DFW Music News

Kung Fu Saloon Could Lose Liquor License After Bartender Allegedly Assaults Patron

So, good old Kung Fu Saloon, the glorified mall arcade full of drunken bros, is under scrutiny yet again, and this time it's somehow not for their discriminatory door policy. Go figure.

While the Dallas location is skirting direct scrutiny this time -- the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is investigating the Austin location over an alleged assault by an employee on a patron, who ended up with a severe brain injury -- it's still a glaring reminder to steer clear of that place, Uptown or otherwise.

See also: After Complaints of Racism at Kung Fu Saloon, Dallas Stresses Guidelines on Dress Codes

Here's what happened: Back in November, police arrested 24-year-old Robert Camillone and charged him with felony aggravated assault after he allegedly attacked bar patron Joey O'Hare for no reason.

According to the arrest affidavit, O'Hare was at Kung Fu in Austin on November 16, and was closing his tab around 9 p.m. Investigators say Camillion then wrapped his arm around O'Hare's neck for basically no reason, which cut off O'Hare's air flow. He then leaned O'Hare back and dragged him out of the bar, says the affidavit.

Investigators are pretty clear on what happened, thanks to some handy video footage from the bar, says the affidavit, which shows O'Hare go limp. But Camillone doesn't seem concerned in the video about the dude's state of consciousness, and drops him on his face outside the bar instead of calling for help, or, you know...some other rational option.

Given O'Hare's lack of lucidness, he doesn't brace himself for the fall, but takes the impact to his face and head instead. O'Hare ended up with some massive injuries from the assault, including fractured facial bones and a broken nose, according to the affidavit.

According to the court documents, O'Hare's injuries to his brain were so severe, doctors had to cut open his head to alleviate the swelling, says the document. He'll also need surgery to avoid losing his vision, and also to put his sinuses back together. Yeah, we're cringing too.

So, given the seriousness of O'Hare's injuries, it's pretty obvious why TABC chose to step in. They're now investigating whether the bar properly reported the assault, and whether Saloon's employees could have prevented it. (Very speculative, non-legal answer: Yes. Yes they could have, by not dragging the dude out and dropping him on his face in the first place.)

And, much to the chagrin of the bros, should investigators find that the bar did not prevent or train said employees, TABC could suspend or revoke the bar's liquor license.

We're not sure if anyone will finally take the issues with Kung Fu Saloon seriously, but this is hardly the first time that the Austin location -- or any Kung Fu location, for that matter -- has drawn backlash.

This same location received an extended stank-eye by TABC investigators during a crackdown on over-serving on New Year's Eve, and they kinda deserved it. After all, from January to September of 2014, that location topped the list of bars DWI suspects last visited before getting pulled over, according to Austin PD statistics.

Dallas' own Uptown location has also taken flack over the last couple of years, most recently June 2014, when a group of 100 or so people gathered outside of it for a #NoKungFu protest over the chain's supposed racist door policy.

The group, which included one of Kung Fu's former employees, claimed that the bar makes a pointed effort to turn away black people, using the chain's ridiculous "dress code" to cover up their racist motives. The dress code, which was only formally spelled out after the protest, bans "improperly fit clothing; baggy pants, overly tight clothes, or clothes that expose body parts or undergarments."

A former employee of the Uptown location, Shannon Guidry, also spoke to the Dallas Observer back in June about the supposed racist policies. She also provided emails that appeared to back up, at least in part, the claims of discrimination by would-be patrons.

So let this be a lesson to you, kids. If you're dying to go to some half-assed adult Chuck E. Cheese, and you're too cool and muscly and tan for Dave and Busters, just stay home and play Xbox like a normal person. Your non-swollen brain will thank us.


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Angelica Leicht
Contact: Angelica Leicht