Almost since it opened, the Up-Down bar has welcomed wall-to-wall crowds of drinkers and gamers.
As of last weekend, a few of those customers are permanently disinvited to the popular Lyn-Lake bar, which is reviewing its policies to ensure staff knows when to righteously kick someone's ass out.
A group of young men called another customer an "Uptown faggot," said "white is right," and chanted "white America" during their time drinking at Up-Down, according to a Facbook post published Saturday night.
"I reported it to management, who gave them a warning," the man wrote, adding that the group also "attacked my wife's sister... verbally," and are, he thinks, "the dregs of society."
Up-Down does not dispute the man's version of the story. By the time he brought the matter to the bar's attention online, the homophobic racists had left of their own volition, according to marketing manager David Hayden. To Hayden's knowledge, it's the first time customers have complained of an alt-right presence or the open use of "hate speech" at the bar.
"This was a terrible incident that we want to never happen again," says Hayden.
A photo of the young men involved has been distributed to staff, who have been instructed not to let them in ever again. They should not have been allowed to stick around to begin with, according to Hayden, who says company policy should have led to their removal after the man complained.
"We are looking into why that occurred," Hayden says, "and how we’re going to handle that internally. We didn’t fulfill, and the employees involved did not fulfill, our expectiatons of them. It's a learning experience. Our staff realizes that we’re better than this... we have a very diverse staff who are committed to doing better than we did for these guests."
Hayden says he has been in contact with the man who told his story on Facebook, but declined to get into specifics of how the situation would be addressed, citing "employment issues," and Up-Down's attempt to "figure out where the ball was dropped" that night.
Up-Down has staked its reputation as a progressive space, Hayden says, often hosting fundraisers for liberal causes, and he hopes it will not be harshly judged after the episode Saturday night. To permanently 86 customers, as he says Up-Down did in this case, is "kind of a last resort, and not something we take lightly. But this isn't a situation we take lightly. Hate speech is not welcome in our bar."
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