Tavern On The Green Plays Halloween Trick On Thousands Of Partiers

Melissa is one of thousands of people who showed up at the bankrupt Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park on Saturday night for a ticket-holders-only Halloween party. She was forced to wait outside at the front of an increasingly agitated mob because the restaurant had sold too many tickets, or because someone had sold fake ones, it’s still unclear. The Daily News says one reveler waited 5 hours before he was finally let in, just before 1:30 am—which was when the party was shut down by police. Now they all want their money back, but Tavern on the Green and the party promoters are blaming each other.

Melissa writes,

I’m hoping you can help escalate the Tavern on the Green Halloween scam where thousands of people were scammed into buying tickets for a party they never got to attend.

We were among the thousands that got stranded in front of Tavern on the Green in the pouring rain and mud for 2 hours only to find out the party was shut down by the police due to overcrowding. What started as an annoying line turned into a dangerous crowd that threatened to riot. I was pushed and shoved and could hear people yelling to storm the doors. I was near the front, so it became a very nerve-wracking experience, hoping they wouldn’t start trampling everyone in front of them. No one ever came out to tell us what was going on; we could only gather information from whatever people in the crowd were hearing.

People spent $60 to $130 for a party that never happened. Tavern on the Green is blaming the promoters for selling too many tickets (apparently 4,000 over the actual # they were allowed) [I can’t verify this number. – Ed.], but all the promoters’ phones have voicemails that direct the blame to Tavern on the Green. Neither side is returning our money to the thousands of us.

It’s amazing how irresponsible Tavern on the Green was as the crowd grew larger and angrier; maybe they didn’t hear about last year’s Walmart trampling?

If you were one of the people who got ripped off on Saturday, here’s a Facebook group where you can share information with others and find out how to fight for your refund.

Update, November 4th 2009: Here’s a message that was just sent out to members of the Facebook group:

Subject: Update on refunds issued!

Update from 7 on your side: UPDATE 12:31pm Wednesday 11/4/09

Alex and Leo Entertainment say they will be responsible for organizing the refunds. The statement says those who purchased valid tickets online using a credit card or PayPal should request a refund directly from the online ticket seller. Customers should also dispute this charge immediately with their credit card company.

The promoters also say “those who purchased tickets using cash should email their refund requests to Halloweenrefund@gmail.com.” Each request “must include a copy of the ticket(s) purchased, together with the place and date of the purchase, as well as the ticket holder’s mailing address. Alex & Leo Entertainment will process each request within four weeks of receipt.”

It’s advised when customers send your email get a documented record of when the email was sent and whether it was received/opened. If you find that refunds aren’t received 4 weeks after delivery of email, contact the promoters at the email listed above. If that doesn’t work, contact 7 On Your Side.

“Tavern on the Green Halloween party from hell, say booted patrons” [NY Daily News]
“We got scammed by Tavern on the Green 2009 Halloween!
(Photo: hmerinomx)


Edit Your Comment

  1. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Is any party, no matter how much you spent on it, worth 5 hours in the rain/mud with the potential of getting trampled? Just curious.

  2. EtherealFlame says:

    I still can’t wrap my mind around someone waiting 5 hours in the rain to go in some place. Even for $60. What is so special about that place? For a 5 hour wait there better have been a harem of Chip and Dale dancers, well baby oiled and ready to hand feed me grapes and give endless massages. That would justify 5 hours in my book.

    • kateblack says:

      @EtherealFlame: That sounds like something I’d spend 5 hours running away from.

    • Rachacha says:

      @EtherealFlame: I waited 5 hours on Valentines day with my then girlfriend (now wife) to eat at the Cheesecake Factory 11 years ago. At the time we had been dating for less than a month.
      When we arrived they told us it would be about 1.5 – 2 hour wait (They did not take advance reservations). We agreed, and walked around for a while and talked…and talked…and talked. We showed up again after 1.5 hours and they told us 1 more hour. Wash, rinse repeat several times, and before we knew it we had invested over 4 hours and decided to just wait it out, and besides, we were having a good time just talking and snuggling. That one night was probably the equivalent of 5 months of dating because to help pass the time, we needed to find different things to talk about which forced us to talk about ourselves, our likes & dislikes.

    • coren says:

      @EtherealFlame: You better believe they had thonged Chip and Dale, and I heard they also threw in a couple mice and a housefly.

      (Although I bet it was one of those things where they keep saying just a few more minutes and by the time it’s gone too far you’ve invested too much time, and the longer you stay the harder it is to justify spending all that time in line for nothing)

    • amberlink says:


      There’s nothing special about that place. As a NYer, I laugh at the tourists who move here and claim they’re from NY. These are essentially the only ones that go to such events and the only ones willing to pay outrageous Manhattan rents.

  3. Nighthawke says:

    Are they the ones that are 6 digits in the hole due to poor management?

    And this now. Makes one wonder if they are not trying to stuff their coffers before they fold…

  4. FatLynn says:

    Is TotG the place that only takes CC’s? That should make the chargebacks easy.

  5. bobloblawsblog says:

    why would anyone go here? I went to a wedding here, 2 yrs ago? LAME. totally Staten Island 80’s. food was terrible. decor like an outdated 80’s diner.

    You just want to say, “i went to tavern on the green!” wahh, get a life.

    • trujunglist says:


      I went there when I was like 15 or so on a trip with my mom. She was saying how great it was. I thought the food was absolutely awful for the price. I think she wanted to go more for the scenery and the fact that it’s the Tavern on the Green than for the food. I got a much tastier hot dog afterwards.

  6. Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather says:

    totally random but I guess they moved where the pre-marathon pasta dinner is held. I know for years it was always at the Tavern on the Green the night before the race.

  7. TheObserver says:


  8. Smashville says:


    When was this supposed to have occurred?

    The NYC Marathon pre-race dinner was there from 4:30-9 on 10/31.

  9. Reading Rainbow says:

    And here come the chargebacks..and rightly so

  10. EllisDees says:

    If any of them paid by credit card, I would dispute the charges immediately.

    • juri squared says:

      @EllisDees: I agree. I’m far from chargeback-happy, but if I were one of the ticketholders, I would certainly file one.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @juri squared: It sucks, but it sounds like the resellers will get hit with the chargebacks, while the criminals who put on the event still get to keep the money. So the middlemen will get screwed and the venue and hosts will get away with it.

  11. diasdiem says:

    Could have been worse. They could have been giving out coupons for free chicken.

  12. ucdcsteve says:

    I keep having flashbacks to Ghostbusters when Louis (Rick Moranis) was being chased by the demon, banging on the windows of the Tavern to get in (at least I think that’s the restaurant he was at). Funny that in the movie, they ignored someone’s pleas for help as well…

  13. grandzu says:

    Better go the promoter route for a refund since Tavern filed bankruptcy, you’ll just be another unsecured creditor.

  14. dantsea says:

    Promoters and venue owners are sleazy bottom feeders and normally I’d say haul both of their sorry asses into small claims court, since Tavern’s in BK, take the promoter to the cleaners.

  15. sven.kirk says:

    It is mainly the promoters fault. When having a concert/party/event, the venue, usually rents out the place and sells a blank roll of tickets to the promoter, to use however they wish. The problem didn’t come in when the promoter oversold the venue, but when they did not limit how long you could stay.

  16. ConsumerPop says:


    LOVED that show when I was a kid…wait, I still love it.

  17. EtherealFlame says:

    @squinko: No. I meant the chipmunks. I have a furry fetish. Get them in thongs and it’s all over for me. You should have seen me when Alvin and the Chipmunks came out. *quivers with delight*

  18. pop top says:

    @EtherealFlame: …OK?

  19. korybing says:

    @EtherealFlame: I don’t know whether to laugh or throw up. Doing both at the same time is inadvisable.

  20. Whyspir says:

    @EtherealFlame: I’ll admit…that’s only mildly creepy…only mildly.

  21. katstermonster says:

    @EtherealFlame: hahahaha. +1 for taking a correction well, and with a sense of humor. :)

  22. ExtraCelestial says:

    @kexline: That made me giggle.

  23. TheWillow says:

    @kexline: on halloween? Not anywhere without paying extra $$.

    I hopped a train to Boston and saw a concert instead.

  24. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    @korybing: Touristy place. Lots and lots of lights and shiny things. It has been there forever and is a tradition for many people but I don’t think that many people would consider it trendy. There are lots of pictures on their website. Some rooms are quite pretty but I wouldn’t wait 5 hours to party there.

  25. Mr_Human says:

    @korybing: I can assure you it isn’t the coolest place in Manhattan, and it certainly wasn’t on Halloween. Actually, the real parties were in the streets. It was quite an amazing spectacle. And free.

  26. Scrutinizer says:

    @korybing: I can’t believe that you didn’t know that Tavern on the Green. This is where the winner of the Westminster dog show goes for lunch.

  27. kjherron says:

    @korybing: Did you see the film Ghostbusters? Tavern on the Green was the fancy restaurant in the park where Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) was attacked by the devil dog.

  28. LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

    @ExtraCelestial: A nice message, won’t help everyone but at least a few folks.

    Also, you stay classy, Tavern on the Green.

  29. Brontide says:

    @ExtraCelestial: It’s nice of them and an attempt to prevent the trashing of their merchant account by the onslaught of chargebacks. Even if they loose 100% of the $60 * 100 that’s still only $6k. A small price to pay compared to a change in their discount rate that will dog their margins for a long time.

  30. Cant_stop_the_rock says:


    I don’t think this guy’s name is really Johnny Premier

  31. EtherealFlame says:

    @squinko: I can’t go to bed. The Memory Foam Monster will eat me! LOL @ worried. I’m sick and twisted, not quite that sick and twisted. Yet.

  32. korybing says:

    @kjherron: Oohhhhh. See you just gotta speak the right amount of pop culture references to me and I’ll understand anything.

  33. ExtraCelestial says:



    You must not be familiar with the depths of douche in the NY tri state area. Bless you for that.

  34. bohemian says:

    @EtherealFlame: No it won’t. It will simply gum you nearly to death and eventually spit you out.

  35. Coles_Law says:

    @amberlink: He’s still out quite a bit. Let’s say his commission was $500. He pays Tavern $5500 ($6000-$500 commission) for 100 tickets. He sells them for $6000. He then refunds $6000. He’s out $5500.

  36. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    @amberlink: He’s refunding the full amount to the folks who were duped, and eating the entire loss. Read it before you make stupid comments, you fucking TOOL!

  37. sharkzfanz says:


    Your way off base.. If he sells there tickets obviously he will not sell them at $60 and give $60 to the promoter. He will pay the promoter $5000 instead of $6000. So he is still out money and he did NOT facilitate the duping or fiasco in your words….

  38. amberlink says:


    He claims not to have known about the overbooking. Yes, he’s out that much money, had he had dealings with these people before? Promotions is a very intimate community in NY, you mean no one knew the event was oversold?

  39. The Porkchop Express says:

    @EtherealFlame: ot all of them I hope.

  40. scoosdad says:

    @bohemian: “Seinfeld….. four?”

  41. EtherealFlame says:

    @bohemian: That may feel like a massage!

    @coren: And I missed it! *cries*

    @amberlink: OOOOooo do you want to be the yiffer or the yiffee? I scritch both ways! *smirks*

  42. ExtraCelestial says:

    @katstermonster: Laura hates me :o(