Food News

Sean Kenyon Yelps Back at One-Star Review

Sean Kenyon at Occidental, where a one-star Yelp reviewer decided the rules did not apply.
Sean Kenyon at Occidental, where a one-star Yelp reviewer decided the rules did not apply. Imbibe
Sean Kenyon is the man behind the award-winning bar Williams & Graham, which kicked off Denver's obsession with cocktail bars. He is a master of crafting cocktails (which he recently demonstrated with Papa John's-inspired creation to mark the release of Peyton Manning's pricey bourbon) and also explaining bartending etiquette, as evidenced by his series of columns for Westword. And now, he's earned the title Master of the Comeback.

On July 1, Kenyon posted screenshots of a June 30 one-star Yelp review for another of his establishments, Occidental, along with his response. They're paired with the caption, "I'm not taking this shit anymore. For real."

Although it looks like the reviewer has removed the original post, it will live on in Yelp infamy thanks to Kenyon's social media skills.

Kenyon also updated the sign outside Occidental with the reviewers' "Be wary, do not enter" message and also plans to make and sell t-shirts. Profits from shirt sales will be donated to CHOW, a locally based nonprofit focused on mental health for those in the hospitality and other industry-specific organizations.
Post-pandemic restrictions, the bad behavior of guests has become a common topic in the hospitality world. Have people just forgotten how to act? How much will overworked, short-staffed hospitality professionals put up with? Not much more, it appears.

Bravo. Now someone go buy that door person a drink.

Here's the original Yelp review:
The Yelp review in question. - SEAN KENYON/INSTAGRAM
The Yelp review in question.
Sean Kenyon/Instagram
And here's Kenyon's reply:

Good Morning [name redacted!]

I just watched our video from last night and I have some play by play. Let's give an actual synopsis about how your visit went down.

Right after 10 p.m., we had a line of people waiting to come in. You decided that that line did not apply to you, because, you know... you are truly special. Once past that line, you walked past not one, but two stop signs asking you to wait to be ID'd before entry. But, again those didn't apply to you because well, you know...

Once we stopped you, and explained that there was a line, you were annoyed and barked at our door person that you were just using the bathroom. But, that was a lie. Because you then went to the bar. When the door person found you at the bar a minute later and asked you to leave, you threw a tantrum and a pen in her face. Then you stormed out like an angry child. It was truly a sight to behold. Based on your behavior, we actually predicted this Yelp review. Now, one of our regulars who was seated next to where you flipped out owes me $20. So, thanks for that.

As well, a few notes:

It's Jheri curl, not Jerry curl. Named after the famous hairdresser who invented it, Jheri Redding. Our door person just has naturally curly hair, she does not use any activator.

Second, I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion she is a "MAJOR TRUMP SUPPORTER." She wasn't wearing a MAGA hat, or a Trump T-shirt, she wasn't reminiscing about her visit to Mar-a-Lago or chanting "lock her up" or "build the wall." Nope, none of those things. Thankfully, she is not a Trump supporter, but she does listen to ska...and while that is unfortunate, I still support her right to do so.

After all of that, we fully support her and saw that you exhibited childlike, entitled and generally bad behavior. Since you wanted to be special, we'll give you some guidance for your next visit. Just for you: "Be Wary, Do Not Enter."

Another quick note for the rational people of Denver reading: Denver Vice has been using the "I just need to use the bathroom" trick at bars, and one of our neighboring bars was actually shut down last month for serving an undercover minor who did just that.

Have a great day!
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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