Hudson Lounge Racism Allegations Continue To Fly

Hudson A Jan3.jpg
Photos by Marc Brubaker
Last Wednesday, as everyone around here was gearing up to leave for the New Year's holiday, the Houston Press Twitter page was inundated with quick terse statements from our followers calling out the chic Hudson Lounge in Rice Village for being overtly racist after a party of African-American revelers was shut down early the night before, without any warning by the management on duty at the time.

Rocks Off made a call to the bar soon after the business hit Twitter and spoke with manager Keith Thompson, and we were also in contact with a handful of partygoers through email and our personal Twitter account. Earlier today we spoke with two of the organizers of the party, Ray Odom and Vonn Butler.

Obviously, both sides had radically different tales to tell.

Hudson management said it was told a few days before that a small party of only 20 would be coming in on the night in question, December 28. Thompson said that the bar made preparations to have two bartenders and a waitress on hand to service the crowd.

As the night progressed, this promised crowd of 20 grew to at least 150 people, as Thompson told us last Wednesday afternoon. On a Tuesday night, this is a recipe for disaster at a bar as small and generically genteel as Hudson. The Houston Press' Shea Serrano gave Hudson high marks for his weekly Nightfly column not long ago. Earlier this afternoon, Serrano told us that he was not hassled during his visit, and that no one was minding the door when he went.

The Hudson folks say that once the crowd hit extreme capacity and the bar couldn't handle the rush, they decided to shut down early, at 11 p.m., an hour earlier than the stated Tuesday closing time of midnight.

To add a further layer of grime to this whole mess, angry commenters on CultureMap claim that Hudson reopened after the party left and was back in business until closing time early Wednesday morning.

We discussed certain aspects of last Tuesday with Odom and Butler, and clarified some of the matter from their side. Needless to say, if what Odom and Butler are saying is true, the plot has considerably thickened and gotten worse for Hudson.

The duo claims that they had spoke with Hudson's event director, Jarrod Klawinski, to iron out some details almost two weeks prior to the party. This is contradictory to what Thompson told us: That the first he heard of the party was just two days before, and it was only supposed to have to have 20 people.

Odom and Butler, however, say they looked over a bar calendar with Klawinski, and decided on an evening for their event. At this time, they say he told them that the bar's capacity was 400 people and it closed at 2 a.m., not midnight. (Hudson's Web site says the bar closes at 2 a.m. every night but Sunday, when it closes at midnight, and Monday, when it's closed.)

At this point, claims the pair, bottle service was talked about, but the bar would not budge on prices. Odom says he told Klawinski that his crowd would be "urban."

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18 comments
HKB Media Inc
HKB Media Inc

I'm not from Houston. And I have travelled to more than 50 countries.  I don't see color as much as I see integrity.  But some people, the world over, are prejudice. That's life!  My point is why do people continue to frequent locals owned by those narrow-minded people.  The best thing that they can do is to develop their own upscale venue.  I was raised to work in the building, if I had too, until I own the building.  This is the answer! http://www.mananaplaybooks.com

HKB Media Inc
HKB Media Inc

I'm not from Houston. And I have travelled to more than 50 countries.  I don't see color as much as I see integrity.  But some people, the world over, are prejudice. That's life!  My point is why do people continue to frequent locals owned by those narrow-minded people.  The best thing that they can do is to develop their own upscale venue.  I was raised to work in the building, if I had too, until I own the building.  This is the answer!

Twilliams
Twilliams

I think the blacks should not be allowed into Hudson Lounge. It's Adam Klieberts bar and Adam has a right to serve whoever he wants. Would you be mad if Adam told the Nazi's they were not welcome at Hudson Lounge? Why is it acceptable to discriminate against legal Nazi groups, but you have to let blacks into Hudson Lounge? The blacks are just a bunch of racists themselves who want everything for free and live off welfare. Adam did you a favor by throwing you out of his club because you can't afford the drinks anyway. Why does every black man think white wome like them anyway? Why don't black men hit on black women? Why is it alright for blacks to discriminate against blacks, but when Adam discriminates against blacks, all the black people get upidity? I am watch the Houston Rockets basket ball games all the time so I am not a racists. I wouldn't watch blacks play basket ball if I were a racists.

Christian
Christian

"- A reputation can take ten-thousand years to built, and only a second to be demolished."

Christian
Christian

SUBJECT

After hearing the "sensitive story" I decided to visit HUDSON LOUNGE tonight and learn it based on my own experience for curiosity sake. I invited 3 of my other good friends and my girlfriend along to join me and did an experiment! That is if race was truly an issue? or social class?! ... There were 5 of us total: 1 architect, 2 doctors, 2 girl friends! One of my friend had spike his hair to see if they would high-profile him based on his "look" or as a human being - I decided to wear a suit with brown tennis shoes for tonight to look more urban, and our other friend a "neurosurgeon" wore a plain red t-shirt to emphasize his "roundness" to look more rugged. =)

THE STORY

After having our vehicle valet parked, we got to the entrance and the bouncer immediately informed us it was their protocol to not accept anyone "in" unless they're either a previous member! I then asked how to attain "such thing" and I was informed only through their WEBSITE.. He then informed me a minute after we will eventually be able to enter Hudson Lounge in a later time so just stay in line! (There was no line just us 5!)

- "Isn't it a CONTRADICTION if you tell me it is a protocol that a membership through Hudson Lounge website is "NECESSARY" to enter the building, yet, if we "wait" awhile we will soon be able to enter - "THAT'S UNSOUND!!!"

BACKGROUND

"My girlfriend and I travel around the world to get exposed to all types of places/ experience, whether the journey lead us to religious temples, shrines, various traditions of beautiful cultures, and enjoy ourselves along the way including exquisite lounges as well.. It is truly more humorous to find we had more difficulty tonight trying to enter the facility of HUDSON LOUNGE than entering the 33rd floor of SKYBAR at Trader's Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with ease.

FYI... If anyone is ever going to be in K.L. Malaysia, we suggest to visit Skybar in Trader's Hotel. The view provides an stunningly gorgeous ambient of The Petronas Twin Towers at sundown - truly a sight you will thank god for carrots! :)

CONCLUSION

Hudson Lounge is not a racist place, and it is clearly not a high-seasoned place neither! I don't believe they're established for the money, race, class, culture, people. For what purpose hudson lounge serves...? Perhaps water closet?... at the end, we really just don't care for it...

Enjoy your New Year Houstonites!

Blondie_yo_yo
Blondie_yo_yo

OMG. This KYLE guy and the Car Bear Girl have been sitting around every board posting about this incident. Geez, get a life. Last I checked if I went into Club Onxy or any primarly African American bar I would looked upon oddly and quite frankly be a little fearful. Of course cars don't let large crowds of men in. BOOO-HOOOOO.

RACIST "WASHINGTON AVE"
RACIST "WASHINGTON AVE"

DIEM LOUNGE, EI8HT, NOX on Washington Ave also engage in discriminatory acts against people of color: blacks, Indians, Hispanics etc. Example:1. EI8HT: door man Zac keeps people standing in line, refusing to even talk and tell if he is ever going to let them in. All based on color, gender etc.2. DIEM LOUNGE and NOX: gender discrimination at its finest, door men clearly and shamelessly tell the males to bring some females with them if they want to enter the club.3. SANCTUARY: this is next to Sawyer. Sanctuary practices in discrimination by giving some weird excuse (just like RED ROOM) so as to prevent certain people from letting them in.

RACIST "RED ROOM"
RACIST "RED ROOM"

Similar discrimination based on race, color, gender etc is also prominent at RED ROOM (Address: 2736 Virginia Houston, TX, 77098, General Manager: Brad Stearnes, Door man Dan Green). Most of the time, when people from different races show up at Red Room, they are given some ignorant excuses like "reservations only, are you on the guest list etc." when some other people just walk straight in and the door man Dan Green doesn't even check the guest list etc. It would be foolish to think that each and every one going to RED ROOM registers for the list when in fact the website doesn't even have any option for guest list, and when the GM Brad never replies to emails, phone calls etc. Facebook page of RED ROOM clearly mentions "walk-ins welcome", and it is a shame that DAN DREEN, BRAD STEARNES etc at RED ROOM practice discrimination.

Kyle
Kyle

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/st...

There was also this story from Diem Lounge a few weeks ago when the management allegedly told a woman they weren't going to let all those Indians in for her birthday party.

Kyle
Kyle

Hudson has provided at least 3 contradictory stories:

1. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. The lounge "closed at the usual time for a Tuesday", but not the time stated on the website, which still hasn't been updated. We're sorry for any hurt feelings.Source: The Facebook apology

2. The lounge was closed an hour early at 11 PM. There were at least 150 people (rather than the planned 15-25) and only 2 bartenders and 1 waitress to serve them, so the lounge had to be closed. The GM made the decision to shut it down and Adam Kliebert did not hear about all this until the next morning.Source: The Culturemap "I am not a racist" interview

3. The lounge was closed on Kliebert's order because there were 150 people rather than the planned 15-25 and they were "yelling at my bartenders and acting rowdy."Source: The Fox interview with Emily Akin

It should be noted that the only video of the scene in the club showed well-dressed black people calmly socializing.

The planners have had one story the entire time, as best I can tell:Planners met with the event planner numerous times to plan the event and informed them there would be approximately 200 people, and discussed the capacity of the back room. GM Keith Thompson was friendly, helpful, and accommodating according to virtually all eyewitness accounts (both planners and guests). The GM assisted with setting up the organizers' music playlist and the event seemed to be going well. There were at least 4 bartenders and 2 waitresses working. Adam Kliebert arrived and apparently spoke with GM Thompson. Kliebert left looking upset and Thompson informed the organizers that the lounge would need to be closed. He took one organizer in a back office and told him that "the owner doesn't like your crowd" and the lounge would have to close by midnight. The organizers reasoned with Thompson and compromises were made on the music playlist, and an agreement was reached to play it by ear and remain open if the bar was making money. At 10:45 or so, GM Thompson made an announcement that the lounge would be closing, and at 10:50 bartenders were telling patrons that it was Last Call. At 11:00, the lights were turned on and everyone was told to come close their tabs. Police arrived, apparently called by Hudson management to clear out the club.

Correct me if I got any of this wrong. I can provide links for most of this, but I think too many links in a post flags it as potential spam. I've uploaded the KPRC story and the Fox story to Youtube. Given that we've got two drastically different stories, I'm inclined to believe the one that isn't constantly shifting,

Houston
Houston

You are hilarious.. in a sheer stupid and ignorant way of course.. I wonder if your thoughts could be shared by you with your co-workers..

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

Oh Rubbish Christian -

Reputation based on external fear went right out the door at the close of 2010 when we released the 30th death row inmate for a crime he didn't commit. All of the 'condemed' were convicted based on their so-called reputation.

A manufactured statement of 'reputation' isn't going to cut it anymore except perhaps for certain doctors and architects who - sadly - have to worry about such foolishness.

Swarming a bar or restaurant or even the airport with disabled people was popular back in the 1970's when the new disability laws were enacted and it didn't work. The 'swarming' was clearly contrived and offered evidence that the disabled and especially their advocates were playing a game at the expense of others.

It is evidence and not reputation that is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

If we need to change the culture let us just say so in a coordinated and purposeful way.::GP

Kyle
Kyle

Being looked upon oddly by patrons and being discriminated against by staff are different things, Blondie. People shouldn't be discriminated against on the basis of their gender, either. And yeah, I'll post comments wherever I want.

I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

ClairetheCarebear
ClairetheCarebear

Just goes to show that people of all darker hues are discriminated against because of their skin color. What's sickening are the comments left underneath that Channel 13 report. From "stop whining", to "their group was probably loud and obnoxious", "if she had problems before on Washington, it's something she's doing". Disgusting and heartless. It's no different than some of the comments left on the Hairball article

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/...

or on Fox 26 about the Hudson Lounge incident

http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dp...

I wish there was a machine that would make some of my white people (the ones who refuse to see the harm and wrongness in racial discrimination) a different ethnicity for one week. In that one week, try going to a club and I can guarantee their perspectives would change about this type of discrimination.

ClairetheCarebear
ClairetheCarebear

Exactly Kyle. I pointed this out in the comments of the Culture Map article, where the owner. Adam Kliebert, issued a nonapologetic response and repeatedly stated he's marrying a Latina so how can be discriminatory towards anyone.

Anyway, when someone changes their story over and over, it's a tell-tell sign that they're not telling the truth. Hudson Lounge and its owner, Adam Kliebert, has done just that. Many of the naysayers, you know the ones who call people who tell about their discrimination whiners and making a big deal over nothing, keep faulting the planners of that Tuesday evening incident but not once has the planners and their guests account of that evening and the planning stage has changed. Funny how those same naysayers overlook the inconsistencies in Hudson Lounge's and Adam Kliebert's account:

1. Everyone's (planners and guests of the holiday college alumni get together excluded) has been throwing out the number ranges 15-25, 25-30 people. Where did this number come from? Hudson Lounge. The lounge threw out the number it appears by their changing story to cover for the fact that the planners gave them a higher number and place fault and blame on the planners. Rather than admit that they were fully aware of the number of people gathering, it's easier to say 25-30 were planned and then say 150 people showed up (the planners and guests dispute that was actually less than 75 in attendance) to make the planners look as if they pulled something over on them.

2. About the 15-25, 25-30 people, this was the number Hudson Lounge claimed in their first apology on Facebook (that was deleted and later revised when they brought their Facebook page back online) was told to them on the day of the event. One of the planners made arrangements for a party that evening over the phone the day of the gathering. Then Hudson Lounge's story changed and said they were told it would be over 100 weeks in advance and talked about use of the back bar but the planners didn't like the price. The story changes once again to say they were surprised to see 100, they thought it was 15-25 people coming because of a phone call they received that day.

3. Hudson Lounge maintained from the beginning and on their first apology on Facebook (that's now taken down) that the planners called earlier that day and that was all. The same as perpetuated in the first Culturemap article about the incident. Yet when aired on television (the Fox 26 report) and the Culturemap article where Adam Kliebert says e's marrying a Latina so that absolves him of having a racist bone in him (he didn't really say tat but that's how it came across), the story changed and Hudson Lounge said they spoke with the planners weeks prior to the event planned, something the planners of the Tuesday party always said happened. But then in yesterday's Hairball's article, it was few days prior to the event. Too many story changes on Hudson Lounge's part.

4. The owner of Hudson Lounge claimed on the Fox 26 interview and in one of the Culturemap articles to not know anything about the incident or of the party planned until the next day. He even claimed he never called it.Then when aired on television, a phone interview revealed he knew about the party when it was being planned and he told the GM to do what he had to do that evening.

The owner claimed he knew nothing about the party being planned and nothing about what went down that evening. However the Facebook apology offered by his publicist concluded they were aware of a party being planned and on a television interview not only did he say he told the GM to do what he had to do but then stated that the crowd was being rowdy. How would he know this if he didn't know about in the first place as he claimed?

Too much inconsistencies on Hudson Lounge's part and it begs the question why? From the beginning of the incident, the planners and their guests account hasn't changed. I'm more likely to believe the story that's remained the same than the one that keeps to changing. Not to mention that the owner's character isn't very credible when he's had a long rap sheet (http://img703.imageshack.us/i/... ).

Boo-boo bear
Boo-boo bear

Sworn upon the alter of God. Oh my! Sounds like you're unemployed at the moment or transpopsing anger at situations. I will add you to my prayer list that you obtain employment and find something productive to do with your time instead of being so angry. I do agree that there are venues that discrimiate against black, white, latin asian, gay, handicapped, etc. Instead of spending time being angry at them, don't do business with them. No patrons, no money = no business. Just choose to support companies that have the same core values you do. All this chatter about Hudson has given them FREE publicity. That bar has slow service, terrible valter service, no bathroom attendants so the bathroom has long lines and is disgusting, a weird set up, overpriced drinks, limited parking and angry neighbors. In 18 months it will be shut down.

Twilliams
Twilliams

I think the blacks should not be allowed into Hudson Lounge. It's Adam Klieberts bar and Adam has a right to serve whoever he wants. Would you be mad if Adam told the Nazi's they were not welcome at Hudson Lounge? Why is it acceptable to discriminate against legal Nazi groups, but you have to let blacks into Hudson Lounge? The blacks are just a bunch of racists themselves who want everything for free and live off welfare. Adam did you a favor by throwing you out of his club because you can't afford the drinks anyway. Why does every black man think white wome like them anyway? Why don't black men hit on black women? Why is it alright for blacks to discriminate against blacks, but when Adam discriminates against blacks, all the black people get upidity? I am watch the Houston Rockets basket ball games all the time so I am not a racists. I wouldn't watch blacks play basket ball if I were a racists.

Kyle
Kyle

That's right, I won't do business with them, and I'll encourage others not to do so as well. Is that okay with you? (I don't care if that is okay with you.) Don't bother praying to your God for me, because he doesn't exist and I am employed.

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