Bad vibes at the Gypsy Parlor

The Gypsy Parlor, at 376 Grant St., is one of the newest and most talked-about bars in Buffalo. Using New Age themes, red lighting, nightly events and a delicious bar menu of food and drink specials, it’s able to lure in Buffalo’s young, hip, fun crowd.

However, the behavior of some of the management and staff has been scrutinized over the past few months through word of mouth and on social media.

Problems really began for Gypsy Parlor on Thanksgiving Eve 2013, when owner Gabrielle Mattina and one of her bartenders dressed up as Native American “Poca-hotties.” It was met with much criticism as racist and sexist, particularly by Jodi Lynn Maracle, an American Studies Ph.D student from the University at Buffalo, who is also part Mohawk, who was in turn met with harassment from some of the employees at the Gypsy Parlor.

I had turned a blind eye towards all of this, mostly due to lack of concern — I’m typically more of an Allen Street or basement show patron. Those worlds collided Saturday night when I attended a show at The Gypsy Parlor and witnessed firsthand some very disturbing and confusing behavior.

The first occurrence of the night that sent out bad vibes was my being ignored for almost 10 minutes by the bartender, who was very busy exchanging pleasantries with her friends, while holding my drink, and my money, hostage.

I looked over and I saw Gabrielle Mattina’s hands all over the singer’s girlfriend, holding the girl by the hair at some points, the patron screaming to be let go.”

— Adrienne Boudreau

After eventually receiving my drink, my date and I wandered over to the stage area and we looked at each other in confusion. In between band sets, the DJ was playing music by the band Skrewdriver. Skrewdriver is a white power Nazi-skinhead band considered one of the first neo-nazi bands. An odd musical choice in any establishment, and more so in a venue named The Gypsy Parlor, the Roma’s being one of the races Hitler focused on exterminating during the Holocaust.

Things got stranger.

After the show ended, for a few minutes, all was quiet on the western front.

All of the sudden a crowd, yelling and pushing, made its way towards the exit. I looked over and I saw Gabrielle Mattina’s hands all over the singer’s girlfriend, holding the girl by the hair at some points, the patron screaming to be let go.

From what I saw, the bouncer interfered, trying to get the owner of the establishment to let go of the patron. He yelled, “You gotta stop! You gotta stop!” and managed to free the patron from Mattina’s grasp. Mattina responded by pushing the patron across the front of the bar — and I mean the girl flew across the front of the bar.

I continued to be disturbed, when after all of this happened Mattina walked around the bar high-fiving all her employees and screamed “I showed that b—-!” Bragging rights for possible assault? I’m not sure. Whatever it was, it was very strange and unprofessional.

I know I was not alone in feeling discomfort in the situation. I overheard the man next to me at the bar say to a friend, “You know…I would have much rather them taken the time to hear what that girl has to say than drag her out by her hair and 10 other people with her.”

The bad feeling I have in my stomach will not settle about this incident.

Regardless of what happened for these people to get kicked out, that sort of behavior is not appropriate for any person, and especially not appropriate for a business owner.

I contacted the victim of the attack, through mutual friends, who is in the process of filing a police report. She explained how she was found in the men’s bathroom helping her boyfriend, the singer of the band, bandage his bleeding forehead, which had been profusely bleeding the entire time of the band’s set. According to the victim, the bouncer asked no questions and Mattina came over and started attacking her right away.

Now, whether this is true or not isn’t what bothers me. What bothers me is the attitude of the owner on what is a proper way to treat a group of people, some patronizing your bar and some in the very band that brought the crowd in.

After this incident most of the bar got quiet. Vibes were dead. Buzzes were killed.

To use a now-overused phrase – “Awkward.”

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