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Feb 1, 2013 07:40 AM

Bouncers Outside Restaurants

I go by the Tip Tap Room fairly regularly during prime dining hours in the evening, and there is always a bouncer at the door checking IDs. I'd love to hear Brian Poe's rationale for having one there. Not that there's anything wrong with it per se, but I just feel weird doing that before dropping $100 on a dinner for two. I do get there's a strong crowd there just to drink, but for some reason I'm fascinated on what has led him to put someone outside.

I'd be curious to hear how other Hounds feel. Are there any other restaurants in Boston that do this?

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  1. If I had to guess, it's because underage Emerson and other college students try to drink there, and it's better to cull them at the door than have busy bartenders do it.

    In my experience, service at that bar is painfully slow. I've abandoned the place a couple of times after waiting too long without a bartender even acknowledging my presence.

    As a rule, a bouncer at the door of a restaurant is not a promising sign for me. It's typical of restaurants run by nightclub people, and nightclub people rarely do food that's worth a damn.

    4 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Slim, I would blame those underage Suffolk students rather than them from Emerson...they have the lovely peaceful Theatre District clubs to go to instead =\

      To me, bouncers at a resto are a bad harbinger of its vibe.

      1. re: marais

        As I recall, the Tip Tap's predecessor, the notorious Shangri-La (no relation to the Belmont place), was popular with both Emerson and Suffolk undergrads for its lax ID checking. I assume both groups are still trying to fake their way into the new space.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Shame on those Emerson students, and so far afield from the hot Theatre District bar scene hah! At least I have heard no reports of sex workers slaving away in the Tip Tap's basement (unlike its predecessor).

      2. re: MC Slim JB

        The couple of times I've gone there for a bar experience (all in the early evening) have been wretched. Super slow service, mediocre taps despite their promising a craft beer extravaganza, poor prices (I think), and yes - I never understood why they needed a bouncer to maintain the line outside.

        I went once for lunch though and was pleasantly surprised. That was a food only trip, no beer. I forget what I had but I was really expecting it to be awful and it turned out to be pretty good.

      3. Eastern Standard and the Publick House employ bouncers despite the fact that neither is what I would consider a club.

        I think some of it is just the fact that there are a lot of colleges/universities in Boston, although like you, since I don't go to "clubs" it always throws me off a little.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Klunco

          I've seen folks checking ID's at The Publick House, but I have never seen it at Eastern Standard. Now I don't go to ESK on Saturday nights, so maybe that's why, but I've never seen anyone other than the hosts/hostesses at the front of house there.

          1. re: kimfair1

            there was a doorman at esk when i went before the springsteen concert last summer. when they are expecting it to be bananas, they have one.

        2. Many restaurants are now mandated by the city to have "crowd control" managers in one form or another. They even mandate an online course for those managers. This regulation does not specify restaurants, but BFD is requiring it from more and more restaurants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: maizana

            The requirement for crowd managers is limited to venues with a capacity above 100 that are described as a) “nightclub, dance hall, discotheque or bar” or b) feature loud music (live or recorded) and have a dance floor.

            This seems aimed more squarely at nightclubs than restaurants. I guess the ambiguity arises between what's primarily a restaurant vs. a bar. Not sure where Tip Tap Room falls in that continuum.


          2. Estelle's also employs a bouncer/doorman outside to give peace of mind to South End patrons who are dining in Roxbury.

            1. Having someone outside can be good business. The insure passerby can easily be lured inside. If a place is doing well, different layers of people checking Ids is always a good idea.

              1 Reply
              1. re: libertywharf

                "The(y) insure passerby can easily be lured inside."

                ~~ sounds more like a hawker outside a seedy strip club!

                back in the day, mistral used to have doormen, but i don't know if that remains true. i steer clear on weekends.