Altercation in a bar in Prahran on Saturday night

light sculpture installation on greville street in prahran

Altercation in a bar in Prahran on Saturday night

Was interesting to step out on Greville Street, Prahran tonight. After a fantastic house party bbq for an old friend’s 40th, I was at home eating dinner and remembered that my friend Miss Party Feet was hosting some drinks in South Yarra.

I quickly got in touch to ask if I could join them and then got out into this brisk Melbourne spring night. If Melbourne’s weather is changeable, then it can be downright unpredictable in early spring.

When I woke this morning the rain was pouring and I spared a thought for my friend’s bbq. During the day, there was sun, rain, wind and bitter cold and back again. It was a very fluctuating kind of environment. Living in Melbourne is good if the weather doesn’t tend to penetrate your mood.

Long story short, I found myself in a cocktail bar in Greville Street tonight, soaking up the atmosphere and chatting to some interesting women. As is the way with meetup, it is an inclusive environment and I thought nothing of the women who tumbled into a chair next to me and tried to kiss me in greeting. I had never met her before and she seemed a bit drunk. The group chatted a while and we shared some of our thoughts of the day until a new person joined us. She introduced herself and sat down at our big table, and within minutes the woman sitting next to me started screaming ‘shut up! Shut up all of you’.

Long story short, her friend didn’t realise she really needed to escort her out of the bar, the owner of the establishment hit back when this woman slapped her, and the owner pulled her hair and threw her to the ground. This altercation of violence happened a couple of times before the ‘shut up’ screaming woman finally left the bar.

I was surprised, actually, that the owner lost her sh%t, and hit back. It didn’t seem professional to me, and I thought security probably would not have done that and simply enforced the boundary by guiding her off the premises, but not retaliating. I actually think I saw the owner kick the woman. And even though the woman who started it was drunk and antisocial and aggressive, I didn’t feel comfortable about how the owner responded.

Of course, the police were called, and the woman was taken away. Maybe because she was blak, and the owner was Caucasian, there were no ramifications for the owner. She was being sickly sweet to all of us left in the bar, which was not totally out of character because she was friendly when we arrived, but I would still say she was in the wrong.

As for the rest of our table, we were embarrassed to sit back and watch the whole thing happen. We didn’t know the abusive woman, so it didn’t seem like our responsibility, but she was sitting at our table. I think our fear mechanisms kicked in another way and we just froze.

Later, the abusive woman’s friend got a waitress to ask us if she could join the table again and the table welcomed her back. Unfortunately for me, I was sitting next to her and had to keep the conversation going by asking questions, which felt helpful, but of course it was all too much for me. I had experienced a spike in adrenaline because of the fighting, the social bandaid and the aggression of the owner, and I suddenly started to feel quite tired.

I think spikes of adrenaline can do that to a person. I said my goodbyes to Miss Party Feet and the others and headed home. My main motive for going tonight was to have a fun enjoyable Saturday night, but mainly to build my connection with Miss Party Feet, because she is one of my dearest friends.

It was certainly an eventful evening, but I think I might ring the police in Prahran tomorrow and let them know what I saw.

It was all too much for a mouse like me! I actually think that someone on staff at cafes, bars and restaurants needs to be trained in security, or how to deal with crisis situations, for occurences like these.

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