Last week I read an article from Red Eye special contributor Grant Yanney explaining his experiences with nightclub security. The article is called Where’s the love at these clubs? As someone did this job for roughly 6-7 years, I can tell you the Mr. Yanney’s assessment was completely one-sided and uneducated. I know that a lot regrettable things happen at the door of a club or bar. I wrote about as much in a previous blog entry called My take on the Lincoln Park nightclub controversy.
Two years ago, the Red Eye ran a story talking about the very subject. Like this post I responded via e-mail and my response even made the paper:
“Well in my early 20′s I was not let into a rush sty. bar because of my appearance. In my late twenties I became a doorman at a bar in Wicker Park. People don’t understand the fact that it’s nothing personal. I hate to say this but more often than not if some guy comes into my bar wearing baggy clothes they start trouble. When I deny someone access I’m not only thinking the safety of the patrons I’m thinking of the safety of my fellow co-workers. So I politely explain to them that there are other bars in the area.”
I even tried to explain this to Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell:
“As someone who is an African-American male who works in this industry you can’t just blame racist practices. You can also blame it on experience. Of course it’s wrong to deny someone entry solely due to race but one needs to realize we play the percentages sad to say. If someone dresses a certain way 9/10 they start trouble. These places can refuse people however they want for the most part. As someone who has to tell people that they can't go in for several reasons it’s not personal. But having said all of this, there are places that do "steer" for reasons that are not on the up and up. The place I worked at we were told don't let in anyone who looks like a thug. Also people in the industry do talk and some things are true i.e. angles/kings not letting some of the bears in and some things are completely false i.e. what happened @ mother's by rush street.”
And this is my response to Grant Yanney’s article:
“I read your article about your experiences with bouncers/doormen. As a former doorman, I feel that you have a gotten most of this wrong. Are you aware why some doormen/bouncers take their job so seriously? I've have had a gun pulled on me, I have been followed home, and my life has been threatened on several occasions. The owner of an establishment sets the dress code or screening process however they like. You may not want to hear this but when someone dresses a certain way more often or not they eventually start trouble. I get what you are trying to say here but when you got very disrespectful toward what these guys do without having prior knowledge to what they have to deal with. Respect is a two-way street. I think it is very interesting that you did not mention what your friend did to get choke-slammed. The people at the door have that right to protect everyone inside of a bar or a club like you said.”
At this point in time, I have yet to hear back. I would like to hear Yanney’s response to what I said. I would like to build a dialogue with people who have had a less than awesome experience with the security staff at a bar or club.
Evan F. Moore is a Freelance journalist who also is a blogger for Chicago Now. He blogs at Fanning the Flames since 1978.