Adam Zupka isn’t a cop. He isn’t here to bust you. He doesn’t hold grudges. And, fun fact, he isn’t even the tallest bouncer at Paul’s Cocktails (his 6 feet 4 inch-tall stature falls short of his colleagues Steve and Rick, who are 6 feet 8 inches and 7 feet 1 inch respectively).
Zupka, commonly known as “Lurch” to Paul’s regulars, is the guy who makes sure everybody has a good time, legally. Before Paul’s, Zupka’s only bouncing experience was helping his fellow high school football teammates keep keggers from getting too rowdy. He was an underwater welder until roughly 15 years ago when an injury cut his career short, he said. After that, he “floundered” around for a while working various jobs until his best friend, a former Paul’s bouncer, took another job and told Zupka to take his place. He applied, interviewed two days later and was hired. That was almost a year ago.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” Zupka said. “There’s no vibe that’s like here. Energetic, but not a lot of angst.”
Zupka claims he’s only had to kick people out on two occasions. One of them involved two couples being dangerously close to “going there” in the women’s bathroom. Even then, everyone was able to laugh about it, he said.
When people try to “get in his face” or start to “weeble wobble,” he tells them to calm down, get some water and “come back tomorrow and drink all you want.” Basically, his goal is to make sure Paul’s maintains its good reputation and that customers aren’t leaving in a state that would make them an Uber driver’s worst nightmare.
He gives Chapman students a little more leeway than other patrons, he said. Regulars are expected to know the rules, but he also knows what it’s like to be 21. What he doesn’t understand is how some Chapman students manage to stay out from Thursday evening until the wee hours of Friday morning and still manage to go to class the next day.
As far as Chapman rumors go, they’re mostly true. Yes, he will take away your fake I.D. if you get busted. No, you can’t buy it back. Yes, he is tall enough to see if anyone is doing drugs in the bathroom stalls. No, he will most likely not call the cops on you (though you will get kicked out). But if there is anything Zupka wants people to know about his job, it’s that closing time means closing time.
Zupka said he typically arrives at work at 8 p.m. and sometimes doesn’t leave until 2 p.m. the next day (I did the math so you don’t have to — that’s an 18 hour shift). Though he humbly accepts it as part of the job and half-joked that coffee and Red Bull help him get through, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt for times I definitely outstayed my welcome at Paul’s.
As I was thinking about that, a huge chunk of ice flew out from the front door of Paul’s and came hurtling towards us. Zupka yelled back, “Hey! Be careful, you almost hit the young lady!” then turned to me and said, “Sorry, my boss threw that.” We all laughed and I asked him if there was anything else he would like to say to the readers. “Come on down to Paul’s,” he said. “My name is Adam; I’m at the door.”