ID check: a look into the life of bouncers

Eddie Dilworth

Adam Benshoff, 22, has been a bouncer at Club Khameleon for about a year and a half. Breaking up a 40-person fight is the worst thing he’s had to do.

Credit: Andrew popik

Ask them once, tell them twice, the third time you throw them out.

That is the policy for Ben Johnson, the bouncer at Mugs Brew Pub.

Johnson is responsible for keeping the peace at Mugs. The responsibilities of bouncers include preventing vandalism, checking identification and stopping fights.

The 5-foot-9, 260-pound Johnson said he might get into an altercation with a drunk person about once a week.

“I can’t punch someone unless I’ve been punched,” Johnson said. “From there, it’s self-defense.”

Johnson, who has been bouncing for a little more than two years, said he enjoys his job, but it has negative aspects, such as dealing with drunks.

Another bouncer has a different opinion regarding dealing with drunk people.

“Some of the comments that come out of drunks’ mouths are hilarious,” said junior technology major Paul Dennis.

Dennis, who has been bouncing at Glory Days for about a year, said the job has its perks.

“I still get to be in the bar and have fun,” Dennis said. “It’s also a nice job because it works around my class schedules.”

Dennis said his job also has a downside, including the hassle underagers give him when he confiscates fake IDs.

“Then again, I enjoy making them suffer,” he said.

The hours the job calls for are not ideal.

“It would also be nice to be able to go to sleep at 11 p.m. instead of 3 a.m.,” Dennis said.

Adam Benshoff, a 6-foot-1, 285-pound bouncer at Club Khameleon described the atmosphere of the North Water Street bar as more laid-back than downtown bars.

“Bouncing here keeps me out of trouble,” Benshoff said. “I’ve broken up a couple of fights but never had to actually fight anybody.”

Fifth-year human movement studies major Mike Allison said he has gotten into fights but not recently.

“I haven’t gotten into a fight in a while, mostly because we have a great staff,” Allison said.

Allison, who has been bouncing at Buffalo Wild Wings Bar & Grill for a year, said he enjoys his job because he knows all of the people that go there.

“I like BW’s more because I can talk to more people that I know,” Allison said.

Allison was referring to the Robin Hood Inn where he had previously bounced.

Junior economics major David Ede said he likes bouncing at the Robin Hood.

“There’s always something different,” Ede said. “Plus, you get to meet and socialize with a lot of ladies.”

Ede said he has been bouncing at the Robin Hood for seven months.

“I like the bar — I like lifting weights, I like wrestling,” Ede said. “It just put all of my interests into one.”

While working at the Robin Hood, Ede said he had gotten into a pretty bad fight.

“I threw a guy out and then was sucker punched by his friend,” Ede said. “I went outside with him for about 5 minutes, came back in and went back to work.”

Ede said the bar has more fights than most bars because of the mosh pits at concerts.

Ede said the bar stays under control because they’re like a close-knit family, which seemed to be a theme among the bouncers.

“Bouncing can be a lot of fun,” Ede said. “It can also be a lot of work.”

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Eddie Dilworth at [email protected].