919 U Street, NW
My friend and I were having dinner in the back room of El Rey around 8:30 pm yesterday when a brawl broke out between a group of patrons. Only a few were actually fighting, but the crowd involved was probably about 40-50 people. Tables were flipped, chairs tossed, and at least one woman was throwing glassware at people.
The fight was eventually broken up (props to the bouncers on this!) and the crowd made their way out to the street leaving a wreck behind them. Our server told us that the two-top next to us had paid with a fake $50 and skipped out when the fighting crowd dispersed, so I imagine he was not the only server who got stiffed last night.
I am even sadder for the fact that while my friend’s first reaction, and that of several staff and other patrons, was to call 911, those closest to the fight pulled their phones out to film it. I feel disappointed and disgusted by the behavior I witnessed last night. I know there has been a long debate about whether and when to get involved when an individual witnesses crimes in action, but the very least people can do is call the police when a situation is escalating like that and putting others in danger.
Despite the incident yesterday, I will definitely be returning to El Rey. After the fight dispersed, the staff was really great and sweet to the patrons who were not involved, our server gave us a couple of beers and a series of apologies for what was clearly not his fault. I feel sad that this happened to them and their business.”