In my experience.......
......I've spent 40+ years as a musician touring all over the Northeast. Never been in a shootout situation but, I've seen LOTS of barroom brawls over the years.
When we would load-in for a gig, we would usually choose a spot close to the stage, backed up against a wall and with the doorway in view.
The location always served us well if (and when) a fight broke out. It provided us a good spot to see pretty much everything going on in the room so we couldn't be blindsided by a chair, bottle, ashtray or any other projectile coming from behind. And, being close to the stage, it afforded us the opportunity to quickly prevent any of our equipment from being damaged in the fracas.