6 Things To Know About BOUNCERS
- By Amy Ettinger
- Published on May 18, 2012
Though he’s far taller than six feet with a stocky build, his broad shoulders slightly droop and his small, slanted eyes emanate a youthful twinkle and harmless charm. Tyler Yaney is the epitome of a humble and friendly giant.
A smiling face is emblazoned across his baby blue T-shirt that bears the motto,” Smile, it’s contagious!”
It accurately reflects his cheerful and encouraging spirit.
In his three years as the doorman of one of Missoula, Montana’s most popular nighttime bars, The Top Hat, Yaney has managed to forge friendships, burn bridges and hail haters. Almost everyday at around 10:00 p.m., he leaves behind any of his own troubles to resume his perch at the front door and take on the bar’s quandaries as his own.
Here’s a glimpse into the life and times of a doorman at one of the Northwest’s most popular venues, The Top Hat. He’s not there just to take your cash or kick you out.
1. “We’re not bouncers, we’re peacekeepers.”
Although nothing that he witnesses in the bar surprises him anymore, Yaney said his main goal is to create a safe environment, not to kick you out.
For such a tough and intimidating role, Yaney’s personality is more akin to that of a third -grade teacher or a dependable older brother than an unapproachable watchman.
“I’m probably one of the more patient door guys,” he said. “I’ll call people out before I drag them out.”
2. But the job definitely gets physical sometimes.
The first time he had to break up a fight was back in 2009 on the Friday of Halloween weekend. At around 12:30 a.m., Yaney was the only man left after his three comrades were cut because of slow business.
Yaney was dressed as Borat that night, adorned in the famous lime green thong mankini bathing suit. He even shaved his face except for a wiry patch of hair above his upper lip.
A guy dressed as Ken, Barbie’s significant other, and another man dressed in drag started fighting right in front of the bar taps, Yaney said, so it was up to the bartender and Yaney to break up the chaos.
“There I was, Borat putting Ken in a headlock and dragging him out the door,” he explained. “This dude in drag is leaning over me trying to punch Ken in the face, and bartender Steve, dressed in drag as well, is trying to punch the other drag queen.”
The scene was ridiculous albeit not altogether untypical (aside from the attire).
3. It can even get dangerous.
Within three minutes of breaking up this fight, Yaney encountered a severely inebriated girl at the door, whom he expected to be celebrating her 21st birthday judging by her youthful appearance. He asked for her ID and she mockingly shook it quickly in front of his face.
“Well it looks like you can’t come in tonight unless I can see your ID, sorry,” he said.
He looked away for a second and when he turned back to face the girl, she clocked him directly in the face. Borat now had blood dripping down his face and onto his bare, hairy chest. He grabbed the girl, but her friend pushed Yaney’s hand away and dragged her out of the bar.
This all happened in a five-minute period of time.
4. He does a lot more than guard the door.
Yaney describes his job title(s) as, “bartender, peacekeeper, swamper.” He works Tuesday through Saturday, and before his 9:00 p.m. call to post, he frequently mops the floor and cleans the place.
One year at an annual concert series, his employer hosted The Naked Cowboy. On stage, the cowboy destroyed a number of piñatas filled with food – hotdogs, mustard, ketchup, vegetables, fruit, cake, sour cream, etc. – and excited the crowd into joining his self-initiated food fight.
After kicking him out of the bar, it was up to Yaney to clean the walls and mop the floors the next day for nine hours.
5. It’s all in the family.
At 26 years old, Yaney is above all a music lover and musician. It’s the tunes and the intimate bond that he and his coworkers share that led him to the bar and have kept him there.
“I didn’t think I was going to last there because I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing [when I first started],” Yaney said.
But after a festival let out nearby and the bar was swamped, Yaney just started working, lending a hand wherever he saw fit
“And here I am two years later,” he said. “They’re all my family.”
6. It’s all about the music.
At home, Yaney shares a small, but comfortable apartment with his roommates. They frequently host potluck-style dinners for co-workers, family and friends.
The apartment is organized, but plastered with band posters and music memorabilia, and laden with instruments – a mandolin, two bass guitars, two electric guitars, a harmonica and several amps, all of which belong to Yaney.
“I love music,” he said as expected. “I listen to music everywhere.”