On his Facebook page, Doogie Roux, an industrial software engineer and bicycle enthusiast, accuses Washington Avenue bar Kung Fu Saloon of employing policies that prevent African Americans from patronizing the establishment after a doorman at the club refused to allow him to enter it on Sunday. The employee told Roux that his shoes, pictured above, were the reason he couldn't come inside.
Eater reached out to Kung Fu for comment; a manager named Steven admitted he was aware of Roux's post and denied the club refuses to admit people based on race. He referred further questions to the club's GM, who was unavailable. Eater called a second time and was still unable to reach the GM. Rather than respond to Roux's complaints, he wrote on twitter that Kung Fu blocked him from posting on its Facebook page.
On the other hand, Roux had no problem telling his story. He said he'd been to Kung Fu at least two times before and enjoyed himself, but that on his previous visits he wore a button down shirt. Although he refers to them as "less flashy," he says the shoes he wore on those previous visits were of a similar style, but his pant legs covered them.
Thinking that a club that features vintage arcade games and skee ball wouldn't have a stringent dress code, he rode his bike there on Sunday. Since it was cold, Roux wore a hooded sweatshirt instead of a button down. To prevent his pants from catching on the bike's chain, he rolled the legs up, revealing his high top sneakers.
"I'm really upset, cause I kinda like the place," Roux said. Asked about his previous experiences at the club, he commented that "On previous visits, I didn't notice many African Americans in there. There were a few and a few Latinos, but the majority was white. A few people looked at me funny, but for the most part the interaction was positive. There were a few moments, but I won't let that keep me from having a good time."
Roux's complaints are not unique. On Kung Fu's Google plus page, other uses complain about being denied entry because of their race. User "Prissy Missy" writes that "Unfortunately the rumors are true. If you're a minority, there's not a chance you're getting in."
Without word from Kung Fu's management, it's difficult to know whether the whole incident is a simple case of "flashy" shoes and hoodies being unacceptable attire or something that's more sinister. Local activist Kyle Nielsen told Eater that he spent time on Wednesday evening observing people wearing various kinds of shoes being admitted to Kung Fu, but that could be the difference between a weeknight versus a weekend. For now, no one's talking.