Man Accuses Mich. Bar of Charging Black Patrons a Cover Fee While Letting in White Customers for Free

WXYZ screenshot
WXYZ screenshot

A man in Roseville, Mich., is accusing a local bar and grill of being racist toward black customers after he says he saw a group of African Americans being charged a cover fee while he walked through the doors for free.


According to WXYZ, Jonas Grabill said that an employee told him that he got into the Spot bar and grill for free because he is white.

“As we walked up, I asked how much the cover [charge] was. He said, ‘It’s free if you’re white. Don’t tell anybody,’” Grabill told the news station.

Grabill said he was shocked by the pronouncement.

“He just said it with a smirk on his face. Kind of snarky,” he said.

Once inside, Grabill said, he was surprised to see how diverse the crowd was. Grabill didn’t take his complaint up to management at the time but posted about his experience on Facebook.

“I just put it out there and let them know what happened there, and the shares just took off,” he said.

Robert Buzar, the owner of the Spot, refuted the claims.

“We’re not a racist bar in any way, shape or form. We welcome everybody,” Buzar insisted.


Buzar said he doesn’t believe Grabill’s story, adding that he has known the doorman for years and couldn’t imagine him saying something like that.

Buzar told the news station that the Spot usually charges $10 for men and $5 for women on Fridays and Saturdays, though the bar does cut off the payment at some point, which is why, according to the bar owner, Grabill may have gotten in for free even though someone in front of him was charged.


“If he came in after 1:30 a.m., we stopped charging cover after 1:30 a.m. That’s the only explanation I can think of,” Buzar said. “I pride myself in the fact that we have such a diverse crowd here. We cater to everybody.”

Grabill said there had been reviews on the bar’s Facebook page accusing the establishment of racism before; however, that section was soon turned off when the news station went to check. Buzar said there had only been a few negative reviews before he switched the section to private because of the unwanted attention from Grabill’s Facebook post.


“The reason why I did that was because of all the backlash that I was getting from the Facebook thing going viral,” Buzar said.

Grabill, however, is sticking to his story, adding, “The fact that I’m white and I spoke up about it. I think that’s why it got a lot of attention. Because I gain nothing from this. It’s not my race that I’m accusing of being discriminated against. I just witnessed something that I thought was wrong.”


Read more at WXYZ.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi



The real outrage of this story is that they’re able to charge for cover on any night of the week (partial /s)

At least they let black people in. At some bars/clubs in Chicago, they’ll let a few black people in (enough to be diverse), but then will start strictly interpreting dress codes, etc. to prevent “too many” blacks from entering. I haven’t seen that happen in SF or DC yet.

It’s a strange phenomena, once a bar reaches a certain threshold of PoC, the number of whites going drops significantly (accelerating the change) and it becomes a Latino bar, a black bar, an Asian bar, etc. Now, that threshold differs for each racial group, with white people seeming to tolerate a significant number of Asians, a fair number of Latinos, and relatively few black people.