A Doorman (more commonly referred to as a Bouncer) is a term for a person who deals with the general security of a bar, pub or nightclub. Bouncers differ from other security professionals in that they specifically deal with individuals under the influence of alcoholic beverages and are more often than not responsible for protecting people rather than property and the theft of physical property. While other security professionals may deal regularly with inebriated individuals, such as security guards at rock concerts, they are generally not considered bouncers.
A bouncer is responsible for two primary tasks - keeping undesirable, underage, intoxicated, and otherwise disqualified individuals from entering the establishment and removing said individuals from the establishment if they gained entry improperly or became disorderly, overly intoxicated, or violent while inside. Bouncers can also be responsible for collecting an entry fee, or "cover", escorting other employees to and from their vehicles, and providing limited first aid to patrons. In some rare cases, bouncers can also act as personal bodyguards for VIPs (Very Important Persons), celebrities, and the club owners while these individuals are inside the establishment. Increasingly bouncers must be certified with training in crowd control and first aid.
Some differentiate the terms doorman and bouncer depending on where the bouncer/doorman is stationed. Doorman remain in or near a doorway and are primarily responsible for selective admittance and collecting entry fees. Bouncers can be stationed inside a club and are primarily responsible for crowd control, removing intoxicated or violent patrons, and protecting bartenders and other employees. A doorman, however, may rush inside to assist a bouncer and vice-versa. Others simply view the terms as interchangeable.
It has been suggested that the term "bouncer" originated from when a drunk and disorderly person would be thrown out and "bounce" as he hit the ground. Another speculation is that the term originated from the person that stood guard on in bar doorway, collecting and subsequently bouncing coins, given to him as payment to enter the bar, on wood to test whether or not the coins were real or counterfeit.
Bouncers are stereotypically portrayed (most famously in the American film Road House) as large muscular men, martial arts experts and/or street fighters who remove drunk and/or disorderly patrons from an establishment using violent hand to hand combat methods, then further punish said individuals outside the establishment with more physical violence. While there may be extreme cases where this stereotype fits, in actuality many bouncers are required to deal with patrons, even intoxicated ones, with persuasive verbal techniques (which are also featured in Road House). Most bouncers are not allowed to use violence or physical restraints, except in the same manner of self-defense as any ordinary citizen if physically attacked. While some bouncers may be muscular and/or have martial arts training, this is not necessarily the norm as many bars and nightclubs will hire bouncers that mirror or adopt the physical appearance and demeanor of their clientele. In most cases, even in bars and nightclubs frequented by violent individuals, bouncers will only use physical force when absolutely necessary. Ultimately, the appearance, attitudes, and professional techniques of bouncers vary from establishment to establishment. Since bouncers are usually the first employees a potential patron will encounter prior to entering an establishment, the impression they leave can influence whether or not the individual chooses to enter the establishment and how they may treat the other employees and customers inside.
Bouncers usually earn an hourly wage that is normally much less than police officers, soldiers, or even other privately-employed security professionals. Also, many nightclubs and bars do not sustain a steady level of business throughout the week and do not provide full-time employment, forcing many bouncers and bartenders to work rotating shifts at multiple establishments. Some bouncers are part-time employees who are supplementing other forms of income. Also, at popular nightclubs, many doorman will supplement their wages by collecting "tips" from patrons in order to bypass a line or enter a club that has already reached its legal capacity. This practice is usually discouraged by the owner or owners of the establishment, many of whom consider the "tips" to actually be bribes.
Strip clubs, also known as gentlemen's clubs and lounges, also employ bouncers and doorman. They usually retain the same responsibilities as normal nightclub bouncers, but are also responsible for the personal safety of the strippers, or exotic dancers, employed at the club. This includes the removal of patrons who grope or assault the dancers.
The term doorman can also refer to an individual who works the main entrance to a residential building, usually a hotel, apartment, or condominium building. These individuals emphasize personal service over security, although most doormen are responsible for preventing unauthorized admittance to the building. These doormen are usually not required to deal with inebriated people, unless they are tenants or homeless individuals loitering on or vandalizing the property. Usually these are more prestigious positions and often require a uniform. These doorman usually receive gratuities as well as a higher hourly wage.