“I was at Barcelona on 14th last night when some guy in a ski mask ran in with a knife. He got laid out by a bartender.”

by Prince Of Petworth August 20, 2015 at 10:05 am 84 Comments

1622 14th Street, NW

@erickmsanchez tweets us:

“I was at Barcelona on 14th last night when some guy in a ski mask ran in with a knife. He got laid out by a bartender. Cops showed. Between 11:15 and 11:45. D.C. Police tweeted it out as a robbery on 14th.”

@DCPoliceDept tweeted:

“Robbery //1600 block of 14th Street, NW //(1) suspect stopped”

  • yupyup

    That bartender is my hero!

  • dupont

    Geez. Right on busy 14th street and with people in the restaurant! I wonder how crowded it was at that time – maybe not too many people, but still.

  • Truxton Thomas

    Can this bartender become the city’s much-needed symbol of gentrified vigilante justice?

    • kken

      He’s not the bartender that DC deserves, but he’s the bartender we need.

      • emmafor

        Hahaha certainly!

      • sunnytime

        Haha, yes!

      • Leslie

        I love you.

      • Sara L

        love this

    • Brooklander

      We should all aspire to be this bartender.

  • madmonk28

    Hope he got a hefty tip.

  • Anon

    It’s one thing to have that rusty look on metal, but there’s some serious corrosion going on there.

  • Shaw

    I REALLY hope that Barcelona identifies the HeroTender so I know who to ask for and tip HEAVILY when I go in there! After a week of what seemed like only awful news in this blog, this is such a welcome read!

  • Los

    In some national chains, the bartender would be terminated.

    • ontarioroader

      Folks should be careful about trying to get the bartender’s name and publicly thanking him. If it turns out knife-wielding robber was a juvenile, and was injured, the bar or bartender could be in legal trouble.

      • Anyonemous

        Are you a lawyer? That sounds dumb.

        Hi, person with a ski mask and knife. Can I see some government ID before I defend myself from you? mmkay, thanks.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Sometimes laws really are that dumb (see below). Agreed with dcd, though, if the bartender is in any trouble it isn’t because he was outed on Popville.

      • Accountering

        No, they wouldn’t. You are allowed to meet force with appropriate force, and a 16 year old with a knife is certainly plenty to defend yourself with force.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Nice idea but in practice it doesn’t always work that way (even if I agree that it should). I actually have an acquaintance who was arrested, convicted, and jailed for doing similarly to the bartender (acquaintance intervened when a store in which he was being robbed and he choked out the robber). There is plenty of gray-area associated with assessing the threat posed by the intruder and the level of force that is justified.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Left out a word; acquaintance was shopping in a store that was being robbed. He himself was not being robbed, but intervened to defend the store clerk, who was cornered by a robber (armed with something, I do not recall what) who happened to be a juvenile.

          • Anon Spock

            Sounds like your friend had a terrible lawyer or that jurisdiction didn’t have third party self defense as an option.

          • HaileUnlikely

            This was in Virginia, about 20 years ago. I do not know what their laws allowed for at that time (or now, for that matter). In any event, I suspect that most people have absolutely no idea what the details of their jurisdiction’s laws are regarding third party self defense, and wouldn’t worry too much about that when in a similar situation.

        • los

          Big companies don’t want “heroes.” They are a liability and can potentially make things worse or get someone injured. That’s why they have insurance.

      • dcd

        The robber is in custody. If he’s also an injured juvenile, there are a lot of easier ways to get the bartender’s name than scouring the internet for for public accolades.

  • Shaw

    And I also really hope that Barcelona creates a new craft cocktail called the “vigilante” or “justice on the rocks” and sends a buck or two from each one towards a fund for people who were not as fortunate and became victims of this summer’s crime spree…

    • LittleBluePenguin

      That would be awesome!

  • ad

    What kind of idiot tries robbing a crowded restaurant with a knife?

    • anonymous

      Yeah, I was assuming this was the cray cray until I clicked through and saw it listed as a robbery.

    • Ben

      Probably someone high who wanted to get another hit. Not an excuse – just the only thing I could think of that that would cause someone to be so brazen.

      • Anon

        Right. Someone this seemingly stupid must have been extremely desperate. Or just extremely stupid. Guess few of us will actually find out.

      • HaileUnlikely

        And it sounds like he got another hit indeed. Mission accomplished?

        • Ben


        • SomePeopleOnThisSiteSheesh

          /David Caruso puts on sunglasses


    • Leslie

      Probably someone insane. It may not have really been a robbery. Kind of reminds me of that scary incident that happened in NYC at Bar Veloce years ago. The wait staff took out that guy, too.

      • I was a bartender in restaurant way back (like early 90s maybe?) when a guy came during the afternoon to rob us. I remember just feeling completely pissed off and told him to get the hell out. He ran to the back, thinking there was a rear door, and I chased him as he ran into the back room. I tried to hold the door closed as kitchen staff came out, all of us just mad as hell.

        When he did push his way out, we didn’t try to tackle him, just let him go. My point being, people (emloyees) in a good establishment can feel a real sense of responsibility and protectiveness. Also, there weren’t quite so many guns around then, at least for robbers. (Drug guys always had plenty.)

    • aeflick
  • Former DPCG

    This is crazy! Commenting because I definitely got robbed while eating at this restaurant last spring … I was with some friends last April sitting on the patio for dinner at ~8 pm on a Friday night and somebody ran up on and grabbed my purse off the back of my chair and FLEW off before any of us really realized what happened. We reported it as a robbery and the staff/detective was fantastic, but it wasn’t even 20 minutes until I started getting fraud alerts on my credit card – so these guys mean business (I guess as anyone who steals things is wont to mean). For what it’s worth, the DCPD had said this was an instance in the case of several robberies happening in or right in front of this restaurant. Be CAREFUL when out on 14th St – even on restaurant patios. Especially Barcelona – their small plates be delicious, but for whatever reason, this place is clearly some sort of target. Glad the bartender handled that like a pro!

    • LoganRes

      Of course patios are prime targets! You should never ever leave your purse hanging on the back of your chair on a patio or even inside a restaurant for that matter. A thief stealing a purse/wallet from an oblivious/distracted patron is like stealing candy from a baby. Don’t make it easy for criminals to steal your sh*t! Awareness is key.

      • JoDa

        In less-harshville, I have one of those hooks that allows you to hang your purse under the table. Place it on the side of the table away from the street. Best $11 I’ve spent (mine’s fancy…all sparkly and Swarovski’d ‘n’ stuff, you can get them cheaper).

      • mail

        victim blaming has no place in this conversation

        • FridayGirl

          I don’t think they were blaming the person — this is pretty classic knowledge that my mom taught me when I was little, and we lived in a pretty safe area. It would be great if all theives would stop stealing, but since they won’t, people really DO need to be more aware!

          • mail

            you must not have gotten the memo. basic, common sense advice on avoiding crime was declared “victim blaming” sometime in mid-2013 and is no longer appropriate to discuss.

          • textdoc

            I’m not sure that “Don’t put your purse on the back of your chair” is “classic knowledge” in the way that “Don’t leave anything visible in your car” is (or is for D.C.). I definitely don’t remember learning it as a kid.
            As an adult I’ve usually kept my purse in my lap (or put it between me and the back of the chair, if the chair has a solid back). I felt a little silly about it and wondered if I was being paranoid… but then I started hearing about wallets being stolen out of purses off the backs of chairs at Raku and other places, or purses being stolen completely.
            The crime prevention/neighborhood watch training I went to at the Fourth District police headquarters a few months ago specifically advised NOT putting your purse on the back of your chair. It also recommended — although I think this might have been outdoor-seating-specific — not putting your smartphone on the table.

        • Donkey

          Really? Why not? Okay, I get it. But there is SOME, however small, amount of contributory negligence. It’s simple, don’t be a fool or you’ll be the first target.

        • Krampus

          Well then it’s a good thing there hasn’t been any.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Must have missed the other memo, too – if somebody feels like it’s victim blaming, then that makes it victim blaming, and that makes it out of bounds.

          • I wish PoP could ban the term “victim blaming”.

        • LoganRes

          Saying “don’t make yourself an easy target” isn’t victim blaming, it’s common sense and practical thinking.

          • stop

            can we stop talking about victims? victim’s a trigger word for me.

          • Former DPCG

            Of course it’s important to be careful in a city, suburbs, small town – everywhere, really. And I had certainly been taught, “never put your purse on the back of char, lose sight of your belongings, etc.” But, hey, it’s still easy to get confident, comfortable, whatever and yeah, these are things happen. I’m not the first person who this has happened to and I”m sure I won’t be the last. Not because I’m stupid, but just because yes, everyone should be careful, but people make mistakes and things happen. We live in a city after all.

            This post struck me because it was the several of numerous incidents at Barcelona or around it this year. And certainly different – the bartender stepped up before anything happened and truly saved the day. My only point was that it’s easy to get comfortable in familiar places (trust and believe I won’t be placing my purse on the back on any chairs anymore, obviously) and yeah – I learned the hard way because I was careless. I wasn’t looking for sympathy – it was kind of the worst, but I was safe, my friends were safe, my phone was in my hands so that fortunately wasn’t taken and the staff and detectives were great. I just wanted to point out – be careful out there y’all. And yeah, don’t put things on the back of chairs. That DOES make you an easy target. And also in the spot of inadvertently financing someone’s attempt $400 WalMart gift purchase.

            So, on a positive note: Staff at Barcelona are great. All of the tips for the bartender!

  • Pokerface

    I hope this was caught on tape and it’s posted to the You Tube’s! Would be fun to watch. Glad no one was hurt. It’s been an interesting summer for sure.

  • iloveshaw

    I also want to know who to tip! I will definitely be going to Barcelona more now, to show my support to their brave bartender!

  • kwame

    Rose’ shortage has people doing crazy things.

  • Jack_harrer


  • Smittty

    Really hope someone identifies the bartender! I will definitely order a drink and heavily tip this man. Hero! Especially with all the violence in the city right now!

    • Anon


  • Renee

    Does anyone know how we can follow this case to learn what happens to the perpetrator? I’d be curious if he’s back on the street tomorrow or spends time in jail (and for how long).
    Kudos to the bartender.

  • JL

    Nice to hear the bartender put a stop to this idiot. Somebody needs to give that guy a raise.

  • Josh Gibson

    I don’t remember seeing a punch on Barcelona’s cocktail list…

  • Jack Stevens

    two things

    1. I bet the criminal got a ticket (See NoMa) and is back on 14th today stealing a bike or shoplifting from CVS
    2. should we nominate the bartender for Mayor or Police Chief? Maybe we could make him on honorary member of the #MPDtvicesquad2015

    • mail

      yeah would be good to know the name of the suspect (usually listed in the arrest reports MPD sends out) so we can look up the disposition of his case.

  • Dognonymous

    Really hope someone there had the presence of mind to shout “WORLD STARRRR! WORLD STAR!” as it was going down.

  • Universal Em

    Barcelona steals every day with their awkward two-tier serving system. Also criminal that they ask their staff to wear such ridiculous get ups. I have a feeling the masked man was the true Hero. Clearly rebelling against another weak restaurant concept that caters to people with no genuine ties to the neighborhood.

    • MarkQ

      Two-tier service system? I’m no Barcelona fan, but have ever experienced that.

      • Anon Spock

        They have back waiters/servers assistants like a lot of places in D.C..
        I went there recently: outfits were normal fire servers (it varies a lot here), prices were ok, food/drink delicious. I hate tapas but maybe I’d do it again for happy hour.

    • anon


    • Anonymous Shaw Dweller

      What is their “two tier serving system” that you refer to?

    • ash

      *deep, prolonged, sigh*

    • xminustdc

      I also agree that people who haven’t lived in one neighborhood their entire life deserve to be robbed (or attempted to be robbed with a deadly weapon).

      Just kidding, I don’t.

    • What entails a true tie to a neighborhood?

      • figby

        Haha — Red Light?

  • Nicholas

    Tell Mayor Bowser that you want effective policing in your neighborhood, not security guards, by calling this number today: (202) 727-2643.

    In January of 2015, one of Chief Lanier’s directives went into effect that all vice investigations be turned over to a centralized narcotics unit. While the district vice units continued to exist, their responsibilities dwindled. A few months later, they were ordered to operate in full uniform, thus hamstringing their ability to conduct effective operations. At the end of May 2015, vice was disbanded completely and most officers were sent back to patrol. This is when crime began to spiral out of control.

  • That One Guy

    Not everyone remembers a time before Whole Foods when 14th St. was really seedy.

  • Dirtygunz8

    Well that Stoli had a twist.

    Rob R. Rhee is the bartenders name

  • anonymous

    Yay Michael Cohen!!

  • PewPew

    I hope the guy lost a limb. That is what I would do. Have the chef come in and chip a hand off.

  • Matt

    My friend was robbed at the bar at Barcelona a couple months ago. A group of girls stole her purse from a hook under the bar during a busy happy hour and ran down 14th street. Immediately spent a couple hundred bucks at walmart. Cops came and were pretty rude and unhelpful. Seems like people definitely target Barcelona pretty frequently.

  • FormerBartender

    When I was a bartender, I would tell new bartenders what an old bartender told me. “if the sh1t ever hits the fan, grab the bottle of Galliano* and use it like a baseball bat.”

    *Galliano is a liquor that is in a really long bottle, and no one ever orders it, so in a bar it’s usually the last bottle on the end of the bar and it’s always full (easy to find and the biggest, heaviest thing you can use to hit someone besides a barstool).

    • baz

      you RAWK!

  • Tiffany

    A patron started a little fundraiser to give the bartender (Mike Cohen) a big tip! https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/1403160


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