Another night, another drama, another confirmation that mixing (1) crazy (2) Hennessey and (3) Xanax is not a good idea. An hour into my evening shift, right around the time the suits are getting off their 9-5′s and rolling in, a large forty-ish, well dressed black man gestures me over. He’s seemingly been there for a while and nothing appears to be out of the ordinary. There is no sign of him being intoxicated. He shakes my hand, asks me how I’m doing and says something like:
[Customer] You’re the manager right?
[Me] No, sir. I’m just the bartender. Would you like to speak to the manager?
[Customer] Yo. Tell those girls you’ve got working here they don’t need to throw attitude like that. They should just serve. I’m just sayin’ they don’t need to have that funky attitude ‘cuz they ain’t all that. They ain’t all that. They playin’ themselves.
[Me] Sir, did you have bad service? Is something wrong with your drink that maybe I can help you with?
[Customer] I’m just sayin the girls think they all that but they just playin’ themselves. They should just serve.
[Me] Look man. I don’t know what you want me to do with that information. I suggest you take this number, call back in the daytime and voice your complaints to the General Manager.
[Customer] Tell them just to serve god-dammit! Just serve!
I walk away. I’m dumbfounded and annoyed at this point as I have many other people awaiting service. A few minutes go by and he asks for a Hennessey – the first drink I serve him after my shift starts. Simultaneously, to my surprise, he decides to buy the 2 girls and 1 guy to his right a round of drinks. No problem. He ponies up with a $100 bill.
A few minutes go by and I notice the girls next to him have moved to the other side of the bar and he’s murmuring all kinds of batty nonsense under his breath. It turns out that he has grabbed these girls inappropriately – yep. One of the managers comes over and asks him to leave. His response? He pushes the manager. Next, he proceeds to grab lit candles and full drinks from other customers then tosses them on the floor, one after another. At that point, I grab his drinks and tell him to leave. I inform him that he has the choice of leaving now on his own accord or waiting for the cops to arrive.
He decides to keep his ass planted, causing a scene. Mind you, I work at a bar that does have some very burly Security staff/bouncers. Unfortunately, all of this bullshit went down in the early evening right before their shifts started.
This is New York City. Police response to licensed liquor establishments is hit or miss. In most instances, it’s a pretty quick response. Sometimes however, for reasons unknown, the wait can take a long, long time. About 25 minutes has gone by and the Boys in Blue have yet to arrive. Oh! But our bouncer-de-jour just showed up on set! SHTF is about to go down, eh? Our management and I relay the story to our bouncer and ask him to confront dipshit.
I have to defend bouncers in general and particularly, the ones I work with. These guys have it hard. Most of the night, they stand around (they’re not allowed to sit) by the doors with not much to do. They’re targets. They put their safety, and occasionally, their lives on the line (I know lots of bouncers in the City that have gotten guns pulled on them). They watch service staff have a great time and make a shit-ton of money. These are big dudes and they get tired. Most of the time, their intimidating presence alone is enough to squash situations. However, they sometimes get into altercations resulting in getting spat at, kicked, punched, yelled at, cursed at, things thrown at them, peed on, etc. They often respond with physical ejection.
I’ve seen more than my share of customers getting knocked the fuck out by a 300 pound 6′ 5″ bouncer and hit the pavement. It’s not fun to watch even when idiots deserve it. I’ve seen them intervene when clearly outnumbered by 10 to 1 in bar brawls. When something goes down resulting in in police activity, they have a LOT of explaining to do to both police and management. They routinely risk getting locked up, spending a lovely evening in Central Booking. Even unarmed, they have to be state certified and know their legal boundaries. The worst part, is that they frequently have to worry about retaliation down the road – not fun.
Back to last night. So, our lovely bouncer spends at about 5 – 10 minutes in quiet conversation, kindly trying to get dipshit to leave and informs him repeatedly the cops are coming to cart his dumb ass away. Things start to escalate verbally. Nearby customers are carefully fleeing to the other end of the bar. Finally, dipshit gets up and slowly makes his way toward the door, continuing the loud war of words the whole time. At this point, the eyes of the entire staff are fixated on the goings on. Once outside, the words get even more heated. Next thing you know (and you knew it was coming), dip shit attacks our bouncer. This customer is no small person by the way – nearly as big as our bouncer. Our guy clocks him – levels him with one hit. Picture Apollo Creed – a mist of spit and blood, head rotating in slow motion, legs flying. Dipshit hits the concrete with full force and is out cold (for a while). Now look, I don’t condone violence in most instances but I am wholeheartedly behind defending yourself and nearby innocents. That’s exactly what happened – and with an appropriate level of retaliatory force mind you. Furthermore, even though the dude deserved it, it’s not easy watch someone get all fucked up. I have a heart and still felt bad for him. But, in the position of our bouncer, I would have done exactly the same thing. Dipshit was given every opportunity in the world to leave and defuse. He chose to continue being a violent asshole, to several people, for a good 30 minutes.
Another 20 minutes or so go by. Dipshit has regained consciousness. He’s literally now sitting in the doorway – waiting. So the authorities finally arrive along with an ambulance and cart him away. End of story, right? Wrong!
A couple of hours go by. All is well. Drinks are flowing. At this point, we have a couple of Security staff on hand. Out of nowhere, you hear a really loud bang! A window is smashed. A second later, another! No one knows exactly what is going on. Me, being NYC born and raised, and an extremely aware type of person 24/7, I assume it’s gunfire and hit the ground instinctively, crawling into the back. One more window smash.
The bouncers head outside. It turns out Dipshit has returned with a baseball bat in hand, trying to take our bouncer down. He’s screwed at this point once we all realize exactly what’s going on. They take him down and restrain him until cops arrive. This time, luckily, the police arrive a whole lot quicker.
What a moron, this guy. Not only did he assault people, wreck the bar, insult folks, and generally cause an unnecessary disturbance, but he cleared out half the bar causing lots of lost income. Now Dipshit has to face embarrassment, injuries, hospital time, probably a few weeks in jail, lost income, and restitution not to mention a litany of charges like (1) assault with a deadly weapon (2) aggravated assault (3) disturbing the peace (4) reckless endangerment (5) menacing and maybe even (6) attempted murder. I’m not a lawyer – I’m just guessing.