Had a lot of people ask me extensively about this gig for a while now, so I figured I'd do one of these. I saw and experienced a ton of crazy stuff, and also can offer plenty of tips and secrets about the industry. I worked in every function of the bar/nightclub industry (doorman, bouncer, barback, bartender, door manager, head of security, general manager, and bar manager) - ask away!

[Edit]: FAQ: The #1 Party School is (2012/2013), and was (2007/2008), West Virginia University by the Princeton Review Source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/21/living/west-virginia-party-school

Comments: 533 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

MajinAkira63 karma


shrekwvu202 karma

If you're old enough to fight and die for your country, you're old enough to drink. Better to start early, than to have it be taboo and up on a pedestal where kids are more likely to abuse it and not know how to handle it when they are 21.

sofa_king_awesome16 karma

I can't find the article but I read one talking about why it is 21 in American. It was talking about our school systems and how many 18 year olds are still in high school.

shrekwvu20 karma

it used to be 18 in certain states anyways, but the main issue they had was kids going over state lines to buy it and truck it back. They're gonna find a way to drink, if you make it legal for em, you lose the stigma and its no longer the only cool thing to do on weekends.

YehergenShmergen42 karma

As a bouncer, Is there a telltale sign you look for that shows that someone underaged is trying to pass for 21?

shrekwvu78 karma

Absolutely - no eye contact. I've also seen kids try one EDIT (a fake ID) while also wearing their dorm key on a lanyard around their neck, dead giveaway. You also would be checking an ID and have the person's friend call them by a different name than what the ID says.

Tip - if you want to use a fake ID, make sure it's a good one (ie: a real one, someone that looks like you), and know the info. If I ask you what your street address is, zip code, school district, or graduation year - and you know it all (without it sounding rehearsed), and it even moderately looks like you, I'm letting you in. It takes a lot of balls to look someone in the eye and tell them that they're lying to you and aren't who they say they are. It doesn't matter if I know the answer to the questions I ask like that (unless they're on the ID), but if you hesitate or show any signs that you don't know, I know its fake. Approach the doorman confidently, make eye contact, and ask how his night is going, while holding your money and waiting for him to take it. It puts him on the spot, and he's in a rush anyway.

Hibidi-Shibidi107 karma

I had a fake like this for a while. Knew the whole ID, front and back. Could tell you anything and everything about the guy. Got me into a lot of bars and bought me a lot of booze.

Then the lady at the door of a little shithole bar in Marysville, Missouri did the unthinkable. She pulled out a pen and a piece of paper that had about 100 sloppily written signatures on it. I never expected or anticipated this. I failed, she took the ID. I asked her for it back and told her I'd leave. She smiled, looked me in the eyes and said "you can leave, or I can call the cops and they can verify that this is yours."

She took it with a big smile, turned around and pinned it on her wall of other fake ID's. Bitch was good.

shrekwvu49 karma

Yea not a lot of people do that. That's a technique usually reserved for liquor stores & gas stations. They teach that in the ABC classes. But most doormen are outside in the cold and don't keep a pen and paper handy. Call it a fluke. She was more of a bitch than smart. She fails to realize that you would have spent money in that bar (money that pays her wages), and now you'll never go back. I'm willing to bet you probably told a dozen of your friends about it, and they'll never go back. If a bar is to hard on fake IDs, word gets around (word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of advertisement) and they get a bad rep and underage kids will stop going. Believe it or not, underage kids can account for up to 20% of a bars revenue. They find a spot, stay loyal, and spend big.

fitzy569429 karma

I don't know what the law is like in your area, but in my area the fine a venue gets for letting an underage person in far outnumbers the amount some broke high school kid will spend. And to counter that, when a club lets a lot of underage kids in, word gets around, and it is known as full of underage kids and then you are losing 80% of a bars revenue.

(This is in Melbourne, where the drinking age is 18, so if its an underage crowd its seen as immature and 20+ year olds don't want to go there.)

shrekwvu15 karma

In America there are certain jurisdictions that have bars where you only need to be 18 to get in, but you have to be 21 to drink. So its an undue burden for the bars to be fined for underage drinking because its too hard to control. a kid can pick up someone elses drink, pay someone to buy him one, or a bartender will serve him on accident. Unless it was a routine problem, the bars don't get in trouble, the kids do. Plus, all of the bars in the area had a phone chain in place. When the ABC patrols were spotted in town, we'd all get a phone call and keep each other updated on their location. When they come to the bar, the doormen signal the bouncers inside somehow (radio, lights flicker, etc) and the bouncers sprint through the bar and take all the drinks from the underage kids. The underages catch on after a while, and if they see bouncers taking drinks they get rid of them, cause they don't want to get in trouble. I just had my guys patrol the floor, and if they caught a kid drinking underage, make them chug it. The kids didn't mind, it was kind of fun, and it didn't run the crowd off or piss off customers.

Hibidi-Shibidi6 karma

I was only like 4 months out from my 21st bday too. Oh well. At least I got a good story out of it.

shrekwvu40 karma

I had a buddy get an underage on his 21st birthday. His birthday was at midnight, used his fake to get to the bar earlier in the night, and at 11 the ABC raided the place. Charged with public intox, underage, and possessing fake id. Fail.

hatchetboy39 karma

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?

shrekwvu135 karma

See my below response for one of the situations.

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.

flabbergastard73 karma

Wait, are you saying drunk-bitch fairy isn't real?

shrekwvu68 karma

Are you trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball!?

Ap0Th317 karma

I am happy to know that someone from within the nightlife industry has the balls to say this. Whenever I bring this sort of thing up I feel like people view me as sexist.

shrekwvu50 karma

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.

Metalhed6913 karma

Former bouncer here. I can confirm that the ladies room after closing time is the most disgusting place in the bar by far. I made it 3+ years without having to clean there once, and that was totally on purpose. Disgusting.

shrekwvu23 karma

It's awful. I hired a completely separate guy who's only job was to clean the bathrooms. We lovingly called him "Toilet Monkey"

seymourfry62 karma

That's charlie work anyway.

shrekwvu51 karma

He did make a good milk steak

beachjustice37 karma

Who's the most interesting/crazy person you met(if anyone really stood out)?

shrekwvu178 karma

I met a guy one night as the result of a big fight. Huge 6' 3" 250lb jacked black dude, came sprinting up to me (looked like patrick willis) while I was in the middle of a scuffle. I turned and punched him in the throat as hard as I could as a last ditch effort to save myself, and broke my hand on contact. It was like hitting a refrigerator. He didn't even flinch, and proceeded to demolish the 5 guys I was scrapping with, knocking them out, kicking their knees out, and tossing them aside, before running off into the darkness.

Two night later, I'm outside by myself and I see him lumbering back towards me. I readied my pepper spray in my pocket, not anywhere near confident that it would help, as he walked up. He stuck his hand out, introduced himself, and apologized profusely for fighting in front of my club the other night. We get to talking and it turned out he used to work there years ago, and saw that I could use some help. He was a part time prison guard and an agent with the FBI, and he also did network security consulting for the military. Wildly interesting guy, and his stories were unbelievable. He would come back all the time after that, never drank anything, just walked around the bar or would chat with me. We did a lot of grappling and he taught me some fantastic techniques. From time to time I would see him calmly kicking people out for doing bad shit in the club. Never had to worry if that guy was in the building. Became a very dear friend.

Daimon5hade32 karma

So just out of interest, how did he react to you punching him in the throat? Did he just brush it off as no big deal?

shrekwvu98 karma

didn't even acknowledge it. it was like a fruit fly landing on an elephant. I mentioned the injury to him the next night and he hadn't even realized I'd hit him, but admitted his neck was sore.

Daimon5hade49 karma

Wow, that guy sounds like he's straight out of an action film.

shrekwvu93 karma

I'm still not convinced he wasn't entirely a hallucination/coping mechanism

UnbentUnbowed29 karma

He was a part time prison guard and an agent with the FBI, and he also did network security consulting for the military. Wildly interesting guy, and his stories were unbelievable.

Tell me about it.

shrekwvu107 karma

When there was a situation at the prison he worked at, he would walk into the room and yell "Daddy's home," and the inmates would run back to their cells.

A guy pulled a knife on him once, and he tried lecturing the man and telling him to put it away and go about his business, that it wasn't worth it. The guy came after him, and he said "have it your way, but lets at least make this fair," and he stuck his hands in his pockets. The man with the knife was expecting him to pull one out too, but he just said "well, come on." He proceeded to dodge the knife wielding maniac while literally kicking his ass. The guy refused to stop, so he kicked his knee, blowing it out, and then applied an americana to his arm and broke it.

Once, while I was with him, a drunk guy started trouble (he was fairly big). James warned him, and said stop what you're doing right now and apologize, or we will have a problem. They guy persisted, and james said "All its going to take me is this one thumb to put you down, and you don't want it." Guy swings on him, and james ducks it, and jams the thumb directly under his ear, right where your jaw connects to your skull, and pinned him to the ground. He literally made him apologize, and sent the gentleman on his way.

YorkshireBloke63 karma

AMA request: James.

shrekwvu86 karma

i'll reach out to him

YorkshireBloke36 karma

Long time bartender here, had to throw people out once for having a threesome in a ladies toilet cubicle... well attempting to is a more correct description I guess. The bouncers of course went into the two adjoining cubicles to look over the side and laugh their ass off before throwing them out though. I guess my question is, have you ever had to throw some people out but also wanted to congratulate or high five at the same time?

shrekwvu134 karma

Too many times to count. Had to kick a kid out for getting a BJ in the dirty mop closet before. I was seriously impressed that he talked her into it, especially considering the location. I was nice to him and gave him a pound, and told him to come back tomorrow.

Also had a guy I had to toss out for fighting. He helped break up a fight by knocking out 4 guys in a row that were kicking the shit out of a skinny little kid that he didn't even know. It was club policy that anyone involved in a fight has to leave. But I bought him a beer and a shot before thanking him and sending him on his way.

silkyhankering29 karma

So you didn't invite the girl back?

shrekwvu102 karma

I married her.

Yip1234334 karma

Worst thing you've ever seen happen?

Best fight you've seen?

Thanks for this!

shrekwvu132 karma

On a night I wasn't working in the summer, I came in and saw a group of girls drinking at the bar. They were very young and one of them said it was her friends 18th birthday. The manager was the only one working that night and was feeding them drinks. I told him they were still in high school and he played it off like he knew and said he was just serving them grenadine and coke all night and tellin them there was booze in it. I believed him until they were all shitfaced an hour later. The birthday girl went to leave, and got to the top of the steel staircase and fell straight backwards, slamming hard on the ground. The sound her skull made when it hit the floor was nauseating. I rushed over and told everyone not to touch her and call and ambulance, and the manager said fuck that get her out the back door. She was at the very least, severely concussed, and out cold. Her friends also didn't want any cops involved, and they dragged her out the back and put her in a cab to go home. She ended up having a fractured skull, and was in the hospital for a few days, and didn't remember anything. Her parents called and threatened a lawsuit, but the manager deleted the security tapes and denied everything. It was some pretty awful shit. Glad that guy got fired.

Best fight was my very first night working. It was not awesome. It was a "freestyle friday" rap battle contest, and I was the only white person in the bar of 400 people. Fight broke out for some reason, and it spread to the whole place. People were throwing bottles and chairs, stealing booze. A girl got her head stomped in by a grown man. It was a roadhouse style brawl. The bartenders all cowered behind the bar and inside the walk-ins. Me and 2 other bouncers pulled the fire alarm and and the cops showed up and pepper sprayed the entire place, hitting me with a direct shot to the face as I was carrying the injured girl out. The whole bar was trashed. The owner shut the place down for the rest of the month to rebuild and me and one of the other bouncers working that night were the only staff members that he retained.

el_brio59 karma

Gotta expect shit like this when you host a free-style rap battle.

shrekwvu54 karma

Yea we stopped that right away and I got tasked with building a new crowd/reputation for us (with my whole 1 night of experience)

el_brio42 karma

  1. No pool tables
  2. No rap in the juke box
  3. Belts required
  4. No hats

shrekwvu43 karma


  1. Dress code
  2. DJ played nothing but 80s rock and techno/house
  3. Pat-downs at the door
  4. New specials
  5. No cover for girls

T-rex_with_a_gun5 karma

Wondering how you get away with #5. I know in PA its "illegal" to do that. (though its rarely enforced)

shrekwvu5 karma

it's completely up to the bar if they want to charge cover or not, and they can do it however they want. all bars are organized (except franchises) as private clubs, with the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. I could charge cover for every 5th person if I wanted to.

If it's "illegal" in PA, it probably just means bars can't give anything away because it encourages binge drinking. It basically just means you cant advertise it. WV is the same way. In this case you would just say "Guys - $5 cover". You'll see advertisements that just say "$5 cover, Jim, Jack, Cuervo, Draft Beer til 12" Which just means its a $5 cover, and all the rest is free until midnight.

sofa_king_awesome16 karma

Upvote for being a bad ass

shrekwvu22 karma

Thank you kindly, but I hardly consider myself (or other bouncers) a bad ass. Bouncer get a lot of cred for beating people up and fighting (which doesn't happen to often anymore) drunk people. That's the main issue here. You're sober, they're drunk - and probably really really drunk if they are trying to fight a bouncer. It's not an accomplishment, but it is stressful and a bit dangerous. I read a statistic somewhere that your body is about 60-70% less effective (physically, ie: in a fight) once you're at .08 BAC (no idea if thats true, but I'm sure there's substance to it). Reaction time, reasoning, power, agility, balance - all decline rapidly or are rendered non-existent when drunk.

nconan12 karma

So you're saying that this isn't a likely scenario?

shrekwvu10 karma

It's pretty accurate up until 1:10. That's pretty much how I looked at all times when I was working.

But the fight? No, of course not.

forkinanoutlet8 karma

Nothin' impresses the ladies like a perfectly executed straddle split.

shrekwvu17 karma

never sneak up on a man thats been in a chemical fire

kngo845030 karma

Have people bribed you to get into clubs before ie. underaged kids, ugly people, old ladies?

shrekwvu64 karma

Yes. I made $550 in cash one night from people bribing me to skip the hour long line when it was about 2 degrees out. I charged $25 per person to get to the front, still have to wait to be let in, get your ID checked, and pay cover. At the end of the night I gave every bouncer on the floor $50, tipped the bartenders $100, and kept $25 for myself.

I've been offered plenty of cash to let underages in and such, but I don't take it. Not worth the trouble.

Be careful, there are bouncers out there that take bribes to let people skip the security pat-down. I had a few on my staff doing it and they were all fired. Recipe for disaster.

Ugly people, old ladies, etc - not a concern. Old ladies usually have money, and if the club is packed, what difference does it make if they come in? No reason to keep them out. The uggos? They are the ones that will spend money in the bar, they have to work harder (spend more) to get laid. But there's some situations that you don't want someone inside, in which case you don't need to refuse entry and make things worse. I could simply talk them out of wanting to come in ("It's beat inside, I hear everyone is at XYZ club down the street" - or "$20 cover, private party")

UnbentUnbowed17 karma

Why tip the bartenders? Do they ever share tips with you?

shrekwvu65 karma

They're the reason you have a job, and for the most part, they're great people. In a college town, they might not make shit even during a packed night. And it always comes back to you - that bartender will hook you up when you come in on your night off, she'll bring you water when your working a post, etc. And yes, they shared tips with us at this place. They respected and appreciated us, and we all know that's a 2-way street.

UnbentUnbowed15 karma

In my experience as a bouncer, I've never had a bartender split tips with me, so I wouldn't share with them.

shrekwvu36 karma

They usually don't. When I took over as head of security, it was the first change I made, because I knew how fucked up it was that they would make $200 on the same 4 hour shift that I made $40. They objected at first, and I said "fine, we just wont have bouncers anymore." They happily complied, and we worked out an arrangement that made everyone happy.

odaal30 karma

What was the weirdest, most random thing that happened while fulfilling any of the roles?

shrekwvu98 karma

A few:

-Once found a kid sleeping in the urinal trough before, on a busy night

-We would find shoes while cleaning up every. single. night. It was always an odd number too. The floors and streets were fuckin disgusting to boot.

-After closing one night, one of the bartenders was unaccounted for. Wouldn't be a big deal usually, but she didn't close her register, and her tips were still out on the bar. We found her in the back room, passed out in an empty napkin box. The box was even folded shut. Apparently she got shitfaced, and after her shift went to smoke in the back. We watched the tapes, she sat on the box, and fell through (she was a very tiny girl) and the flaps kind of sealed her in, and she passed out.

-some kid tried to come in with a 15" hunting knife, just weird.

-confiscated all kinds of strange stuff, full bottles, flasks, knives, a bong, whippits, and a welding torch, among others

-once caught a kid drinking underage, that got busted because his wristband fell off. we searched him out of curiosity, he had a roll of tape and a copy of every wristband color and design we had used in the past year (dozens). When he would come, he would find out what kind of wristband we were using, then go around the corner and tape it on his wrist. Then he would walk right in as a re-entry, without paying or getting his id checked. that's dedication right there.

crackerbarreljoe22 karma

Isn't a whippit a small English racing dog?

shrekwvu61 karma

Yes, was that not implied?

shrekwvu70 karma

I once saw a classy young lady bend over while on the stripper pole in the middle of the dance floor and drop a deuce without skipping a beat. Didn't believe my lyin' eyes until cleanup when another bouncer called me over to report the finding.

odaal38 karma

...So she just took a massive shit on the dance floor?..Wow.

shrekwvu53 karma

About the size of a snickers bar. Kind of like caddyshack.

ambivilant15 karma

Did the people around we have any reaction to that? I can't imagine taking a shit where people are dancing will go unnoticed.

shrekwvu25 karma

Nobody saw it, I barely noticed it myself. I just saw the change in motion with her dance. Looked like she was just droppin it, but when she stayed squatted for a second I thought she might have dropped something or been puking. Trust me, in a packed, dark dance floor with 500 people, the guy next to you could be on fire and you wouldn't notice.

JohnD8723 karma

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.

shrekwvu40 karma

"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.

Dizzydsmith17 karma

Seems like a great way to network. What's the most money you've ever seen someone spend? Any celeb stories?

shrekwvu65 karma

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 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.

I_Enjoy_Beer12 karma

No shit, Royster got decked? He was the RB for Penn State, and yeah, is a backup RB for the Skins.

shrekwvu28 karma

Yup. 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.

The_First_Drop5 karma

Did the Pacman story end there, or is there more to it?

shrekwvu11 karma

I told him I knew who he was and it didnt matter, he wasn't allowed in. He talked and yelled a lot and I closed the door and locked it until he got the point and left.

jswolfie3165 karma

What made Pac Man angry at you?

shrekwvu11 karma

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.

kotooni17 karma

  • 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?

shrekwvu41 karma

-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.

jonny_nutsack13 karma

The smallest bouncer I knew was like 5'8'' but a fucking kickboxing champion (ISKA or some shit) He told me most bouncers are at least 6'2' ~190. Anyways, keep regaling us with more tales of terrible drunk people

shrekwvu41 karma

True. The job lends itself to big guys. My little guy was a golden gloves amateur champ. He once went up to a football player that stole a bottle or Hennessee from behind the bar (and thought he got away with it), and calmly tapped him on the shoulder. When the 6' 6" 290lb brick defensive end turned around, he jumped up and punched him right on the button, knocking him out. He did that a lot.

CabooseMJ85370489 karma

Was the bottle of Hennesee ok?

shrekwvu7 karma

Rule #1 - always secure the persons drink before taken action.

IntentionalMisnomer5 karma

What about people who pay with a card and keep a tab open? Would you suggest to open with a cash tip? I can imagine that it would be beyond douchey to say "BTW I'm a big tipper." Is it best to not use a card and just carry cash?

shrekwvu15 karma

Why not use a card and carry cash? When she brings the first drink you pay with the card and keep it open, and give the cash and say "thanks, that's for you".

Although personally, I find cash easier (safer) at the bar due to my lack of will power. If I have a tab open its like I have unlimited money. If I bring cash, once that 50 bucks is gone, its time to leave.

dip_straight16 karma

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?

shrekwvu29 karma

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.

audiopotamus16 karma

What city? What clubs?

shrekwvu29 karma

Morgantown, WV - West Virginia University

Breadismyname14 karma

How has being a bouncer changed your opinion of university aged people? How do you feel about girls who hit clubs multiple times a week?

shrekwvu51 karma

It made me realize that those who go out to clubs are the privileged. They have mommy/daddy's money and don't appreciate it. Makes me sick.

Clubrats (the girls that you speak of), are mostly cum dumpsters. They're drinking every night, going home with tons of different guys, and are spoiled. Not much respect for someone that has the ability to stay out til 2AM 4 nights a week, they obviously don't have much else going on.

refjep113 karma

How much money do they pay you to perform such a dangerous job?

shrekwvu35 karma

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.

Lube_For_Lunch12 karma

Most memorable thing you ever experienced on the job?

shrekwvu27 karma

Once I was cleaning out the safe in the office, and found a VHS titled "boobfest". I asked about it, and the owner said when they installed the cameras, they would have girls flash them, then they would go back at the end of the night and record it onto this tape. I watched it, and discovered that they also started saving the footage of employees hooking up with girls in the club. So it basically became an amateur porn compilation. Some of that shit, you can't un-see. The last clip on the tape was the owner banging out this filthy girl on the dirty floor after everyone left the bar one night a few weeks earlier. I looked a little closer, and noticed that the girl was very familiar looking. Turned out she went to my high school, and she was only 17 and a senior when it went down. Talk about memorable.

Lube_For_Lunch9 karma

Jesus, well that's really something! What happened to those tapes, were they destroyed? And did the guy get I trouble for having sex with a minor?

shrekwvu14 karma

tape went back into the safe, probably is still there (but useless, nobody will know how to play it these days).

No trouble, she may have been a minor but it was consensual and the legal consent age is 16

OG-logrus3 karma

Recording such a thing, however...

shrekwvu4 karma

that's a good one. Today it would probably be a big deal, but this was a long time ago before everyone has a cell phone camera and privacy laws were all the rage.

crazy_legs11 karma


shrekwvu69 karma

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.

TheWayoftheFuture29 karma

And this, kids, is why it is wise to avoid drugs.

Epoo47 karma

He resisted 4-5 (im guessing pretty strong) bouncers, didnt black out from a choke hold, approached a group of black guys and got his ass handed to him, got hit on the knee with a baton, and it took 8 cops (who are trained to subdue anyone of any size and strength).

This is just my opinion but it sounds like being on drugs sounds fuckin awesome.

shrekwvu44 karma

Very good. I saw a guy lift a car one time in downtown pittsburgh while he was on PCP. Apparently, he spent the next year in a wheelchair.

beachjustice4 karma

God... Damn...

Bouncers always have awesome stories to tell but they usually involve something terrible and sad..

shrekwvu9 karma

Moral of the story right there.

thombudsman10 karma

How often did you see young women taken advantage of? In what ways?

shrekwvu30 karma

Surprisingly, not often. This happened more at the restaurant bar I worked at than at the clubs. Chicks could be roofied easier there since they aren't always holding their drinks. More often than not, its the girls dragging the guys out of the bar.

One time I went into the back room and I saw another manager making a mostly unconscious girl blow him, and he had been feeding her coke. I was his subordinate at the time, so it was awkward, but I stopped it and we got into it. I told the club owner about it, but nothing was done.

Unbeatable2310 karma

How did you get into being a Bouncer? What was the interview like? "Here bend this metal bar....okay you're hired"

shrekwvu16 karma

I had a friend that started doing it our freshman year. The following summer I took classes, and needed a job to pay for my apt and such, so I asked him if they were hiring. I was told to go buy a black t-shirt and show up at the bar that weekend. I walked in and was handed a flashlight by my friend and told to go to work. No interview, no tour. Didn't even meet the bosses til the end of the night.

nintles10 karma

-Whats the story of the best night ? -And your 1st day story ?

shrekwvu16 karma

1st day story is listed in this thread somewhere, I believe the question was "best fight"/

Best night? Lots of em. Its a fun job, and I think everyone should spend a year working in the bar industry to understand how it works. Anyways, one night I found $200 on the floor, confiscated about a half pound of weed (and a few dozen bowls), broke the records for door revenue and bar revenue, no fights (no body even got kicked out), and we finished it off with a late night staff party at the bar that ran until noon and everyone drank for free.

Fearlessleader859 karma

I bounced for a while working through college, and i always loved those nights where people cut loose, but there's that good energy in the air and no one is pissed, no one is disrespectful, everyone is just having a good time. I had a couple nights like that where even if I did have to kick someone out for something, it was like puking in the bathroom (law requires us to kick them out then), and they were really apologetic.

It always gave me new hope for mankind. If everyone can get drunk and still get along.

shrekwvu4 karma

Amen brother. That's what you call a "no hitter"

It doesn't happen often, but it makes it seem like its all worthwhile. I've found that if you generate and exude that energy yourself (and the staff does as well), that every night can be like that. The last place I worked was like that every night, because we started from scratch. It was a new place, I hand picked the staff, and we trained them right. Everyone was positive because they didn't know any better, and didn't have any reason to believe things could go south. The customers fed off of it, and everyone had a good time every night. Only about 2-3 nights there I can remember that didn't run smoothly. It's like working with family

pablothe10 karma

Can you offer me some tips and secrets about the industry?

shrekwvu60 karma

Broad question there, but good.


-asking for a strong drink will only make it weaker. there's no real shortcut to getting a bartender to hook you up. Order a double, tip well, be polite. Hopefully you get a bartender with a heavy hand that doesn't know how to count.

-on that same note, watch your bartender when they make drinks, even if they arent yours. Pay attention to how long they pour, and pay special attention to the hand placement on the bottle (specifically thumb or index finger). While some bartenders will loop their thumb or index finger over the base of the pour spout for stability, other may be short pouring you. There's an airhole there that acts like a choke, if you hold a finger over it, it pours less but looks the same. I can pour a 3 second count (an ounce and a quarter) with the airhole covered, and it'll maybe pour half of that.

-Shaken = watered down. Shaking a drink adds about 20-30% volume as the ice melts

-markups are insane for bars. beer has the smallest profit margin, but it brings in more people with specials. A keg will typically yield about 110-130 beers depending on the size, after spillage and waster. Charging at about 2.75 per ber, they'll make about $300 on a $60 keg. With liquor, a well drink is about $4, and a bottle costs around 7. You'll get about 17-19 drinks per bottle, so a bottle can make about $65-70. Lesson: drink beer if you want your moneys worth, or pregame before going out.

-Never leave your card at the bar. Not much leverage to dispute charges, and you'll be paying a flat % rate in mandatory gratuity because the bar has to close the register at the end of the night.

-girls, don't ever take your shoes off at the bar. the floor is exceptionally dirty. the same mops we clean the bathrooms and vomit with is the same ones we use for the dance floor. not to mention there's likely broken glass

-guys, don't suck a girls toe's that you take home from the bar.

-don't bug the DJ, he will embarrass you

-arguing with the doorman about anything will never help your cause

-if there are steps in a bar, you can guarantee that 5 people have fallen down them in the last hour. be very careful, never run up or down them.

-most problems can be solved with money, talk to the manager

-the bartenders could give a shit who waiting for a drink first or how long you've been waiting. make sure she knows you want a drink, without being rude.

-there are no refunds, dont ask

-pepper spray hurts. a lot.

-if you ask for bar courtesy and say you work at another local bar, you'll never pay cover

-make a note of the fire exits as soon as you get into a bar, and familiarize yourself with the layout. If there's a fire, you'll have on average about a minute and a half to get out before you're trampled or trapped.


-bars dont have a lost and found. if you're lucky, an item will be held overnight. then it either goes in the trash or home with somebody (if it ever even gets turned in)

-the label on the tap or liquor bottle may not always match the contents

-glassware probably isn't properly sanitized

-when the lights are all the way on, you'll realize that the bar is about as clean as the dumpster out back, and in about as good of shape as the hand-me-down furniture in your apartment

-the floor along the bar is a wonderful place to find cash if you run out and need 1 last drink

-the bouncers are sober, travel in groups, and usually have radios and weapons. I feel like this is mystery to some people.

-the cops don't give 2 shits about what happened to you or your friends in the bar, and complaining to them and threatening to call them wont help

-your friend is likely not lost or in need of your help, she's hooking up in the bathroom or she went home with that guy you like.

-the bartender is not into you, she's into your wallet.

-if the doorman says the club is at capacity, the club is at capacity.

-there is a backroom people are taken to when they mess up badly, you don't want to see it. don't steal tips, booze, or anything else.

-lawsuits rarely go anywhere, and usually only result in money down the drain.

-water is free, no bar can ever make you pay for it

-the corona in the backlit cooler on display is skunk.

-you can get a lot further by bribing or negotiating with the manager than you can with the employees. everything is negotiable to a certain degree

-If the bartender scoops ice with a glass, there's glass in your drink.

-don't ever let a bouncer escort you anywhere but out the front door

-you didn't get roofied, you just drank 8 shots and 2 drinks in the last half hour

-one would be wise to keep track of their tab on their phone as they go, you'd be surprised what gets slipped in there

-the couches, chairs, etc are just as dirty as the floor, except they never get cleaned

-if it smells like piss, shit or puke, it is.

-if the bar says "under new management" it probably isnt

-there is no alcohol whatsoever in anything that a shot girl is offering on the dance floor

-after last call, nobody else is allowed in the bar, not even to get a friend or look for something.

that's all for now, i'm sure that will occupy everyone for a while

dyktg259 karma

Please tell me you worked at Bent Willey's, because that's how I imagined every scene you described. I didn't go to WVU but I blacked out there twice.

shrekwvu9 karma

nope, but it is crazy there.

_Whiskey_Dick8 karma

Do you work at lux? About 2 weeks ago some douchy frat kid got Into a fight with one the girls in my friend group because she didn't want to dance with him. I broke it up and ended up getting kicked out along with the kid fighting my friend. He ended up chasing me down the street punching me in the head and trying to bring me back to his frat house so they can "deal with me" because I apparently got him kicked out.

Moral of the story-don't slap an angry girl from New York

How much of this bullshit do you deal with? How do you determine who to kick out and who to stay in this situation?

Edit: Just realized you aren't a bouncer anymore

shrekwvu18 karma

No worries, that's a shame to hear about your night. Be safe brother (no pun intended). Fights are pointless. Everyone gets hurt, its exhausting, and its a major liability, on top of some potentially deadly results. Google Ryan Diviney. It's that easy to have your whole life taken away from you over a stupid conflict.

Frats always caused problems, and rarely helped with them. They book parties for 7PM-10PM, making everybody show up early. Then they dont arrive until 9:45, and demand to still have their party and get a partial refund. Then they all get drunk and do the dumbest shit in the world.

If a fight happens outside the bar - everyone involved (including friends) is banned from the bar for the night. If it happens inside the bar, all involved partied (including friends) are kicked out, and banned for the night. Friends leave too, for the exact scenario you described above. You never know if we miss someone when kicking the groups out, and one of the friends that wasn't involved in the fight wants to come back in to finish it.

Breadismyname8 karma

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.

shrekwvu12 karma

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).

NSD23277 karma

I'm 6'0, 230. Taken Muay Thai for a year and just started taking BJJ. Also a combat infantry vet (2/327 INF, 101st Airborne - OIF IV). Also think I have a pretty good head on my shoulders and am not a hot head/rageout kind of dude. I'd like to think that this would probably qualify me for a bouncer job, and while I work 40+ hours a week at a desk, I've been thinking of supplimenting my income if possible.

How would one go about finding a job as a bouncer? Is it as simple as walking into a bar, asking to speak to an owner or manager, and asking about an availability or is there more to it? Thanks for any info.

shrekwvu10 karma

There will be ads out, that's your first try. Check the classifieds, craigslist, and social media sites for the bars in your area (managers always post to facebook "now hiring staff for fall semester, etc". I would identify a few places you would want to work, and go directly there (check yelp or other review sites to get a feel for the place and make sure its an environment you'd want to be a part of). Try first going during the day, around lunch or just before - this is when the managers are there for administrative or maintenance work. Monday/Tuesdays are usually good too because thats when most places get deliveries, and you just have the manager sitting around waiting for the truck to show up and unload. Otherwise, show up right before a place opens on a slow night. People will be setting up, doors will be unlocked. Ask for the manager, introduce yourself, and ask if they're accepting applications. Based on your size, they'd probably think you're looking for a bouncer job, but they might also think you could bartend. The key is just getting hired in any function or at the very least meeting the managers, and making sure they have your # & email. You might start as a barback, but you'll be asked to do bouncer stuff occasionally, and within a few weeks you'll just be a bouncer.

Security staff is a high turnover job. All it takes is one guy to quit, get fired, not show up, etc and that manager is desperate and calling you to see if you're available. That's how 90% of my guys got hired. We'd be expecting a busy night, and I had a stack of applications and I'd call and need someone right away. If they did good, they were hired.

If you do it, keep doing the BJJ and Muay Thai, and I probably don't need to tell you to not bring it into work and try to prove yourself. A lot of guys feel that need and can cause trouble. However, with your background, the only reason you wouldn't be hired is if there's no openings.

Good luck Sir, and thank you for your service.

NSD23276 karma

Thanks for the reply, I'll check it out. And yeah, at 30 (which isnt what I'd call 'old' but...you start to notice things that let you know you arent as young as you think anymore) I'm not the kind of guy who is going to be looking for trouble, trying to be a hardass, assert authority or prove anything. Just could use the income to help pay some bills since my mortgage has PMI and its a super huge pain in the dick at the moment.

Also just do BJJ and Muay thai to stay in shape, since I hate even the thought of running and not doing any cardio isnt good for my waistline. Also good to know some self defense just in case.

Thanks again.

shrekwvu7 karma

Amen brother. BJJ is one of the best workouts you can get. 30 min of grappling is better than 4 hours of running, easily.

That's good stuff though. Often times with military guys (especially the young ones) they're the biggest assholes in the room. A bit of an entitlement issue (no disrespect whatsoever), but you end up with a group of guys thats in top physical condition, battle tested, having a few loose screws, with the ability to drink like an irish dockworker. Add that to a temper and the possible sexual frustration if they're just getting home, and its a goddamn molotov cocktail.

Best of luck sir.

NSD23273 karma

No I can definitely see what you're saying about military guys. I've known a whole bunch like that. It's especially bad with the younger guys (early to mid 20's).

I've been out of the Army since 2007 and have mellowed considerably, although I never was one of those dudes who got fucked up on the weekend and went looking for fights. I mean, dont get me wrong, I got fucked up every weekend, but I was the one trying (and usually failing hilariously) to get laid by any (and eventually) every chick in the building. Needless to say my conquests were more quantity over quality.

shrekwvu18 karma

A lack of shame is a tremendous asset.

You gotta rate women on a binary system, 1's and 0's only.

greeny746 karma

I'm a bouncer myself. My bar is in a smaller college town (NCAA DIII), but it still gets crazy. One time we had a bachelorette party and they had all sorts of dildos as party favors, which they thought would be fun to spread and hide all around the bar. Imagine finding dildos mixed in with the domestic beer in the backup coolers. What your favorite thing found in the bar after a long night?

shrekwvu18 karma

Cash, weed maybe. One time I found a pair of Blast Knuckles in a booth - its a tazer that fits over your knuckles like brass knuckles. We had a bunch of fun with that little bastard messin around with each other.

One night after a freestyle contest (which does not attract a savory crowd), we found a kilo of cocaine. It was actually in the middle of the night still with the place packed. The owner sat down on a couch and it was stuffed in between 2 cushions. No telling how long it had been there. But he immediately got on the mic and said everybody get the fuck out, and locked up. He gave some of it out to the staff if they wanted (I've never touched it), and then he used the rest to renovate the place, trading it for various goods and services.

Justus22211 karma

"I know I set my kilo around here somewhere..." How do you seriously misplace a kilo??

shrekwvu8 karma

our guess was a drug deal gone bad. someone was probably on their way to pick it up

BackHandLegend5 karma

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?

shrekwvu18 karma

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.

tamryae5 karma

Most positive experience? All of it. Learning the tricks, networking, making new friends. Learning to bartend is a ridiculously easy and valuable skill.

I'm heading to college this fall, and I've wanted to tend bar for a while! Did a stint as a server, that was fun.

Any tips on getting to where you are/were? Or how you did it, learning to tend bar and everything?

Thanks for the AMA, your stories were wonderful!

shrekwvu15 karma

It's all about opportunity and timing. Also depends if you're a girl or a guy. Either way, forget about working your freshman year. Its a quick and easy way to lose youre parents money and drop out after a year. Get your first year right. Go to class, and get a 4.0. You need to learn how to be a student and what comes with that before you can handle being a bartender. It's waaaay different than serving. You're shifts don't run from 6pm-11. You'll go into work at 10 (or be on call til midnight) and you'll get home at 3 or 4. Then you have class at 7, and you're exhausted and possibly drunk. Get that first year under your belt, its absolutely critical. You're in college to go to school, not work.

Once you finish your first year, if you financially need to (if mom and dad have costs covered, you don't need to work) you can look for a job. Show up to the bar a little before it opens or right after it opens on a slow night, and ask to speak to the manager. Ask if they're accepting applications for next year/semester/etc and fill one out. Make a good impression. Always say you know how to bartend, that will get you hired and you'll be re-trained anyways. Its much easier to get hired if you lie and say you already know, than if you don't have any experience at all. Bartending is more about being outgoing and being attentive than it is drink recipes and measuring. It's all just simple mental math. You just count while you pour. Get yourself an empty liquor bottle, fill it with water, and buy a pour spot from your local liquor store. Youtube is full of videos on how to pour, measure, and bartend. Practice by filling up the bottle with water and pouring accurate volumes. When I trained bartenders, their first 3 shifts consisted of nothing but practice pouring for 4 hours at a time. You need to get the feel of it and develop the muscles in your wrist & forearm to control the bottle.

Everything else is a matter of opportunity and being able to jump on it. Always go above and beyond your expectations. Under promise, and over deliver. If someone needs help with something, volunteer for it. Take extra shifts, learn everything you can that goes on in your work environment. 99% of opportunities come from a place being short staffed, and a manager asking "does anyone know how to do this?"

Let me know if you have further questions.

fisherman665 karma

You are probably a big, big, man.

shrekwvu12 karma

I used to be. I'm 6' 5" and at the time I was about 320lbs. After about 3 years I trimmed down to 250, which allowed me to get behind the bar. Now I'm around 225, but still no shorter (but I'd like to work on that).

fisherman666 karma

6'5" 2 and a quarter is still a big dude. Hey, I am a whole 5'5", I would LOVE to trade height with you.

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?

Congratulations on the weight loss by the way!

Edit: Giving credit where credit is due.

shrekwvu23 karma

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.

sudsymack5 karma

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?

shrekwvu17 karma

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.

bilbob178 karma

How violently fired?

shrekwvu17 karma

Well, he never even came back for his last paycheck, and I never had the same problem with another bouncer again.

lacybee5 karma

Do you know Bert Kreisher?

shrekwvu16 karma

I am The Machine.

Sir_JSmiles4 karma

Gotta say that i love this! You've given out some great insight into the industry as well as some amazing stories.

Do you have any advice on the best way to avoid being kicked out of a bar if someone tries to start a fight with you?

shrekwvu10 karma

Great question. This happens a lot and I use this technique a lot.

There's no pride in fighting, you only look immature and will end up getting hurt or sued. If a guy tries to start an argument at a bar, or is looking for trouble, just grab a bouncer. Walk up to him and just say "Excuse me sir, could you help me out real quick? This guy/girl over here is giving my friends and I a hard time, and I'm not looking to cause any trouble in your club." - and point the guy out. You won't have any more issues from there. The bouncers will likely kick him out and clear him away from the property so you don't have to worry for him waiting for you when you leave.

Another way is to diffuse the situation yourself. Cater to the other guys ego, and apologize for whatever the issue is and take full responsibility (even if it clearly isn't your fault). Maybe offer to get them another drink. If you say "You're absolutely right, it's all my fault and I apologize. Let me make it right and get you another round," what's he gonna say? He can't keep arguing against you, you're on his side now! You end up being the bigger man, and it hurts a hell of a lot less that a punch to the face.

However, if someone is determined to fight you, they probably will. You need to defend yourself and you have a right to do so. Just know, that you will be kicked out if you do. There are warning signs when it's about to jump off. For example, if you see them grab a beer bottle upside down by the neck, he's not planning on drinking from it. You ever get that nervous chill/shudder throughout your whole body when you're in a tense situation? (usually when you're getting yelled at or things get heated around you) That's your sympathetic nervous system dumping all your body's available adrenaline into your system in preparation for a fight or flight response. If the guy you're arguing with gets that little shimmy/shake, act quickly. Either end it with your strongest punch or run, because he's now fully prepared for an immediate fight.

ncrtx3 karma

I was a bouncer at a few different bars in Austin, TX while I was in school at the University of Texas. I agree with you that everyone should work in the bar industry just to have the experience and understanding of what it entails. Here's my question ... Did you have any rules about going home with the clientele, or was it open season? We had no rules about it and a lot of times it created problems/drama.

shrekwvu7 karma

We kind of frowned upon inter-staff mingling, because if it went south (which it always does) you have people bitching because they don't want to work with each other and drama generally ensues.

Pretty much open season on clientele. It never really caused an issue unless they started dating, but that's a problem with any relationship between a customer and employee. We had a rule that bartenders weren't allowed to have their boyfriends come in while they were working. They would always get jealous (the boyfriend) and never stop talking to them, and god help you if they start fighting. We eventually made the rule universal, no significant others in the bar while you're working.

secretsafe3 karma

Is they're ever a circumstance that you believe you should hit a girl? No this is not a feminist trap, merely an honest question.

shrekwvu20 karma

I'll gladly say yes, and I've said it to feminists. If she doesn't fold the laundry the way I like and if she burns the roast.

Just kidding, but still yes. I have 3 rules for this:

-They hit me first (a real hit, with real intent to hurt, not open hand slap) -They spit in my face -They say something bad about my momma

I had to put my hands on a lady one time, but I did not hit her. She went for the triple crown. As I was kicking her out and just following her out, she grabbed a drink and tossed it over her shoulder in my face. I yelled, and she turned around and said "WHAT!" whilst spitting directly in my face and threw a punch. The punched missed, but it caught and broke the chain around my neck (that my mother had given me) in the process. I grabbed her face and pushed her as hard as I could, and she flew back and fell into a planter box on the sidewalk, filled with mulch.

MichaelBoltonIsGod2 karma

In all honesty, do you ever let someone underage slip in if you want to?

shrekwvu7 karma

I've done it, hell yes. If they have a fake id, its usually not an issue. I can always defend myself and say I did my due diligence if they get caught.

If its a friend, and I know that they can handle themselves and won't cause any problems - no big deal. However, I've had close friends abuse this, and get kicked out or cause some kind of problem, and I've banned them. I hold friends to a higher standard, underage or not, because they should no better, and they're trading on my name.

Sometimes I've had a good customer approach me and he's got his little sister/brother/etc with him for the weekend, and promises that they won't drink and won't be a problem. I might let it slide, but I'm damn sure gonna keep an eye on em.

I've also had customers that I'd get to know and then find out weeks/months later that they're underage. As long as they can handle themselves, dont cause problems, and take care of the staff (tip well), its fine.

Jetts1 karma

Don't really have a question, but I have to give you props for what you did. I've done some dumbass shit at bars and made bouncers life's hell and if I ever did it, I would of more then likely murdered someone

shrekwvu2 karma

It's cool to hear you say that. You've got to be a patient and cool tempered person in this gig, it's not for everyone. The guys that have short fuses usually don't last long, and that's not because it was their choice.

BanditXJ1 karma

There stands a VERY good chance we ran into each other at some point.


shrekwvu2 karma

Wouldn't surprise me. LETS GOOOO

rbtmnst1 karma

I attended this event over the weekend and witness a security try to apprehend a drunk guy on the stage but ended getting the security guy's ass kicked. Have you ever gotten your ass kicked for trying to do your job?

shrekwvu4 karma

I had a cop pepper spray me one time while escorting a girl out, so yes?

I've never been stomped out or anything like that, but you take a good bit of punishment when you're trying to break stuff up. Although for the most part, the focus isn't on the bouncers during a fight, it's on whoever the victim is. So unless you get in the way, people usually tend to leave you alone.

dhagey1 karma

man i miss wvu...shame they plowed half of sunnyside down.

what bar?

shrekwvu2 karma

it sure is, I truly miss Mutts.