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After backlash over ‘thugs’ comment, Boylan Heights manager no longer employed by bar

The owners of Boylan Heights, The Virginian and The Biltmore responded Saturday to a Daily Progress story reporting the bars have policies against admitting nonstudents late at night

<p>Boylan Heights, a prominent bar on the Corner, came under fire after then-general manager Adharsh McCabe claimed the bar restricts nonstudent entry to create a “no-drugs, no-thugs scene.”&nbsp;</p>

Boylan Heights, a prominent bar on the Corner, came under fire after then-general manager Adharsh McCabe claimed the bar restricts nonstudent entry to create a “no-drugs, no-thugs scene.” 

After The Daily Progress published an article Friday reporting that three prominent bars on the Corner — Boylan Heights, the Biltmore and The Virginian — require University student identification cards for admission after 11 p.m. along with a state-issued identification proving the individual is of legal drinking age, the bars’ owners have published statements claiming the bars do not have rules against nonstudents.

Adharsh McCabe — at the time of the story’s publication, general manager of Boylan Heights — said in The Daily Progress article the policy is used to maintain a “no-drugs, no-thugs scene.” But the next day, the bar posted a statement on its Facebook page, saying the policy has never existed and that McCabe is no longer employed at Boylan Heights.

On social media, activists said McCabe’s phrasing — especially the use of the word “thug” to describe Charlottesville locals, who are more racially diverse than the disproportionately-white University student body — was a less-than-subtle jab at Charlottesville’s non-white population. Beyond the statement’s apparent racist connotations, some saw the words as derogatory to Charlottesville residents, who can feel the student body doesn’t value their contributions to the community. 

“The ‘late-night policy’ described in today’s Daily Progress article was never approved by ownership, was not implemented by security, and does not reflect our core values,” the statement reads. “The general manager who is quoted in the article as having ‘instituted’ that policy is no longer with our organization.”

McCabe did not immediately respond for comment Saturday evening when messaged on Facebook.

The story alleges further the policy has been only intermittently enforced at The Virginian and The Biltmore — both owned by The Virginian Restaurant Company alongside Citizen Burger and Tavern & Grocery — but the ownership and management declined to comment on the issue for the article. Owner of The Virginian Restaurant Company Andy McClure issued a statement Saturday evening to Twitter account @cvillenewscom, run by Waldo Jaquith, saying the policies have never been in place.

“The Virginian Restaurant does not, and has never had a student ID policy,” the statement reads. “I have owned the Virginian for almost 20 years and I have never had a policy like that.”

At The Biltmore, he said, the policy is put in place only for days when the audience is expected to be exclusively University students.

“Being a college bar, and a UVA bar more specifically, at times we have required UVA ID’s (sic) on big UVA nights,” the statement continues. “Catering specifically to students, faculty, and staff when we expect that group to fill the restaurant up is the only way we can survive as a UVA institution.”

McClure, who didn’t return The Daily Progress’ request for comment and later received backlash from activists, said he regrets how he handled the story.

“This type of article assumes many things, but me not commenting did not have to do with avoidance, I just felt like I didn’t have time,” McClure wrote. “Obviously that was a mistake and I should of (sic) responded right away.”

The author of the story in the Daily Progress — business editor Melissa Castro — did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. McClure did not immediately respond to request for comment when contacted over email Saturday night, and representatives from both The Biltmore and The Virginian declined to comment on the alleged policy when reached by phone. Boylan Heights could not immediately be reached by phone.