I will state without reservation that I have rarely witnessed as much maltreatment from a licensed establishment as I did at Holliava.
First, the floor was sticky with spilt alcohol and the crowd was rowdy. It is sold as a classy joint on their website, yet the actual interior presents no such sophisticated image. Inside it is dark and slightly dingy.
However, this is not the reason I am giving feedback. I am writing this because Holliava managed to personally offend and upset me and my boyfriend within one hour of setting foot inside.
The events were as follows: My boyfriend went to the beer garden for a cigarette, but finding he'd mistakenly walked into a function, he quickly took the cigarette out the front. He sat quietly for a minute before putting it in the bin, then stood up to re-enter Holliava. However, the two bouncers stopped him from entering with a physical gesture, claiming he was too intoxicated to further mingle with the people inside. He asked, without fuss, if he could at least come in to see me and get his belongings. They would not allow this. They would have seen him walk home without his wallet, money, credit card and other belongings. Even when he requested they at least escort him inside to speak with me and retrieve his belongings, they refused.
Our rather large group was seated around tables parallel to the road, alongside a window that opens onto the street. My boyfriend let me know through said window that he was not allowed back into the establishment. I asked several members of the staff if I could speak with the manager, none of whom obliged. They barely acknowledged me, in fact; despite having no idea what the problem might be. As a female in a rowdy bar, I find this a problem in itself.
Finally I spoke to someone in a higher position (but not the manager, as I had requested). I explained the situation calmly and diplomatically, assuring him that there had been a mistake. My boyfriend was not half as drunk as many people on the premises and is one of the gentlest and most harmless individuals I know. The employee led me to understand that he would go out and deal with the situation on our behalf, which made me happy.
Instead, however, he went outside and directly told my boyfriend he could not re-enter the establishment. My boyfriend came around to the window again to let me know and collect his belongings. Before he was able to do so, the same staff member, in an act of rudeness I have rarely witnessed, pulled down the glass in front of his face, thus creating a barrier between him and the rest of our group. This was not only unjust but humiliating. My boyfriend had not spoken out of turn, had not acted in an unruly manner, had not slurred his words or behaved in a threatening manner – the latter of which he is practically incapable of.
My boyfriend has scruffy hair and was chronically fatigued from work. I posit that the people running this establishment made a superficial judgment based on his looks. Of course, after he was shut out so rudely I then became upset with the employee, who was unwilling to budge on the matter even though I had burst into tears. Wanting to support my boyfriend, I regretfully left a close family member's birthday celebrations in order that he didn't have to leave alone in this manner.
To make matters significantly worse, as we walked up the street to find a taxi, the two bouncers at the door started whistling at me (or us?) as we walked down the street. This was an announcement of victory at best or sexual harassment at worst.
I tried to call many times that night to discuss what had happened. I left my number, but no one returned my calls.
The treatment meted out at Holliava was unforgivable and unjustified. I have no more words to sufficiently express my disgust.