Sheffield retro: Former bouncer remembers 'lively nights' in 70s at Arundel Gate night spot Hofbrauhaus

A job as a nightclub bouncer has never really been a career for the faint-hearted. These days it’s a far more regulated environment and, many would argue, safer for both security and punters considering door person licensing schemes, CCTV and a mobile phone’s ability to record things in a blink of an eye.
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But roll the clock back to the mid-1970s and it was arguably the Wild West as far as door security was concerned. No licensing for security people, no CCTV, no plastic glasses and football hooliganism on the rise. But Rick ‘Dick’ Favell wouldn’t change things for the world. “I’d do it all again”, he happily admits.

The Sheffield-born lad, now a sprightly 75-years-old, cut his teeth (not literally but he did feel someone else’s embedded in his ear on one particular night) at Arundel Gate’s Hofbrauhaus, where coach trips would arrive for nights out from all over the region.

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Rich Favell was stationed at the Hofbrauhaus’ top door. “They’d be queuing four deep by the time we opened at 9pm and it was my job to ensure big gangs of lads weren’t admitted. “I’d also need to check people were old enough to get in and ensure the ladies weren’t bringing in their own beer in their handbags.”

Hofbrauhaus bouncer Richard 'Dick' FavellHofbrauhaus bouncer Richard 'Dick' Favell
Hofbrauhaus bouncer Richard 'Dick' Favell

There’d regularly be 900 in and, considering the strength of the lager – they served super strength imported German beer when most of the UK was serving the drink at three per cent alcohol – it was a recipe for, well, a lively night. Oh and they served the beer in two-pint stein glasses. Richard said three of the rules inside the venue were. “No dancing on the tables, people had to wear proper shoes to avoid the broken glass on the floor and there was no football chanting.”

He had to get quickly adept at a skill most of us has never needed – single-handedly taking on four to five lads in a fight. “You had to learn when to strike and when not to strike”, he said. “But the main thing was to try and do everything to calm the situation down. If that didn’t work you’d got a split second to make the right decision. You needed to take the lead one down and then the rest. You then got them out of the club and the police would take over from there.”

Richard, who went on to run successful businesses away from the licensing trade, is surprisingly matter-of-fact about his time as a bouncer which also included time working at Chesterfield venues like Jingles, Adam & Eve, Aquarius and the Painted Wagon. He talks with gusto about one night at the Hofbrauhaus when a gang turned up with the sole purpose of taking on the bouncers.“I was pinned in a corner with one biting my ear.”But the true memento he holds dear from his time at the Hofbrauhaus is his wife Sue – they met after she arrived on a coach from Chesterfield and they’re about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary!

*Content supplied by Neil Anderson.

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