA if they were a student, and had to maintain it. Size was not an issue. The best bouncer I ever worked with was a skinny white kid that was 5' 6" 165lbs.
-My bouncing days are behind me, thank goodness, but in school I majored in business management and labor & industrial relations and got my degree.
-Be nice, be respectful, and be responsible. Keep your phone, keys and wallet in your front pockets at all times, and always make sure you have your credit card before you leave the bar. Tip big on your first drink ($10) and make it a simple one (bottle of beer). Stay with the same bartender all night and tip $1 per round, you'll never wait for a drink all night.
Question: How much money do they pay you to perform such a dangerous job?
Not much. As a bouncer you're lucky to get $10/hr under the table. Some clubs make you fill out w-2s now and pay you by check, and in that case you're probably getting $8-9/hr and maybe a tipout.
I paid my guys $8.50 an hour plus perks. They got free draft when they came in on their off night, never paid cover anywhere in town, got in anywhere in town (even if underage), and also got 2 people in free each night. I also had the bartenders tip out 5-10% every night for the bouncers (depending on how much they made), but instead of each bouncer getting an extra $2-$5 per night, I'd save it up for a month. At the end of the month I'd distribute envelopes of cash accordingly, usually about $80-$150 each, depending on their quality/quantity of work.
As a manager it differs wildly. One place it was $1000/week plus 5% of the door. One place it was $11/hr plus $20 cash each night. Another paid $10/hr cash, but I got the same rate and kept all my tips if I bartended. Bartenders make the most. Upwards of $250/night, but shifts are few and far between, and its feast or famine.
Question: How many times a week would you say you actually ended up fighting people? Have you ever gone home with a girl coming from the club or anything of that sort?
Fights happened maybe once a week. The job isn't about fighting, it's about preventing them, keeping everyone safe, and ending violence as quickly and quietly as possible if it starts. Also depends on the place. One large club I worked at had about 1 fight per night, another small bar had maybe 1 per semester.
Girls, happens all the time. Not to humble brag or anything like that. But usually you aren't taking them home with you (you don't leave til maybe 4 or 5am, they're long gone by then). We actually rented an apartment around the corner we used for mid-shift hookups, naps, and bathroom breaks. Most times with girls its just a quickie in the backroom or office, or you get a number.
Question: I'm sure you've seen tons of crazy shit but is there a particular WTF moment or incident that stands out from the rest?
There was a guy one time we knew would be trouble from the second he walked (stumbled) in. He was a mix of mind-blowingly drunk and stone cold sober/attentive. I had a bouncer go talk to him to let him know we were watching and knew he was fucked up, and he immediately swung on the bouncer. It was a slow night, so 4-5 of us grabbed him up and started dragging him out. It was an epic and arduous battle to do so. He had the strength of 10 men and did not want to leave. I put him in a rear naked choke and had it locked up for about 2 minutes (which is EXTREMELY tiring), and he didn't go out. We got him out the door and he popped up and threw his watch in my face, so I hit him in the knee with my asp baton (which will put anyone down). He didn't even flinch, at which point I just ordered everyone inside and locked the door. I came around the back and continued to watch him approach a crowd of black guys and start yelling racial slurs at them. They beat his ass to a pulp, smashing his face through a car window, stomping him, breaking bottles over his head, etc. Each time he kept popping right back to his feet, asking for more. Eventually the cops (8 of them) came and subdued and arrested him.
TL;DR - guy was high on mixture of PCP and crystal meth, spent 6 days in the ICU as a result of his injuries.
Question: What is one of the craziest things to every happen to you while you were working? Something that made you possible reconsider being security/bouncing?
Craziest: I caught a guy on the dance floor selling weed one night, and took him in the back room. I told him I was going to search him, and if he had anything on him we'd handle it from there. He refused and swung on me. He was about your size, black, maybe 140lbs soaking wet. I took him down and applied a choke, to no avail. My radio shattered in the scuffle, and I was alone with this guy, but not too worried due to our size difference. We fought for about 15 minutes before another bouncer came in while taking out trash, by which time it was over. At one point, I had put my knee and full weight on the back of his head, and he was bucking me off and moving his head from side to side on the concrete floor. I watched as the skin peeled off his forehead and blood pooled everywhere. I flipped him over and crushed his windpipe with my hand and asked if he was done. He spit blood in my face (VERY scary) and muttered "fuck you." At that point I kind of went black with rage and the next thing I knew I was dragging his unconscious body up the steps by his legs (this is when the other bouncer walked in), and he had pissed himself. We found about 2 oz of weed on him, all in dime bags, and decided to call the cops. Cops came and we told them what happened and gave them the 12 dime bags (wink wink) that he had on him. Turns out he had a bench warrant out and this was his 3rd felony arrest. He went away for a long time. Oh yea, he was high on crack, which was found in his sock.
Reconsidered career change: I had guns pulled 3 nights in a row one week. That was scary. Before it ever happens, you simply think to yourself that it wouldn't be a big deal and you'd knock the asshole out. Yea right. I immediately needed new underwear and froze. Not a fan of guns.
Question: Was there ever a time when people treated you with respect, so much so that you let them in when you weren't allowed to? What's the most positive experience working there?
Yes. I had a kid that was kind and courteous every night he came in. Didn't take much. He always waited patiently, never caused problems, "yes sir, no sir" to every question. When he would go home he would stand by me waiting for a cab, but only say hi how are you, thanks, and have a good night stay safe. Overtime I'd BS with him, and after a semester I gave him a VIP card for free cover and no wait in line good for the next 3 years.
One time I also had a kid causing a ton of problems on the door after he got kicked out, and just would not leave the area. Cussing, spitting, yelling, threatening - you name it. While I was dealing with him, a regular customer came up to me trying to get 2 underage girls in without waiting in line or paying cover. I told him "not now" about 100 times but he would shut up. Then he whispered in my ear "how about I get this guy outta here for you?" I told him I didn't care, and he calmly took a hit off his cigarette, turned around, and rocked the troublemaker. I mean he fuckin Chuck Liddel'd his ass, straight out cold. I ushered him and his guests right in, and he slipped me a $50 on his way out and said thanks.
Most positive experience? All of it. Learning the tricks, networking, making new friends. Learning to bartend is a ridiculously easy and valuable skill.
Question: Sometimes it can feel like the bouncers are abusing their power when they seem to kick someone out for honest mistakes or small errors. Do you find this is generally the case or that it's far more reasonable than patrons realize?
Just like cops, there's good ones and bad ones. Most bouncers are regular guys just trying to pay the bills while they're in school, and get a few phone #s while theyre at it.
I had one guy on my staff that I got a lot of complaints about, and started watching him. He was kicking out about 20 people a night, and I figured he just had a good eye for catching shit. (note: If one of my guys said someone had to go, they had to go. You cant show dissension amongst the ranks and have bouncers arguing). I started watching him and discovered he was manufacturing the conflicts. He was trying to be an alpha male, and would do shit like bump into someone intentionally, and then start yelling at them and pushing them. He wanted fights to happen so he could beat people up. Make no mistake, people love kicking someones ass, but getting in a fight sucks dick, and there's a difference. I warned him about it and the behavior continued. I caught him trying to fight a guy half his size because he spilled a beer on him. I told him to go home for the night, and cool off, we'd discuss it later. He told me to fuck myself and pushed me. He was violently fired.
If you get kicked out, I know it sucks, it it can potentially ruin your night. Don't take it personal. ITS NEVER PERSONAL. Know that it could have been a lot worse, count your blessings. Apologize profusely to the staff and LEAVE. When you come back to the bar in the future, find whomever it was that kicked you out, or the manager, and apologize again for the situation. Jump on the grenade and take the blame, whether it was your fault or not. You'll never have a problem at that bar again.
Question: Why did you stop bouncing? My cousin was a fireman and a bouncer on his off days. He had to quit because it felt like he was fighting every night. Most guys who get beat up say they're gonna sue, but never follow through. Anyhow, he'd lose his job and pension if he got charged or anything. So he figured it wasn't worth the risk and just stopped.
You nailed it. Way to risky. It's not about fighting anymore. It's about someone getting hurt on your property or as the result of you/your colleague's actions so they can sue. The physical punishment wasn't all so bad. But after all the guns, getting followed home, pepper sprayed, and stabbed with a screw driver, enough was enough. I swore off the big clubs and went to restaurant/bars, and small bar only places (< 50 person crowd).