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Friday, January 28, 2011

Helpful Advice for Dealing with Security at S.F.'s Music Venues

Posted By on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM

It's not easy working security. Your job basically entails keeping drunk people safe, keeping minors sober, patting down strangers you probably don't want to touch, enforcing trivial rules you didn't think up in the first place, and pretty much freezing your ass off all night. All of the above things are terrible, so we sympathize. But, as we all know, dealing with security isn't always a picnic either. Here then is some helpful advice on how to deal with security across the live venues in this fine city of ours.

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Regency Ballroom

Remember the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld? The Regency Ball Room has a whole team of Gum Nazis. We get it! It's a pretty building! You don't want hardened-saliva-clad chewing candy stuck in crevices around the place! But man. When they locate that minty fresh Orbit of yours, they look at you the same way airport security does when they find nail scissors in your hand luggage. Do not take gum with you to the Regency Ballroom. The shame you will experience will leave your cheeks rosy and your head bowed all night.

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Thee Parkside

We have become convinced over the years that the people who man Thee Parkside's entrance are, in fact, low-level Jedis. Because we always want to buy them beer. And we don't want to buy anyone beer, ever. Maybe it's not Jedi mind tricks -- just the fact that their laid-back warmth, slouchy demeanors, and plentiful beards makes us want to befriend them. We never actually do offer to buy them beer because that would make us look a bit nuts. But we do want to. And that's the main thing.

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Bottom Of The Hill

The security at Bottom Of The Hill should get together with the security of Thee Parkside and go bowling.

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The Warfield

If you forget to get your ID checked at the door, do not, under any circumstances, let one of the guys that works behind the bar give you a wristband instead. Just walk back on outside, stand in line and do it the regular way. Because we didn't do that once -- we took the bartender wristband. And, later on in the evening, when we tried to return back inside from smoking, we were physically wrestled back out of the venue by three screaming banshee security guards who, even after an extensive explanation of the mishap, just kept repeating the phrase "I'm just doing my job." It was like that scene in Dangerous Liasons where John Malkovich is all, "It's beyond my control, it's beyond my control." Beyond aggravating, Warfield, beyond aggravating.

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Café Du Nord / Swedish American Hall

Put on some nice shoes for these folks. Not because you have to, just because there's always an air of suave coolness on the door here and we wouldn't want to disappoint them. If James Bond was a security guy, he'd work here.


It always feels a little bit ramshackle here, kinda like being ID-ed by your little brother's friends or something. Still, they do get the job done. The only thing we really don't like is when there's a random no cameras show, because they take away your luscious new Nikon for the night and hand you a raffle ticket in return so you can reclaim it later. Which feels a bit like entering a camera lottery. And, unless you've got a crappy camera, no one wants to be in that.

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The Fillmore

No one in the box office at the Fillmore can ever hear you, but they are generally pretty sweet, so we don't mind. Also, it's probably not their fault since their co-workers at the main entrance are prone to random bouts of yelling to keep everyone in the correct lines, or to move all the pesky smokers down the sidewalk to the post office. Our favorite thing about the Fillmore security staff though, is the older gentleman who sometimes waits at the top of the stairs and greets you warmly, like a long-lost relative, as you arrive. That guy rules. What's with the huge flyers on the way out though, Fillmore? We love it when you give us free beautiful band posters, but when you give us your upcoming schedule on an enormous ugly blue piece of paper and pretend it's a poster, you're not fooling anyone. [Editor's note, Pt. II: Initial editor's note regarding free poster distribution has been deleted following the revelation that it was all a big misunderstanding -- see Rae's comment below.]

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Great American Music Hall

If you buy dinner tickets for a show at Great American, you are greeted by a nice security person and led to your seats on the balcony. That shit is awesome because it makes us feel like Prince William's fiancé. Plus, security here is organized to the point of military precision, but never once steps into the realm of doucheyness. Good work, guys.


Need helpful advice on anything related to S.F. music? Let us know what subjects you'd like us to tackle in the future by tweeting us @SFAllShookDown, or leave a post on Facebook at

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