Bars

Sean Kenyon Yelps Back at One-Star Review, Round Two

Sean Kenyon Yelps Back at One-Star Review, Round Two
Westword
In July, Sean Kenyon did what many bar and restaurant owners want to do — he responded publicly to a one-star Yelp review of Occidental, his bar on West 32nd Avenue. After watching security footage of the Yelper's visit, he called out the truth about what went down; his response was a master class in how to call out unreasonable behavior. At the time, Kenyon, who also owns award-winning speakeasy Williams & Graham, told Westword that he planned to stick with that approach.

And now he's made good on that promise, once again leaving a scathing (though measured — and humorous) response to a guest who was unhappy about having to wait for a spot at the bar at the consistently busy Williams & Graham. The best part of Kenyon vs. Yelpers round two is that the reviewer responded with an update, leading to one of the most amusing back-and-forths of the year. "Fuck around and find out. I have no more tolerance for one-sided fabricated stories," Kenyon said in the caption when he shared the entire review, response and updates on his Instagram feed.

While this Yelper apparently won't be visiting Williams & Graham again, both W&G and Occidental are on our list of 100 bars we can't live without in 2022, so you should — right after reading through Kenyon's most recent Yelp comeback, below:
click to enlarge A drink the reviewer could have had at Williams & Graham if willing to wait. - WILLIAMS & GRAHAM
A drink the reviewer could have had at Williams & Graham if willing to wait.
Williams & Graham
Here's the one-star review as it currently appears on Yelp:

Posting here because WG management had my google review removed. This place is an example of Denver moving in the wrong direction- elitist snobbery similar to LA. This isnt LA, AND YOUR BAR ISNT THAT COOL. I really wish Denver would filter out the elitist garbage and get back to its gritty roots.


Kenyon's original response:

Good morning! We absolutely, 100% did not have your review pulled down. We wouldn’t ever. It’s important to hold ourselves accountable for the poor experiences as well as the positive reviews. Luckily, I have the video from Thursday night.

At 9:08:01pm on Dec 23rd you walked in and asked if we had space for one at the bar. We had just fully sat the room for our 9pm seating and we’re full at the bar, tables and drink rail. Here’s how the interaction went.

Host: “Hi, how are you?”
You: “good”
Host: “do you have a reservation this evening?”
You: “no”
Host: “how many in your party?”
You: “just me”
Host: “for a party of one we are at about a 45min wait right now, if you like I could take your information and give you a call…”
You: (interrupting) “no,no I just want to go to the bar”
Host: “unfortunately, we are 100% booked and our bar is full”
You: “you are booked but you don’t have any spots at the bar” (this was spoken more like a condescending statement than a question)
Host: “no, unfortunately the bar is full, we have no seats available at this moment”
*Here is where you begin to storm out…
Host: have a nice night!
You: (holding the door open) “you know this town isn’t that cool!”
Host: “your opinion, but have a great night”
You: “this isn’t f-ing (you said the actual word, but Yelp won’t let me use it) Los Angeles!!!”
Then you attempt to slam the door and walk out. (Very dramatic)

I am 100% behind our part in the interaction. You were the only one in the conversation who was rude and abrupt (and the only one who displayed what you would probably call “LA attitude” and I would just call “entitlement mixed with impatience”)

While I apologize that you weren’t able to come in, the truth is that we just didn’t have the space. Also, I take offense to you using the words “elitist snobbery” and “elitist garbage” in reference to our bar. If you actually waited and let us take your name and number like we offered, we would have had you seated within 15min (we had a party leave suddenly because their spot at another restaurant came up early). Then, you would have had the full experience and I am sure you would have left feeling differently. Our review for you? 2 stars. I’ll spot you a star because you weren’t aware how our waitlist works. But, impatience and the petulance you exhibited when you didn’t receive immediate satisfaction keeps you from any more stars. *Cliche alert* Patience is a virtue

After all of this we’d still love to have you in as a guest. I’ll even buy your first drink. Feel free to reach out directly. [Kenyon included his email address]
Then the reviewer added this update:

Please see the below response from their ridiculous manager who spent and incredible amount of time attempting to “dig up dirt” on me. What a joke, I don’t want your drink and I won’t support your bar or anything that resembles it in Denver. I fully stand behind my “elitist garbage” comment.

Followed by Kenyon's own updated response:

Thanks for encouraging people to read our response. I am actually the owner of the bar and stand by our account. I can post the video to our social media if you like. That way people can judge for themselves. If that is what you want, I’d be happy to oblige. Just say the word. I honestly checked the video due to the review to see If we were at fault. At that point I was giving your review the attention it deserved. That does not equate to “Digging up dirt.” You say I’m “Ridiculous?” Keep slinging the mud… truth is, my wife often finds me to be ridiculous, but she loves me all the same.
Two more additions from the reviewer:

2nd UPDATE: WG ownership continues to be overly aggressive with their reaction to my honest review. They are obviously threatened that someone could possibly find their attitude off-putting. I rest my case.

UPDATE: What a joke. I don't want your free drink, and I won't support your bar or anything that resembles it in Denver. I fully stand behind my honest review of your mediocre bar.

And, finally (for now), Kenyon's replies:

UPDATE UPDATE: think I’ll take that second star back. Now you just get one star. See what you did? Also, all of your Yelp reviews are one star. Try showing a small business some love when you have a good experience. It will make you feel great!
My offer to have you in for a drink on us still stands.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE (I can go on). Remember. I watched the video. I’ll wait for you to say the word and i will post on our IG. You were the one who cursed at our host, who was polite to you, and even apologized that we were booked. Overly aggressive? You use Yelp as a bully pulpit. You’re the one name-calling and slandering us based on a one-sided story. We do get to tell our side. I am not going to allow you to leave an inaccurate review using words like “elitist, snobbery, ridiculous, and garbage. Without rebuttal. No one “talked down” to you. We extended an offer that still stands. Keep hurling insults. Our doors will remain open to you.
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Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin