Battle Of The Bouncers: Sven Vs. Wass

by BILLY GRAY · July 21, 2010

    It's the rare bouncer who attains a mythic status that outstrips his nightclub's. Winning his approval is as big a thrill as the party you attend afterward. New York's King Bouncer is Wass Stevens. Berlin's is Sven Marquardt. Who would bounce who for the title of world's top bouncer? 

    Turning the tables, we're going to size Sven and Wass up and decide who's most deserving of admission into the Bouncer Hall of Fame:


    Sven: Berghain/Panorama Bar

    Wass: Avenue


    Sven: Piercings, facial tattoos, scowl.

    Wass: Colorful suits, scowl.

    Inspiration for look:

    Sven: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome meets Sweeney Todd

    Wass: Memoirs of a White Pimp

    Day job:

    Sven: Photography, contemplating next orifice to be pierced and studded.

    Wass: Acting, Polish vodka spokesman.

    Peak bouncing hours...

    Sven: Sunday, 4am-7am

    Wass: 1:30am-3am

    Average wait to be judged...

    ...By Sven: 1-2hours

    ...By Wass: 15 minutes

    Why you want to get past the door: Berghain: World class DJs. A potential 48 hours of straight partying. Sex cubbies. Being able to say you got in to the "Best Club in the World." Avenue: World class celebrity sightings. $22 cocktails. Being able to say you got into...Avenue.

    How to circumvent shameless ass kissing or mortifying rejection...

    ...with Sven: Sleep through the tourist hours and show up at 3pm Sunday; Panorama Bar goes til at least midnight.

    ...with Wass: Buy a bottle; be a model.

    Most efficient form of shameless ass kissing:

    ...with Sven: Studying DJ lineup, feigning undying love for obscure Slovakian micro-house spinner hitting the decks at 8am (preferably in broken German).

    with Wass: complimenting his understated comic turn in The Wrestler.

    How to impress...

    ...Sven: Dress down but eclectically (exposed asses are a plus).

    ...Wass: Be a former High Society cast member (unless you're Jules Kirby).

    How to piss off...

    ...Sven: speak English, particularly with an American accent; appear to be rolling before entering the club.

    ...Wass: point to friends you want to get in, appear poor.

    Ideal patron...

    ...for Sven: gay man in leather, MDMA-addled techno fiend based in Berlin or at least fluent in German.

    ...for Wass: rail-thin reality starlet or "socialite." banker with fat wallet.

    Group least likely to be rejected... Sven: cross-dressing men who all speak German. Wass: seven models, one dorky banker.

    Group most likely to shuffle away in embarrassment: Sven: women, Americans. Wass: men, New Jerseyans.

    Back door entrances... Berghain: Braving Lab.Oratory, the gay sex club beneath Berghain. A stamp from Lab lets you cut the 500 people on line and all but guarantees entry. Not for the faint of heart. Or women. Or macho men (unless of the Village People variety). Avenue: Incriminating photos of Noah Tepperberg at Lab.Oratory.

    Plan B in case of mortifying rejection: Berghain: collapsing in tears while you scarf down a bratwurst, giving Bar 25 or Club der Visionaere a shot. Avenue: slumming it at Marquee, brown bagging it on the High Line.

    Would Sven let Wass into Berghain? No...overdressed. And American.

    Would Wass let Sven into Avenue? No, Sven would sooner laser off his tattoos and be caught eating apple pie while singing the Star Spangled Banner than set foot inside Avenue.

    Winner: Sven, for international recognition and turning away thousands as opposed to hundreds each night. And because we really don't want to run into that mug in a dark alley.