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Best Place to Play Rock Band Phoenix 2008 - Sandbar Mexican Grill

Sandbar Mexican Grill

Sandbar Mexican Grill

9868 W. Northern

Peoria, AZ 85345


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The latest craze among Valley bars and clubs these days isn't some overpriced fruity martini or even playing host to the hottest DJs around. Nope, it's Rock Band nights, where patrons test their mettle at the ultra-hot video game (which involves groups of three or four playing simulated instruments and singing in time to chart-busting songs like Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly" or Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive") for fun and the admiration of their fellow drunks. None of the trend-following nightspots offers the chance to perform like an actual rock star the way Sandbar does. Every Wednesday night, at the Peoria location, this beach-themed bar encourage groups to turn out dressed in their finest rock 'n' roll wear and engage in vampish, Steven Tyler-style onstage antics. Bar credit is awarded to the combo that gets the highest score each week. And if there are 30 or more bands competing during the event, the best-dressed act nabs $300 in cash. Groupies are optional, however.

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The staff wants to fight you - racist establishment. Avoid at all costs.

I drove 40 minutes from Tempe to Sandbar and my valid legal ID was put through much scrutiny by several bouncers at the door, even though I am a 28 year old man. We were very polite and just chalked it up to the establishment being extra cautious of underage drinkers- as they should.

Then we had to wait at the door while one of my friends went inside to use the ATM so we could pay the cover charge. While waiting to pay, they said they wanted to hold on to our IDs until we gave them money. OK, a little unusual but fine, we waited.

Then the bouncers started sizing up my friend and I and telling me that I was wearing my hat wrong. When I asked how that is possible, a smaller bouncer tried provoking the bigger one who had introduced himself as " head of security" by telling him we were "talking sh*t" as he put it.

I calmly asked him how I was supposed to wear a hat and they proceeded to ask me to pull it down over my eyes so I could not see and explained that in no way could it be un-centered atop my head. At this point I started wondering if I was still in America. I was trying to make light of the situation and ignore such a strange request. Once they had all agreed on proper hat placement, we gave them our cover charge and received our IDs. It was humiliating to say the least.

Not 1 minute had gone by as I walked inside the bar, readjusted my hat to it's original position bill forward, out of my eyes just above my brow making sure to adhear to the "no angle rule" when several short but large bouncers surrounded me and the "head of security" had followed me inside to inform me I was being "removed from the premises".

About 6 or 7 men in red shirts escorted me out. I calmly asked why I wasn't allowed inside as I watched several other patrons enter wearing backwards and sideways caps without so much as an warning from the bouncers.

The smaller jacked up guy started exclaiming that we were talking sh*t again trying to get the "head of security" to put hands on me. The largest bouncer told us we were going to be pushed to the pavement if we didn't leave immediately. You could see the human growth hormone coursing through the veins of one guy who was flexing and staring intently at us as we laughed off the ridiculous situation. I have never been discriminated this way by anyone especially not a business establishment like this.

So out in the parking lot, we asked why they have such a big issue with my hat and my hat alone. It was a basic white flex fit cap with an irish pub logo on it. Shockingly they admitted that it was TO KEEP BLACK PEOPLE OUT! I could not believe what I was hearing since I am Caucasian and the establishment claims it provides a casual urban environment where you can enjoy music of live DJs who play hip hop music.

It is sad that such ignorance still exists today. I just thought it was necessary to describe my experience so others could decide for themselves if they want to support a business that promotes the perpetuation of negative stereotypes.