Civic leaders urging customers to boycott Unbarlievable

Protesters gather outside Unbarlievable on Rainey Street. June 30, 2017 (KXAN Photo/Sean Farrar)
Protesters gather outside Unbarlievable on Rainey Street. June 30, 2017 (KXAN Photo/Sean Farrar)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Numerous elected officials along with civil rights groups are taking action against Unbarlievable, a Rainey Street bar whose owner has recently come under attack after claims he made rude and racist comments.

The group of Austin community members speaking out against the bar says customers have “faced sexist, racist, Islamophic, and otherwise hateful rhetoric” from the owner, Brandon Cash, and his staff.

During Friday’s news conference, Austin City Council Member Pio Renteria reminisced about how when he was a child he would play on Rainey Street and he would go into the house that currently houses Unbarlievable because his friends lived there. With fond memories, he doesn’t want the house to be associated with bad business.

“I’m asking every Austintite to stay away from this bar. Don’t give them a dime of your money,” said Renteria. “The fight for human dignity has always been a collective bargain.”

In March, a customer posted a Facebook review stating in one instance, an employee brought out beers to a table and arranged them in a shape of a swastika. The post go on to say, “told the owner and he did not care at all — horrible.” Unbarlievable’s Facebook account responded to the post by writing, “If you have feelings all complaints should be directed to our HR department. You can reach them at getf——@unbarlievable.com.”

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission says it investigating a complaint received on June 18 regarding Unbarlievable. The complaint centered on allegations of offensive imagery and language at the bar, but the state agency wouldn’t elaborate on what that entails.

As the social media backlash roared, the owner issued an apology on Wednesday. There is also a large banner outside the bar that reads: Dear Austin, We’re Sorry.

The group says they held a closed-door meeting with Cash to discuss what the bar can do to move forward. After the meeting, Cash issued a second apology:

“The recent community outrage has been a wake-up call for me personally. I’ve witnessed the overwhelming anger in direct response to my deplorable conduct and I want to assure everyone that I have taken it to heart. To the Austin community embarrassed by my actions and to those individuals I have personally offended, I apologize. I will be making immediate changes to our personal conduct and interactions with our patrons.”

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