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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Gatekeepers of Northgate

Photo by Meredith Seaver

Oceanography junior Matt Hafer is one of the bouncers at O’Bannon’s Taphouse.

In the Northgate district of College Station, attendees shed all their restraints and limitations out into the night’s breeze for a night of extravagant pleasure and risky business. The mediators of such recklessness, within their respective bars and clubs, are the St. Peters of paradise, composed of protein milkshakes and low-carb intake: the bouncers.

It’s to no surprise why bouncers exist in the first place, since bars and clubs aren’t the exact hotspots for peaceful people of sane and practical mind. It is a given fact that any function that has servings of alcohol is bound to be ruined by someone who excessively drinks — aside from church during communion. Thanks to the trusty bouncer, bar counters and dancefloors are kept safe for everyone else who are not too drunk to enjoy — although often, not without a fight. 

Tipsy Turtle bouncer Slater Milliken said, despite working for only two months, he has already faced violent encounters with drunk customers. Milliken said after a group of drunk men jumped the fence that divides Paddock’s from Tipsy Turtle, his manager prompted him to take the group out of the bar even after showing their identifications and proving to be of drinking age. 

“They were going to order their drink, I told the bartender to cancel their s—,” Milliken said. “One of their buddies just started recording me out of f—ing nowhere, just like shoving his phone on my face. I deleted the video and then shoved him out.”

With one drunkard out the bar, Milliken said the remaining stragglers shifted to the back of the bar. Him and three other bouncers approached 

the group and told them to leave, but Milliken said it wasn’t until his manager came that the group soon followed orders.

“My manager went back there, and she’s really scrawny and redheaded,” Milliken said. “She walked back there and she was like, ‘If you don’t know how to f—ing walk I’ll teach you! Right, left! Right, left!’ They stood up and walked across the street, screaming ‘Right, left! right, left!’”

This departure, however, was not without an altercation, Milliken said.

“They tried to f—ing fight me after that,” Milliken said. “I was like, ‘Come on, we can meet out back,’ and the cop was like, ‘What?!’, because there’s always cops here. So he was like ‘What?!’ and I was like ‘Yea, them punk-ass motherf—ers!’ and they just walked off.”

Sometimes these fights don’t occur head on with the bouncers, but between drunk people themselves, The Good Bull Icehouse bouncer Joel Anstine said. 

“The biggest thing that I’ve seen personally was a guy [who] got jumped in the bathroom for cutting in line,” Anstine said. “He was talking shit to the people in line and then three of those people got pissed about it and beat him up in the bathroom.”

Oftentimes, the heavily intoxicated are escorted in an embarrassing fashion, as The Corner bouncer Bobby LeRouax said how some people can’t seem to take the pressure.

“We had to kick out a dude up top for being too drunk,” LeRouax said. “When he was coming down the stairs, as they were walking him down, he was bawling, crying, holding on to his buddy, telling how sorry he was for getting them kicked out.”

Although all these instances are anecdotes to share from spending a night at the job, they bring up an issue when it comes to the reputation and conflicts that come tied with the job of being a bouncer. Even with this toll, people like Anstine, who found the job to be the foot in the door for the career into the bar industry, see the challenges in the relationship between customer and bouncer.

“I think it is one of the most under-looked service industry positions, security specifically, but all bar work is really just, I feel, thrown to the side, [as if] it’s really not service industry or even one of the biggest service industries in the nation,” Anstine said. “I think it has to do with the intoxication level of people who are around us who don’t understand that we’re just trying to help you guys, make it safe for you guys. We’re not trying to ruin anybody’s night, but we got to do what we got to do at the end of the day.”

Even with constant threats roaming around ready to happen at the drop of a shot glass, LaRouax said he enjoys the interactive aspect of the job, since his friendliness and connections are what got him interested in the job in the first place. 

“Honestly, I just feel that I’m a big people person so I love the fact that we’re just sitting out here, especially working the door,” LaRouax said. “I mean I get to see about 50 to 60, 70 of my friends just walking by, just any given night, even if they don’t come in or we don’t hang out, it’s just good to see people that I haven’t seen in a few weeks, months at times, just while working the door. The culture out here is a lot of close-knit people.”

With business and camaraderie, bouncers are here to stay. Whether they protect us or pick us off the ground and send us flying into the cold street corner — it’s their rules we’re playing by, after all. As long as you don’t cause any problems, nothing shall come unto you, Milliken said. 

“Really, I don’t have any concerns, because I’m kind of hard-headed myself,” Milliken said. “But as long as someone doesn’t come up to me with no problems or acting belligerent already, then I have no problems with that person.”

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