Ask the Door Guy: Can clubs deny entry for zombies?

Ask the Door Guy: Can clubs deny entry for zombies?
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

The Door Guy is a veteran of countless clubs around town. People say they've seen it all, but he's seen more. Write to him for everything from live advice to life advice.

Dear Door Guy: Saturday, during Zombie Pub Crawl, my friends and I were out doing our zombie thing and when we got to the bar, we got turned away! The door guy took one look at us and said, "No zombies." What's up with that? I feel totally discriminated against. What right does a bar have to turn an Undead-American away? It doesn't seem fair to refuse someone on Zombie Pub Crawl night for being a zombie!

—Sad and Hungry for Brains

Before I bum you out, Sad and Hungry, I should say up front that I have a healthy appreciation for all things zombie. Love 'em in all their beautiful rotting-flesh, brain-eating ways. There is literally not a movie made with the words "Of the Dead" in the title that I haven't seen 8,000 times. Old school, new school, if it's a zombie movie not starring Brad Pitt, I love it. I'm the guy who got pissed watching 28 Days Later because the zombies could run. A decade ago, when everyone was buying "Vote For Pedro" T-shirts and quoting Napoleon Dynamite, I was wearing Romero merch and crying a little during the last scene of Shaun of the Dead. I got mad zombie cred, yo.

But for the worker-bees, Zombie Pub Crawl is awful. Sorry. It's true.

Super sorry, zombie bro.
Super sorry, zombie bro.
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

The fact is, Zombie Pub Crawl has evolved from its initial hilarious quasi-performance art event in 2005—which, as their website tells us, was about 150 people taking a few Northeast bars by surprise—into tens of thousands of people experiencing the mass delusion that they can hold their liquor.

And "mass" is the operative term here. Have you ever seen a zombie movie with only one zombie? Of course not! It would be either the most boring or shortest horror flick in history. The entire gag of being a zombie is that you're part of a rotting, faceless, relentless horde. When people come together to experience the mass freedom that comes with hiding behind a bunch of makeup, drink far more than they're used to, and scream for brains, it's not exactly a golden opportunity to express your individuality. It does, however, result in more than a few people blacking out, getting in fights, throwing up on each other, or hitting the trifecta of blacking out and throwing up on each other while in a fight.

Exhibit A:

While that might involve only a tiny percentage of you otherwise sweet and responsible, good-tipping zombies out there, it happens. And when it's not happening, we worker-bees have to spend all our time worrying about it happening.


Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

That's plenty of stress for the people who work at places that are part of the Zombie Pub Crawl—and, on behalf of all of us, thank you, Sad And Hungry, for being the relatively nice zombie I bet you are. The people who run Zombie Pub Crawl and the bars that host it plan the shit out of this event. They book bands. They hire extra security. They bust their collective asses to make arrangements way in advance because it's not 150 people joking around any more, it's 30,000. They want you, the Zombie Pub Crawl Ticket-Buying Public, to have a good and safe time. There's a reason it's called Zombie Pub Crawl, not Zombie Do A Shot At Every Goddamned Bar In Town.

The reality is that a bar can—and if you've had to much to drink, has to—turn anyone away at their discretion, even if it's for being a zombie, and some bars that aren't part of the Zombie Pub Crawl do just that. That's absolutely their right, the same way they can set a dress code or search your bag to make sure you left your bong at home. It's not personal, and it's certainly not discrimination. You know how you can tell? When you woke up the next morning you washed the zombie makeup off and went about your normal life. People who experience actual discrimination don't have that luxury.

Here's the thing: You went to a bar that wasn't part of the planned Zombie Pub Crawl festivities. I don't know if it was a neighborhood watering hole or a music venue or the most expensive martini bar in the Twin Cities, and it doesn't matter. Whatever place it was, they decided that they weren't playing along with the Zombie Pub Crawl. The door guy wasn't picking on you. He wasn't even thinking about you. He was thinking about the people who went to that bar because they wanted a quiet beer or to hear a band or pay $20 for a drink with some ridiculous fruit infusion. You know, customers who weren't interested in the Zombie Pub Crawl.

On the upside, I bet if you go back to that same bar tomorrow, the door guy would let you in. Just don't ask him for braaaaaiiiiiiiinnnnsssss.

Got a question for The Door Guy? E-mail [email protected]

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