Asheville bar’s Bele Chere 2012 manifesto: We’re open, but for locals only


A new downtown Asheville bar is taking a unique approach to its first year – the bar will be checking IDs and only allowing locals inside. The hipster haven opened a couple months ago on Broadway.

Sean Bickford and Jaime Hepler, the guys behind the new downtown bar Tiger Mountain Thirst Parlour, issued their ballsy statement Wednesday. I think it’s a first for Bele Chere. I like it:

We all know what bele chere is. It’s the weekend out of the year that the city celebrates itself by removing everything we like about where we live and replacing it with everything we find repulsive. Many people choose (wisely) to leave town for this weekend, however many of us do not have the option.

For those of us stuck in the trenches we at Tiger Mountain Thirst Parlour offer sanctuary. This weekend we are LOCALS ONLY. This means that if you do not have an ID that shows that you live in the area and our staff will not recognize you as a local you will be told to F*** DIRECTLY OFF. We would like to add that this is not a statement intended to show that we have a hatred for the travelling folk but merely a token of appreciation to our local friends that deserve a place to duck there head away from the BULLSHIT this WEEKEND.

the parlour embraces you.



doghaus28815 July 27, 2013 - 5:43 pm

money doesn’t care where it comes from. i see sean and jamie’s point, however, …if the cash is coming, my advice would be…pay a little cash for a “screen man” outside on the side-walk to politely steer an intoxicated person away before they can approach a properly trained door-man. law prohibits serving an intoxicated person. a tender should know this. not all tourists are assholes. after 35 years of tending in this town, i’ve only had problems with locals.
control the environment.

Dave July 27, 2013 - 7:51 am

I’m a “local” (since 1956) and I am just now learning of this fine establishment. I’ve never been to TMTP, but by God I’m gonna check it out!!!

Adam July 26, 2013 - 5:05 pm

IVE GOT IT>>>> HIPSTER TRAPS! Yes yes yes yes….. See how many I can get.

bob dobalina July 26, 2013 - 1:16 am

do you guys have chicken tetrazzini?

rarrrr July 30, 2012 - 1:13 am

hell yes! I grew up in downtown asheville, worked in downtown asheville dealing with bele cher every single year and I gotta applaud Tiger Mountain, you can get all testy and call people “hipsters” and “assholes” and say what you want to but you’re just bitter because you didnt get to taste that sweet nectar, hate on but bele cher is an abomination and asheville is wayyy better off without it, in solidarity go Sean and Jamie! Can’t wait to stop in when im in town next month!

David July 28, 2012 - 10:26 am

I have bartended in th middle of downtown for years, in fact i have bartendedwith one of the owners of TigerMountain. if you have never bartended or worked in a downtown establishment then you have no right to criticize their decision to decision to be locals only. Working downtown for this event sucks…we dread it all year because it brings a low tip, high drama, obnoxious scene to a normally pleasant one. I work at a nice restaurant, in past bele cheres we’ve had someone vomit on bus girl, urinate in our hallway, had our window punched in, many fights, and countless broken glasses….in fact last night a family sitting at a table got into a yelling match over their daughter’s drug use and the father kicked his daughter then stormed out. After a 9 hour shift of dealing with this it is nice to be able to go to our local bar and have a drink away from these people. Im not a hipster…i dont hate tourists, i just hate bele chere from a downtown bartenders perspecrive. thanks sean and jamie…and by the way…sean is way more emo than hipster.

David July 28, 2012 - 10:27 am

Grammar assholes….if you have a problem with my grammar then suck it….typing on an ipad is not that easy

G July 28, 2012 - 9:08 am

Why stop at non-locals during Bele Chere? Tourists suck all year around. You should ban them all year. That’ll show em. Go even further – make people show you their high school diplomas. If its not from Buncombe County, kick em out. Remember locals only.

Or think of it this way:
Today’s tourists=tomorrow’s locals

Jamie July 30, 2012 - 1:43 pm

shut up. you’re bad at this.

M July 27, 2012 - 6:29 pm

SEAN IS A GOOD MAN. The other guy looks like Napolean Dynamite and although I never met him, he seems pretty solid too.I am on board.Tiger mountain, I appreciate what you are doing. rude, dumb,non-tipping, inconsiderate people come to this get-together every year. Not everyone who attends, don’t want to generalize but we all know some fools come out for this.

D-Rock July 27, 2012 - 4:46 pm

I have a local ID and I will be glad to never use it at this bar. Way to be assholes.

David July 28, 2012 - 10:28 am

Good…nobody wants a dude named drock at their bar

Orbit DVD July 27, 2012 - 4:34 pm

Wasn’t another bar criticized for being overrun by tourists?

Lonnie July 27, 2012 - 2:03 pm

I think it’s fine that you guys want to keep it locals only for a weekend but the way you word this makes you sound like a bunch of douchey hipsters. I really doubt y’all are going to tell unsuspecting visitors to f off.

Sean July 27, 2012 - 1:01 pm

Just to clarify, if you are a local without an ID or an out-of-towner, and you’re friends with someone coming in, you’re good too. We ain’t trying to hate, we’re just trying to keep Asheville tolerable for those of us who have to suffer through this debacle we call Bele Chere.

Tiger Mountain

drunky mcdrunkerson July 27, 2012 - 12:37 pm

So why is this news? who gives a crap? let sean and jamie do what they want. it’s their bar. don’t like it? don’t go there. scully’s and the bier garden await you.

jamie July 29, 2012 - 4:07 pm


BT July 27, 2012 - 12:12 pm

Stopped in to Tiger Mountain last night for a drink. It’s a great little spot. Besides, bars are allowed to let in who they want at any moment. They’re choosing to have a “locals only” weekend. There is nothing wrong with it. The delivery of their statement might be a little off for those stuck in a “PC” world. I personally find it funny, because it’s meant to be. Don’t like it – don’t stop in. Everyone will be glad you didn’t.

Jason July 27, 2012 - 11:54 am

Looks like that old Broadway Video mentality has not abandoned us yet.

Jamie July 30, 2012 - 1:44 pm

thank god. that place ruled.

hauntedheadnc July 27, 2012 - 10:13 am

Asheville: “We’re not happy til we’re unhappy!”

Doesn’t matter if it’s Bele Chere, tourists, locals, hipsters, county folk, city folk… unless we’ve got something or someone to hate, we’re really just not content around here.

KatePasa July 27, 2012 - 9:51 am

And how local are these hipsters, exactly? Would they have been welcome or excluded by their own policy, say, 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago?

jamie July 29, 2012 - 4:06 pm

I’ve been living here as an extremely active member of our communities arts scene for almost a decade. I’m thirty years old so that’s almost a third of my life. I consider myself a local. I don’t consider myself a native. there is a difference.

Tim Peck July 27, 2012 - 9:35 am

Interesting to hear commenters telling someone how to run their business, threatening legal action, mischaracterizing their intentions and making petty unfounded political slurs.

Look, it’s their business and they have the RIGHT to run it as they see fit. They have a right to discriminate against anyone (whether or not that right is protected by the law).

So, either go or don’t go. If you don’t like the bar’s Bele Chere policy, open a bar and invite only tourists with red hair and baggy shorts. I don’t care. Ya’ know, man: be the world you want to live in. Just don’t bother me about it.

tat July 27, 2012 - 7:06 pm


Sometimes I think that you’re so full of shit you must eat it for breakfast.

Discrimination is not a right. NOT being discriminated against is a right. And in these specific cases discrimination is illegal.

Religious, social or racial background: Exclusion of any person due to racial background, social class or religious preference is prohibited.

Age: A business establishment cannot arbitrarily exclude a would-be customer from its premises strictly because of the person’s age. There are some exceptions, however, in which age can be used to deny service (e.g. serving alcohol).

<bSexual preference: Exclusion of men or women, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is considered arbitrary discrimination. Don’t do it.

Sexual identity: Restaurants cannot refuse service to transgender individuals. In addition, restaurants cannot refuse to allow transgender individuals to use their restrooms.

Reputation: You cannot exclude somebody from your restaurant simply because of their reputation. Establishment of the fact that persons of ill repute congregate in a particular establishment is not a reason to have them removed.

Dress: There are no laws that prevent dress codes from being established. However, many lawsuits have been decided in favor of the plaintiffs because of the court’s interpretation on what the local community standards are for casual dress, leisure wear or formal attire. Importantly, once a restaurant dress code is established for customers, never permit exceptions. If exceptions are made, a business may later face charges of discrimination for unevenly enforcing the code.

Guide dogs: People accompanied by guide, signal or service dogs must be given full and equal access to all public establishments.

Murphy July 28, 2012 - 12:47 pm

any business that serves alcohol can deny service to anyone at anytime with no reason required it’s the law in NC … and if one refuses to leave any premesis when asked they can be arrested for trespassing …

Cat Ford-Coates July 29, 2012 - 6:50 pm

In NC an establishment can refuse service to anyone for any reason except:
1. Race.
2. Age.
3. Handicap
4. Gender

FDR July 27, 2012 - 8:43 am

Let the place do their thing. It is a niche that will probably be very profitable. I’m local and would otherwise never go to this joint, but I will now.

Bele Chere has outlived it’s welcome in Asheville. It would be better served located at a fiargrounds. Charge for a weekend pass to see all the shows and add a beer festival as well. Agri Center would be great, covered areas, parking, and much more.

NFB July 27, 2012 - 7:44 am

I guess anyone who was not born and raised here was a “non-local” at one time. I wonder how many of them are praising this action by TM.

Weekend Picks: Southern Culture on the Skids and the Panthers return to Spartanburg | Spartanburg Spark July 27, 2012 - 6:00 am

[…] dirty South Carolinians in their precious little mountain town. One bar is going so far as to ban out-of-towners from entering by checking IDs at the door. Thanks for the Appalachian hospitality, […]

Jamie July 29, 2012 - 9:48 pm

I’d like to point out to the Spartanburg writer that I was raised a dirty South Carolinian, my family are all mostly still dirty South Carolinians and I’m quite fond of them. Idiots exists everywhere, including both Carolinas.

Henry July 30, 2012 - 10:21 am

Which makes you even more of an asshole for shutting out your own kind. It’s clear this is more about letting in the hip with an NC license, not keeping out the so-called “tourists.” Folks from the GSP area are way more “local” than freshly-imported tattooed wannabe Critical Massers. Most of us remember when Asheville actually needed Bele Chere to attract out-of-staters up to Pack Square. Back then Upstaters were supporting DTA when all your current clientele had ever heard of was the big house that old man Vandy built. It really shows how ignorant of the area you are that you don’t realize even in the slightest that the artsy boho hipster utopian Asheville of today is due in no small part to things like Bele Chere. Fuck off you elitist prick — there are plenty of cooler bars in Asheville without the attitude.

Also, your “local” young hipsters are just as likely to commit frat-boy-like behavior as the out of towners. Drunk fixie chicken maybe?

Matt June 19, 2013 - 5:30 pm

I know I am a year late on this. But this is the laughable part, the owner is from South Carolina and will only allow “locals in”. However, I was born in Asheville at Memorial Mission hospital and lived 18 years of my life within Asheville City limits, however now reside for school in Charleston SC and have a South Carolina license so I would not be allowed in. This is hilarious and portrays the elitist attitude that several transplants to Asheville have that just sickens me.

Meg July 27, 2012 - 1:14 am

I’ve only been here 8 years, but I still enjoy Bele Chere. We spend a LOT of money every year from not just the street vendors but the downtown shops as well as restaurants. This status did made me laugh, but I hear this sentiment quite a bit from long time residents and native Ashevillians, so it’s not surprising. My only complaint about the festival is that I wish they had it in a different month.

Jabob July 26, 2012 - 11:44 pm

bele shere is dumb…but so is their bar’s name…

me July 29, 2012 - 9:44 pm

so is jabob.

Warg July 26, 2012 - 11:34 pm

Whatever! It’s about time an establishment stood up for what they believe in over milking the so called “cash cow” that is often confused with the annual event Bele Chere. Being a local, I frequent downtown all the time. Last year I was at Bele Chere, I couldn’t get food or drink to save my life after being out in the blustering heat all day, because of the out of towners. We love the fact we have tourists to support our economy, and we wouldn’t be the same without the ongoing support. But locals need support as well. For Tiger Mountain to support all of us tabling and working the event ( so we don’t feel like hosting is the odd man out) is truly extraordinary! Big props to Jaime and Sean! Aka the shinizzle.

jared rutledge July 26, 2012 - 9:18 pm

tiger mountain be trollin’ y’all

rain July 26, 2012 - 8:56 pm

Blah, Blah, Blah. Go ahead, keep your homogenized clientele. White skin…check, tatoos…check, black skinny jeans….check, flat depressed affect…check.

I LOVE people! Give me the a**holes, give me the trailor park trash, give me the tourists, give me the hippies, give me the mexicans, give me the blacks, give me the crazy christians, bring me LGBQT! I can handle it, bring it on… DIVERSITY!!!!

Don July 26, 2012 - 8:12 pm

Haters are haters. The owners of this bar seem to be no less haters than the Tea Party Republicans who have hijacked our state government.
Asheville is traditionally a haven for the diverse in thought and lifestyle. Shame on this business!

lauren July 26, 2012 - 7:49 pm

Saying “***k off” to all the “out-of-towners” is just plain rude and ignorant in its own right. I understand that Bele Chere brings many annoying people to town and many locals avoid the scene but not all the attendants are not tourists. I have seen plenty of drunk locals making a ruckus and acting dumb. I love how people stereotype tourists as ignorant fools when we have plenty of them right her in Asheville. Bele Chere started as a tradition to revitalize downtown and downtown has accomplished this; with much of its’ success due to it’s reputation with tourists. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

M July 27, 2012 - 6:24 pm


lauren July 28, 2012 - 11:06 am

Ok, I admit that “making a ruckus” is dumb terminology but to bring ANGELA LANSBURY into this whole thing? That is really low. SHE is awesome and MURDER SHE WROTE was one the best shows that has ever graced our television screens….

Orbit DVD July 26, 2012 - 6:13 pm

Thanks Eamon for pointing this out.

Bele Chere (from Wikipedia) – “A 2007 survey of businesses in downtown Asheville indicated that for over 80% of respondents, the festival was bad for business, resulting in significant revenue declines during the days on which it is held. Two factors contributing to this were the large number of non-local vendors arriving for the event and the rise in vandalism during the festival….The festival began as a way to bring needed revenue to downtown Asheville; however, since the late 1970s the area has recovered and now is financially hurt by the event. The event is revenue neutral for the local government.”

For my business we are dead for three days, but I keep the doors open for those that are trapped and/or have to work downtown. It’s also a good advertising… we always pick up a few good customers that stumble upon us that weekend. The West Asheville location always does great however.

I’m not the biggst fan, but it looks like the Bele Chere organizers are finally listening to complaints and suggestions. The line up is solid this year with good local acts and it is scaled back from years’ past.

rain July 26, 2012 - 5:50 pm

Does that apply to non-local hipsters? If I am a local hipster with a non-local hipster visiting from out of state…I can’t bring her???
Oh, I forgot. Every hipster that lives in asheville is actually from Asheville right?

Douglas Ewen July 26, 2012 - 5:45 pm

This is a new place I will not visit. I have been a local since 2005 and love Bele Chere. I know it’s “cool” to hate Bele Chere but I am not a hater and do not support your “cause?”.

Pablo July 27, 2012 - 12:08 am

Doug you live in South America or Iowa or somewhere else. Gimmee a break.

David July 28, 2012 - 10:08 am

Doug…you are an idiot…those of us who work in hospitality have to deal with some stupid and obnoxious shit that only occurs during bele chere…last night on the walk to my car i heard the word faggot thrice….something i never here on my normal after work walk…get over yourself

Lew July 26, 2012 - 4:14 pm

Why do you have to punish the tourists visiting our town when the beef you have is with the city of Asheville? That type of attitude (and less than tactful communication) makes me not want to visit your establishment at all and I’m a local. Not to mention the fact that Bele Chere consists of 72 hours out of an entire year of business for you.

M July 27, 2012 - 8:02 pm

because the tourists punish us, the people who work downtown.

Mark July 26, 2012 - 4:06 pm

BUT… it is not discrimination based upon anything actionable. But I believe the “Whites Only” “joke” is pushing toward defamation.

A business has the right to refuse any customer (it being non-actionable discrimination) they wish to. And even a “protected class” can be ejected for cause.

Guy must be one of them thar flatlanders….

If I lived in A-ville I’d love it if my local bar left me a haven when all the bars will be jam-packed, wall-to-wall. It’s not even anti-tourist… It’s just “We’ve only got so many seats.” And I’m sure they are full every weekend.

And don’t take it so seriously, anyway. They’re sort of being funny about it. We just have different senses of humour….

I do hope, however, that a local bringing in an out of town visitor or two (but not a hoard of ’em) will not be turned away because of his guests.

Adam A July 26, 2012 - 3:53 pm

I enjoy Bele Chere every year, as do thousands of others from near and far. I do not understand the amount of hatred some have for it, nor do I need to. As for Tiger Mountain’s decision to restrict who may enter to just locals, I have no problem with that, though I expect there are some legal issues that may come up. I may have to check them out to see how their business is doing, though I expect them to still have quite the crowd.

Tim Peck July 26, 2012 - 3:02 pm

Gutsy move. Your place, your choice. I’ll try to make a special trip to your Thirst Parlour this weekend. And I’ll bring the ID I use for voting.

Lotus July 26, 2012 - 2:30 pm

I think whoever wrote that needs a lesson in spelling and grammar.

ME July 27, 2012 - 2:04 pm


Ryan Murdock July 26, 2012 - 1:38 pm

I’m a local and don’t entirely mind Bele Chere. It brings in a lot of money for local street vendors and brick and mortar businesses. I’m excited to meet some new folks and spread awareness about my business, TweakMyDevice. The flooding of tourists into our area for the event is frustrating at times, but when they leave I’m left with a deeper appreciation of our town. I can appreciate the bar owners wanting to cater more to locals, but this statement could have been written more tactfully. Their choice of language and seeming “hatred” towards tourists is quite unprofessional. But then again, this is just a bar…not someone who will be performing surgery on you lol.

anon July 27, 2012 - 11:19 am

Have you ever worked in the service industry during bele chere? I bet if you had, you would not think its “not so bad”

Nick July 26, 2012 - 12:50 pm

NEW HEADLINE: “Soon to be closed downtown bar doesn’t need your money.”

Is next weekend WHITES ONLY?

Nice try shit bags but discrimination just isn’t cute.

Jamal July 26, 2012 - 3:49 pm

are you seriously equating this to a race issue? i bet they will make a killing and also earn the respect of many while doing so. i think you might be one of those people who can “F*** DIRECTLY OFF (probably back to florida)”

jamie July 29, 2012 - 4:03 pm

you’re a fucking idiot.

jamie July 29, 2012 - 4:48 pm

First off I understand that by day bele chere is a totally acceptable family fun environment and there is obviously nothing wrong with that, it’s the way that people conduct themselves in our bars after the festival that creates the issue. As a business owner I’ve decided that I’m going to take the stance that I don’t have to deal with it.

I would like to say that if you have never worked in a bar downtown during bele chere there is a great deal behind this argument that isn’t privy information to you. I can understand why you may think that we are some sort of exclusive jerks because of our standpoint, but I would like to take this oppertunity to help you understand an insider’s view of the way this weekend works. Of course I don’t have a problem with the majority of bele chere attendees but as the old saying goes a few bad apples can ruin the bunch. I’ve worked in bars where the cost of repairing damages to the establishment nearly ruined any excess profit that may have been gathered due to the event. Not to mention that the hassle involved with the event certainly is never worth the small excess in sales. As a matter of fact a friend of mine had to kick a man out of the bar he works at last night while the man was puking in a sink and urinating on the floor underneath the sink simultaneously. Another bar that I used to work at once had a man finish a beer and puke it directly back into his glass. Obviously he was immediately kicked out and nearly without blinking an eye he stumbled back in to ask where his beer was. Unfortunately bele chere is plagued with these kinds of incidents every single year and I don’t need to point out that this is a major issue. Bars are allowed a certain number of people at a time due to fire regulations, often times on weekends bars reach this limit and we don’t have any interest in trading out one of our friendly weekend regulars for a vomiting fool, I think this is an obvious point. These are not the kinds of things that occur in our cities establishments on a regular basis and the fact that the event curates this kind of activity is the reason that I am uninterested in taking part.

Secondly I would like to say thank you for all of our support in our stance this weekend. Both days were our busiest days yet and I think your support proves the point of how downtown workers feel about the bele chere shit show. We will continue to be there for you, we will continue to be locals only for every single bele chere, we will continue to gladly accept tourists the other fifty one weekends out of the year, and we will continue to really really enjoying ourselves while doing so. We look forward to seeing ALL of you soon.

For those of you that appreciate our standpoint I thank you and I sincerely look forward to our good times. The rest of you can still fuck off (and that’s an offer that doesn’t expire).

I hope this clears up our position reasonably well.


Orbit DVD July 26, 2012 - 10:41 am

Many people live here but have out of town IDs. Bring an electric bill!

FDR July 26, 2012 - 10:00 am

Every business should do this and send a message to the city that Bele Chere is a waste of sweat….

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