I too, have had an awful experience in dealing with the manager of this bar! I'm so appalled by her actions towards me that I feel compelled to write a review and tell others to avoid this place!
This past weekend I was visiting a cousin in Newport for the first time, coming from New York. I had a great experience in the town! Great food and scenery. Everyone I encountered from baristas to sail riggers to bank tellers to dog walkers on the street, felt welcoming despite my being a tourist and despite not knowing the local idiosyncratic details of life in Newport. I grew up in a tourist town so I understand the "locals only" vibe of some places and try my best to not act in a stereotypical tourist way.
On Saturday (8/25/2012) night, I ventured out with my cousin and five of his male friends (all of legal drinking age) to a few of the bars in town. We had a great time at Pour Judgement and a few others, and as last call approached we heard there would be live music over at Newport Blues Cafe on Thames. We rushed over, 5 dollar cover in hand, expecting to end the night dancing. As we lined up to get in, the boys were allowed in without a cover (it being so close to last call) and I was last to show my ID to the bouncer.
Being that I live in such close proximity to a city with an extensive public transportation system, coupled with the fact I was in an accident when I was in high school, I've never had much motivation to obtain my driver's license. I have a DMV issued New York State learner's permit. This is a form of ID accepted at virtually any other establishment in any other state (I travel A LOT for work) for proof of age. Upon examining my ID card, the bouncer laughed to himself and started saying things like "New York State IDs aren't this flimsy" and even at one point POCKETED my ID and told me to get lost. I persisted, stating that I was 25 and that the ID was in fact valid, asking if he could call the police over (I saw them on a nearby corner) to run the ID. They came over and verified its legitimacy, that I was indeed 25.
However, that was not the end - the (I think) bar manager (maybe owner) and bouncer then asked for something else with my picture on it. I produced a debit card and also had a student ID ready to go. It was still not enough and they maintained they were refusing me entry. The bar manager (who at this point had been pretty silent and merely supervising) shoved a document in my face (I suppose rules/regulations of the bar) and pointed to a list of acceptable forms of ID - the top being "Driver's License." rather than state issued DMV ID. This means that anybody unable to operate a motor vehicle but who is of legal drinking age doesn't have the proper ID to enter this bar! I have a hard time believing they'd turn away somebody with a RI learner's permit.
At this point, I was ready to drop it, but my group were still inside unaware that I had never made it past the front door. As I got out my phone to text my cousin, the bar manager again reared her head, asking the bouncer why I was still hanging around. I stated that I was waiting for my group of friends and that is when she moved toward me, palms out, and shoved me down the front stairs of the bar. As she did so, I went limp, not resisting her at all, and she continued to push. Throughout the few seconds of pushing I kept talking to a group of girls that were outside, making it clear that I was not touching her and she was hurting me.
I stood next to this group until my cousin came out, where he again tried to plead my case with the bouncer and bar manager. Not knowing I had already involved the police, he also stopped a police officer that he knew and chatted for a bit. Unfortunately the police maintained as before that despite my ID being verified, the bar could still refuse me entry because it's a private business. The bar could not give him a reason for refusing me entry other than they flat out didn't want me in there. I did not act belligerent or rudely. I'm not a drunk sorority girl type crying on the sidewalk. My cousin went back inside to let everyone know what had happened, the group finished out the band's set and then met me over at a bar next door where I was welcomed with my NYS ID.
Bottom line - I tried calmly resolving the situation only to be met with unbridled, undeserved hostility by somebody who supposedly has lots of power in her role as bar manager. Avoid the Newport Blues Cafe at all costs!
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