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Angry customers start petition after bar’s strict new rules spark outrage

Britt Jones

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| Last updated 

Angry customers start petition after bar’s strict new rules spark outrage

Featured Image Credit: Yelp / Getty Stock

When your favourite hot spot changes the rules around booking suddenly, it can mean that you’ve nowhere else to enjoy your drinks.

After all, once you find that one restaurant that ticks all the boxes, why on Earth would you want to go back to sub-par venues?

That’s what happened when bougie NYC spot Hillstone decided to switch to a series of bizarre reservation rules which left their loyal customer base furious enough to try to force it back.

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Trying to get a seat anywhere, never mind in Murray Hill, can be daunting.

You’ve got so many places that either don’t take telephone reservations, or only offer an awkward number of seats and it’s a lot of hassle.

But when Gabrielle Smith thought she’d found perfection at the hugely popular Hillstone in Murray Hill, it all came crashing down.

As a regular, Smith was shocked to find that new rules had been implemented which require customers to join a waitlist to sit at the bar, when previously, it had been a 'first-come, first-served’ basis.

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Gabrielle Smith was furious and started a petition. Credit: Instagram/ @hillstoneparkavenue
Gabrielle Smith was furious and started a petition. Credit: Instagram/ @hillstoneparkavenue

Not only that, but they also only allow parties of one or two to sit at the bar, and you cannot order your drink until you find a stool.

After being so baffled by these new rules, Smith decided to take action in the form of a petition on Change.org.

However, she wasn’t alone in her frustration, as it received 870 signatures in less than a week and currently stands at 1178 at the time of writing.

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The petition reads: “The first-come, first-served policy was not only fair but also added to the charm and character of the Hillstone bar.”

“It allowed patrons to engage in friendly competition for seats and fostered camaraderie among regulars.”

After closing their Midtown outpost, Hillstone now only has one location left in Manhattan, but after angering their cult-like following, it’s not a great outlook.

After her routine of participating in a ‘survival of the fittest’ competition to nab bar seats, Smith is now at a loss.

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Do you want to sit here? You might need to join the list. Credit: Instagram/ @hillstoneparkavenue
Do you want to sit here? You might need to join the list. Credit: Instagram/ @hillstoneparkavenue

Her once-regular schedule of finding a seat, ordering a chicken sandwich, and meeting new people is being ruined by new reservation arrangements.

Claiming to have a ‘Hillstone addiction’, she can’t help that she loves the place too much to say goodbye.

But after talking to other customers about the new rules, she realised that everyone felt similarly to her.

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She said: “People were very worked up because one, it didn’t make any sense and, two, this isn’t how it has ever worked there.”

So, her and her friend decided to pull out the petition and circulate it around the restaurant.

According to the plastic surgeon nurse, the reaction was ‘hysterical’.

“We Airdropped it to everyone at the restaurant, and the response was hysterical. Everyone was so up for it and they sent it to their friends immediately.”

However, one of the managers found out and attempted to have it put away.

How far would you go to keep your favorite spot the same?

UNILAD has reached out to Hillstone for comment.

Topics: News, New York, Food and Drink

Britt Jones
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