Calif. Bar Owner Uses Facebook To Screen Patrons





By Lawrence Dechant

Facebook users in or around the Stockton, Calif., area may be getting a new friend. A local business owner has made it his mission to friend every bar patron as a precautionary measure to keep the good patrons in and the bad ones out.

Finnegan's Irish Pub and Grill owner Tony Mannor told ABCNews.com he is using Facebook to build a list of customers welcomed at the pub after 9 p.m.


"What we did, at first, was enforce it on Friday nights, the worst night for fights, and we implemented Facebook Friday, and it completely eliminated the fights we were having," Mannor said. "We started implementing it on Saturday nights, as well, and it eliminated fights and troubles we were having."
Mannor said the crime problem in Stockton was the catalyst for his "friending" system, which he implemented two years ago.

"There was a restaurant that was a block down that was notorious for fights and, recently, a minor got shot and survived, but that was the last straw and the landlord couldn't take it anymore, so they were evicted," he said. "We also really wanted to expand our community involvement and we couldn't do that as just a bar. We wanted to put our full weight before as a restaurant, and we decided to run the guestbook seven days a week. We rarely have any problems and everything has been good every month."

It takes two to three weeks to officially get on the list once an individual has submitted a friend request via Facebook, Mannor said. The list is updated weekly, and a printed copy is kept at the entrance with the host.

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"We accept almost all friend requests ... as long as you were basically a non-gang member," Mannor said. "You'd be surprised at how many people put gang stuff on their Facebook, and that is prevalent in Stockton.

"We knew who you were and if you became a problem you could get off the list," he said. "Also, you don't have to be on the guest list to be able to enter. We do leave a certain amount of space for people not on the list, but we monitor them very closely. We are not excluding somebody, but it is like a standing reservation – about 80 percent of the list and about 20 percent friends of or not on the list."

Aside from being on the list, patrons must adhere to a dress code that eliminates plain white t-shirts, long t-shirts, baseball caps with gang affiliations and team jerseys, he said.

"All of these items are definitely connected to the gang culture here in Stockton," Mannor said.
The staff is also required to learn the names of the more than 7,000 people that come to the pub, he said.

"We are trying to build a community where everyone knows everyone's name and, in Stockton, which is a medium sized town, I can walk around and recognize people and they can recognize me," Mannor said. "It promotes a sense of safety and community. If you don't have rapport with your clientele, we can't build relationships and keep the place as safe as we can."

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Mannor said his staff supports the new policy after initial hesitation that business would be hindered. "My staff had initial concern that it was going to drive people away, but the opposite has happened where every other nighttime place has been dying off, but we have been increasing by numbers," he said. "We have been adding 100 people on my guest list a month, and business is booming."

To his critics, Manor said he is not being racist or discriminatory, but only trying to "build a community in a safe and happy environment."

"Half my staff is non-white and my family is mixed heritage, and it's amusing to me [that] people say this," he said. "I don't broadcast that because it's nobody's business, and when someone is turned away they assume it's something they cannot control rather than what they can. I think what it is, is that people are just excited to be part of a community that is positive within a city that keeps being beaten up by the negative. We have people coming in, members of law enforcement, and they'll tell their wives and daughters: If you need to go somewhere, come here. That is the ultimate compliment."


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Luis Gomez

All these comments are too funny.. but honestly I attend Finns and I do meet up with friends in other local bars too but my over all experience have been nothing but great. The guest list is not to profile minorities I'm one of them and they let me in no problem yes I'm on the guest list but I also bring out of town friends and friends that are not on the guest list also I have had a friend just join fb to know what events will be going on during the week. The staff is friendly, the patrons are respectful, and everyone knows each other . It's like a public social club. I gave tony a lot of respect for implementing the guest list as I seen many bars in stockton, san Jose, san Francisco, and Sacramento start strong with a strict dress code and rules but then buckle if the rules are making potential patrons go to other places because they rather look like a gang member or not meet the required dress code. Plus its at the the owners discretion on who can be let in or not the "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" sign is just for that right? We all want to make a buck but at least tony is making honest, safe and fun and I think that's way more important for me as a consumer and a fellow business owner. Trust me if off duty cops go to your bar restaurant you are doing something right. Cheers :)

June 25 2013 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chelsea B

I fully support the Facebook/guest list policy. It's not about stereotyping or being in anyone's business, just a way to get a general feel about how an individual presents themselves, to see if they are affiliated with any kind of gang activity and stuff like that. Finnegans has to be the safest place I've ever gone out for a drink and I wouldn't go anywhere else, especially in Stockton.

June 25 2013 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zapdog4

Sounds like Profiling to me. If we aren't allowed to Profile Terrorists or Illegal Aliens, then why are we allowed to Profile the "regular Joe's" in America for wanting a beer? The only time I go into a bar is when I am being payed to play with my band. I definitely wouldn't accept a gig in that dive...

June 24 2013 at 11:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
impactvqi

I believe that he can let anyone in that he wants to, but I would not like to be friends with anyone like that, or his other costumers, or have him spy on me. What will keep you safe from being attacked out side on the side walk or in the parking lot, not him or fb

June 24 2013 at 10:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Stuart

Just a plain stupid keep your own damned business!

June 24 2013 at 10:21 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Stuart

Just a plain stupid keep your own fuc|

June 24 2013 at 10:20 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
aevf101

Went to Stockton in 1972, haven't been back. Guess you do what you have to do.

June 24 2013 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Im ShopRat25

@ sutt202... Not All Mexicans drink so your theory has a flaw. You're trying to place All people of one race as being bad in your way of thinking. I for one don't drink and I don't use drugs or am I in a gang. So you really should do some reading on the Indians of this nation not All of them drank or went on the warpath as you say.

June 24 2013 at 9:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sutt202

Of course it's racist. All Mexicans want to do is fight when they get drunk. Have you ever heard of Indians going on the war path. It's like that every time they drink. And what do you think Mexicans are. They're Indians. And everyone is going to call me a racist. I'm just calling it the way it is. Sometimes the truth is not to cool.

June 24 2013 at 9:16 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

I'm amazed at how many people did not read the entire article or watch the whole video. Half of these negative comments would not have been written if they had!

June 24 2013 at 8:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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