Ever been in a bar like the one in the movie Road House?

Saw Road House for the first time a couple nights ago. If you haven’t seen it, the plot revolves around Patrick Swayze trying to tame a very seedy bar in Missouri. The place was completely out of control… there were fights breaking out every few minutes, and a half-a-dozen bouncers were on staff. Basically just a lot of rowdiness and debauchery.

As I was watching it, I got to wondering if a bar/night club as portrayed in the movie has ever existed in real life. Have you ever been in a place like that?

No clue as to actual bar like that, but from a practical perspective in a real world, legally licensed bar a fight usually involves tons of police intervention, lots of property damage, involvement in lawsuits, and effectively a large loss of profitable business for the bar. Plus all bars in the US have o maintain a liquor license in good standing and that license can be yanked by the city or county liquor board if the police deem the bar is a public nuisance and a time sink for police resources.

Even if the police were willing to look the other way a contemporary licensed bar can’t tolerate constant fights and stay in business.

Yep, used to hang out in one of 2 every night. They were biggest in canada at the time and had over 50 bouncers. Way rough, but northern boom town so expected. Cops wouldnt eve come in, they just waited until the boys got thrown out.
Wife loves to tell stories about how she and her girlfriends needed to be excorted to the can. Got in a lot of fights there. Used to have guys come over to the table giving me grief about having more than one gal sitting there, they thought I should share. Heh! good times!

I’ve walked into a couple of bars that might have been that bad…but as soon as I realized just how bad they might be, I turned around and walked right back out.

It’s always a bad sign if the band has to be in a chicken wire enclosure.

:smiley: The chicken wire is there to block the flying beer bottles. Sadly, it’s doesn’t stop liquids. Nothing quite like a beer and urine bath while you play Free bird badly.

I have been in a few. A guy I worked with came in with his face busted up. The bar he hung around in erupted into a huge fight. Some girl busted him in the face with a beer pitcher. As I was telling him how sorry I felt for his damage, he informed me he was going back there again that night. He thought it was fun.

Benn in one? Hell, I plan on going to one pretty damn soon! Nothing like a good ol’ fashioned Christmas beat down to get me in the holiday spirit. :smiley:

In Dallas there is this place called The Trap Room.

It doesn’t have fights on the scale of “Road House” proportions but fights do break out. Also the bar staff are off their freaking rockers. In most bars, if you get into a fight, you’ll get asked to leave and not to come back. At this place, the bartender just yells: “Hey, you guys cut that out!” Then he’ll continue to serve them alcohol once they stop fighting.

In one incident, a chair was thrown, tables were knocked over and drinks were spilled everywhere. You think they were asked to leave? Nope. The bartender kept right on serving them!

Also, there are no bouncers on staff. It’s just a little hole in the wall bar.

Almost all of my experience with bars has been with college-town bars. At college bars for rich college kids, even the ones that have punk rockers and other toughs mixed in with the crowd, you will be thrown out of the bar if you get physical. Hell, I’ve seen bouncers step in just to resolve verbal arguments. These kinds of places have enough to worry about already with underage drinkers, excise police, some kid maybe getting alcohol poisoning and hurting himself - there’s no tolerance for any kind of physical shit and it hardly ever happens anyway.

I have yet to drink in a real “dive” with a hard-ass crowd.

I’m a bartender at a generally calm, peaceful neighborhood bar…but I’ve seen a few memorable moments, the chief of which was the night that one of our regulars got into a fight with some random guy…

A beer bottle was pounded on a table, making it into a jagged-glass kinda deadly weapon, and it was being pounded on the head of said regular…

My co-worker ran from behind the bar and got between these two guys.

I said to myself, “Now that’s something I don’t get paid enough to do.” (FTR I get paid 4 bucks an hour.)

She wrestled the broken bottle out of the assailant’s hand and subdued the fight and the “non-regular” left, after being threatened with police.

I’ve also seen chairs, glassware, ashtrays, you name it, being used as weapons.

But the thing is, it’s so rare and such a spectacle that it doesn’t ever become “the norm.” Most nights we don’t have a bouncer, but we always have regulars who will solve any problems that might arise.

But when they do…I swear it looks fake. We’ve all seen it in movies so often that when it’s actually happening it looks silly and odd. Quick and stupid and unreal. Like pro-wrestling, it appears staged and absurd.

I would never wanna work at a bar where it was normal, but I’m in the biz and there are plenty of those kinda bars.

Military bases often seem to be surrounded by the sort of bars where it looks like there would be a lot of fights, but I don’t know how common they actually are.

I don’t know if they still exist but there used to be “sin towns”- think Porkies, or the place in the the Eddie Murphy movie Life. A micro-municipality, population 22, where the guy who literally owned all the land the town sat on was the mayor and his brother or brother-in-law was the chief of police. Places dedicated to providing whatever vice was wanted and/or rolling suckers. Provided the right people were payed off and none of the bodies ever surfaced, almost anything could happen there.

Can’t say I’ve really been in that sort of situation, and I’ve seen plenty of bars where people were off their head on coke and the mood was a lot less than friendly.

But, as old_joe reminded me, some of the bars “out in the country” over here did (when I was younger, about 15 years ago) have regular fights right outside the door; closing time, people all going out, some bloke starts an argument over whatever, beer bottles flying, stuff like that. A school mate of mine worked in one of the largest bars in the area (really out in the sticks) and he told me pretty much every night ended like that, with people getting thrown out in the mean time. Fairly rough stuff.

Places like that tend to have bouncers, but their main function is to kick anyone out who’s starting something - and whoever is standing in the vicinity too - and leave them to it outside.

The worse bar fight I’ve ever witnessed occured in this club. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in the place but it used to be pretty bad.

To answer the OP yes I’ve been in a few places like this. Before the movie came out (Urban Cowboy) Gilley’s used to be a lot like that - the clientele being made up of mostly roughnecks.

Have any of you all seen the reality series “Full Throttle Saloon” on TruTV? It’s this huge, open air bar in Sturgis, North Dakota where the owner, Michael Ballard, must make it through the entire year on the money he makes for the week of the Sturgis Motorcycle rally. He’s faced with all sorts of challenging situations that threaten to bankrupt him.

I’ve played in a few that turned INTO that sort of place.

Introducing the last song of the night seemed to be the cue for various combatants to size each other up and get stuck in.

I’ve also played a riot . . . … we must have been mad


I have been in a few biker bars that were downright nasty. But you can feel a bar with a bad attitude. Your spidey senses start to tingle and you gotta get out of there quick. I am non violent and get no fun out of fighting.
A couple of us were in a dive bar after work once. At about 7 the barmaid said it was time for us to leave. She said when her regulars came in they did not like to see strangers in the bar. It was a biker bar. We left.

Allegedly, this town was part of the inspiration for the film: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_McElroy

Been to The Roadhouse in Akutan <speed bump in the middle of the Aleutians>; there’s a bell hanging over the bar. Don’t ring it unless you want to buy drinks for the house…and you WILL be purchasing drinks for the house. There’s nowhere to run to if you don’t. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sounds like a common outlaw biker attitude. I read Sonny Barger’s memoir; he says that in the 1950s the Oakland Hells Angels liked country music, so they’d always wind up in these bars popular with Okies. The farmers and cowboys on one side and the Angels on the other would stomp each other beyond belief–then they’d all sit back and get plastered and enjoy the music in a spirit of cameraderie.