So Grate [Why The Shelter Hates You]

I remember the first time I visited The Shelter – you know, that grimy underground basement club that you can’t help liking – it was on the first night it actually opened back in 2007, I was walking down the steps, excited like a little child after only being in Shanghai for about 5 months at that time and already some great big new club was opening.  I remember as I was walking down the steps, some idiot who’d do far better in bar Rouge, Muse, Mint or any one of those other retarded clubs that are all in essence just the same, was complaining about the air quality in the club to the guy taking money at the door.

Rouge Douche:  ”The air is really terrible inside there, I can’t breathe”

Door Douche:  ”Sorry about that”

Rouge Douche:  ”Yeah, well I want my money back”

Door Douche:  ”Sorry, I can’t do that”

Rouge Douche:  ”Either give me my money back or I’ll do a write up on the internet about how terrible the air in this place is”

Door Douche:  ”Fine, do the write up, I couldn’t care”

I can't breathe, pay me or I shit myself on the interwebs!

‘Dumb fucking idiot’, I thought at that time.

Shanghai has long stopped being about the air quality and more about how big you can live before your body finally collapses from lack of clean oxygen.

Ennihew, that was the start of what would become a long and fruitful relationship with the wonder that was – The Shelter

The light at the end of the stagnent tunnel of Shanghai nightlife.

Oh it was love.  I abused this club as much as it abused my system and we both damn well loved it.

Little did I know that this gem of social fortitude will eventually turn around and stab me in the back – or the leg, to be more precise.

Mother Fucker!!

Yes, not so long ago, in fact so recent you can still smell the stench of The Shelter’s conscience which is basically made of fecal matter, a bouncer at The Shelter decided that he didn’t very much like the way I prop my feet up on the table in his establishment.

See, I use the word bouncer very loosely there, because this is a bouncer:

I need you to leave, chill out and respect the suit!

This is a gangster:

Kiss my ring, then put ointment on my sphincter!

An this is the bouncers at The Shelter:

I'm going to pee myself if you don't do what I say!

Yes, the perfect mixture between gangster and brainless child, leaves you with the kind of establishment security you’ll find at The Shelter.

Long story short, bouncer didn’t like the way I propped my feet on the table, I took them off, but found the situation comical.  Bouncer didn’t appreciate the sense of humor my friends and I have, so started attacking me (yes, only me) with swear words.  I attacked back, so bouncerbabe decides to go get a bat.


WTF!!??  Seriously, isn’t the idea of a bouncer to stop fights and not start them?  That’s definitely the way it works in most clubs I know – but clearly Big Face McPeepants here doesn’t subscribe to that school.

Hint:  Brandishing a weapon doesn’t stop a fight, it escalates it.

So people are brawling and falling over one another like crazy.  I know that in China, if you’re a foreigner, you pay the fight fine at the end of the day, no matter who started it – so I try to get the situation under control.  I get my one friend off one guy (oh, by this time the little fairy behind the cloakroom decided he needed to join in the fight), as I turn around I see scarf packer heading towards my other friend.  As I try to grab him and pull him off my friend, some other fucker jumps on my back – like a pathetic little grandmother, on my back.

Leg twist = knee dislocates = me on floor being kicked by fairy cloakfuck!

yes - look at it. That's what it looked like.

I pop  my leg back in and the fight disperses.

In comes big man Garry (V Nutz Gary that is; not Gaz Garry/Gareth from Uprooted Sunshine – clear on that?) - The Proprietor .  Carrying the fucking bat!!!

Sits down like a gangster, hears the true story from 5 witnesses and decides to do absolutely fukoll, because he likes his bouncer – not his customers, no.  He’s far more fond of that fat fuck with the bat!

So, needless to say, I can’t ride my bicycle for at least another month, maybe more.

That sucks!

A whole month without that beautiful thing between my legs!

I’m on crutches.

I can’t drink alcohol (according to the doctor, ppfftt, how little they know!).

And sex is really difficult – but not impossible!

So yep, next time you consider visiting this little under-earth establishment, adopt your best behavior, because bouncer batboy will be waiting and Garry Gangster Bossman, couldn’t give a shit!

Next week I’ll be taking a look at exploiters in the bicycle world, so there’s something to look forward to!

Till next time – keep it real!


  • tdbowa

    absolute gold, straight up.

  • jon


  • Fogel

    It’s like roadhouse. But far more hilarious and ridiculous. Awesome.

  • vantes

    Great read! Sorry to hear of your experience with the battyboys and the fairy (an appropriate description) Riaad. Have a good recovery!

  • Andy

    Good story and yeah, bouncers suck, especially if it’s over feet up on a table.

    But I’m not sure about posting photos suggesting that Chinese kids are weak, using words like ‘fairy’ and writing it up like it was laughable … when you were the one injured and on the floor, then kicked out and they were the ones bringing the bat.

    Just saying …

  • Riaad

    Wow Andy! I didn’t once say Chinese people are weak. This piece is about the bouncers in The Shelter, not a whole nation.

    And brining a bat to a fist fight (before the fight even starts) isn’t a sign of power – in fact – one can consider it a sign of weakness.

    And me lying on the ground being kicked was because I was jumped from behind whilst trying to break up the fight.

    I suggest you read the piece again, take your time, understand it well.

  • Kevin

    ” Good story and yeah, bouncers suck, especially if it’s over feet up on a table.

    But I’m not sure about posting photos suggesting that Chinese kids are weak, using words like ‘fairy’ and writing it up like it was laughable … when you were the one injured and on the floor, then kicked out and they were the ones bringing the bat.

    Just saying … ”

    so it’s ok to bring a gun to a knife fight ?

  • Riaad

    rather bring a knife to a gun fight, then when everyone is lying on the floor laughing at you, stab them to death!

  • Andy

    Hey Guys

    I like the story, and sympathise as I’ve had the same thing at C’s twice. I didn’t get hurt though and obviously the knee was bad luck. So if this is a big deal then lets drop it and go ride a bike.

    I also used to live opposite a PLA run club full of Shanghai gangs and ex-army guys. My poor wife saw someone get head-stomped right in the street when she went out to All-days on a late night run.

    The photo of a tough looking foreign bouncer followed up by a photo of a boyish local in the signature mask definitely sends signals. Even if you’re specifically referring to the Shelter.

    As for the bat to a fist fight idea …it’s a fallacy. Once someone attacks you in anger, there’s always the risk of injury or death lurking there. From that moment on there’s no such thing as etiquette or rules just whatever works best and quickest.

    Even though it’s obvious, I still feel stupid saying it out, I rarely get into trouble of any sort and would rather be riding my bike somewhere. I don’t even drink.


  • gary

    Actually didnt think shelter “security” was too bad, least compared to some of the other clubs (GPlus’ gestapo or worst on worst,the Babyface chain [their attitude and behavior is anti foreigner and comes directly from their owner】)。 (Ispeak from direct experience, unfortunately). But in retrospect, once you were asked to take down your feet you probably should have complied without the line of jokes against the poor guy. He probably gets it all the time from the foreigners and there is the cultural thing of Chinese and face. And would you and your mates have pulled that shit on a 6″4 steroid laden bouncer back home?? Take it as learning experience (and I got lots of stories from over the years) – these guys are just doing their job, a touch job (especially if built like a typical Chinese guy) and in most cases with these guys better to give respect. Great site by the way.

  • geezuz

    I have to agree with Gary. I was bouncer when working my way through university. If a whole table laughed at me after making a simple request, I would have to have been in a very good mood not flag them for ejection. If a little respect can’t be shown for a triffing request, it’s likely to only get worse later as the beer flows.

    Also, if a bouncer comes at you with a bat, it’s time to leave, or get messed up. You chose to take them on and as a result got bashed. Not fair, but pretty basic, really.

    On New Years at the Shelter I was targeted by some seriously amateur-hour 17 year-olds, expat compound rats, looking to gang up on an old fart like myself. Luckily, the bouncer had his eye on the little turds, stepped in like lightning and ejected them. I was really grateful to that bouncer, but never got the chance to thank him.

    Finally, if any local gangsters have seen your cheeky estimation of their brutishness, you might want wait until your limp goes away before walking around town…