NYC bartenders using chat groups to warn each other about violent thugs


Beset by rampant crime and sluggish response times from police, New York City bartenders and bouncers are using private chat groups to warn each other of violent thugs and threats to staff and customers alike, Side Dish has learned. .

About three dozen East Village workers at Lucy’s, Doc Holliday’s, The Spotted Owl Tavern, Spikes, Beetle House, Phoenix Bar and Niagara shared information through an Instagram chat group about potential threats from criminals and other lowlifes inside and outside their bars. has started doing

In a recent text exchange shown to Side Dish, a group member posted a gruesome video of a scruffy-looking patron pushing his way into a bar, punching a bouncer and swinging a stool, even as he Mess was being done.

“This is the guy who brought me the stool. Seven stitches, blood and bruises,” wrote the bouncer, who asked not to be identified and his location.

“Came in during my day shift yesterday,” shouted another. “Decided to yell at me, walk around the whole bar and stare me down.”

Yet another employee said she called 911 fearing an imminent threat from the same thug — with the lack of a satisfactory response from police.

Evan Romero, a bartender at Lucy’s who also manages the popular Avenue A joint, said the main problem is that incidents are not prioritized by 911 unless the suspects are armed or violent.
Jesse Rice

“The [911 operator] He could actually be heard yelling in the background about how he was going to kill me and they were like ‘Hey is he still there? Do you need help?’ and then [the police] showed [up] 3 hours late,” complained the employee.

The complaints from frustrated workers come as the city’s nightlife continues to grapple with a wave of lawlessness since the pandemic.

Staff at the East Village bar banded together near the end of 2021 to form an Instagram chat group to protect themselves from threats like Earl Gumbs, who was accused of fatally beating bouncer Duane Patterson, 61, outside the Chelsea bar last Christmas Eve. was convicted.

Screenshot of group chat
Screenshot of group chat

Evan Romero, a bartender at Lucy’s who also manages the popular Avenue A joint, said the main problem is that incidents are not prioritized by 911 unless the suspects are armed or violent.

“I’ll walk up to the precinct and they say, an hour later, that the 911 call is just coming in. And if they do show up, they’ll roll into a car and not get out. In that time there could have been a stabbing or a murder,” Romero added.

According to Romero, gumbus was a menace by many bartenders in the East Village.

“He would intimidate the young women working in the bar. Then he’d run away,” said Romero, who said he once had to “talk” Gumbs down after he kicked in a door and threatened to kill another bartender.

Gumbs, 37, was charged with manslaughter in Patterson’s death but was released pending trial. He was recently seen lurking in the East Village, and Gumbs sightings led to texts between chat group members.

Earl Gumbs was kicked out of the Midtown South Precinct in January.
Earl Gumbs was kicked out of the Midtown South Precinct in January.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

“Be careful. Earl is around. I saw him last night at 4:30,” read a recent text message seen by Side Dish.

Many nightlife workers said looking out for violent people is now, sadly, part of the job.

In one group chat, a bartender posted a photo of someone he booted and then posted a warning to others. “[Name] Just kicked him out [bar name] He and his friend are about.

Another said: “Yeesh no pls be safe everyone coz her boys are the ones who had a gun once. Obviously idk if it’s the same guys but yeah.

In a Feb. 27 incident, a female bartender named Hannah at Lucy’s told Side Dish that she called 911 about a young man threatening her with a gun but had to wait two hours for police to arrive.

The juvenile boy came in, was refused service, started hitting on her and refused to leave, said Hannah, who did not want to give her last name.

“He became more aggressive. Then he started cursing and getting aggressive with the patrons who pushed him out,” Hannah said.

“Then he was outside, locked, and so he started banging on the door, and he opened everything in the trash and started throwing things at the windows. He found a wheelchair and started throwing it around and threatened to shoot through the window with a gun.

“I was on the phone to 911. I asked for an ETA. ‘Do you hear him? He’s threatening to shoot through the window.’ that [the 911 operator] He said asking for an ETA no one would come soon enough… The kid kept knocking on the door for about 30 minutes and no one showed up.”

Romero outside Lucy's on Avenue A.
“And if they show up, they’ll roll into a car and not get out,” Romero said of the police.
Jesse Rice

By the time police arrived, the teenager had fled, Hannah said, adding that she was grateful other bartenders showed up and helped.

A police spokesperson told Side Dish that the 911 call did not mention a weapon or a wheelchair, and calls are answered on a priority basis.

“This dispute was not a priority. Officers will respond and handle priority jobs first. At the time of the dispute, priority jobs were underway that included a knife dispute, a violent emotionally disturbed person, a shot-spotter activation, and a person fleeing a location,” the spokesperson said.

Romero said the community values ​​police and wants to see more of them — not less.

“We treat everyone like Starbucks,” Romero said. “There are psychopaths who go from bar to bar, and we need the police to come in to defuse situations before they kill people.”

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Chef Jeffrey Zakarian and family.
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