Best Bouncer - 2012
Big John at Palmer's Bar
Palmer's is a bona fide dive bar. The colorful clientele ain't there for the ambiance, they are there to drink. That can naturally lead to a fair share of..."unreasonable" people, as owner Keith Berg puts it. Luckily, Berg has a secret weapon: Big John. Big John has been working the door at Palmer's for over 10 years, five nights a week. If there's a cover and, say, a group of college kids is about to balk, Big John is pretty much always willing to make a deal. "He's just as smooth as silk," says Berg. "He's got to make money for the band." Big John's primary function, however, is to keep the peace. He's not going to make small talk or be a friend, but he's also not a juiced-up, power-tripping a-hole like the club bouncers downtown. If Big John needs to remove someone, it's for good reason. And because he's such a familiar face, people just don't want to mess with him as much. "He has a way of disarming people in a very nonthreatening way. We don't want the violence," says Berg. "Plus, he's huge."