A year ago, I joined the staff of a grungy little alternative bar/theatre/nightclub known as Re-bar. Since it’s inception, it has been a place that has welcomed artists on the fringe of normalcy. It’s a spot where in one evening you can snuggle up and see the surreal stylings of legendary drag performer Dina Martina, catch the hilarious crew of Match Game reading each other to filth, and eventually dance off all that booze during Flammable, the west coast’s longest running house music weekly. For over 25 years, Re-bar has held strong as one of Seattle’s most beloved cultural destinations.
As gentrification overtakes the city, we are losing more and more spaces to folks who are oblivious to the histories of the cultures they are invading. As a community, we need to make sure we are doing whatever we can to preserve these spaces and keep them safe and welcoming. We are responsible for maintaining a positive, respectful attitude and also acting in accordance with the rules of the establishment and it’s staff.
The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board is constantly looking to fine establishments on the outskirts. As bar staff, it is our job to ensure that we are doing everything we can to make sure they don’t shut us down for something as petty as having a cup of water outside the bar (open container laws). In order for places like Re-bar to survive and hopefully thrive amidst the fuckery of what is happening in Seattle, it is imperative that everyone who partakes in what we have to offer understand a few simple guidelines.
FOLLOW THE RULES, RESPECT YOUR STAFF
We are all here to have a good time.
Almost every night I work the door I deal with someone who wants to question what I am telling them to do. You are being asked to do completely reasonable things because that is what is required of you when you are here. There are signs posted throughout the bar outlining what I’m about to discuss, but chances are you may be too drunk to notice. I’ll break it down for you.
To even get into the bar, you MUST show a valid form of ID. I don’t care how old you are. If it is expired, it is not valid. If it is from another country (besides Canada), you should have a passport on you. If it is fake, or not your identity, it won’t work. NO EXCEPTIONS.
If you are going to use coat check, it is your responsibility to hang onto your number and bring it back when you want to retrieve your belongings. No ticket, no jacket. You can wait until all of the coats have been claimed at the end of the night to see if yours is the loner. Chances are though, you drunkenly retrieved it already and it’s lying in the corner somewhere. We also don’t appreciate you hanging more than two jackets/belongings on one hanger. Order one less whiskey and coke so we can get our fair compensation. And be sure to take care of us for having to re-check your coat every time you go outside and smoke.
All booze needs to be off the floor by 2:00am. On busy nights, we start pulling drinks 15 minutes prior to ensure we give proper warning and can get to all the 200+ patrons in the club. If you are told to finish your drink, don’t make me wait there while you pass your full PBR tall can around to all five of your friends. It’s just rude. Take the $3 loss so I can move on and get to the rest of the club.
When the lights come on and the music stops, that is your cue to be sure you closed your tab and head out the door. Your conversation sounds so much better on the sidewalk. That one last pee you need to get out can continue to hold itself until you get to your next destination. The more people loitering after hours, the more it seems like it’s ok for others to stay. We want to get our bar cleaned up so we can go home sometime before 6am.
DON’T BRING IN OUTSIDE SUBSTANCES, OR DO THEM VERY DISCRETELY
On a busy night, I saw a patron pull out a fifth of whiskey from their bag and start chugging it. I was making my security rounds when I caught them and confiscated it. Later in the night, they pleaded with me to have it back (file this under respecting your staff as well). Even if you’re outside, do not drink a 40oz anywhere near the club entrance, and please smoke that j with your friends around the corner.
One of the most upsetting things to me is finding outside alcohol bottles on the tables and floor. Burners would call this MOOP – matter out of place. Get rid of your evidence, leave no trace. If no one is there to see it, it didn’t happen. But, if I catch you with any illegal or outside substances, it is my duty to make it disappear from the venue.
GIVE PEOPLE SPACE AND BE AWARE OF THE AMOUNT YOU’RE TAKING UP
No matter your level of sobriety, please maintain an awareness that you are not the only person in the bar or on the dance floor. Many people feel uncomfortable being touched, even if it’s just a nudge. You may be really feeling your dance moves, but be sure you are containing yourself when others are nearby when the DJ drops your jam. Give yourself and others around you an invisible yet pertinent boundary, and check in verbally with people whose space you’re invading. Whether you’re making your way to the bathroom, ordering a drink, or crossing over onto the dance floor, keep in mind you could be (albeit unintentionally) disturbing someone’s state of mind.
As staff at Re-bar, we are lucky enough to be the kind of people who are fully engaged and committed to the events we offer. While we’re friends with many of our patrons, and it is important to remember that we have a job to do and must act professionally. While you may want to come stand beside us at the door and chat life, we are at the same time responsible for monitoring the activities inside. Even a simple conversation can distract us from seeing that guy walk out the door with a tall can in hand. Be mindful of the intense amount of focus it takes to get our job done, and that we might not always want to have conversations beyond greetings. If we’re busy, or look preoccupied, keep it short! Just because we’re cute and flirty doesn’t mean we’re hitting on you or giving you permission to touch us. We just want a tip.
All of this seems like common sense when you break it down, but it all seems to get thrown out the window when people get inebriated. As a staff, it is our job to ensure your safety while you are patronizing our business and that everyone feels welcome and comfortable. Should an issue ever arise, we are trained on how to be culturally sensitive and handle uncomfortable, heated situations (thank you Night Crush!). None of this is meant to inconvenience you, but help you be a responsible adult while partying. Which you should already know. Cheers!