Rough bars and bar fights

Perhaps I’m sheltered but I’ve never been in a bar where a fight took place. The worst was when the group of students I was in had an awkward few seconds when another group wanted to use the pool table.

Are bar fights common? Are there bars which are in/famous for this, to the point that people who are itching to get into a fight would go there? It seems like in the US, deliberately looking for a bar fight would involve a death wish.

I’ve been in a Bob’s Country Bunker sort of place which had its fair share of trouble – somebody got shot there one New Year’s Eve, for example. I knew the owner and almost got hired as a part-time bouncer in exchange for room & board above the bar; the plan fell through when we discovered my living there would have violated zoning regulations.

That reminds me of the movie, “Road House”.

I don’t know how common it is. I remember my a step family member frequently talking about the bar fights he got into and a coworker apparently got a woman pregnant after a bar fight. I wouldn’t call them classy people. I suspect there’s a fair number of lumpenpeople who do that kind of thing, especially in their 20s.

In the bad old days of 1970s military, racial tensions were pretty high. Fights in the military clubs were common, usually carrying over into the streets. I’ve been in some rough bars around the world, but only remember one civilian fight that escalated pretty quickly. That was in Guatemala and it ended with a guy yanking a pistol out of his boot and waving it around while everyone scattered for the doors.

My brother, on the other hand, was in quite a number of barroom brawls. But then he was usually the instigator, from what I can tell. He tended to hang out in shit-kicker bars, if that makes a difference.

I’ve seen two bar fights. Both when I was in the Navy.

The one I saw more of was in San Diego. My buddy kind of started the fight. My other friend and I did not back him up though.

We were drunk, my belligerent friend especially. Gee no surprise there right?
He started jawing with a marine sitting nearby. I don’t remember the details any more this was 30+ years ago now. Anyway, the Marine & my friend ended up fighting. Then the Marines’ buddies helped him. So it was 3 on one. Poor Andy went down and they start ripping the Navy as a bunch of pardon the word: pussies. As the fight really got going, my other friend and I ducked under our table to stay out of it.

So when they really started ripping the Navy, another guy got up, and sent the 3 Marines down fast, one part way out the door. Turns out he was a SEAL.

Andy looked pretty rough, we got him back to the ship and cleaned up and reminded him not to pick fights when he’s hanging out with a couple of D&D playing geeks.

I usually embellish this story more for the story telling purposes, I kept it as factual as I can remember it this time.

The other fight was over seas in South Korea. It was in a huge bar and involved at least a dozen people. I grabbed my beer bottle and got out the door. No idea how it turned out.

Which reminds me: the clientele of the above mentioned bar was a mix of Air Force personnel and civilians.

I worked in a bar as a doorman and then supervisor when I was in college. Yeah, they happened more often than not. Mostly it was disorderly drunks. Sometimes it was a personal thing between two people. A couple of times it devolved into a brawl between two groups of half dozen or so idiots. Those were the worst. Usually cops had to be called.

I saw the aftermath of a real doozy of a brawl between my electrical crew and a bunch of guys off the USS Midway. This was in a local bar in Yokosuka, Japan. The swabbies started it, apparently, and my guys finished it even though outnumbered two to one. Four of my men sent six of theirs to the hospital with broken bones and concussions, etc. I got rousted out of bed to go to the hospital, where Navy doc asked me what the hell we fed these guys. I think one of my men had a bloody nose and one had a bruised rib. Construction workers are generally not people to pick fights with.

I’ve been in a lot of bars in my life, and am usually drawn to local dive taverns rather than upscale lounges.

Nevertheless, I’ve never been in a bar fight or even witnessed one. I suspect this is a thing that happens in movies and TV much much more often than real life.

(Seems like bars frequented by military personnel may be the exception, though, judging by the responses here.)

We used to get in bar fights a fair bit in my late 20s. This was in a ski town in Colorado and totally uninvolved with the military. Mostly there were fights over women (hitting on someone’s girlfriend) occasionally it would be really stupid stuff like I almost got in a fight over who was the better team Steelers or 49ers. Once I got a knife pulled on me after a guy was talking shit to my now wife.

I would guess that having a group of large athletic males as my friends was the primary reason for the fights in that we weren’t willing to back down from a fight and certainly would get occasionally belligerent though most of the bouncers in town knew us and tended to throw out the other side of the fight. Several times people were hauled away by the cops and once an ambulance was called (the time the knife got pulled) but no one went for a ride.

I like bars, I’ve been in a lot of bars across the US and in parts of Asia and the British Isles.

It was only bars that were mainly military where I’ve seen fights break out.

I’ve been in lots of dive bars, especially Irish bars in my old neighborhood in the Bronx and cowboy bars in the West. I’ve been in bars on six continents, some pretty rudimentary. I don’t recall I’ve ever seen a punch thrown. I’ve heard loud words exchanged, which resulted in one or both parties quickly finding themselves on the street, but I don’t know what happened after that.

Never seen one, but maybe I just don’t hang out at those bars. The closest I can even think to being in one was when a friend that bartends mentioned that someone got into an argument and pulled a gun on another patron. I had, literally just few hours earlier, had the same argument with him but backed down because I could see was getting worked up and I really didn’t care that much. The argument was over who got to use the pool table next. My friend went and had another drink instead of arguing. It really didn’t matter to us if we played now or in 10 minutes.

Though it did kinda shake us up a bit when we found out he pulled a gun on someone. To this day, 20ish years later, I’m still glad I didn’t push the issue. I mean, it was our turn, but it’s hardly worth getting shot over a game of pool.

Seen my share. Never participated. Well, maybe once…

Friend of mine lived/went to school in a Cowboy Town. Locals did not like the ‘rich boys’ from the school. Town square had a row of bars. Fights every weekend from the sound of it. One memorable story he told me, a fight broke out and it was just like you see on TV. Chairs flying, tables getting tipped over, and there was this one Giant that just went around the room and knocked out about 15 people before the cops showed up and shut the whole thing down. Guy was a fightin’ machine, apparently.

I’ve seen a few. Mostly, they’ve escalated from name-calling, to pushy-shovey, at which point, somebody throws a punch. Or worse; I’ve seen a guy take a pool cue to another guy. Often, what I’ve seen is a combination of too much alcohol, and somebody insulting somebody else’s girlfriend. Yes, police have been called to break things up and make arrests.

I did once see two women get into a fight at one place. I have no idea what they were fighting over, but they were pretty vicious.

I’ve had some students from “the north woods”, who claim there’s nothing to do up there except go the bars to get in fights.

I asked the class, "Did I mishear? Not “and”, but “to” get in fights?"

Well, yeah, they said, it’d be a boring weekend if you didn’t…

Yeah I’ve seen a few. Haven’t seen one in quite some time though, as most of the bars where people fight tend to be full of college kids or dropouts - in my experience anyway.

[quote=“MichaelEmouse, post:1, topic:920604, full:true”]
Are bar fights common? [/quote]

Yeah, they happen. Speaking as a LEO we’re usually showing up after everything has already gone on.

But I’ve been in a couple of rough places. I grew up in a quaint, Americana type town. Even the poor people were middle class. But just outside the city limits was this shitkicker palace. I almost never went in there unless there wasn’t anything else going on.

One time 2 bikers got pissed because they were kicked out, So they burst through the front doors riding their Harleys at full throttle, smoking up the inside of the place.

Another time some drunk tried to ride in on a horse. The horse didn’t like all the noise and tried to back out the door. The drunk smacked his head on the door frame and knocked himself completely out, falling off the horse. The horse freaked and started kicking and bucking inside the bar. It took 6 Sheriffs Deputies to calm it down and lead it out.

Another time I saw a guy throw a beer bottle across the room and hit his girlfriend in the back of the head. She spun around and stormed right up to him, punching him right in the eye with her car keys between her fingers, He ran out screaming.

I’ve seen a number of bar fights over many years. They are for the most part two idiots going at it before getting tossed out, or occasionally someone coming in very drunk already and starting a fight at the door. This was the same for the lowest dives to the moderately respectable bars. The worst fight I saw was all outdoors in the parking lot and involved some bikers and locals with lots of shouting after a little bit of punching and kicking until the cops arrived. These have all been what I would call suburban bars, not city bars, not some roadhouse way out on a country road, so I can’t say what happens elsewhere, but based on all I’ve seen and heard about such fights it is primarily drunk idiots starting things and not much spill over. I’m sure there are epic movie scene bar fights sometimes, but I doubt they happen in real life as often as on TV and in the movies.