June 18, 2003 News & Features » Cover Story

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Tough Love 

Beyond the velvet ropes and into the heads of Richmond bouncers.

This isn’t how a night out is supposed to be.

Richmond has had its own share of showdowns in recent memory like the altercations and gunfire at Chuck Wagon in Oregon Hill and Gold City Showgirls in northern Henrico County. Tempers can flare anywhere and everywhere. Just last week at Bailey’s Smokehouse & Tavern near Horsepen and Broad streets, a bouncer dragged out an out-of-control slugger who had caused a hostess to fall. Such violence could be a kind of awful aberration. Or it could point to something else. Either way, summer is here and that means bars and clubs will be more crowded than usual, especially after outdoor concerts or for their own special gigs and promotions. And people will be drawn to them like happy, hungry ants.

Visible security at bars has come to be something we can’t afford to brush off. And the comfort that accompanies it appears now to include much more than physical space. If you haven’t paid much attention to bouncers before, you may instinctively now. Watch them work a crowd. Put yourself in their shoes. Style has rounded up some of the area’s most experienced bouncers to find out what’s on their minds. — Brandon Walters

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