Customers of The Spot Bar & Grill in Roseville, Mich., claim the restaurant charges Black patrons a cover fee to enter, while white customers are allowed in for free.
The issue made its rounds on social media this weekend after customer Jonas Grabill posted about his experience at the restaurant on his Facebook page Saturday, July 22.
“Last night the door guy at The Spot in Roseville charged a group of Black people in front of us to get in,” Grabill wrote. “Then when I asked him how much the cover was, he said, ‘It’s free if you’re white. Don’t tell anyone.’ So I’m telling the internet.”
Speaking with the Detroit Metro Times, Gabrill explained that he and his girlfriend stopped by the bar around 1:30 a.m. to deliver a birthday gift to a friend of theirs. He said he saw a group of Black customers ahead of him who paid a cover fee, so he whipped out his wallet. That’s when the bouncer told him he didn’t have to pay.
Grabill said he and his girlfriend exchanged concerned looks but entered the bar anyway. Still bothered by what had transpired, the Michigan man decided to post about it on social media the next morning.
“I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it,” he told the Metro Times. “It was just disturbing and I was thinking about it all the next day. I do have a lot of friends who go there, so I thought I should say something.
“I was most insulted that he thought we were in a secret club together,” Grabill added. “We’re not.”
His post sparked strong reactions online from locals who condemned the bar for its outward act of discrimination. Moreover, reviews from customers who had visited the bar in January and December revealed that this wasn’t a one-time incident.
While The Spot’s management didn’t respond to the paper’s request for comment, it did issue a statement online.
“We accept and welcome everyone!!!” Christina Bianca Carlier, a manager who claims she was working at the bar that night, said in a Facebook post Sunday. “We apologize for the misunderstanding with our security at the front door.
“I am constantly checking on security and walking around the bar, I’ve never had anything like this brought to my attention,” Carlier wrote, adding that the restaurant has “never had an issue with racism. “We GREATLY APPRECIATE ALL of our customers — If you have any other issues, please feel free to message me.”
The restaurant’s owner, Rob Bruzo, denied the incident altogether, however.
“We do not believe it’s true whatsoever that that statement was made,” Bruzo told the Metro Times. “It’s a zero-tolerance policy for anything like that. We have a very diverse crowd.”
The owner’s statement contradicted several unflattering reviews posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, which have since been removed. Ex-customer Tionna Hardaway spoke with the local paper about her experiences at the bar, saying she had been racially profiled and that a security guard tried to charge her and her friends $20 to enter. Also, Hardaway said bar staff told her they “only play Black music on Friday” when she requested a song.
Among other things, the bar is accused of asking only Black customers to remove their hats, while white customers are given a pass.
When asked why he and his girlfriend didn’t speak up the first time around, Grabill said the situation made them nervous.
“I didn’t want to make a scene because it was [our] first time there, and it was the first thing anyone who worked at the bar said to me,” he said. “What if the bouncer decides he’s going to go berserk on me? Who is going to stop him?”