“Drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things . . . nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.”—William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Isn’t drinking supposed to be fun? It’s easy to forget that behind every glass in the pub is a staff of bartenders, servers, and (sometimes) bouncers to ensure everyone is having fun without having too much fun. When a bunch of drunk people gather in a tight space, that’s almost asking for disaster—or it’s at least asking for a mop.
Reddit asked the bartenders and other pub folk of the Internet to share their most terrifying dive bar adventures. Flowing like beer from the tap, stories of unbelievable barfights and self-righteously sloshed patrons made their rounds. The main takeaway? Some of us need to redo Potty-Training 101. Raise a glass to 41 tipsy stories about dive bars gone horrifically wrong.
41. He Had a Delicate Appetite
Not a bartender, but at this one dive bar in New Orleans, I saw a seriously drunk man unsuccessfully attempt to eat a glass bottle. He stumbled out of the bar bleeding profusely from his mouth. Nobody called an ambulance. Good times.
40. Get Ready to Rumble
This guy walked past the wet floor sign, on the wet floor. One of the girls said, “Be careful, that floor’s wet.” The intoxicated guy kicks the sign, acts like he’s falling down and then actually face plants, breaks his ankle and then sues the establishment.
Something else which always stands out in my mind was when I gave two lads two tequila shots, salt and a lemon slice. A explains the sequence (salt, shot, lemon) to B, A takes his shot, B licks the salt, takes the shot and then opens his mouth to put the lemon in, B had forgotten to swallow his shot and in opening his mouth let it all pour down the front of his shirt.
I haven’t seen too many fights, if a scuffle breaks out, the bouncers have it broken up before I can even decide who’s scuffling. One guy tried to be a movie star and pick up a bar stool and smash some guys head in with it, problem was the barstools are really heavy, he hurt his back.
39. Don’t Quit Your Day Job
I used to play music in NYC in the late ’90s and early ’00s just as the city was getting cleaned up, so we caught the tail end of the dirty days.
I played in bars before I was old enough to be a patron.
More than once an old-timer would stay through happy hour and when we got on stage they’d stumble up and do a Vincent Vega style dance to a rocking opening number.
One of those old guys gave us an amazing rant after our set, waxing nostalgic for the winters of his youth. the best lines were “I remember snow. Snow that crunches! Snow that squeaks! NORDIC TRACK!!!! NOOOOORDIC TRAAAACKKKKK!
There was a bar down the block from the Twin Towers called The Orange Bear, run by a huge Russian guy named Victor. He let us do whatever we wanted for the most part, sometimes book the whole evening’s bands, and he gave us 100% of the door which was unheard of.
One night after a big show he got hammered and fell asleep in the back office. We got friendly with the bartender and she started drinking with us. After a while she cozied up to one guitar player while the bassist and I went behind the bar and started serving drinks, free of charge, to the people at the bar.
We were never allowed back after that night.
The most common occurrence was you’d be killing time before a show and someone would start a conversation, they’d often appear normal and then they’d say something that warned you they were a Patrick Bateman type. Then we’d start peppering them with questions trying to see just how crazy they were.
If we “met” them mid-show they would inevitably try to be part of the show. Usually trying to dance and making a mess of themselves.
38. Secret Selfies
Not a dive bar, but there were a couple dudes that came in and sat at the bar. Dressed like they were on vacation, except the way they talked was very stern and serious. They did not order any drinks.
After being there for about 20 minutes they called me over and asked me to take a picture of them. They handed me the camera and told me not to touch the zoom and told me exactly where to point it.
I then realized that they were having me take a picture of a big dude sitting at one of the booths across the restaurant. They had me take three pics. They thanked me and then left. I still wonder what that was all about.
37. The Swift Arm of the Law
I was near the backdoor to our smoking patio about to head out for a cigarette.
Five cops came in, walked straight to the bar and cuffed a guy sitting there with his buddies.
They then walked through the whole bar, looked everywhere and at all the inventory, behind all the shelves, didn’t say a word to the bar manager then left. Very odd.
36. When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go
One time a guy was drunk and wearing shorts and he took a big diarrhea dump in his shorts which ran down his leg and onto the floor.
The whole place started to stink, and all the people ran for the back door to the patio.
Unfortunately, they didn’t watch where they stepped, and like 5 people walked right through it and started tracking it all through the bar. Took like 20 minutes for the stink to die down.
35. Is That Covered?
So not me, but a place I used to frequent because it was across the street from a condo I was renting at the time… I was on my porch having a cigarette when I heard a loud crash around the corner. Less than ten seconds later, I see a guy sprinting up the street trip in a bush, get up, and keep running.
I ran down my steps to see what was happening and one of those box-on-wheels Scions was on its side facing the wrong way (one-way street) and the entire bar (hipsters, dive bar regulars, and bartenders) was in the street looking at the accident.
This guy had taken the corner way too fast and hit three parked cars. The worst was the guy who came out of the bar yelling “I just bought this car and I’m not even drunk.” (Apparently, he had just gotten a new car and his was the middle one of the pile-up).
Police show up, interview the passenger (driver was the one who ran off) and then the tow truck shows up. It takes it two tries to tip the car back upright (like I said earlier, box on wheels…no weight to it) and then the driver’s wallet falls out of the seat.
Not really sure what happened after that, but for a weekday night during the middle of summer in college town it was pretty exciting. Best part was the bar stayed open late because so many people had full drinks and open tabs.
34. Girls Gone Too Wild
I worked at a nightclub that hosted hen’s parties on Saturday nights. The usual scenario would be three or four separate groups of drunk, screaming women being entertained by a troupe of the cheesiest male strippers you can imagine. Fun some nights, but mostly awful, especially if you weren’t having a few cheeky drinks yourself.
The most memorable of these shifts was the night a particularly classy bride-to-be (who had earlier collapsed onto a table, knocking it over and smashing about 15 champagne glasses) managed to pass out in the lady’s bathroom (not in a cubicle), and spoiled herself all over herself.
To her misfortune, most of her group of friends saw her in that state, as they all rushed in to make sure she was okay. The manager and a couple of floor staff were also witness to the happening.
Unfortunately for him, the funniest part of the whole affair was seeing our magnificent bouncer (who had just arrived for his shift wearing a crisp, white shirt) have to carry her up the stairs.
She was picked up by her fiancé. What a start to the rest of your life.
33. Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Used to manage a pub. Had a guy come in everyday that wore fake plastic breasts under his clothes.
Also had a guy go to the toilet but not quite make it. He decided to head back to his seat and finish his pint before the smell hit me and I asked him to leave.
32. Knights in Bloody Armor
I worked in a notorious club in southern England. The kind of place where drinks are served in plastic cups and plastic bottles, not that it stops the occasional knife coming out.
On Friday nights, there’d be six doormen on duty; the biggest, meanest looking security guys you’d ever have the misfortune to get on the wrong side of.
One Friday I was collecting glasses near the dance floor when I hear a commotion. I look round to see a guy screaming about the antichrist and decking some poor girl. Everybody stops dancing to stare, gobsmacked.
There was an eerie pause, which felt like a lot longer than it probably was, and suddenly about 50 or so “chavs” (Americans: think a cross between a frat bro and a hick) suddenly charge at him from every direction. Best I can describe the situation next is as a writhing pile of drunken humans, with our schizophrenic friend lying somewhere in the middle being punched and kicked by everyone.
The six security guys dive in, tearing people away and finally grabbing and dragging this bloodied carcass away towards a fire exit. Two of them drag him out through the double doors, while the other four guarded the door.
Only, the fight didn’t stop. The entire club, which consisted of about five guys to every girl, was out for blood. By now everyone, consisting of about 200 people, were surging towards the four security guys. It was like a scene from 300, except there were four Spartans fending off a mass of drunk, angry chavs. The music stopped, the DJ announced, “The club is closed, everyone get out NOW!”
The security were heroes. The police came pouring in within minutes, and the situation was brought under control. The security guys looked shell shocked; one of them refused to ever work there again. The guy who started attacking that girl got sectioned under the mental health act.
31. Do’s and Don’ts
I’ve posted some bartending stories before so here we go. Surprisingly, I have crazier stories from the nicer bars I’ve worked at than dive bars, but we can do a dive bar story.
This particular dive was down in Texas, typical Cheers-style, everyone knows each other place. But every now and then, I would get a customer I’ve never seen before. These people were generally kind of shady but always felt comfortable.
I had one guy sit down at my VERY slow and therefore quiet bar and commence to call a sex chat line.
He started out by entering his credit card info into his phone then, “Oh yeah baby what are you wearing… oh of course I like that.” I had no clue what to do about that, but it never got too bad and I could see both of his hands and he didn’t try to go to the bathroom.
Another guy called up his drug dealer and started to try and get him to come sell this dude drugs at my bar. I threw that guy out.
I know, double standards.
30. A Wallet Is A Girl’s Best Friend
I work in a college town bar, and every Wednesday our bar does liquor pitcher night where a person could get a pitcher of liquor for five bucks, so usually people always get super trashed by the end of the night.
Well one night after close we had been cleaning up the front of the bar, and we hear some pounding on the door. We open it up and we see this drunk girl coming running in saying that we stole her wallet.
So after we calm her down and look around for our wallet, one of the bar backs decides to check the bathrooms and ends up finding a drunk chick just asleep on the bathroom floor which is always nasty at the end of the night.
So the chick wakes up, just starts walking out of the bar, and the girl that was in there who was looking for her wallet says thanks, you found her and they leave. So if we see that girl come in the bar again, we call her “wallet.”
29. Give Them a Hand
Not exactly a dive bar per se (it’s technically labeled a “juke joint,” one of the few left in my state), but my friend owns a place that is really popular, and there is always something interesting going on.
The best story I can remember is the night he shot through his own hand trying to break up a fight. A large group of people who weren’t regulars (it’s that kind of place) showed up, and they all got out of hand.
At some point two of the guys started fighting over something—pool game I think—and their friends all got involved. Of course, the regulars tried to pull them apart and restore some kind of order, but at some point, the bartender (who was one of the regulars’ daughters) was hit with something, and it descended into total chaos. The cops were called, but the fight got so bad that the owner grabbed his .38 to fire a warning shot into the air to stop everyone.
Well, that backfired. Somehow (I still can’t totally figure this one out), he shoots through the palm of his hand, and out the middle finger, essentially destroying it. He did get everyone to stop, but he lost the middle finger on his left hand. Now he has one of those ridiculous rings that looks like a dragon finger to flip people the bird with.
28. Drink and Draw
Not a bartender but I was saved by one once.
My freshmen year of college we use to go to this dive by because they overlooked our bad fake IDs. My school was in an interesting area, the school itself was in a safe area but if you walked across a few blocks, you’d be in a real sketchy part of town.
Well one Thursday, my buddies and I are out drinking.
I get a pitcher for everyone and when I get back to our table, there’s an elderly guy sitting there. That’s not unheard of for this bar. I sit down and start pouring beers. The guy is mean mugging the snot out of me and only me. So, I ask him what’s up and introduce myself. He tells me he doesn’t want to know my name cause I’m probably a rat.
I decide at this point in time that I don’t really want to associate with someone who worries about who is and isn’t a rat. A couple pitchers later I’m feeling pretty good. The dude is standing behind me and I try to apologize before I’m drunk. He flips, telling me that he’s going to mess me up.
He lifts up his shirt and shows me his gun. I’m 150 pounds and grew up in a nice suburb, so I did the most logical thing. I tattled like seven-year-old to the bartender. Bartender asks him to leave, the guy flashes his gun at the bartender. The bartender calls the police.
The guy flashes his gun at the police! They obviously arrest him.
27. Not the Best Decisions
My boyfriend used to bounce at a nightclub. One night after asking a bunch of short little manlets to get off of the bar, one of them dove off of a barstool and smashed a bottle to the back of his head. Concussion.
Later that week, a bartender got drunk at work, then while driving home, struck and killed some designated driver kid that had just dropped the last of his drunk friends off.
26. What’s Family Got To Do With it?
There was a stone-cold gourmet chef from Apulia, Italy who owned a bunch of restaurants in NJ then moved to Panama City Beach, FL to “retire” (meaning working six 12-hour shifts a week instead of seven). The food was amazing, but the waitresses were your typical waffle house gals. “Our spechal today is the G-nokki Gorgonzoola” stuff like that.
I was bartending on the weekends and my friend Rachel was at the bar drinking wine, and we were talking. This guy having dinner with his wife, kids, parents, and in-laws comes to the bar and starts flirting with her. He’s been drinking. He offers her a shot of top shelf vodka. She reluctantly accepts. $7. She drinks it and thanks him.
He goes back to the table and after a few minutes motions to give her another shot. She says she doesn’t want it, so I pour her a shot of water. She lifts the glass, lifts it towards him and downs it. Few minutes later, he motions for another. Another $7 shot of water. She lifts it and then leaves it on the bar.
The table finishes their dinner, load up the kids and old folks into the van, and the man comes back in and leans against the bar and starts flirting. The wife comes in and touches his shoulder. “Herb, let’s go, we’re waiting.”
He takes the shot of what he thinks is vodka, throws it full into his wife’s face, she runs out completely humiliated and he turns around, cool as you please, as if to say, “Now where were we?”
Not my story.
Friend came back from working at a grungy city pub (frequented by uni students and all walks of life) here in Australia. After a Saturday night shift, typical vomit clean-up and abuse. He turned up after his shift without saying a word, exhales, opened a canvas shopping bag and pulled out six red wine bottles. We all stopped mid conversation (it was out of character for him to be so quiet) and he finally shared his story:
Other than the few rough bar flies/local city homeless people who stirred trouble, he’d had and OK night, until he had to change the kegs. This bar is pretty old, one of the first in the city, so he has to climb down a rickety ladder to sort it all out. He explained there was a tap/handle you needed to turn once you affixed a fresh keg. He’d done the majority of this task in the dark so far, with only the dim bar lights above him guiding his way. So turning this handle was for some reason trying.
He’d tried turning it left and right but hadn’t got result he was hoping for. The keg wasn’t reaching the taps above. So he wiggled the handle harder and climbed the ladder. When the light reached what he had in his hand he realized it wasn’t the handle he was turning.
No, what he had in his hand was in fact the most boney, filthiest and vilest looking foot he’d ever seen. The local tramp that was attached to this foot, burst into toothless laughter to my poor friend’s discovery.
In other words, friend felt up a festy bum foot while changing kegs.
24. Unwanted Mutt
There was a guy who would come into our bar and would chat up pretty young women. He would talk about how much he loves his dog and how great this dog is.
Then he’d ask if they want to see a picture of the dog and of course the women said yes. He’d pull out his iPhone and start scrolling through photos for them and then after like the fifth photo, there’s a video if himself jacking off. He would just play it while they stared in disgust and he watched them.
He did this to like 15 women before finally one of them told us what happened. We booted his butt and warned every business in the area.
23. Pinky Promise
I own a pub. I’m lucky and have a great clientele, minimal incidents for how busy the place is.
In the same building in the back, there is a smoke and lasers type night club with a punk venue in the basement. One night a big band was playing, so there was a line up down the stairs to get in and see the show. This drunk kid decides to jump over this really fancy looking railing into the crowd on the stairs below. So he does the whole one hand on the railing and leaps below.
His pinky finger was between the top of the railing and the small piece of metal that was part of the railing design.
As soon as he got over the railing, the railing RIPPED HIS PINKY finger off completely.
When the guy lands on the people about eight feet below, he freaks right out and starts punching everything in sight, blood everywhere.
The bouncers grab him no idea that his finger is stuck in the railing, and they can’t figure out why there is so much blood everywhere. It was a good solid 20 minutes before the police arrived and they found his finger.
No idea if they were able to reattach.
22. Can’t Hardly Wait
It was a normal night. We had about ten people hanging out around the bar. One guy decided that he had to pee.
Instead of going to the bathroom, he just whipped it out and peed right on the side of the bar.
21. Gross by a Hair
It was the middle of the day and this guy comes in to wait for his parents for lunch. He orders a Pepsi and pays for it up front while he waits for them.
He then asks me for cutlery because he likes to eat his ice. I come back with a fork for him and proceeded the rest of my work. A minute later, he comes up to the bar asking if we have any soup. I told him we don’t have soup, but that there’s chili. He orders the chili, and my naive self goes and brings a spoon to his table.
When I brought the chili to his table, I notice he has gone to the toilet, but with his spoon. I went straight into the kitchen to get the only other person working (male) to get him out of the bathroom and kick him out. Unfortunately, the guy refused to do anything even though I told him there’s someone doing drugs in our bathroom.
When he came out of the bathroom, he put his pubic hairs on the chili and started fighting with me about how disgusting it is that there’s hair in his food. He then stormed out of the bar and left me with hair-filled chili.
20. Wild Hogs
I used to tend bar at this hole-in-the-wall outside Austin. It was a big biker scene. The owner couldn’t get girls to work there on account of the level of attention they would get from these guys, so she hired me.
I worked there for about two months. The motorcycle club that used it as a “headquarters” was always there and usually kept the peace, but two instances will always be in my mind.
1: A band is playing the usual rock and roll cover band stuff. No stage in this place so they are just set up in a corner. A couple drunk girls were really getting into the music and kept approaching the band, singing into mics, playing air guitar or drums along with the band members.
Finally, one of the girls walks up to the lead singer, grabs the mic in one hand and his junk in the other and starts singing along with the song. This did not sit well with the lead singer’s wife who jumped this girl, hit her with a beer bottle and then, literally, tried to strangle her. Music stops, bikers jump into action to stop it. Apparently, it’s not the first time its happened and the wife had had enough. No major injuries. No cops but a wild cat fight.
2: The owner was this big biker broad out of California. Tough as nails. She used to get in fights with her old man all the time. They’d get drunk and yell at each other. Threaten each other with divorce. All that stuff.
One Saturday night it got bad. They got twisted up and wound up in the back kitchen of the bar. I can hear them yelling at each other then it stops, and I hear a large crash. Then the old man comes out ask me for a beer and sits down. I lean back into the kitchen and the owner is sitting down on the floor, unconscious. He had knocked her out.
I grabbed a couple of the other guys to go check on her. She comes to and goes wild. She came flying out of the kitchen, grabbed him by his beard and started punching him in the face. They grapple for a while before we break it up. I’m pushing the old man back.
He looks me dead in the eye and says “Don’t make me go to my hip” I didn’t understand what that meant until one of the other club members told me that meant he was going to pull a knife on me. He went outside, and she followed. They wrestled some more then she threw him off the patio of the bar and he broke his arm. The next day the old man’s daughter showed up and went at it with the owner and the owner broke her nose. Just another day in hillbilly land.
19. The Artist Will Not Be Censored
Not a bartender, but I witnessed some crazy stuff happen one night at the Empire in Fargo years ago. It’s a fairly notorious dive (or used to be).
My friend was a door guy at the time. A guy came in, had a couple beers. Went into the women’s bathroom. Got a warning, we all thought it was an honest mistake. Guy goes in there again. Gets dragged outside since he refused to leave on his own. Door guy walks in women’s bathroom to make sure everything is okay.
Turns out the guy was drawing in one of the stalls with a Sharpie… A bear fighting a man.
It was so totally puzzling and insane that we couldn’t help but laugh for a while.
There was another time this older gentleman came in, only ordered martinis, played every Joan Jett song on the jukebox, kind of danced alone, and pooped his pants. White pants and the musk of feces wafting off of him led us to believe he messed himself.
The Empire… good times.
18. A Porcelain Reputation
Served this older lady and her girlfriend for a few hours. They were apparently regulars, I had just started. One of them was drinking vodka like it was water. All I knew was that her name was Patricia and she was hilarious. The drunker she got, the funnier she was.
To make a long story short, around 1:30am she leaned over the bar like she wanted to tell me a secret. I went over, and she acts like she’s going to whisper in my ear and SCREAMS, “I’M PEEING RIGHT NOW!!!” I got the deer in headlights look and looked over the bar and realized she had been peeing on her stool all night….
I decided to call a cab for her and take the stool outside to hose it down later (Ugh). So she’s standing outside waiting for the cab as I’m dragging the stool out there. The cab drives up, looks at her and the driver says, “Nope. No way. Not again. She’s not getting in my cab.” When I asked why, he said, “Potty Patty is banned from all the cabs in town. Good luck finding her a ride.”
And he drove off.
So apparently… this was a regular occurrence, and EVERYBODY knew it… No one bothered to tell me. I had to drive her home.
17. Last Call for Somebody
I used to bartend in Huntsville, TX, at a place probably 200ft from the local bus stop. The bus stop was frequented by prison inmates on their way out. Well on occasion, the inmates would drop by our bar for a beer while waiting for the bus.
One day, I walked into the bar and this little 20-something dude was jamming out to Nickelback on the jukebox. The bar was empty. The guy was obviously very happy to be out, was energetic and friendly—not shady like the others we’d often see. He said he was awaiting a bus to San Antonio.
Well, a few days later one of the other bartenders saw the guy on the news. He made it to San Antonio—and murdered two people at an airport bar with a baseball bat.
16. May the Best Man Drink
I was working in this bar back in college. It’s a hugely popular bar with the collegiate crowd, especially the university whose campus was literally across the street. The place was always busy, even on Mondays for crying out loud. There was never a dull moment at this place.
One Friday night, after a big MLB game, the place is packed as usual. Locals and college students always made for a very interesting and volatile mix. It’s around 1am and almost everyone in the joint is heading towards that fun stage of drunk along with the sprinkling of jerks that are proper drunk. Cue McJerk #1 and College Douche #2 sparking off about some girl. The two guys get into a big shoving match and luckily the bouncers pull them apart before fists can really fly.
We go to chuck them out, but trouble arises because of their respective groups of bros wanting to get into it, and our bouncers who really want to avoid a brawl. Aside from the traditional tatted up bouncer, we also hire college kids to bounce as well. One of the college kid bouncers was head cooler that night and gets the bright idea to have McJerk #1 and Douche #2 to arm wrestle each other to decide who stays and who gets stepping. As I said before, we wanted to avoid a brawl and he felt like this was the best way to diffuse the situation as according to him, College Douche started the whole problem.
Faster than you could say Jaeger Bomb, college doorguy had a table and two chairs set out right in the middle of the main door area and ushered McJerk and Douche to the chairs. “You two are gonna arm wrestle to decide who stays and who goes. Whichever guy loses has to get his buddies and get out. We don’t tolerate fights and don’t want problems. You guys are gonna settle it like men in front of all these people.”
College Douche gets his butt BEAT and goes down pretty quickly to McJerk. It was hysterical, and the entire bar loved the whole thing. Douche was totally humiliated and grabbed his fratty bros and got stepping pretty fast. In all, it was the best fight diffuser I had ever seen. I made sure College Cooler got some nice tips that night and free drinks after work. I still laugh my butt off whenever I think about it.
15. When “Arrive Alive” Kills
Not my story, but my mom’s.
My mom bar-tended in a small bar. It was a busy summer weekend night and the bar was about to close, and mostly everyone was finding rides to get home.
My mother heard two men arguing near the door. This bar didn’t have a bouncer, and the place was so small there were only three people working. My mom was the only one not serving someone, so she had to deal with the men. They were still fighting when she approached them.
She told them that if they were going to argue, they needed to go outside. Man #1 told her that #2 refused to give him a ride home. #2 said he didn’t know #1 and that “no stranger is gettin’ in my truck.” Mom told #1 that he could use the phone to call a cab. #1 said he would just walk. The two men walk out of the bar.
Mom goes back to the rear of the bar. She sees through the front windows that the men are fighting again, and they are now shoving each other.
Pissed, she marches to the front of the bar and just as she opens the door to tell them to knock it off, #2 pulls out a gun and shoots #1 in the head.
Man #1 is laying on the asphalt of the parking lot with his brain matter splattered next to him. #2 peels off and leaves the scene in his truck. My mom runs to #1. He is moaning and trying to get up.
People from the bar are now outside, and mom tells one of the other bartenders to call an ambulance. She knows there is no way he will survive it. Man #1 keeps trying to talk to her, but he is making no sense. The bullet went through the head right above his right eye.
He died before the paramedics arrived.
14. Parting Gifts
Not a bartender, but bouncer at a dive bar for four years.
Once night there was this girl, who we found out later, was on all sorts of pills. She passed out on the bathroom floor. Out cold.
One of her friends (a local) came in and carried her out of the bathroom through the bar. Now, I am going to try and paint you a picture here. She was a blonde, tan, and wearing a white sun dress (something like this). Her friend was carrying her like you would carry a woman over the threshold on your wedding night.
As he was carrying her out she must have been very comfortable because, she proceeded to drop little poops all the way from bathroom to the front door. If I remember correctly, there were six poops. One of the bartender’s wives ended up cleaning it up.
None of the bouncers were going to clean it up because we didn’t get paid enough to clean up human feces.
13. A Stab to the Gut and a Slap on the Wrist
Not a bartender. There is a dive in North Dakota by the name of Arny’s. This place was a dump. The clientele was shady at best.
Constant fights and countless DUIs coming from that bar.
One night a fight gets out of hand and a man gets stabbed. It was not a mortal wound, and when the bartender went to call the cops, most everyone, including the victim, insisted that she doesn’t call.
After a bit of talking with the customers, it is found out that most of them, including the victim, have warrants out for their arrest.
The stabbee leaves and the stabber gets kicked out of the bar. Now, this being the diviest dive bar in ND, his punishment was severe; he was banned from the bar for a period of one month. After that, the bar’s best customer was allowed to return.
12. Like a Gentleman
I was a waitress for a small, college bar for a couple of years. All of the wait-staff and bartenders were best friends, lived together etc. We saw a lot of crazy stuff, and at this point, pretty immune to unpredictability that comes with working at a bar.
But this night scared the ever-living heck out of all of us.
My friend is working the bar, and the wait staff is just hanging out at the bar. The only people in the bar are a group of guys and one lone guy. All is well until we see the lone guy get up and walk up to this group of men.
There was no yelling or shouting. All of a sudden, this mammoth of a man from the group of men stands up and punches this guy straight in the face; he drops instantly to the floor. We think, just a regular bar fight.
Nope. Mammoth man is now kicking this dude straight in the face. We try to yell at them to stop, but the other men in mammoth’s group surround the fight, almost strategically, and show us their knives, and as politely as possible they say, “Stay back, we are not going to hurt you, but we’re going to finish,” or something to that extent.
Our bouncer was there and tried to intervene (7ft, 300+ pounds). They rip his shirt over his head, punch him a few times, and basically make it so he couldn’t intervene. You can see all of this in the view. Mammoth then drags this man to the side door, put his head between the door frame and proceeds to smash his head in the door.
When they were done, they step onto the man to get out and leave. Blood everywhere. Craziest thing of all is when mammoth man came to back to the bar the next day to apologize. He had enough cash to bail himself out as soon as he was booked. This man was by far the scariest looking man I have ever seen but could have NOT have been nicer. He sat us all down and apologized profusely for scaring us, and that was not his intention. He showed me pictures of his children and asked me if he could tattoo my name on his arm. I, naturally, said “Sure.”
As word gets out to the townies, we learn more about who this man is. All of them said the same thing, he is dangerous, and runs with a dangerous crowd. He also chops the hair off all the girls he sleeps with/gets in relationships with and affixes it to his jacket and motorcycle.
11. I “Saw” Nothing Odd
I used to work at a strip club. One day two guys started jawing at each other and ultimately decided to “take it outside.”
Once outside, one dude goes into the back of his pickup truck, grabs a chainsaw, starts it up, and starts chasing the other guy around the parking lot. Luckily there was a detail cop inside who ran out and threw down on the guy.
He was arrested, and I went back inside to continue on with a relatively tame night at the strip club.
10. Sniffing Out the Creeps
Not really “dive bars” per se, but definitely dive bar type customers.
The first, when I was DJing a pub. Nice enough place, pretty cool layout, great regulars.
Bartender pointed a guy out to me, and said if he causes any trouble, to let the bouncer know. He’d been in before and was thrown out for being a creep to the female customers.
I noticed that every time a party with a woman in it would get up and leave, he’d wander nonchalantly over, sit at their table, and smell the spot where the woman was sitting. I let the bouncer know. “Perfect,” he said and escorted him out of the building.
9. One Way to Get a Shave
I was a bartender at a crummy place in Kennesaw, Georgia. Some guy tried to put a candle out with what he thought was water and ended up burning all the hair off his face.
8. Splash Zone
I took the wife and kids to a drafthouse restaurant on Saturday. It’s not a dive, and it’s pretty evenly split with college kids and adult families.
I was walking with my son up the steps to use the restroom when a very drunk jerk in front of me starts puking everywhere.
The staircase is an open style, so puke is splashing on everyone below, on their food, head, faces, just like a fountain of puke covering four tables of people.
The bartender yells to the bouncer who drags the jerk outside. People were screaming, an older lady who got barfed on started barfing herself. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in a bar/restaurant.
7. A Hero’s Exit
A guy comes in on a busy night and proceeds to get wasted and stare at one of the female workers with massive breasts.
He eventually gets the courage to talk to her… no wait I mean grope her. So I kick him out (we had no security at this dive). He stumbles back in ten minutes later and I kick him out again. This time he’s mad and comes back in trying to “talk” to her some more.
I kick him out again, but this time he lets his body go limp, so I have to drag him out while he shouts about wanting to talk to her. Then he comes back in… mad. Reallllllly mad.
He throws a right…. I dodge with my superior dodging skills… he throws a left… my dodge had been used on the last turn and I couldn’t use it yet, so he connected.
That was it. I threw him into a cigarette machine and grabbed the back of his neck and the back of his belt (the entire bar is watching by this point) and drag him out and literally throw him out the front door and say, “and stay out!” The entire bar was applauding. It was great.
The next day, the owner fired me… it was her son.
This is a true story. It was a year ago and I have a new better job now.
It was a Friday night. One guy Cleary had a lot of drugs and he had been in and out of the bar a few times already with his friends.
Around 3 o’clock, they came back in and he was looking for a fight. He found one with a girl’s boyfriend. I got the bouncer (ex-military guy) to come over and break it up.
The guy and his friends started wailing on the bouncer.
The bouncer called in the other bouncers and they started working the group outside. The drugged-out guy first broke his arm on one of the bouncers and kept on hitting to the point that bone came through the skin (it looked like he didn’t feel a thing).
He took one of our barstools big steel one and knocked out the big bouncer breaking his skull (he is fine by the way). The police came in on a horse inside the bar and we closed the bar early. Blood everywhere.
5. Quite While You’re Ahead
It was a busy Friday and a guy was going around making clumsy passes at every woman in the bar. Me and a bouncer walk up to him and inform him that it is time to leave.
He agrees and walks outside of the bar. We asked him if he needed a cab he said no and walked across the street to the 7/11.
Fast forward about twenty minutes, I hear a loud crash and look to the front door and the dude has punched through the window.
The window didn’t shatter, he punched a nice round hole through it and had his arm up to the shoulder in the hole. He pulled his arm out and, in the process, he cut all of the tendons and arteries in his armpit.
Thank God one of the bouncers was in school to be a paramedic. Tied the arm off, called an ambulance and they took him away.
He came back a couple months later and informed us that he had lost the use of the arm and may never regain any functionality. He thanked the bouncer and then wrote a cheque for the window. That’s the worst thing I’ve seen working in the industry, but I’ve got plenty more.
4. Man Power
So I’ve been a bartender for about ten years now. I usually work at dive bars, but I’ve had my stints at fine dining establishments. I think the absolute worst thing I’ve ever had the inopportune chance of coming across happened at downtown Nashville at an unnamed bar on Broadway.
I had just gone downstairs to change out a keg since the bar back was upstairs opening up standalone beer cooler for a “Beer Goddess.” As I’m coming back up the stairs a body flies through the door I’m about to open into the wall to my right. (It’s like a small landing at the top of the steps with the door to the left).
The man who was just rocketed through the door was my 6’7 ft, 250 lbs bouncer named Jared. He stands back up and rushes back out the door. While I was gone, this Hungarian monster of a man had knocked out four patrons, one bouncer, and was holding his own against six others. I’ve seen a lot of bar fights in my time but this man would NOT go down, eventually the cops showed up, but this man unarmed, took on tasers, threw a cop through a window, took a metal baseball bat to the ribs, and law enforcement grade mace to the face.
Eventually he did finally go down, but not before stripping all of his clothes off, doing a body drop on the top of the police cruiser, and exposing himself to a female officer.
Turns out he was on a cocktail of drugs. His wounds consisted of nine broken ribs, fractured orbital, leg broken in four places, and his hands were broken in multiple places.
He put the original bouncer I mentioned in the hospital, and two cops were hospitalized as well.
3. A Death in the Party
I just remembered that once there was a surprise party waiting for the guest of honor on a Saturday afternoon. They waited and waited and drank and drank.
The guy they were waiting for ended up being dead.
Like, they all got the news while they were at the bar waiting for him. It was a horror show, and everybody lost their minds. They were SO drunk and SO sad. It was terrible. But…they didn’t leave.
The bartender needed to cut them off, but it was so tragic she didn’t know what to do. Eventually, the dead guy’s brother smashed the mirror in the bathroom and was losing his mind in general. So, I had to ask him to leave, he attacked me.
I had to wrestle him out of the building.
All the while trying to be nice (which is a trick) and trying not to let the rest of the group assault me (The trick is to pick up the guy at the waist and bury your head in between his shoulder blades, so people can’t punch you in the face. The rest of the trick is to know the layout of the bar, so you can blindly run someone out the doors).
Someone called the cops and I ended up asking the cop to not arrest the guy because of the circumstances. Yadda Yadda Yadda, the dead guy’s mom came in and tried to pay for the mirror and a few other things that got broken in the melee. The bar refused payment. Yeah, nice family…sad story. Really hard when a grieving person is too drunk and creating a situation.
2. Head Cases
I threw a guy out last week due to finding him drinking a 40 in a booth. He tried to convince me he bought it there, but we don’t sell those. About an hour later, he calls the bar threatening to come in and “smash my racist head in with a hammer.” So, that was a fun Monday.
I forgot about another!
One of the actual scariest nights, a guy was walking around with a gun, threatening people and flashing it. We had to quietly call the police, who came in about ten terrifying minutes later with their rifles. Unfortunately, the guy has family members in good places and he was out of custody the next day.
He came in about a month later to apologize, said he had just gotten back from Iraq then, and he was dealing with some stuff.
It’s scary what war can do to some people.
1. Bloody Coincidence
I wasn’t bartending at the time, but I picked up occasionally at this bar.
It was Halloween, and the bar was pretty slow. This dude comes in dressed all normal but covered in blood. Worse costumes exist.
Turns out he murdered his brother shortly before at the apartment complex around the corner. He just came in and had a few drinks and left.