“Patrons find themselves in an expansive room with a ceiling of raw oak slats,” says New York magazine of W. 17th Street’s 1OAK, “and a zigzagging black-and-white floor that sets an El Morocco tone.” New York also mentions “a VIP-type area with a roaring fireplace,” “Dom Perignon buckets,” “Ostrich-leather banquettes,” and “pricey sound system.”
In other words, it sounds like your typical, repulsive, Chelsea trendhole. But along with its aesthetic failures, 1OAK (whose name, make sure your bucket’s handy, is an acronym for “1 of a kind”) and its co-owners, Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano, have a legal problem: a federal lawsuit alleges workplace discrimination, says the New York Daily News.
The News reports that Asian-American waitress Cecilia Shim “says manager Francis McHugh told her owner Scott Sartiano only wanted ‘white girls he could f—‘ serving drinks… ‘What’s the point of having girls if we can’t f— them?'”
When Shim was fired in July, McHugh allegedly told her, “Scott has a thing about Asians, he wants all white girls.”
Shim and bartender Laurence Brown, also fired in July, brought the lawsuit. Through a lawyer, 1OAK denies the charges, saying the former staffers were fired for poor performance.