Even without the economic downturn, most restaurants would be delighted to have a crowd for happy hour. Especially in the last week of August, when much of official Washington is either in Denver, bound for Minneapolis, or just taking advantage of the downtime to get some downtime. Most restaurants–but not Oya.

The Penn Quarter restaurant may look cool and sophisticated, but it’s just a facade. After agreeing to allow¬†IABC/Washington to hold a happy hour at the bar on Tuesday, staff told arriving event organizers that they would have to run one tab, and that the restaurant would add a service charge to every drink. This for patrons buying drinks at the bar. No special room. No extra bartender.

Oya finally dropped that idea, but then they asked event organizers to move the nametags to a far back corner. I guess they were ruining the aesthetics.

After that, I had a glass of water. Then I went to the ball park, where they want my business, said hello to India (my awesome usher), and had a beer.

Business is reputational, and consumers have lots of options. So why would any business opt to make its customers unwelcome?