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Dear PoPville – What is the correct policy for handling near fist-fights in restaurants?

by Prince Of Petworth December 21, 2012 at 11:30 am 44 Comments


Photo by flickr user MShades

Dear PoPville,

Basically, I have a question about what is the correct policy for handling near fist-fights in restaurants. Should you just separate the patrons and allow things to go on and hope it doesn’t break out again? Or should restaurant managers identify the person who “started it” and eject them?

Here’s why I ask:

My friend and I went to a restaurant downtown for drinks after the White House tour on Wednesday. We were heading in, and there was this man and his family in line to be seated for dinner. Since we were just getting drinks, the guy in front of us asked this man (who had a baby in his arms, it should be noted) if we could just squeeze past into the bar. He told us no. We told him that we weren’t trying to cut in line or anything, and he said no again, we could wait. I asked why, and like any standard lunatic (but this time holding a baby), he told me that I was a b**** and I wasn’t getting past. Anyways, things escalated to the point where he actually chased the other bar-goer into the bar area and had to be physically restrained from attacking him by other guests. Management or really any restaurant staff was nowhere to be found. Anyways, things calm down, and the man is actually seated! Appalling both my friend and I, and the women who were just waiting behind us an not involved. It must’ve appalled the other guy who was nearly attacked, because he and his friends left immediately.

I went to ask the guy at the host stand why this lunatic was seated after nearly attacking an innocent man and was told that it was a “misunderstanding.” I explained that it really wasn’t, and I felt this guy was pretty dangerous, but apparently he didn’t care. Meanwhile, this lunatic’s wife ran up to the host stand, from the table, to tell me I didn’t know what I was talking about and wasn’t there and that I should leave. Since apparently the restaurant wasn’t going to keep lunatics out of their establishment, my friend and I went somewhere else.

So, anyways, what is the deal here? I called the restaurant twice now to express my concern with how they handled this. The manager just tells me that it was a “misunderstanding,” and that they followed their policy of “separating” parties when fights break out and that it was fine. But it really wasn’t. I was legitimately scared that I would be beat up for the first time in my life. Am I insane for thinking this was handled poorly? Or should the restaurant change their policy?

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