Security Services

Dealing With Door Supervisors

Posted by Howard Trott on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 Under: Dealing With Door Supervisors
Be polite and calm and respectful. The door supervisors have been standing in the cold for hours. They have been speaking to people like you for hours. They are tired and bored and they have heard it all before. Nothing you can say will surprise a doorman. Also, they have all the power. You have none. You can win an argument with a doorman and he still won’t let you in. So be nice to the door supervisors.



Make an effort with your appearance. Girls, dress up and put some make-up on. Boys, try and look like you’re going on a date, not like you’re spearheading a grunge revival. It’s not the 1980's in the Home Counties and no-one is going to refuse you entrance for wearing jeans and trainers, but they should be smart jeans and trainers. I am regularly bewildered by what the kids wear today, but even in my dim, fuzzy state of fashion senility, an effort shines through. Incidentally, one of the main reasons clubs favour the better turned out is because, if we let scruffy people in, those who have made an effort complain like hell. 

Boys, don’t arrive in groups of ten. There are three reasons we don’t let large groups of men in. The first is that they are far more likely to get drunk and cause fights (sexism isn’t just for girls). That second is that the police tell us not to (because you get drunk and cause fights). And the third is that people do still go to clubs to pull so, assuming it’s not a gay night, some sort of gender balance is desirable. Anyway, here’s a top tip, if you are in an all male group, find some girls in the queue to be part of your group and pay for them to get in. It’s a win-win. In some venues the girls get in for free and you get in. True, they’ll probably ditch you the second they’re through the door or let you buy them drinks all night before copping off with someone better than you. But that’s still better than being turned away at 11:15pm and having to pay your way into some dreadful late night boozer.

Girls, be beautiful. It pains me to say this, but many nightclub doors are stuck sometime around 1963 when it comes to sexism. Obviously, as a modern metrosexual, I tell my doormen not to admit women on the basis of looks but, at many if not the majority of clubs, beautiful girls go straight to the front of the line – and do so even if they’re a bit rude and drunk. If you can’t be a beautiful girl yourself, have a friend who is a beautiful girl – as the beautiful girl halo effect will usually admit up to four people. Yeah, yeah, I know all this is horribly unfair. But deep down, we all know that, even after 50 years of feminism, beautiful girls still get to go to the front of most of life’s queues. It’s just that nightclub doors are the last places which are totally open and honest about it.



Say that you know the off-duty deputy manager. This is actually a little secret that often works. Nightclub doors are busy places and door staff don’t want to piss the boss’s friends off. So, if you can find it, drop the name of a manager who isn’t working that evening and you may get lucky. 

Don’t badmouth the club while you’re queuing. This may seem obvious but, after you’ve had a few, the desire to appear cool to your friends by trash-talking the venue you’re desperately trying to get into can become overwhelming. Resist it. If the door-staff overhear you, they won’t let you in. And then your friends who, only two minutes ago, were laughing at your witty disses will hate you.

Boys, if there is a woman on the door, don’t try and chat her up. Don’t try and be cool or funny. Don’t be cocky or over-familiar. You can only lose, so treat her like you would a female customs agent at Heathrow (see, also, point one). And, for God’s sake don’t try anything even remotely physical. Although nightclub doors are notoriously sexist, the second you attempt even a chaste peck on her cheek, the door supervisor will discover his inner Germaine Greer and give you a real-life version of the online pummelling that Dapper Laughs received last year.

Book ahead. Amazingly, this actually works. It really, really does. Clubs love guaranteed custom. So if it’s a place with tables, call and reserve one. Or you could just call and say, “I’m going to be arriving at 11pm, with three friends. Would it be OK to put me on the guest list?” Seriously, you can save yourself so much hassle by calling us at 5pm and being polite. It’s the clubbing equivalent of booking Easyjet flights for your summer holiday in January. Of course, if you’re like me, the only time you will remember this will be at 11:15pm in the queue, probably just after the drizzle has started.

Don’t carry alcohol. Don’t carry drugs. Nearly all clubs will search you and most have to take ID. We do these things because the police tell us to, not because we love treating your night out like you’re boarding a plane two days after a terrorist attack. Also, if you’re visibly very drunk, you are not going to be let in. So go away and sober up; chew some gum or drink some water. And, if there are five you who are fine and one who’s very drunk, put him or her in a taxi home. 

In the Manichean world of the club door, a super-drunk mate is the opposite of a beautiful female friend.
Know when to cut your losses. Sometimes you’re not going to get in. Recognise that moment. Sometimes it will be deeply unfair. Sometimes you will suspect fatism, lookism, sexism and even racism – and sometimes you will be right. But get this: it doesn’t matter and there’s nothing you can do about it (see point 1). Arguing with the door staff is pointless and pleading with them is demeaning, even if they have just let the people behind you in. Go. Go, for the love of God. Go, while you still have some shred of dignity left.

Finally, remember that, although nightclub doors may seem adversarial, we do actually want your custom, assuming you’re a half-decent, half-sober, half-stylish human being – and we want you to have a good time. But we also want everyone else to have a good time. For the most part, if bouncers refuse you entrance, it’s because you look like trouble. So learn what trouble looks like – and don’t look like that.

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