Table 1 describes the locations of all aggressive incidents as well as aggression according to the target. With the aggregate of aggression, the most frequent locations for bouncer interventions were respectively: bars, the dance floor, the area around the dance floor and the entrance door (equal), movement areas, the balcony, shady areas, movement area, the lounge, restrooms and the balcony. Interventions disaggregated according to the target demonstrate different scenarios. When aggression occurred between patrons, the dance floor appeared as the most frequent location, followed by bars and the area around the dance floor. For aggression towards barmaids, the three most frequent locations respectively were bars, the area around the dance floor and shady areas. As for aggression towards bouncers, the main location was the entrance door followed by bars and movement areas.
Ethnographic observations provide contextual details about these different scenarios according to the target of aggression. The dance floor and its surrounding area as well as bars are the most crowded locations in the barroom and involve the most interactions between patrons. The bars of this particular barroom had rather slow service during the year of observation. Patrons often had to “fight” their way into being served. They would push one another to get access to the bar and order their beverage. During the interviews, bouncers provided their views on this slow service. “Since tips are split equally among all bar personnel in this club, barmaids are not in a hurry to serve patrons and maximize their personal tips for the night. They then prefer to talk with clients and drink with them to have a good time. Consequently, the service is shitty and patrons get frustrated. We are recognized in the barroom scene to have cheap booze, but a long time to get it”. On the dance floor and its surrounding areas, observation notes are similar: the density and movement in this area increased snagging between patrons, which triggered fights. In addition, based on field notes, fights in these locations occurred more often when men outnumbered women on the dance floor. All bouncers were unanimous on this aspect, “guys fight on the dance floor because they compete for the few women who may be available”.
The main location of aggression targeting barmaids was the bars. Even though they are separated from their clients by a counter, participant-observations revealed that this distance did not deter intoxicated patrons from pulling barmaids by their arms or hair in order to get served or to kiss them. The second most dangerous location for barmaids was the area around the dance floor. Every night, one of the barmaids acted as a waitress. Only serving on the main floor, her “serving path” was located around the dance floor. In parallel to this location, shady areas are the third location where barmaids get assaulted most often. Participant-observations revealed that sometimes, the waitressing barmaid had to venture into shady areas in order to find patrons that had previously ordered drinks in her “serving path” but had moved while she went to get the drinks.
The most frequent location for aggression towards bouncers was the entrance door. As explained by one bouncer, “refusing access to the venue to a patron is sometimes riskier than expulsing a patron, especially when it is refusing access to a group of young males in front of the queuing line”. Another bouncer who was mainly assigned to controlling the queuing line on busy nights reported that “drinking in the line and pre-drinking” were ingredients for altercations with bouncers at the entrance door. Participant-observations confirmed this report. When in line, patrons often drank hard liquor that they camouflaged in water bottles. Already intoxicated at the door, they easily became frustrated when access was refused. Next, the bars represented the second most risky location for aggression towards bouncers. As patrons got frustrated by poor service and often harassed the barmaids, bouncers were often called to intervene at this location. Consequently, they were exposed to crowded and frustrated patrons. The third location was the movement area, which corresponds to the “surveillance path” of the bouncers. Even though they are supposed to walk through the entire the venue, observations and interviews confirmed that bouncers walked through the movement area most often, while taking a static place in other locations in order to monitor the venue from different angles. Thus, walking through a crowd of patrons in the movement area made it more likely for bouncers to interact with clients.
As shown in Table 2, bouncer interventions for aggression were unequally distributed over time. We observed that the number of interventions increased as it got later, with a climax between 2:00 and 2:59. However, a drop in interventions can be observed from 3:00 to closing time. Aggregates for aggression between patrons followed the same time pattern with an even more accentuated climax between 2:00 and 2:29 (42.2%). As for aggression towards barmaids and bouncers, the climax and the subsequent drop in aggression was reached an hour earlier. Furthermore, the proportion of aggression towards bouncers and barmaids between 3:00 and 3:30 was slightly higher than for aggression between patrons. Participant-observations for this period of time revealed that highly intoxicated patrons who were flirting with barmaids during the night reacted aggressively to the barroom closing and the kiss goodbye from the barmaids, who had put a sudden stop to the seduction game. As for aggression towards bouncers, all bouncer interviews revealed that highly intoxicated patrons reacted very badly to their “get out of the bar, it is closing time” interventions.
Table 3 represents the interaction of time and space variables. From 20:00 to midnight, 38.9% of the 18 aggressive incidents reported occurred at the entrance door, 33.3% at bars and 16.7% around the dance floor. The remaining 11% were located in the lounge and on the dance floor. Participant-observations supported this result: most people enter the venue, buy their drinks and start to gather around the dance floor. From 00:00 to 0:59 the dance floor became the location with the most aggression (28.9%) while the lounge (18.4%), the entrance door (13.2%), the bars (13.2%) and the area around the dance floor (10.5%) were also conducive to aggression. From 1:00 to 1:59, the dance floor was still the main location for aggression (34.8%) followed by the bars (23.2%) and the entrance door (13.0%). From 2:00 to 2:59, the main location shifted to the bars (30.0%). However, the dance floor and its surroundings also encompassed 27.6% of the aggression during this period of time. In fact, at this hour, the highly crowded dance floor had expanded to the area around it, and thus must be interpreted as a single location. Meanwhile, aggression started to occur more often in the restrooms (12.5%) and in shady areas (12.5%). From 3:00 to closing time, aggressive incidents were scattered all around the nightclub as people were getting pushed by bouncers to exit the venue. As the night progressed, results show an increase of aggression in shady areas.
Table 4 shows the interaction of time and space variables disaggregated according to the target of the aggression. For aggression between patrons, the location with the most frequent incidents moved from the bars at the beginning of the night until midnight (37.5%), to the dance floors from midnight to 2:00 (44.0% and 52.6%), back to the bars until closing time (29.8%) and then to shady areas as people were exiting the venue. Nevertheless, from 3:00 to 3:30, the dance floor and its surroundings encompassed 49.2% of the aggression between patrons. Participant-observations reported that, as the night progressed, patrons converged towards the dance floor and its proximity, going back and forth to the bars. At 3:00, as the bars were closing and the lights were turning on, the remaining patrons all crowded on the dance floor or around it making their last attempt at seduction or getting sick in shady areas.
As for aggression towards barmaids, the main locations were the bars from opening hour to 1:00 (75.0% and 50.0%), then scattered all around the venue from 1:00 to 3:00 to finally concentrate at the lounge (50.0%). As mentioned, participants-observations noted that after 1:00, the waitressing barmaid had to search for her clients further than her “serving” path and had to venture into different areas. However, bouncers reported in interview that, “during their break, barmaids often go drink, chat and dance with patrons. Sometimes they see things and try to intervene. When they do, they often get assaulted”. As for the concentration of incidents in the lounge, bouncers explained that at closing time, barmaids invited patrons with whom they had flirted to the lounge, which became a private section, and it often turned bad.
The only location for aggression towards bouncers before midnight was the entrance door (100.0%). From midnight to 1:00, the entrance door and the lounge were the main locations (33.0% for both). From 1:00 to 3:00, the bars became the main location for aggression towards bouncers (33.3% and 35.7%). From 3:00 to 3:30, the movement area and the entrance door were the locations with the most aggression.