Do you really go to the UW- Madison if you haven't been denied by Steve the Bouncer?

I had the chance to sit down with the real Steve the Bouncer, where he answered everything you've ever wanted to know.

Haley Mellen

Hometown: Brookfield, WI

Age: 23

Major: Mechanical Engineering, Business Certificate

Drink of choice: I’m going to get shit for this but, I’m now onto White Claw. On Tuesday, we all went out, all of the bouncers, and we had White Claw and Strawberry Vodka Shots.

Favorite Song at the moment: The Middle by Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

Getting Started at The Kollege Klub

When did you start working at The KK?

When I was 19. Right at the end of freshman year I started working there.

How did you get the job?

I didn’t even know what KK was when I came in for the interview. The guys who worked there made fun of me. I met them all at the gym.

They saw I was a bigger guy, and that I was smart. They like smart guys, actually. It was a shoe in, once you get a recommendation from the bouncers.

Haley Mellen

What kind of personal characteristics do you have that are good for the job?

I don’t get flustered easily.

It’s being able to sit back and solve things with words. I’m more disciplined than a lot of people are. [I'm good at] keeping the peace. And people want to come back because of that.

What are the craziest things people have done to try and get in?

I remember one night, a girl came in with her underage friend and just figured that if you flash me in the bar, in the spotlight of KK, that her friend would get in with her. She didn’t even ask me if I would let her in. She just automatically flashed me. They think that, we’re guys. We’re just going to bend over backwards for that. But, we don’t. It never works. Nothing really works.

I used to pride myself upon that. I would always tell them, “I’m unbreakable, you can do whatever you can try to do. You can be as flirty as you want. You can be as attractive as you want. But there’s nothing you can do to break me.”

Guys will be more threatening. They think that even if they’re taller than you, or you’re wearing a jacket, that you’re some small guy that can’t really do anything. And they’ll threaten you and be aggressive.

Steve on checking IDs

What do you do with the IDs? There’s a rumor that you sell them to the cops…

People have been coming in saying that we sell them to the cops. We don’t sell them to anyone. Not to the cops or anyone else. The cops will come in once and a while, and for those nights that we have IDs taken, we’ll give them to them.

Even the cops, they want me to train them. A couple weeks before I left, they want me to train them on how to check IDs. They really respect how well I do my job.

Haley Mellen

Is it easy to tell if people are underage?

We can’t do that. That’s the sad part. I’m getting older, but some of these kids that are 21 look like they’re 18 to me. Some girls, you’ll be like, you’re not going to be 21 before she gives me the ID, and it’s a real ID and it is them. And I’m staring it down forever.

And that’s where people are like, “God, these bouncers suck here. They’re taking so long.” No, you look like you’re 19 so I’m checking every little detail of your face structure to make sure this is actually you and not your older sister that looks exactly like you, because that’s usually what we get. More than the fake IDs.

The fake IDs—normally you can tell by the mannerisms by the people walking in that it’s going to be a fake ID.

I have to stay almost perfect in my role. When you’re a new guy, you can make a mistake and get away with it. Not when you’ve worked here for 4 years. Not when you’re Steve.

Haley Mellen

Did you ever have a fake ID?

I never did.

Did you ever go to bars underage?

I actually did. The funny thing is, a lot of people that get their IDs take will be like “were you ever underage? We know you had a fake ID when you were underage. Why don’t you have a heart?”

And they start coming at you like that trying to guilt trip you. The funny thing is, a lot of the bouncers there went to bars underage but they never had fake IDs. When we were younger, we probably looked old enough to get into bars.

What is your biggest pet peeve when you’re working?

You feel like you have a lot of pet peeves after a while. The worst, for me, is when people tell me what you can’t do when you’re working. I know that the people that want to fight with me don’t have any idea what I’ve seen and what I’ve done in 4 years.

But, it’s like, you’re telling me I can’t take someone’s ID? That it’s against the law for me to do that? And you’re telling me to call the police. I don’t care about calling the police. That’s not my job. My job is to get you out of here. And if you have a problem you can call the police.

I don’t appreciate disrespect from people.

Steve on being the most popular man on campus

What do you think your reputation is on campus?

Oh, God. That is a definite mix. I think about it a lot. I know there’s tons of people who do hate me on campus. Hate is a strong word, but they’ll say they hate me. The thing is, almost all of them are underage kids who hate me. I think I’ve gotten onto some better terms with them lately.

The older crowd, once they start becoming regulars, those people like me. I think the 21-year-olds, the vast majority, they like me. I think there’s a select few people, that are very nice to me, and like me, and put my name in Cards Against Humanity. I don’t think they put that in for a bad reason. I think the people that made the game actually like me.

What do you think about the memes you’ve been featured in?

People make memes. They’re not really bad. One I was a little iffy on. It’s more for fun. I think people like me more, except for a few underagers I see on the comments list.

I don’t blame them for it. They just don’t understand.

What do you do on your days off?

When I can, I will be going out to drink at KK. In years past, I wouldn’t do anything. The reason I would have off was to do homework.

Do you do outside research on potential customers (e.g. looking on Instagram, Facebook, etc.)?

No, I don’t do any of that, because I know how good I am at my job. When someone’s going to hand me their ID, if it’s from the United States, there’s a 99% chance I’m going to know it’s not them or fake. I think that if I didn’t do my job as well, then maybe I would do some sneaky Facebook or Instagram creeping.

It’s funny when I see pictures of underaged girls on my Snapchat stories that are at other bars on campus. You get the message, “Can I come to KK” and I’m like “nope”.

Do you feel bad taking IDs?

I don’t enjoy taking peoples’ IDs at all, and people think that it’s the greatest joy of my life. Let me tell ya, it’s not like a power trip…When you decide to act like a complete asshole to us, and not being respectable about the situation, then we don’t feel as bad about it.

God knows I don’t want to take a beautiful girl’s ID. We have no desire to take your ID. We’d hope you’d get in if we were out drinking.

Oh and ladies… if I’m checking your ID and I subtly look up and down at your body… No, I’m not “checking you out” while you’re standing right in front me! I’m checking to see if you are wearing heels! 

What is the best part about your job?

What I enjoy about the job aside from just money and the funny shit you see, is that you actually get to pull some people aside and teach them some lessons that they’ve never been taught by their parents. We do it a lot. We subtly people like, “look, dude, you cannot be doing this. You can’t do this to that girl”.

Some of them actually listen like they’ve never heard some of this before. I feel like, I’m bettering society a lot of times by taking guys aside by taking guys aside and saying, “You can’t do this here, you can’t do this anywhere else. Whether you’re drinking or not.”

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Buff, sexy, sweet 😉

How many times a night do you have to ask people to pull up their Facebooks?

It’s funny, because no other bar in the city probably does that. Maybe one, because they heard that Steve the Bouncer does that. It ranges…Sometimes it’s just done because people don’t have an up-to-date picture and they don’t have they don’t have another respectable form of IDto clarify that it’s them. Facebook acts as a good way, sometimes, to make people leave.

I probably ask for it 1-3 times a night. That’s just based off of the fact that people don’t have appropriate second forms in their wallet or people say they don’t have their wallet.

Everyone plays that “Oh, my phone battery’s dead” trick. Trust me we see everything. I go, “Oh, your phone’s dead? And you’re clicking the power button? Why don’t you just hold it for a second?”

Do you actually say that?

Oh yeah. Sometimes I even take their finger. I grab on top of their thumb and push the button in. I’m like, “Oh, I made it work. How lucky for you.”

Life after the KK

Haley Mellen

Are you going to work there after you graduate?

Until I get a full time job that I want. I’m applying for many full-time jobs. But I’m picky. I’m not going to take any engineering job.

It’d be funny. Everyone jokes about it. Find an engineering job around Madison then come work at the KK. It would be funny for like a year. There’s a point where you have to move on in life. I still love it though. It makes me feel young.

Have you ever taken your friends’ IDs?

Oh yeah. When I was younger and I had no leeway on that.

I’ve got to do what I have to do to stay there. Otherwise, people will be like, “Steve sucks. Steve’s a soft bouncer." I wasn’t a soft bouncer when I started. I was a hard ass.

Tell me the first thing that comes to mind when I say the following...

Haley Mellen

Coasties paying to skip the line: What they have cards like this?! Well, we love them. Oh my god, I only have one word for that, just love. This is love. We talk about this on a nightly basis, all the bouncers.

The UU: Initially, I would’ve said traitors, in the beginning. When they first opened up, we were getting less of our 21-year-old crowd…We lost business until about a year after they opened.

Now, I don’t mind as much. I go there to drink. That is the next best bar that I enjoy going to drink at.

Frat Brothers: This changed over the years. When I first started, I had the frat douche idea in my mind. I always thought, “I’m not going to be a frat guy.”

First of all, I don’t have time to drink that much, but also because of the way people saw them. After a while, they’re the same kind of people.

Yeah, there’s probably more of what I’d say, “douchebags” there than in the general public, but if you get to know a lot of them, and you’re nice to them, you can all hang out together.

Spectacular Abs: I strive to have spectacular abs. I think everyone should strive to have them. Just lifting, and having abs, and being strong. Also, girls with abs. As long as they’re not too crazy.