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5-star Yelp reviews posted for ‘hero’ owner of Merdie’s Tavern

Harry Bains, the owner of Merdie's Tavern in

Harry Bains, the owner of Merdie's Tavern in Linden, N.J., who said he had been watching CNN at another business across the street, recognized Chelsea bombing suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, outside his bar and alerted police. Bains' bar is now receiving 5-star reviews on Yelp. Credit: Google Maps

A Linden, New Jersey bar has a five-star Yelp rating, but not for the usual restaurant review fodder like stiffness of drinks or a cozy ambience.

The glowing reviews of Merdie’s Tavern were all posted since news broke that the bar’s owner, Harry Bains, tipped off police to the whereabouts of the Chelsea bombing suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami.

After hearing news about the bombing suspect throughout the morning on Monday, Bains noticed a man sleeping in the doorway of his bar, and said he had a gut feeling that he should alert police. The man turned out to be Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was taken into custody after firing at responding officers and injuring two.

Shortly afterward, Yelp users began posting five-star reviews of Bains’ bar, which before that had never been reviewed on the site.

“This New Jersey bar owner, Harry Bains is a hero for his actions today. Long live Merdie’s Tavern!” one user posted on the bar’s Yelp page Monday.

“Make this bar number 1! Everyone should have a drink here. Thank you for saving so many lives,” another Yelp user posted.

However, First American Fried Chicken, an Elizabeth, New Jersey restaurant which is owned by Rahami’s family, hasn’t fared so well on the restaurant review site.

A barrage of one-star reviews flooded the page after Yelp users learned of Rahami’s connection to the restaurant.

“Shut this place down. One way or another, shut it down,” a Yelp reviewer posted Tuesday, giving the business a one-star rating.

Comments on the page are currently being monitored by Yelp, according to a message appearing on the website.

“This business recently made waves in the news, which often means that people come to this page to post their views on the news,” the notice reads. “While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business. As a result, your posts to this page may be removed as part of our cleanup process…”

Yelp has not yet posted a “cleanup” notice on the Merdie’s Tavern page.


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