20 Surefire Ways to Piss Off a Bouncer

Jim Vondruska/Thrillist
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Whoever came up with the phrase “the customer is always right” never had a shouting match with a hipster at 3am. In my 10 years of being a bouncer in Chicago, I’ve seen a lot of shameful crap.

The doorman is the most polarizing person the general public has to deal with when it comes to nightlife. But contrary to popular belief, bouncers and door guys do not wake in the afternoon and think of ways to ruin your night. However, the people we’ve dealt with unknowingly (in some cases knowingly) seem determined to get on our bad sides. Here are 20 ways to piss off the bouncer when you're going in, or when you're being asked to leave.

Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Ask for help finding drugs

Ask me again, and I will refer you to the proper authorities. They can help you give a new meaning to “taking a bump.”

Forget to have your ID ready

You are not only wasting the door guy’s time, you are wasting the time of everyone behind you. Please, don’t let the money Mom and Dad spent on college go to waste.

Ask “Do you know who I am?”

No, I don’t. If you don’t know then I don’t know. Sounds like you have memory problems.

Tell the door guy “This place sucks”

Breaking news: that doesn’t hurt our feelings. It just annoys us. We might even agree with you. You came in, so there’s something you liked about the venue. Stop fronting.

Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Claim your friend is still in there

No, they’re not. Everyone has left. You should too.

“Can you let me (and six of my friends) in?”

I’ll try, but no.

Apologize when one of your friends is asked to leave

This tells me that you have confirmed what the bouncer already knows: your friend is a tool. Get new friends.

Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Use the ID of the person standing right next to you

... or somebody who's already in the club. Not only do you think the bouncer is stupid, you think they aren’t paying attention. You guessed wrong. “Dumb bouncer” is an oxymoron.

Say you’re a “regular”

When you say that, all it tells me is that you should know better.

Ask “Is xxxx here?”

Unless I have proof that you know the person you are looking for, I will not tell you if they are in the club. You can look for yourself if you like. I’m not here to connect the dots for you.

Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Refuse to leave when asked

Don’t make a scene. Just go. Don’t be a stage-four clinger.

Say your Dad/Mom/cousin three times removed is a cop

When someone uses this scare tactic, it shows this person goes through life not owning up to their own behavior. The bar is better off without you. Your “cop” can pick you up from the precinct in the morning.

Give a military guilt trip

“But I just came back from Iraq,” is not the way to go. We thank you for your service. However, if you weren't being a prick, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Race card
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Pull the race card

If you’re white and talking to a black bouncer, you’re racist. If you are black, you’re an Uncle Tom. Believe it or not, if the door guy doesn’t let you in, it’s not personal. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Charge it to the game and keep it moving. My personal favorite: “C’mon brotha! You know how it is.”

Use a racial slur

Not much to say here except that you have a serious problem.


If you tell the bouncer the truth about why you don’t have an ID, depending on the rules, we may give you the benefit of the doubt.

Tell the door guy he’s broke

This is one of the biggest misnomers. That door guy you just shamed might be an off-duty cop or a medical/law student. Don’t let karma bite you in the ass when you least expect it.

Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Change your story if the police show up

I’ve heard some creative stories in my day. So much so, that I often sit back and say “And the Oscar goes to...” Some of these folks have a career in the improv scene waiting for them. They just don’t know it yet.

Bring the staff into the conflict

Bartenders and bouncers have long butted heads over this. Bartenders are thinking of the bottom line ($$$). Bouncers are thinking of respect. Why the divide? We’re going out after hours anyway.

“You think you’re a tough guy don’t you?”

I think it’s 4am, and it’s time for you to go.

Evan F. Moore is a multimedia journalist whose work has appeared in The RedEye, The Nation, Huffington Post, Time Out Chicago, and Community Media Workshop’s We Are Not Alone/No Estamos Solos project on youth violence. Follow him on Twitter: @evanFmoore.