Who owns Sing Karaoke Bar? TikToker claims Texas bar charged her $350 for being Black
The Texas bar claimed the cover charge applies to all groups after it was review-bombed on Google and Yelp
KATY, TEXAS: A Houston bar was forced to disable comments on social media after it was accused of racial profiling. On August 28, TikToker Shenise Anderson claimed she and her friends were forced to cough up $350 for a table at the Sing Karaoke Bar and Lounge, allegedly "because we are Black". Those claims led to review-bombing of the bar on Yelp and Google before the bar fought back and said the cover was made to all large groups.
Over the past year, social media have become a vital source of information on racism and homophobia in the US. Numerous users have uploaded videos of Americans behaving in a homophobic manner, leading to many getting publicly named and shamed. In July, Flex Fitness in Hendersonville, North Carolina came under immense pressure for kicking out a Mexican family who were playing Spanish music. On August 10, popular TikToker Aunt Karen revealed she was receiving death threats after exposing the allegedly racist hiring practices of a Texas business. Days later, a Dunkin Donuts employee was caught throwing a drink at an autistic eight-year-old.
However, racism doesn't appear to be the case in Anderson's story. She claims she was charged the fee because she was Black, but the bar explained that it was a standard cover for all large groups and hit back at critics in a statement on social media. It brought the bar to the spotlight, prompting us to dig a little deeper into the bar's history and particularly the owner.
Who owns Sing Karaoke Bar?
A little digging on social media identifies Elvis Nguyen as the owner of the bar. According to his LinkedIn profile, Nguyen is a promotions specialist at Concrete Cowboy in Houston. He took on that role only in July 2021, before which he owned numerous establishments in the city. Nguyen is listed as the owner of The Loop Handcrafted Churros, Pho King Noodle Bar, Beard Papa's and the Sing Karaoke Bar.
In a 2019 interview, Nguyen says he grew up in Port Arthur and moved out to Houston when he was 20. He first enrolled in the University of Houston "to fulfill my parent’s dreams of becoming a doctor." However, that didn't work out and he dropped out for a degree in. surgical technology at The Academy of Health Care Professions-Northwest. After graduating in 2008, he took up a job at Stryker Medical. In 2019, after over seven years at Stryker, Nguyen put his six-figure salary and 401k aside after he was offered an opportunity to open a Beard Papa's franchise. "I researched the company and quickly decided this is the break I’ve been waiting for during my journey," he said, and noted, "My friends said I was crazy." The rest, as they say, is history.
Not only did Nguyen manage to turn his dream of being his own boss into reality, but he also managed to spread his wings much further than just Beard Papa's. He spent a few years working as a club promoter, leading him to open Ham Choi Productions in April 2019. That business is focused on parties for Asian Americans in Houston, another massive success for Nguyen. In September 2020, Nguyen opened the Sing Bar in Katy, just outside Houston. Since it opened, the bar has been a popular destination for karaoke lovers but nearly derailed by the accusations of Anderson.
Anderson accuses bar of racism, bar hits back
On August 28, Anderson posted a video on TikTok of her outside the Sing Bar. "So if you guys are ever in Houston, Texas, do not ever patronize this restaurant, this karaoke spot. Do not ever come, you guys," she says. Anderson adds, "It is ridiculous: Me and my friends because we are Black, we got to pay $350." That emerged after Anderson and her party of six were told to pay $350, a charge another group of six were not asked to pay, she claims.
That video instantly blew up and led to a backlash against the bar. People began review bombing the bar's Yelp and Google pages, as well as leaving negative comments on its Instagram page. That led the Sing Bar to disable comments on Instagram and reported the negative reviews to yelp. On September 8, the bar finally addressed the accusations in a statement posted on Facebook and Instagram. "We charge all parties, no matter race or color, a minimum... There is no charge to enter our establishment," it said. The bar added that a sign indicating the charge is posted at the establishment, which Anderson says was not there.
In a September 9 TikTok, Anderson claimed the policy was not visible when making a booking via Google. She also added that a manager responded that he "doesn’t care" when she said she was a popular TikToker. "The main reason I put out this video was because I was discriminated against," she continued. The negative reviews appear to have died after the bar's statement, with positive reviews now flooding the establishment's pages.