Criminals have been causing mayhem & chaos around the city in the name of Taylor Swift for months now—sticky notes have been wasted, Twitter accounts have been hacked, elections have been rigged, and love has been snuffed out. The latest Swift-related victim is East Village wine bar/Italian restaurant Ballaró, whose owners claim that a group of belligerent Swifties wreaked havoc there over the weekend.

According to an email sent out by the owners to their neighbors on Monday, a group of "15 drunk people" berated bartenders because they wouldn't play any Swift songs—and then when the bartenders did play two of her songs, they weren't happy with the selections. One bartender was allegedly told to "go back to your country with that fucking immigrant face."

The group was asked to leave, at which point they allegedly stiffed Ballaró on a $500 bill. Later, a simple message in chalk was discovered on the sidewalk outside: "We do not play Taylor Swift here you cunts. Grazie."

A commenter on EV Grieve says they witnessed the altercation: "I was actually there [Sunday] night and a big group of drunk people were abusing the bartenders and yelling at them to play Taylor swift.. They actually did play 2 Taylor songs to try and please them. Then they started booing because she didn't play the right one."

As for what kind of music Ballaró does play—and the volume at which they play it— here are some relevant quotes from Yelp:

  • Only thing I would caution on is that it does get a bit loud music-wise, but the music is good! :)
  • Also the music was SUPER loud, could not hear my GF over it, please turn down the music!
  • Chill music - Postal Service, Jack Johnson...and sometimes they even have live music
  • Also the live music is not very good, awful jazz all the time.
  • On the day we went (Thursday), they had live music so it was a plus and it helped create a lively mood. But music was a little bit too loud if you were looking for a peaceful meal.
  • Good background music.
  • The music seems somewhat hit and miss, and heavily depends on the pandora station preference of whoever happens to be operating the music at the time.
  • There's a DJ inside and the music is a little loud.
  • There was this late 70's early 80's music going that was just really fun but not overwhelming but I did catch myself and others at the bar bopping along to the tunes.
  • The music was relaxing and classic.
  • Great music if you like Death Cab and Peter Bjorn and John (which I do).

But guess who never shows up in any review of the restaurant? The plot thickens (no it doesn't).

Dun dun dun

This seems maybe or maybe not relevant:

And here's the full letter from Ballaró to its neighbors:

Dear Neighbors,

As one of the owners of Ballaro, I wanted to shed some light on the events that took place at my establishment this last Sunday night. In my eyes, it was extremely ridiculous. It’s easy to talk shit and to make snap judgements without ever knowing what truly took place, which is why I wanted to write this letter.

To start, I do not know who wrote that sentence on the floor outside of our place, but it was not me or anyone who works at Ballaro. That’s not who I am - I grew up in a family that taught me how to respect people the same... their skin color, race, religion, sexual orientation and age is never taken into consideration when I’m serving customers. I treat everyone with the upmost respect. 

I know that I was offended, degraded and treated like shit by a group of 15 drunk people without any valid reason. They were screaming “BOO, YOU SUCK!” at me and my wait staff because Taylor Swift wasn’t playing on our sound system. I then played two Taylor Swift songs for them to placate them and they were dancing and singing all together so I assumed I had made my customers happy. However, after the two songs ended and the playlist moved on to other artists, they started complaining even more and it escalated. They started screaming that the songs I played weren’t the right one and I was told that, “this place is shit, the music and the people here suck.” I was then told to, “Go back to your country with that fucking immigrant face.”

This was the point that I lost control and I finally broke under the consistent barrage of snarky comments to myself and my staff. We had done nothing but serve them and try to make their time as enjoyable as possible and we were all being treated poorly. I yelled at them to leave and asked them all to go. 

One of the women in the group took out her phone and said that she was going to make a viral video so no one would come to Ballaro anymore. Now this, more than anything, upsets me because Ballaro is a gathering place for neighbors, friends, lovers and strangers alike. We have a community that gathers in Ballaro and we all love and support each other and welcome anyone in our restaurant and bar. To possibly lose all that because of someone’s tainted point of view on social media, would be the worst thing.

My mission is to make everyone who enters through the front door feel like they are at home, because sometimes New York hardens even the best of us and we forget the true values in life: community and peace. 

I’m a dreamer, and as a dreamer I would love to change the world, starting even in the smallest ways. So please, let’s make LOVE VIRAL and not hate!

If anyone is bothered at the way I run my wine bar, I’d love to have a calm conversation with them face-to-face. If you truly dislike Ballaro, than luckily there are a million other places in New York that you can go to. I can’t allow groups of belligerent drunk people to insult my bar, myself or my staff. This place is my heart and soul, and I need to protect that.

I’ve learned that everybody deserves a second chance and I have learned the importance of always responding in love, no matter what insults or hurt is thrown at me.

East Village, I hope you will be safe and sound, Taylor Swift or no Taylor Swift.



PS - You know where to find me if you feel the need to come apologize and pay your $500 check, as you left without paying.